Def Jam Recordings
December 11, 2007
In today’s music industry, every artist wants to become a producer, and every producer wants to become an artist. While this transition isn’t always met with ease, Terius “The Dream” Nash has done so with exact percision.
Now it’s time to put a face to the power behind some of this year’s biggest hits. Read on as RealTalkNY and Dream discuss his rumored beef with Chris Brown, T-Pain and his voicebox, and the plans he has for his upcoming album.
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RTNY: What’s up, how’s everything?
Dream: I’m good.
RTNY: How’s Nivea doing?
Dream: She’s doing good!
RTNY: Alright, let’s get started…
RTNY: You’ve penned a lot of hits for artists; tell the readers some of the song credits you have?
Dream: “Everything” by B2K was my first record that I got out professionally. And the next song would be “Me Against The Music” by Britney and Madonna. Then I did Niv’s record with Lil John called “Okay”. I did a lot of stuff overseas with a lot of artists over there – SugarBabes and Billy Crawford.
RTNY: So, how was it like working with Britney?
Dream: Unfortunately, I wasn’t there when it happened, that was very early in my career. What happened was a friend of mine, Tricky Stewart, who actually did “Umbrella” with me (and produced this album along side me) was up there because he knew the system. Everybody had him up there to work with Britney because of his track record and they stumbled across one of the records I did. I was the new writer at the time, so I wasn’t in New York at that time. But he called me and told me that she loves the record and that’s how it went down.
RTNY: Man, to see a fellow musician go through what she’s going through in life, how does that make you feel?
Dream: Yeah, it’s crazy, it’s kind of unfortunate. But I think most of the time these youthful artists get lost and kinda lose their way with the business. The business has possessed them for such a long time it kind of chews em’ up and spits them out. So now I think she’s more so in the real world with real problems and she doesn’t really know how to exist yet. But I think she’ll turn it around, she’s a very smart girl.
RTNY: Damn, can the industry like the partying, money, and women – can that really derail an artist?
Dream: Oh yeah, it creates a surreal environment. Nothing is like it is when you’re working 9 to 5 and I can vouch for that because I’ve done that before. At the end of the day I get it, I get exactly what it can do to you, the faults, even by the smallest things, when it comes down to paying a bill or doing something that you and I would probably think is normal, like they don’t do that when the go into the business young.
RTNY: Being married, how do you stay grounded and away from that?
Dream: I just focus on what I’ve been focused on even before I got married. I’ve been focused on the same thing and that’s accomplishments and being able to retire at 40, whether I’m with somebody or not. However I get there, that’s how I’m going to get there, and that keeps me grounded to my own goals. You have goals that you share with others but you also make sure you maintain and keep your own goals. It’s the only way you can stay real to yourself and you don’t allow anyone to break you from that. As soon as something doesn’t go right you look to them to blame it on them to say that you were apart of me not getting to where I was trying to get to.
RTNY: Your first single “Shawty Is A Ten” was originally called “Shawty Is The Shit” correct?
RTNY: What made you decide to change the title to “Shawty Is A Ten”?
Dream: Radio. I don’t think I would have got it played with shit on it.
RTNY: What about the hook, how did you come up with it?
Dream: Just me in the booth acting crazy. I didn’t go into it trying to write it that way, I just got in the booth and heard the track and started singing over it.
RTNY: So, I have to ask, what chicks in the industry are tens in your book?
Dream: I would have to say…Rihanna, Beyonce, Halle – the pregnant Halle is a ten too.
RTNY: The pregnant Halle?
Dream: Oh, yeah definitely, don’t get it twisted the pregnant Halle is a ten.
RTNY: [Laughing] What’s up, Alicia Keys can’t get any love?
Dream: Oh yeah, Alicia’s definitely a ten!
RTNY: What about them makes them a ten?
Dream: With Alicia, it’s more…you know I’m on the five-five program. Five is brains and five is beauty. So you can only be a real ten if you poses those particular things. Or you give and take, like if you’re a seven in beauty then you have to have three in your mind or whatever. If you’re just all beauty and you’re just a ten, you just a ten. So I work on the give and take program.
RTNY: Alright, I don’t want to get you any in trouble talking about these women…
Dream: Nah, you can’t get me in trouble.
RTNY: What’s your creative process like?
Dream: I usually just start write on the mic, or if I’m walking around I’ll just leave myself a voicemail of something I sung. I pretty much stay away from the pen and paper that whole thing, I guess that’s how it’s suppose to be, I guess that’s the consumer’s interpretation of how song writing is, I just go in the booth and it comes out.
RTNY: Are there any songs out that makes you say to yourself, damn, I wish I would’ve wrote that?
