I was born in Brooklyn, New York. New York City resonates within me, always.
I was drawn to music, as my parents listened to the music of their generation, jazz and Broadway musicals.
Later, I was enrolled in a good choir at Grace Episcopal Church in Brooklyn. This exposed me to some of the great sacred music from the Middle Ages, right up through Bach and into some of the 20th Century composers. This was also the dawn of Rock.
I spent my teen years in Chicago, where I studied art in high school, particularly drawing and painting. Also played in rock bands, and so, changed direction at college by entering the music program at Roosevelt University in Chicago, studying music theory and composition.
I listened closely to Ray Charles, and noticed he was writing much of his early repertoire. Then, the Beatles arrived, also composing their music. I discovered Miles Davis/Gil Evans…and by the mid 60’s, I was completely amazed by Antonio Carlos Jobim’s writing.
Early in 1967, out of nowhere, came a telephone call, inviting me to join a band that would become “Chicago”. This new venture allowed me to write songs and teach myself to arrange horns for my songs. Experimenting constantly. While I enjoy playing and singing, I realized it was composing that would always be my primary interest.
Regarding my role in Chicago’s early success, it seems no coincidence that 7 of the 12 songs on the band’s debut album were among my first compositions and vocals. I was, in some ways, a victim of our ‘faceless’ status. Individually, the singers/songwriters within the band rarely received the recognition they perhaps deserved. It is gratifying that in 2014 the album “Chicago Transit Authority” was voted into the Grammy© Hall of Fame.
I understand there would be no ‘Robert Lamm’ without Chicago. Being a part of a band with its ethic, and its willingness to embrace each others’ musical path, has been a rare blessing. Because of what we do, (perform and record music) there has been mutual enjoyment, shared experiences, satisfaction, disappointment, amusement, the acquisition of a bit of maturity and something like wisdom.
I am a loner by nature and very comfortable with it. I am an observer and a listener. The thrust of my fulfillment is derived from the writing, arranging, producing and recording of my songs. I have absorbed lessons from great producers like James Guercio, Phil Ramone, Bruce Fairbairn, Tom Dowd, and David Foster.
In the 80’s I drifted into a period of personal and professional frustration. I relocated to NYC in 1991 with new energy and began working on a solo project, “Life is Good in My Neighborhood”. Soon followed by: “In My Head”, “Too Many Voices”, “Subtlety & Passion”, “The Bossa Project”, “Living Proof”, “Like a Brother” (BeckleyLammWilson). and “Robert Lamm Songs: JVE ReMixes”. I found that solo work brings interaction with a wide range of musicians, an experience which I treasure. I have learned to trust my instincts in the studio.
The current lineup of the band Jimmy, Lee, Ray, Keith, Tris, Lou, Wally, and now, Jeff, is the most exciting crew I’ve played with. I’m looking foward to future projects with the energy and potential I’m feeling now.
Visit robertlammsolo.com to learn more about Robert Lamm and his library of solo projects.