He did not know what they contained, so he went over to his turntable and layered down the record. Sounding a bit rough, he started to hear lyrics “…I thought the way you came along; my life will start to change. Instead I saw that I was wrong, My life was rearranged. How I wonder why you just pushed my love aside. You threw me in the gutter and you left me there to lie…”. He then went back into the box and pulled out a picture of the man whose vocals appeared on the record. By this time the needle had reached the end of the “A” side of the vinyl and began to rub against the center paper, making a loud noise. While still staring at the picture, the noise of the friction started to sound like an audience cheering. At the end, that’s what it sounded like.
The year is 2021. Vinyl records are hard to come by, despite the many attempts that people took to preserve the continuation of vinyl record usage. In fact record stores are not really in demand since the day people began buying and creating their own music on CD through television/computer Internet web sites. Most kids Thomas’ age do not even know what a record player is, nor do they have interest.
Either way, on this afternoon Thomas was looking through an old box that belonged to his uncle whom recently passed on. There he found some pictures and so many things that had no meaning to him, but might have had some meaning since they were kept in a box hidden for so long. At the bottom of the box, to his surprise, he found what seemed to be some old record covers.
Since the earliest form of any recognized genre of music or any other art form, there have always been individuals whom have stood as figures and served as a reflection of a certain period or purpose. In the world of Dance music, specifically Freestyle music, there has been the presence of one man who combined talent, style, and pride in his work. It is the combination of these three elements that have played a key factor in converting him into a legendary star.
Born in the U.S capitol, Washington D.C, George Garcia would achieve in his lifetime what many others only dreamed about. The “American” dream. In this case dreams of apple pie and arroz con gandule. While at a young age, growing up in the Bronx within a family of eight members, Garcia showed an interest and expressed his talent in art, specifically with sketching and drawings. Convinced that art might be a suitable direction he might take up interest in as a field of study and career, with help and support from his family, George enrolled in a New York High school that specified in Art and design. There he began his studies aiming towards that field. While majoring in graphic arts, the life and world that surrounded young Garcia would quickly conquer his heart and change the course of his life like the winds of destiny. Although George had a good head start on the preparation for his future, he did take the time to live out his youth just like the rest of the neighbor-hood kids.
In fact, he even became good at certain things a little better than the rest of his peers. He became recognized in his area as a person who mastered and practiced the art form of popping, locking, and dropping. The young b-boy also carried yet one more talent, the gift of song. The young tenor polished and flexed his skill and even performed at local shows. In time, besides acquiring a taste for the stage, he also became a regular at various thriving clubs of the New York Freestyle scene of that time. While still at a young age and facing the temptations that the street offered young kids, and still does to make a quick buck, he kept focused on his future. It was his future that kept him in line as well as making him make the right decisions in his life. None the less George Garcia was more than just another kid on the block or just another club head.
He carried Freestyle in his blood line through other family members. In time this would lead him to sing back up vocals on “Everything I Own” and “Counting The Days” for his cousin who was better known as Joey Kid. Around the same time he would become a known figure through out the Music Community of New York and would regularly lend his voice for background vocals for various other artists. Within time he would team up with producers Chris Barbosa and Mark Ligget and sign to their independent label, Ligosa Records, for a recording project. Barbosa and Ligget were no strangers in the Freestyle and Dance Music world. Both already had credited backgrounds for their work on Emergency records in New York during the early 80’s Through Emergency records, they contributed to the Dance music world and Freestyle the biggest breakthrough for Dance music at that time, Shannon’s “Let The Music Play”, which was one of the first Freestyle records ever recorded.
The combination of Ligget and Barbosa’s production work, background, and George’s vocals, would with no surprise equal success for the label whose name is a combination of Ligget (LIG) and Barbosa (OSA). In 1989 at the age of 18, Garcia recorded “Bad Of The Heart” and was known as Loose Touch. With a good response from the public, Barbosa and Ligget shopped the record around while gaining the help from David Jurman who worked at Arista records at that time. Jurman later transferred to Columbia Records and “Bad Of The Heart” and George were picked up. Columbia Records re-released “Bad Of The Heart” and its follow ups “Without You” and “Look Into My Eyes”, which could all be found on his first album entitled “Bad Of The Heart”. The album held the production work of both Barbosa and Ligget and executive production from David Jurman himself and Brad le Beau.
