Who is Lee?
The answer to that question may be as varied as the answers anyone but Lee himself might provide. If you ask Lee, he’ll tell you in the simplest terms that he is a man that loves making music. The devoted musician and singer-songwriter adamantly refuses to define his genre. His sound as been described most often as soul/ neo-soul, however, with an attentive listen to his vast catalogue you’d quickly understand his aversion to brand himself at all.
Lee grew up listening to Prince, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Jane’s Addiction, Public Enemy, De La Soul, The Rolling Stones, James Brown, Parliament Funkadelic, Sly and the Family Stone, The Crusaders, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, and the list goes on and on as a music lover’s would. He formed his first hip-hop duo, “Straight Coffee For George” with his friend, Antonio “T-Lyfe” Humphrey, back in the early 90’s with a unique style that continued to evolve into what became his signature melodic rapping. After two releases with Straight Coffee, Lee was ready to expand his horizons beyond hip-hop. He briefly formed an alt-rock/ funk band called “Brink” at which time he wrote some songs that went on to make it into the catalogue of his next band, The Square Egg.
Lee co-founded the 13-piece Hip-Hop, Funk, Jazz, Soul band, "The Square Egg," in 1999 while living in South Beach, Miami. The band won the 2003 Miami New Times Readers Choice Award for Best Local Group in their "Best of Miami" issue. The Square Egg played at the Jazz in the Gardens festival at Hard Rock Stadium, Zo's Summer Groove at the American Airlines Arena, opened for Boyz II Men at the West Palm Beach Amphitheater, as well as weekly residencies at Jazid and many other Miami venues. In 2003, The Square Egg relocated to New York, where they performed at some of the city's well-known spots including S.O.B.'s, The Knitting Factory, The Cutting Room, and were featured on BET Jazz and Air America Radio. Since going solo, Lee has played sold out shows at The Blue Note, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Bitter End and many other iconic New York venues. He also performed at Bebop Jazz Club, Usina del Arte, Cantina Makena Club and Matienzo in Buenos Aires as well as the Buenos Aires Jazz Fest.
After The Square Egg's last release, in 2005 titled, Things Change, Lee began working on his first Solo effort, Meet Lee. Each of his solo albums have fluidly moved through various genres, yet always maintained a signature "Lee" undefinable sound. Meet Lee found Lee flexing his emcee muscles more than he had in quite a while. Even in revisiting his hip-hop roots, Lee set out to still make the album melodic, using a combination of drum machine beats he programmed himself, along with live string and horn arrangements. The 2010 release, Naked, ushered in a new era for Lee. While he had been writing songs with other musicians, humming bass lines, singing melodies, and messing around on MIDI recorders prior to this project, Lee sat down at his Fender Rhodes or Wurlitzer and strapped on the Epiphone to write and compose much of Naked without an intermediary. 16 Reasons To Buy This Album, released in 2014, was the fruit of Lee writing a lot more guitar driven songs, lending to a more Rock/ Alternative and Funk album. In 2017, Lee released 2+2=5, an album that was mostly written and recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Lee had been living since 2014. The album perhaps can be placed in the R&B/ Soul box, though with so many orchestral arrangements, Argentine gospel choir vocals in the track, Where Are You?, tango inspired piano in Drowning, and the Motown beat rockabilly track, Drive, it would need more space than one box can provide.
Now, the multifaceted musician, composer and producer invites you to experience his fifth solo album and perhaps one of his most lush musical efforts, Maybe Now. Maybe Now is an anthology of Lee’s life over the past 5 years, bouncing between Buenos Aires, New York City, and now back in Miami, showcasing his growth as a person, an artist, musician, and storyteller. True to form, Lee finds himself exploring the many dimensions of artistry, blurring the lines of genre, and continuing to push the envelope of popular music.
After taking a dive into Lee’s catalogue, perhaps you’ll agree that categorizing Lee is a tall task. A refreshing intrusion during a time when many artists seem to create an image to cater to a single audience with fleeting attention spans, Lee reminds us that there’s plenty to be gained by exploring the dimensions of contemporary music.