Otis Stokes 'As an artist, I feel that I have a responsibility to the public, therefore I choose to incorporate more positivity into my writing', says Singer/Songwriter/Musician/ Producer Otis Stokes. The former lead singer with the hit making R&B group Lakeside, steps out with his first solo album 'Otis Stokes'. The album covers a full gamut of social topics ranging from gangbanging with 'Street Soldiers', to interracial relationships with, 'Stares and Whispers', materialism reflected in 'Money Power Or Love ', to spirituality in 'Desperate Times'. Otis devotes special care to songwriting, which represents a very important part of his career. 'It's pretty sad that songwriting today is not as important as it used to be in the music industry. For some reason, people tend to concentrate more on grooves. A great song will last, a groove will pass." When asked about the writers that have influenced him, Stokes admits his admiration for composers such as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and Norman Whitfield, to name a few. In fact, it is one of the reasons why Otis decided to record a remake of The Temptations 'I Wish It Would Rain'. 'It has always been one of my favorite tunes', states Otis, "It brings back great memories. I grew up with The Temptations. I chose 'I Wish It Would Rain' because I did not know of any other cover on that particular song'. 'I Wish It Would Rain', the only song on the album which was not written by Stokes, is complemented by an array of beautiful love songs such as 'When I'm Gone', 'Don't Break My Heart' and 'I Aim To Please' which highlights his composing skills and arranging talents. Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Stokes never considered anything besides music as a career. 'I'm the youngest of five boys, and two of my brothers are entertainers who influenced me", he recalls. His listening taste as a youngster leaned toward rock, with the Stones, Santana, Rod Stewart and Yes among his favorites. From the late '70s into the '80s, Lakeside released eight strong selling LPs and won acclaim for their dynamic stage performances. As a vocalist with the group, Stokes became a major factor in the group's success. In 1981 he co-wrote 'Fantastic Voyage', one of the group's biggest hits for the platinum LP of the same title. His arrangement and co-production of Lakeside's outstanding cover of the Beatles' ' I Want To Hold Your Hand' in 1981 was another high point. Stokes, who plays several instruments, has also worked as a writer/producer with artists such as: The Whispers, Chaka Khan, Shalamar, Klymaxx, branching out internationally with French recording artist Emmanuelle and Argentine vocalist Jeronimo. Otis Stokes has emerged as an individual talent bringing his songwriting to a more mature level with a deeper meaning. He offers songs we can listen to and appreciate lyrically. The self-titled album by Otis was his first release on JustUs Records, a label that is independently distributed. "I am happy that my first solo project was released through JustUs Records, which shares the same philosophy about music and what it should be".