Although George got picked by the major label Columbia Records, he would face certain changes that went with the turf. Like many other “Latin Freestyle” artist that were bieng picked up by major labels, the labels did not know how to market Freestyle or English speaking Latin artist. It was an unknown frontier and some felt that they needed to make changes before taking certain risks. Different labels took different actions, but most labels changed the name of the artist in hopes that another name would be well suited and accepted by the mainstream public. The masses would not know of George Garcia, but of his new name that would forever go down in Dance music history as George Lamond. With his album “Bad Of The Heart” George Lamond rose to fame and was part of a new generation of faces in the Freestyle scene that would evolve the image and sound of the Latin Freestyle genre of the late 80’s and early 90’s.
A new generation simply called “Freestyle” artist different from the previous “Latin HipHop” artist that prevailed from the early to late 80’s. As a vocalist, George Lamond became one of Freestyle’s biggest assets and proof that Freestyle artists would indeed continue to be talented. When it came to George Lamond, vocal talent was only one trait. Besides originating his own vocal style, George Lamond also flaunted a sence of fashion. At a time when the Freestyle genre was moving to its next level, George provided a new style and image where it was in to be a bit more clean cut and dressy than the previous years. Being a bit more elegant in his way of dressing only enhanced his physical appearance, which many of his fans found appealing.
With a good response from his first album, George was given the option for a second album that was entitled “In My Life”. This was due to the fact of the success of “Bad Of The Heart”, “Without You”, “Look Into My Eyes”, ” True Love (Never Dies)” a duet with Micmac recording artist Eileen Flores, as well as the “Feliz Navidad” project that also featured Nayobe, Brenda K. Star, The Cover Girls, Willy Chirino and various others. Besides the “Feliz Navidad” record, he also scored with his X-mas solo “All I Want For Christmas Is My True Love”. Although he had made the previous records hits, they were no match with the duet/ballad that was recorded with Brenda K. Star “No Mater What”, which not only hit big in the American Market but rocked the Spanish speaking market with the Spanish side of it “No Morira”. These were the basic records that made the name George Lamond a household word and an International success.
George Lamond, in such short time, achieved global status and became the first Hispanic Freestyle solo artist to not only be fully recognized by the American music industry, but also crossed over to so many different markets ranging from adult contemporary, R&B, top 40, Dance, and Spanish. One day he would be performing for Spanish television and the next night blow the roof off of Harlem’s Apollo Theatre for a predominantly African American audience. Indeed something that not all-Freestyle artist could claim to have achieved. The “In My Life” album was recorded one year before its official release. During this time things were changing. Music style was changing. The style of dress was changing. Most record companies where interested in filling the big demand for Hip-Hop Rap and House Music. Most labels released their artist if they could not adapt to that direction. Unfortunately for so many Freestyle artist who signed to major labels, the executives thought that it would be wise to approach a new direction. Many saw the successful response that Freestyle had with a certain population but decided to offer artist other material believing it would apply better to a much larger population.
Most labels that had the financial funds to promote a good record and make it a hit did not back up Freestyle material. Instead put the promotional muscle into material the major labels provided themselves. This type of situation was common among Freestyle artist signed to majors, especially those with a talent that would become an asset. It is believed that it was the case with George Lamond. “In My Life” was released and spawned “Where Does That Leave Love” which contained a traditional Freestyle version as well as an Underground House version, the ballad “Baby I Believe In You”, “Distant Heart”, “I Want You Back” and others. However with the exception of “Where Does That Leave love” and “Distant Heart”, the rest of the album contained Ballads, covers and non-freestyle material.
