Q&A with ... Dominic Lee, reggae artist from Montserrat
NEW CANAAN — Dominic Lee, also known as Deebzlenuz, got his nickname from his brother, who based the name off the character Deebo from the 1995 movie “Next Friday.”
“He started calling me that and I wanted to turn that into a positive,” Lee, 38, said. “The definition of my nickname is a man who speaks from his soul.”
Speaking from his soul comes out in the form of reggae, the musical style he has performed since he was 18. Lee has written over 400 songs, though he didn’t release his first record, “Outta Mi Soul,” until 2010.
Originally from the Caribbean island of Montserrat, Lee arrived in New York City at 13. Now a Bridgeport resident, the reggae artist has worked at New Canaan Cleaners for six years.
Lee recently talked about his musical interests, future projects and his Caribbean roots.
Q: When did you start writing music?
To see Dominic’s GoFundMe, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/outta-mi-soul-2-european-tour
A: I began singing and writing since 1998, I’m coming up on my 20th anniversary. I started when I was 18 during my second semester of my first year in college. My brother and two of my friends always wrote music and I was impressed by it, but thought I could never do that.
One day in economics class, I decided that before I leave I would write a song and put a pen on my paper. I have written over 400 songs, but the first song I released was “Mistakes” in 2010 — it reminds me to learn about people’s mistakes; that was the topic of the song.
Q: Can you tell me more about your music video for “My Daddy”?
A: It’s a family song. The reason I wrote that song was because everyone writes songs about their moms and nobody writes about their fathers. So, I thought that fathers needed love too, so that’s what I did. The original inspiration from that song came from my producer. He produced a song from his dad, who had cancer, so he produced an instrumental as a tribute to him. I heard it on YouTube and loved it.
Q: Who is singing in the video with you?
A: That’s my daughter, she’s singing with me. One of my friends heard the rough version of the “My Daddy” song and he thought I should add a woman in the background, and the first person that came to mind was my daughter.
I went to her room and asked her to sing with me. I wrote the lyrics on a piece of paper and gave the melody to her and she came to the studio and said she was ready to record. She went into the booth and she was a natural — it was her first time doing it. That video came out in March of this year.
Q: What are your future projects?
A: “My Daddy” is on my upcoming album. It’s called “Outta Mi Soul 2” — that’s my fifth studio album but my second version of “Outta Mi Soul.”
Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m from the island of Montserrat, next to Antigua and Barbados. I moved to New York City in 1993 when I was 13 years old. I came with my mom and moved to Stamford in 1994. I live in Bridgeport now. I went to Westhill High School for three years and graduated in 1997, and in 1997 went to Norwalk Community College and in 1998 I wrote my first song.
Q: Have you been able to go back?
A: I went back in Montserrat earlier this year. I still have a lot of family down there. Life in Montserrat is relaxing, laid back. It was actually the most safe Caribbean island to visit. It’s a safe and quiet place.