Songful Annapolis native gains GRAMMY consideration, set to perform after signing with record label
Andrea Blackstone | 2/2/2018, 6 a.m.
Music has publicly been Craig T. Dobson’s passion since his first church singing debut at the age of six years old. Dobson recalls belting out soulful notes, while moving to and from classes in the halls of Annapolis Jr. High School. Administrators and guidance counselors who heard Dobson singing in front of their offices stopped to notice whose soulful voice captured their attention. Positive feedback from administrators and peers inspired Dobson to get involved in the school’s chorus and talent shows.
“My parents tell me, and I kind of remember,… that I was singing songs on the radio at age two,” Dobson said upon reflection. “I started singing in church at a very early age. But I think when I was in the seventh grade, that’s when I realized that I had something, because I noticed that people started paying attention.”
Dobson is now a husband and father who works as a special educator. He serves as the Worship Leader and Lead Director at Asbury Town Neck United Methodist Church in Severna Park, Maryland. Dobson honors his gospel roots and remains a fan of musical artists such as Luther Vandross. When Dobson listened to “A House is Not a Home,” at the age of 18, he concluded that he wanted to pursue music as more than a hobby. Shortly thereafter, Dobson became a member of the Annapolis-based R&B based group, “Seductive Music Unique Vocals” (S.M.U.V.).
Despite Dobson’s raw singing talent, and performance abilities, he faced disappointing losses of record deals. And during the summer of 2016, Dobson coped with a health ordeal that required five hospital stays. Dobson later emerged with improved health, faith-filled, and armed with new goals to solidify his name and his legacy, by completing his own CD.
Dobson’s wishes are coming true, plus much more. In 2016, the Glen Burnie resident began working with an independent record label which is based in Atlanta, Georgia called 9Nineteen Music. Keith J. Collins, Jr. — also an Annapolis native— is CEO of the record label. Dobson recorded the EP (extended play record) entitled “Craig T. Dobson” in Atlanta and shot his first music video there. By October of 2017, Dobson found out the EP garnered 11 GRAMMY considerations in the first round of the GRAMMY Award process when 9Nineteen Music submitted the music.
“Over 150 music executives and producers, listen to over 22,000 submissions, and then they select a certain number for consideration. So, once you get considered, and if they vote for you, then you move to the second round. Then if you pass the second round, you’re nominated (for a GRAMMY),” Dobson said, explaining the process. “So we made the first round, and all five songs on my project were selected. So there were three categories. All five of the songs were considered for Best R & B Performance, and then of course all five were considered for Best R & B Album, so we had 11 (GRAMMY) considerations for this year.”
Dobson and his record label competed with major music artists. Dobson’s music is frequently streamed across the world. He described the experience as “huge,” especially since all five of his songs were considered, out of over 22,000 submissions.
Dobson regards the experience as a sign to do more, musically. He travels to Atlanta to finish his first feature CD. Collins and his partner, Bob Antione— a multi-platinum music producer —heard Dobson’s voice and believed in him.
Collins added that he recalled seeing Dobson sing at weddings and in church. He looked Dobson up on Facebook, after writing a song. After a conversation commenced, the native Annapolitans ended up working together.
“I see big things happening in the future, definitely. We’re actually in the process of constructing the next album for him (Dobson),” Collins said, mentioning that Annapolis has a lot of musical talent. “I definitely take pride that I’m from Annapolis, raised in Annapolis. I’ve talked to a lot of people in Annapolis… and the music scene in Annapolis right now looks real good.”
Dobson’s first performance of the year will kick off on February 9, 2018 at 7 p.m. at Peerless Rens Club, located at 406 Chester Ave. in Annapolis. Dobson will perform during the Pre-Valentine’s Day Evening of Romance. Visit www.craigtdobson.com or Eventbrite, then search Craig T. Dobson, to purchase tickets.