This was good for people who obtained an open mind and could soak up the material, but George Lamond lost at least half of his supporters. To make things worse his material began to bore the remaining population who was already into more underground sides of Deep underground house and began viewing him as a pop artist, not a Dance artist. For the remaining few, he was seen as a sell out to his genre and even if he could transplant to another genre, R&B, he would of not been “REAL”. His image of sophisticated “pretty boy” would not of gotten far with the new HipHop/R&B movement. Besides losing major support, some pockets of people in the public and recording industry alike began to see him as an artist who was stuck on himself. Many criticized that he would fall at the same rate of speed as he rose. Others cared less to even state a concern. 1992 saw the drop of freestyle from radio and artist dropped from major labels.
George was no exception. He would be dropped from Columbia and his reputation would be dragged through the mud as the jealous and cold hearted would snicker with joy and enthusiasm. Others believed that if it was true that the artist was stuck on himself, that being dropped would build some kind of character that would be of some use for the future.
Since then George Lamond went back to the Ligosa camp and remained with the small community of artist that would hail from the Fever camp. He would continue to do shows and fill clubs. While taking the time to make his personal life a priority, George passed up many offers from various record companies and offers to become a member of other groups. Almost with interest to leave the Music industry and pursue an interest in the field of culinary arts, he was beginning to gain back the respect he had once lost from his public. Soon after, he would make a move that would grant him a title.
Not far after the “Death Of Freestyle” in 1992/93, A new label with Old school blood emerged. At a time in Freestyle when a new fleet of labels dominated the Freestyle scene and flooded the market with cheap sounding sound-a-likes, as well as forgetting the genres roots, the Latino presence and contributions to Freestyle and Dance music would be overlooked and wiped out. This new label would become the last of the old and first of the new labels to continue to focus on the importance of talented Hispanic artist. After seven years with TKA and continued success with Kayel as K7, producer Joey Gardner opened his label Timber Records. Although the label launched its attack against a disfunctional Freestyle scene with a 7-volume compilation of records only known to “True” Latin Freestyle purist, the next step was to sign some artist. With Kayel fading out of sight after the K7 success, the crown of New York’s Freestyle fulcrum held by him, would through Joey Gardner be split in two. One half would go to Cynthia, which automatically made her “Queen” of Freestyle as she conquered ground with “How I Love Him” (where Kayel himself appeared on). The other half of the crown would go to the male figure.
In this case George Lamond, as he signed to Timber. This basically became his crowning as the “King Of Freestyle”. Although many give tittles like “King” of something to pop artist who received over rated exposure, in this case the term “Freestyle King” that Lamond carried was a tittle different. It described that he is the best figure to represent the Genre of Freestyle as a talented artist, as a second Generation Hispanic, and as a reflection of the people who have supported the genre since the day it began. A tittle that was not only passed down to him, but supported by the last few purists in the public and industry alike. It has been three years since that date. Within those years Lamond has showed his love and devotion to Freestyle and Dance music and won back all the respect he had once lost. He achieved this with his previous record “Its Always You”, which flattened out a foundation for his next move. 1998 is the year and Lamond is ready to move on to the next level. He will be spawning two new albums. An English Dance album, “My Roots”, which is supposed to hold “Freestyle” material including a remake of the now classic “Without You”. Also a Salsa & Tropical album that should follow the same success that India, Brenda K, Luis Damon, and various others have achieved.
On his Spanish album he will have the presence of Sergio George and Ricky Gonzales. Sergio George being the one who in the last current years took Lamond’s “No Morira”, the Spanish version of “No Matter What”, and brought fame to DLG (Dark Latin Groove). Already Lamond has made his vocal appearance on Safire’s Salsa album, on the cut “Valiente”, and proved that he does have the proper voice for that genre. None the less, both albums are believed to do well. Looking back, it has been a long career for George “Lamond” Garcia. He rose from nothing, reached the highest point and fell. He stuck with what he believed in and is now on the way back to stardom. Now a father, songwriter, and gifted vocalist, Lamond has now become an Icon that would serve as an inspiration for a generation of younger artist to come. In his life Lamond has seen the ups and downs and gathered the knowledge that needs to be known to survive in the Music industry and to survive as an artist.
Now as he goes back to his roots, he will take that with him and use it to his advantage to take things further. George Lamond for many years brought energy, style and talent to the world of music and it seems that he will continue for many years to come. He was once and is now again a reflection of the music as well as the purpose.