Ronnie Dozier’s always had music running through his veins. His grandfather had a soul group called The Supreme Stars back in the 1970s, and his great-uncle, Lamont Dozier, was one of the first artists and songwriters signed to Motown Records.
“I grew up watching videos of my family performing in front of packed theaters in a time when it was very difficult for African-American artists to break records on the underground circuit,” he says. “That determination they had is what I strive to obtain. The gift of music is in my blood. I’m just following family tradition.”
But it wasn’t until Dozier’s mother passed away from breast cancer in 2011 that the Jacksonville native began to take his music to another level.
“My mother was my No. 1 fan. She told me when I was very young that I have something special to give the world. This was before I ever recorded my first song,” says Dozier. “When she passed, it really broke me down. I became such a depressed and lonely individual. I became trapped in my heartbreak.”
At the urging of friends and family, Dozier found the strength to move forward. Today, the hip-hop and soul artist is busy laying down new tracks, playing local venues and recording music videos. Dozier’s YouTube video for his tune “Silent Talk” was directed by Sozo Jaxson of Zocode Films in January 2014 and features a hodgepodge of familiar locales.
“We really wanted to capture Downtown Jacksonville in a new light,” Dozier says. ”I mentioned the Main Street Bridge in the song, so we pulled a couple strings and got the bridge shut down for a few hours, and it worked out perfectly. It was a great feeling for me to use the city to paint a picture.”
Born in Jacksonville, Dozier was a “military brat” — growing up all over America, from Palm Springs, California to Macon, Georgia, before returning to the River City about 15 years ago. He graduated from Jean Ribault High School and then attended Macon State College (now merged with Middle Georgia State College).
“Growing up in various cities across the U.S. as an adolescent allowed me to hear so many different sounds and styles of music,” he says. “I believe that’s the reason my music is so culturally diverse.”
Dozier’s been busy over the past few years. He’s the owner of Capital Credit Protection, a company specializing in repairing consumer credit scores, and father to 3-month-old son, Elijah, and stepson, Jayden. He’s also the founder and president of R.I.C.H. Kidz (R.I.C.H. stands for Realizing I Can Help), a nonprofit that mentors local school-aged children.
But it’s his music that keeps Dozier focused.
“It’s not always fun music,” Dozier says of his repertoire. “But songs that people can relate to and that resonate with them — songs about being in love, falling in love and heartbreak. I write about the reality that we all go through — the ups and downs and the rollercoaster rides.”
He’s also inspired by a higher power. “Christianity has always been instilled in me,” Dozier says. After all, he grew up the son of a Marine-turned-pastor.
Aside from his Jacksonville-themed music video, Dozier’s also released an EP called The Nightlife (March 2014), and has performed in Atlanta, Miami, Charlotte and other cities across the Southeast. His Ritz Theatre gig this week features fellow Duval native Jasmine Rhey.
“Music is my life. It’s a part of me. When I hear an instrumental, I get into a creative mode,” says Dozier. “I look at it like Van Gogh or Da Vinci looked at a blank canvas. It’s an opportunity to create a moment in history — a chance to define my destiny. I want to go down in history as one of the best musical geniuses of our generation. Only time will tell.”