BOCA RATON, Fla. – The year: 1975. Singer/songwriter Dennis Lambert was at the Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) Awards dinner in New York City preparing to accept an award for songwriter of the year.
“I won for four or five of the most-performed songs on the radio,” he says. Lambert even invited his parents to attend as his guests. “My mom got up. I didn’t think much of it, until she returned, tapped me on the shoulder and introduced me to John Lennon,” laughs Lambert. “It was the funniest thing. John Lennon did an imitation of my mom’s New York accent, then told me how proud he was that I won the songwriter award,” he says. “As you know, whenever a Beatle showed up at an event, it was a big deal.”
Thus began a host of surreal moments in Lambert’s life.
Now a real estate professional with Realty Associates International Luxury Division in Boca Raton, Lambert signed his first record deal with Capitol Records at age 13. By the time he was 24 years old, he realized that songwriting was his true calling.
"I’ve had a long career in music as a songwriter, music producer and publisher. I’ve been working in the music industry throughout the last 50 years."
Lambert experienced a popularity resurgence in 2007, when a Filipino concert producer begged Lambert to tour the Philippines where Lambert’s 1972 solo album was a huge hit.
Lambert remembers the “good ‘ole years” fondly. “The first iconic artist I worked with was the Four Tops, who were already established and influential when I started working with them,” he says. “Over a three year period, I made three albums with them.” Lambert has also worked with such heavy hitters as Santana, Natalie Cole, Temptations, Kenny Loggins, The Commodores, Dionne Warwick and Glen Campbell. You’ll recognize the songs: The Four Tops “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I Got),” The Commodores “Night Shift;” and Glen Campbell’s “Country Boy” among others.
Lambert has been nominated for 12 Grammy awards: six personal nominations and six for records or songs that he wrote. He’s won Best Song, Best Record Producer, an American Music Award, a Country Music Award and more in his career.
“It’s been a long, wonderful group of awards,” he says. But as his music career started winding down, Lambert knew he’d have to choose another career. “I started as a real estate investor,” says Lambert, who says his business managers were real estate savvy. “They introduced me to the concept of buying and owning real estate as an investment vehicle.”
In the late 1990s, he started buying Manhattan condos, rehabbing them and flipping them. “This was the height of the Manhattan market, and I had a real estate friend who would bring me properties and list them for me. I was doing so much that he recommended I get my real estate license and list and sell the properties on my own. I took his advice,” says Lambert, who secured his real estate license when he was in his 50s.
In 2003, he and his wife decided to move to Florida, where he continues to sell real estate and specializes in luxury properties. “I sell in both states,” he says. “Real estate appeals to me on many different levels. My creative side is satisfied by the aesthetics of the homes, and I love meeting new people,” he says. “My partner, Bob Lawten, is an incredible photographer so I tap into my creative side writing about the properties. We go all out in our marketing.” And, says Lambert, real estate also satisfies his analytical side. “I like crunching numbers.”
Ironically, his music career didn’t bring him business like you’d think. “In New York City, no one cares. In fact, if they think you’re preoccupied with something other than knowing everything there is to know about the real estate market, then they think you might not be able to sell their property,” he says. However, in Florida, Lambert found it was a boon to market his music background. “We’re the Double Platinum Realtors, and it gives us an edge,” he says. “It’s a conversation piece.”
Lambert is still composing on a limited basis. “I balance my time with real estate, and I work with my partner so when I do have music going on, he covers the business,” he says. In fact, Lambert and his long-time collaborator, Brian Potter, are currently working on a Broadway musical. “It’s beginning to get traction,” says Lambert, who is looking for investors and hopes to bring it to a regional theater before eventually taking it to Broadway. In addition, Lambert’s son, Jody, is a screenwriter who recently worked on the movie “People Like Us,” starring Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pine. Lambert hopes to collaborate with his son on songs for film.
At the end of the day, says Lambert, his love for songwriting will still keep him in that game, alongside his new real estate career. “I’ve had a long career full of highlights and occasionally some lowlights, but the array of great artists that I worked with over the years was impressive.”