Sony Music signed Lemar to a five-record deal after his success on the BBC Television programme Fame Academy in 2002. His first single "Dance (with U)" was written with Craig Hardy and Fitzgerald Scott who had previously worked with Keith Sweat. The second single "50/50" was recorded by the Norwegian Stargate production team. Fingaz, who has produced hits by British group Big Brovaz, also produced the song "What About Love". Lemar also recorded a version of "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green which was one of his featured songs by Fame Academy.
BBC Music critic Karen Goodchild called Dedicated "a great album that is packed full of potential hits that showcase Lemar's amazing vocal ability. That, coupled with the fact that Lemar co-wrote several of these tracks, will surely mean that he'll be around a lot longer than the other over-hyped reality TV stars." Caroline Sullivan from The Guardian found that Dedicated presented Lemar "as North London's answer to Luther Vandross: a romantic of the old school who sells a song with understated sleekness and a hint of chest fur. The contents are all Obika co-writes save for a hip-hoppety version of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together;" the mid-tempo boudoir grooves hardly do justice to the voice, but at least lay the foundations for what could be a substantial future."AllMusic rated the album three stars out of five.
The first single from the album, "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. Following the success of the album, he commenced his first headlining tour of the UK. Dedicated was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales in excess of 300,000 copies.