Lemar Obika was born on 4 April 1978 in London and grew listening to soul and r&b and used to sing at home with his brother pretending to be The Jacksons. He was eighteen when he had his first concert at the Junior Jam at the Temple in Tottenham supporting Usher. He gave up an opportunity to study pharmacy at the Cardiff University to pursue a musical career. Lemar had some success in his musical career supporting Destiny's Child and achieving a record deal. When the record deal fell through due to restructuring at the label he was signed to, he had to eventually take a job working as an accounts manager at the NatWest Bank.
Lemar saw an advertisement for Fame Academy in 2002, a combination of a talent quest and reality television show and decided to put his name forward. He made the finals of the show winning plaudits for his version of "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green and singing a duet with Lionel Ritchie on "Easy Like Sunday Morning". While he ended up finishing third in the show, he caught the eye of veteran British r&b singer Beverly Knight who invited him to sing a duet with her during her concert at the Hammersmith Apollo. Sony Music was so impressed with his potential that they signed him to a five record deal.
Lemar's first single "Dance With U" reached number 2 on the UK singles charts in early 2003. His first album Dedicated was released late in 2003 with additional singles "50/50" and "Another Day" also achieving chart success in the UK. Lemar won a Brit Award for Best Urban Act in the 2004 Brit Awards. Following the success of the album, he commenced his first headlining tour of the UK featuring an appearance at Party in the Park in Birmingham. He has also done work with Prince Charles's the Prince's Trust.