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Dover Post
  • Dover's Underwood gains praise on Internet for album cover recreations

  • Lance Underwood, a resident of Dover, has become an overnight, Internet sensation with his clever, QT Albums project.
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  • Lance Underwood, a resident of Dover, has become an overnight, Internet sensation with his clever, QT Albums project.
    The project is a fun one in which Underwood recreates classic album covers with his two boys, replacing the face of the artist on the cover with his children. Most of the album recreations are spot-on, from the poses and outfits to the lighting.
    Less than two weeks ago, Underwood and Tracey Marshall, the mother of his children, first learned the QT project had gained major exposure when the website BuzzFeed published a story about it. Marshall and Underwood were both dumbfounded by this news, since neither of them had reached out to BuzzFeed. However, Underwood publishes his album recreations to his Tumblr page, and he thinks BuzzFeed found his account.
    Marshall, an avid reader of BuzzFeed, immediately called Underwood after she noticed photos of their sons ─ Quentin Taj Underwood, 7, and Trey Amar Underwood, 4 ─ on the website.
    "Literally, I was like ‘Oh my gosh, they’re on BuzzFeed,” said Marshall of Dover.
    Underwood was confused by the big news at first.
    "She called me and was like, ‘You’re on BuzzFeed.’”
    ‘I’m on what? he asked her. “But I didn’t do anything wrong.”
    BuzzFeed has a reputation for reporting on bizarre things, but the QT Project is quite the opposite. It’s a unique concept that makes music fans smile.
    Since Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post has praised the QT Albums. It has also garnered international recognition from the Daily Mail out of England, Jandan.net in China and other news outlets.
    The Genesis
    The QT project, created using the first initials of Quentin and Trey’s names, was born last spring after Underwood purchased R&B legend Marvin Gaye’s album "What’s Going On.” After seeing the back of the album cover, depicting Gaye on a playground, Underwood was struck with the idea to recreate that scene with Taj (which is Quentin’s middle name, the name Underwood commonly calls him; he does the same with Trey, calling him Amar).
    When Underwood returned to his apartment, he changed his mind and decided to instead recreate the front cover of “What’s Going On.” Shortly thereafter, Underwood asked Taj if he’d take part in the project. Taj dressed up in an outfit similar to Gaye’s, and Underwood photographed him in the apartment using his smartphone. Despite using simple tools to get the job done, Underwood’s photo shoot was a success.
    Page 2 of 3 - "I don’t have any special equipment,” said Underwood, 37. "I had my floor lamp and my cell phone. That’s all I had. I don’t have Photoshop. The program I use is Gimp. I’m not a graphic designer.”
    Using the same tools he used to recreate the cover for "What’s Going On,” Underwood eventually began to design albums featuring Amar as well, such as comedian Bill Cosby’s "I Started Out As A Child,” which was his easiest to design.
    "All he had to do was look and smile,” Underwood said.
    On the flipside, the most difficult album recreation was jazz-funk legend Roy Ayers’ "Ubiquity.” The cover features multiple images of Ayers that were shot through a kaleidoscope.
    "I don’t have a kaleidoscope, so I had to recreate that effect with fading and layering,” Underwood said.
    While most of Underwood’s album recreations have taken anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour-and a half, “Ubiquity” took about three hours to do, he said.
    "I remember I was exhausted when I was done with that.”
    More than 50 covers
    Since last spring, Underwood and his boys have recreated more than 50 album covers from his own music collection. Some of the music artists he’s tackled include records from blues, rock and hip-hop, including the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff, Gangstarr, Johnny Cash, Outkast and Nat King Cole.
    Most of the albums mainly spotlight Taj and/or Amar, but there are a few that include Underwood and the boys, such as The Last Poets’ “Delights of the Garden” and the Westside Connection’s “Bow Down.”
    The most recent album recreation Underwood did was at the beginning of the year with Bob Dylan’s "The Times They Are A-Changin.’”
    With photos of Taj and Amar’s faces all over the Internet, both boys think they’re stars. But Amar was too shy to admit it.
    When asked how it feels to be famous, Taj responded "It feels good to me.”
    Underwood says he has plans to recreate other albums in the future. But he’s not spilling the beans just yet.
    With a mountain of albums in his collection, Underwood certainly isn’t at a lack for ideas. Yet this still hasn’t kept his family or the Internet community for making suggestions, such as recreating an album from rap legend the Notorious B.I.G.
    "First of all, Biggie only had two albums,” Underwood said. "The first one had a baby on the front. On the second one he’s standing in front of a hearse. I’m going to do that?”
    Page 3 of 3 - Underwood’s mom has even pitched him a few ideas, too.
    "She was like do [Johann Sebastian] Bach or [Frédéric François] Chopin, because Chopin’s my favorite composer,” he added. "But I can’t do Chopin. Chopin had no album covers. There’s paintings of him. But there’s no album covers.”
    Whatever album cover Underwood chooses to reimagine next, he promises it’ll be an impressive one.
    "It’ll be something cool and something iconic.”
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