By JR Valrey, The Minister of Information
I’ve been the host for Small Stage Sesh, since it began. It is a live music showcase that happens every Monday at D’Wayne Wiggins’ Compound in East Oakland, and one of the perks of the job, is that I get to see and interact with established, as well as, up and coming artists, that are from around the Bay Area, as they display their talent and network. Since my tenure as the host, I have seen a large number of very talented artists grab the microphone to express themselves. One of those standouts is the tall, melodic, and sensual R&B singer, LODDY DOLLY.
Considering that artists such as Destiny’s Child, India Arie, Alicia Keys, Keyshia Cole, Kehlani, Zendaya, and H.E.R. have all been molded, in some way, by D’Wayne Wiggins and the Tony Toni Tone camp, it is easy to see that the Tonies’ music factory is still inspiring and offering artists real opportunities to be heard. LODDY DOLLY and a few other artists are currently engaged in revamping the sound of locally made R&B, and giving it that 2025 futuristic sound. With the local history of R&B including artists such as Shelia E, En Vogue, the Tonies, and Sly and the Family Stone, it is a tall order to try and change anything about the current local sound. But if anybody is equipped to bring more innovation, creativity, and relevancy to the Bay Area R&B scene it is LODDY DOLLY, and her R&B contemporaries like Karter, Keidra on Stage, Morgan J, and Ty Astor that are contributing to this new wave of R&B, so check out what one of the premiere stand-outs has to say about her career. Let me introduce the Black New World audience to the one and only LODDY DOLLY.
JR Valrey: What is it about music that made you take a liking to it? When did you decide to take it seriously?
LODDY DOLLY: I truly believe music and creativity were placed on my path by a Higher Power. My love for it runs deep. I was 4 years old when I started singing, I was 11 when I wrote and arranged my first song, and I was 16 when I decided to begin branding myself as an artist. R&B Music especially is very significant in my life, because I witnessed it heal my mother after her divorce. To me, it’s magically medicinal.
JR Valrey: Can you tell us about your album?
LODDY DOLLY: I actually dropped my debut album in April of 2021; it’s titled “SundaySchool”. My main reason behind the title was the hiatus I chose before its completion – I needed time to discover who I am, you know? Beyond the vanity, I chose to establish my identity before I could authentically express myself. During this hiatus I discovered that existence is infinite, its powerful and far more intimate than we think. My second album is set to drop in 2022 and some of the songs are less vulnerable and more dominating. There’s a wide variety of personal life-experiences you guys will be embarking on.
JR Valrey: How would you describe your musical style? Who was it influenced by?
LODDY DOLLY: I’d say my music is influenced by my personal experiences, knowledge, and real 90’s grown folks R&B. I grew up listening to artists such as: Angela Winbush, Toni Braxton, Kut Klose, LSG, Babyface, Avant, Joe and the list continues. As I mentioned, R&B music was the medicine of our household.
JR Valrey: Can you talk about your fashion line, Toxic? How long have you been doing it? How did it start?
LODDY DOLLY: Yes, Toxic By Dolly is my freelance custom clothing line. I taught myself to sew when I was 2 months pregnant with my son, about 10 years ago. I design and make a majority of my stage-wear, I’ve also designed and styled many of my family members. I’d like to style and design for others in the future.
JR Valrey: Mentally, what’s the difference between creating fashion and making music?
LODDY DOLLY: Each brings me great joy. However, I am extremely passionate about being a recording artist & performer. I can not go a day without singing, I can not go a week without writing, yet I can go months without touching my many sewing machines & I am able to pick up where I left off.
JR Valrey: How did the Covid pandemic affect you creatively?
LODDY DOLLY: I honestly remained busy. Other than the fact there were no events taking place, not being able to perform for a live crowd for more than a year was borderline torture; the magnetic frequency between the artist and its audience is addicting. However, I was able to build a home studio and teach myself minimal recording skills. I have not one COVID complaint. Wishing divine rest to any, and all who have perished due to the crisis.
JR Valrey: How has being a mother affected your music and fashion line?
LODDY DOLLY: In music, being a mother has given me the perfect, most amazing muse. Motherhood has naturally encouraged me in ways I can not explain. Becoming a Mother keeps me determined to conquer and succeed. Predominantly, I consider my handiness with a sewing machine a life-skill/survival technique. If given the opportunity to take it further, I’d be open.
JR Valrey: Do you have any shows coming up?
LODDY DOLLY: Yes, I’ll be performing live in August at the Unity & Community Festival in Pittsburg and in September on the R&B Labor Day Cruise. I will be posting all information and ticket links on all of my social media platforms.
JR Valrey: How can people keep up with you online?
LODDY DOLLY: I am LODDY DOLLY on all digital platforms, as well as social media engines (all capital letters). Thank you so much for having me, it was my pleasure.