Local Spotlight: Dom the Composer

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Though he began his musical journey with trepidation, Dom the Composer’s sound is now overflowing with soul, embracing tenderness in his latest release.

Hypnotic piano chords emerge in the first moments of “Glass Box.” Dom the Composer floats over the top of them with heart wrenching lyrics, embellished with delicate inflections. In his latest release, the Lowell-based composer portrays the eternal marriage between love and pain, upholding joy and despair equally; Dom the Composer mixes up a cocktail of emotions that accompany the revisiting of ecstatic and anguished memories.

Suspense fills the gaps between lyrics as the song slowly builds, layering orchestral strings and piano lines. Cutting off right at the it’s mostly climactic moment, “Glass Box” leaves the listener on a cliffhanger. Dom is known for his intoxicating blend of R&B, gospel, folk, and most importantly, his disarming voice, offering up lyric-focused songs cushioned with smooth piano, jazz influenced harmonies, and heartfelt emotion. 

Though he sounds like a complete natural, Dom’s first steps on his musical path were reluctant, compelled by his mother to audition for the All Saints Choir for Men and Boys in Ashmont. Dom was rooted to the spot, refusing to audition; all of that changed when his best friend showed up for the same audition, giving Dom the courage to get up there. Dom continues to sing with the choir, taking part in their Christmas masses, amongst other staple concerts each year.

While singing is at the core of Dom’s musical identity, his abilities extend to piano playing, songwriting, and bandleading. Over his 17 releases on Spotify, Dom navigates pop, jazz, blues, and singer / songwriter dynamics, often blending them together.

Setting out on his music career, Dom was certain about his sound remaining fluid: “I wanted to end up as an artist that didn’t necessarily have any blocks to go in,” Dom disclosed. Sometimes solo, sometimes with an ensemble, Dom’s works are all tied together through his dulcet voice. “I feel connected most when I’m singing,” he stated. His exemplary piece “An Experience” washes the listener in his enveloping voice from the get-go, revealing his finely-tuned sense of harmony. 

Following in the tradition of harmonically rich, jazz inflected vocal music from pioneers such as Daniel Cesar and Jacob Collier, Dom’s jazz influences are also tastefully felt throughout his music. In tunes like “The Train’s Lullaby,” dense jazz chords are nestled amongst tender lyrics, laced with a touching Boston Easter egg: “Sleep and wait for our stop on the MBTA.”  

“Recently, I’ve been really into alternative soul music, R&B, and gospel music. And I’ve been wanting to influence that into my songs,” Dom said. His tune “Dancing in the Leaves” encapsulates all these realms in one song; with gospel-laden vocals, smooth R&B bass lines, and soulful grooves throughout, “Dancing in the Leaves” is just that…danceable. A high energy song with many moving parts, the tune is also emblematic of his complex arranging abilities.  

With ample cross-genre experience under his belt, Dom’s latest release “Glass Box” is a return to tenderness, and another example of his lyrically oriented compositions. “I want[ed] to go back to playing a little bit of really personal, tender music.” The song has a particular power to evoke empathy in the listener, the words themselves inspired by a friend’s story rather than Dom’s own: “It’s odd to feel so connected to a song that isn’t your story, but I think I think that’s the beauty of hearing music,” Dom observed.

A graduate of UMass Lowell, Dom grew up in Milton, and has been on the Boston music scene since his fateful audition at the All Saints Choir for Men and Boys. He plans to stay around, and has a love for all things local. “I really want to establish myself in Boston…I just want to do something special here and inspire people in Boston…to build on the culture that Boston established,” he said. 

In addition to keeping the momentum going with consistent releases, Dom the Composer is also putting live shows on the front burner. Well-versed in live performance from solo to ensemble, Dom has recently been performing with his five piece band including Alec Anand and Joshua McDonough on guitars, Glen Njeru on bass, and Tyler D’Angelo-Lombari on drums. He has an upcoming performance on March 22 at Taffeta in Lowell, where audiences can get a first hand experience of his ability to leap across genres, maintain a cohesive and deeply personal sound, and fill a room with a healthy dose of soul.

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