Otis Junior & Dr. Dundiff
Will Make You Believe in
We’ve all met those people, and honestly, maybe we’ve all been those people who at some point or another have claimed that love does not exist. Perhaps our heart was torn out by someone who we thought we loved and in retaliation, we denied the thing’s existence altogether. Perhaps we were born a cynic and are yet to find ourselves in a situation where love would come to prove us wrong. Or maybe we do all live on different wavelengths – in different worlds and for some of us love exists while for others, it doesn’t. But what about those who believed in love all along, those who at some point were proven wrong in their denial of love, or those currently find themselves in the midst of love’s powerful throws? What makes love’s existence real in their lives?
All I know is that if love is real, and I very much do believe that it is, the world could use a lot more of it at this very moment. There are powerful people able of spreading love, promoting positivity, and nudging the world in a better direction. Creators and artists have the platform and subsequently the reach to spread their messages to the masses, and though many of them spread negative ideas – important and realistic in their own right – there are others who shine a light into the dark and attempt to fill voids with messages of positivity and love. They have mastered an ability at cheering up those who are down, at making us feel warm when it’s cold, and in the darkest of situations, making us believe in love once again or perhaps for the first time.
I think we as humans have a tendency to forget the power of art in our daily lives, and the effects that everything from visual art, to architectural design, to music can play on our cognitive abilities and our emotions. Sometimes the best medicine for depression can be a walk in nature or a change in music habits. As much as I love the dark, twisted world of certain artists, their music pulls me in and clouds my thoughts with their own, and in order to escape, a simple shift towards the styling of someone a little more positive is usually all it takes.
If there is music of one artist that I can prescribe for times when love and positivity seem particularly out of reach, it’s the styling of Louisville, Kentucky duo Otis Junior & Dr. Dundiff. Bringing with them soulful vocals and moving lyricism by way of singer/songwriter Otis Junior melting over the warm-hearted and clean production of Dr. Dundiff, the two have successfully cut out their own corner of the music scene appealing to fans of R&B, funk, soul, and the blues while at the same time simply appealing to anyone looking for some positive vibes.
It’s not very often that the world is blessed with the vocal talent of a singer like Otis Junior. He has the smooth, soulful voice found in the music of some of history’s most revered vocalists, and his deep, silky range fits him somewhere between his common named Otis Redding – singer of ageless hits like Stand By Me and Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone and a more modern take on the soulful styling of the Motown elite. His sound can best be described as NeoSoul, and at the moment, no one is doing it better than him. Like history’s best soul singers, his vocals easily evoke emotion from his audience and his added lyrical ability completes the front man package of an artist dead set on capturing the essence of love with each and every note. Unlike many of today’s soul and R&B singers, Otis comes with a delivery that seems honest, genuine, and true. Like a therapist delivering the painful truth in order for a patient to finally see the beauty in life, Otis Junior is able to put into music what it is that all of us wish we could feel everyday – true, genuine love.
But no great vocalist has ever been anything without the band. Otis Junior met Dr. Dundiff, a local Louisville producer who had already released several projects of his own, when he was hosting an open-mic R&B competition in 2016. Instantly, the two developed a creative bond and within a month, found themselves recording their debut EP 1moment2another. Dr. Dundiff’s clean, hip-hop inspired productions blend harmoniously with the more aged and refined soulful sound of Otis Junior. This combination, often also featuring piano from Otis, culminates in a unique sound merging their two styles seamlessly into one. Their sophomore project and debut album, Hemispheres, is in fact titled as a direct allusion to their different approaches coming together – old-school, soulful vocals, deep-rooted lyrics, soft piano keys, and more modern electronic production make the two a duo like nothing we’ve ever heard.
What is perhaps most unique about their approach is not necessarily their sound, but rather the vibes, the emotions, and the themes that their music is able to convey. Only some of the greatest musicians, whose audience influence is akin to artists like Outkast or Passion Pit, have been able to promote genuine positivity without a looming sense of corniness. But the combination of Otis Junior’s vocal delivery swaying overtop Dr. Dundiff’s production feels so heartfelt, so genuine, and so home-cooked that it inspires honest feelings of warmth and love in every track.
So, returning to an earlier question: What makes love’s existence real in the lives of those who genuinely believe in it? Perhaps believing in love is an innate ability. Perhaps it’s something that is learned from those we love and those who love us back. Or perhaps, it is something that can be instilled within us from indirect sources in our daily lives that could not possibly exist without the existence of love itself. The music of Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff is so full of light, warmth, and positivity that it is one of those sources. They are not only one of the most exciting and talented up-and-coming duos in all of music; Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff will make you believe in love.