Dream: Any song that goes number 1, well I can’t say every song that goes number one
RTNY: Yeah, not every song…
Dream: Yeah, I was just about to say that cause we’re in crazy times right now. It doesn’t take that much to get to number one, but most of the number one’s I probably wish I would’ve wrote them. Especially if they have good content and they’re talking about something good. I’d probably feel like, yeah I should have wrote that.
RTNY: You basically gave J.Holiday his first smash hit. Now that you’re an artist, have you ever regretted giving away a song?
Dream: Definitely not, cause I get to answer this question over and over again. I love the question should I have kept it, should I have not. And I’m actually thinking about giving away another record that I know is a smasher to somebody else that somebody’s not going to like. You know I just love trying to make somebody’s career. What I’ve done for him I feel like that’s great even if somebody did it for me. Transparent to that, Rihanna went out and sung this song the way she was suppose to do, she could have picked any song, she could have picked the hottest songwriters and sang their song but she chose our song whether it was a smash before or not, she chose it and that’s the one she went out with.. J.Holiday is the same sense, I could have gave the record to anybody, but I gave it to him and hopefully he looks at me like I look at her, so that’s all you can pray for.
RTNY: Right, but do you ever feel the pressure to outdo your last record you gave an artist?
Dream: No, because I know what actually making a hit means. Like, I have records that are just as great as “Umbrella” that’s been in my Itunes for five years. We wrote “Suffocate” that’s on J.Holiday’s album two years ago
RTNY: So, “Suffocate” is actually two years old
Dream: Yeah, me and Tricky wrote it two years ago and everybody’s like, wow I love it!
RTNY: You’ve mentioned Tricky a lot; let everybody know who he is and some of the projects the two of you’ve worked on.
Dream: Yeah, Tricky is the co-partner in my record label Radio Killa Records. He’s worked with MYA – he had a big hit on Mya’s Case Of The Ex, he also did the track for “Me Against the Music”, and he did the track for “Umbrella”, so that’s my running partner. He’s going to get rich without having to actually give out his identity. He’s using me right now. (Laughs)
RTNY: I ask this to all the R&B cats, how do you feel about T-Pain and the voice box he uses?
Dream: I think it’s very innovative, I probably would have done the same thing so I can’t hate for not coming up with it. I don’t know whether he can sing or not without it but he probably can. I wouldn’t even pay that no never mind, people could talk about me as much as they want to I’d be using my voice box till the wheels fall off. It was just a very smart decision by him to use that it’s like candy, just use it till they get tired of it.
RTNY: Considering he sold quite a bit of records, do you feel he’s cheated the fans in anyway?
Dream: No, because it’s creativity. It’s still being creative it may not be what your god giving talent is at the end of the day but he’s using what somebody gave somebody the talent to make whatever that box is he’s using so he’s using that .
RTNY: I never looked at it like that, but you’re right, he thought of something and now he’s full circle with it.
RTNY: Recently there were some comments made about Chris Brown. Can you clear up some of the internet rumors and let everybody know what really happened?
Dream: It was just one of those things, Chris wanted that record
RTNY: Which record, “Bed” right?
Dream: Yeah, one of the things was, that really didn’t have anything to do with him. I more so have conversations with more executives than I do talking to the artists unless it’s like Usher or Mary, or somebody along that line. Before me and Chris even had a discussion we were talking to executives over there and it was just concerning certain lyrical content of the song and they wanted to change a lot of it. And I wasn’t going to do that; it would have put in jeopardy the integrity of the song based on trying to get it on an act that was 18 years old. So, that was really the basis for whether or not the record was going to go to him or not, and he basically took it in a whole other direction and put another spin on it. But that’s basically what happened.
RTNY: So everything’s cool, there’s no beef between you and Chris Brown?
Dream: Yeah, Yeah…me and Chris cool. I got two records on his album that’s out now. No beef with me, I’m good.
RTNY: There’s a lot of been a lot of producers and writers stepping up and becoming artists, why do you think this is?
Dream: I think we’re just trying to get back to the basic format of trying to get consumers to invest in real people. It’s just about investing in somebody saying something they actually mean, you know it’s not going left or right. The hip-hop business has been very good in that they own their own words. Now whether they do stupid stuff to prove what they’re saying, they’re the ones saying it and you know it. If this guy said something about that – he said it, he rapped it, and you can hear it in his lyrics. So with R&B that hasn’t been the same thing. It’s been like, we get a song and it doesn’t match the album, it doesn’t match the guy, the clothes he wears isn’t the same. He just said something about Reeboks but he got Nikes on. You know, crazy stuff. At the end of the day it’s just about matching. My stuff should do good based off I am who I am, and I am what I write about.
RTNY: What projects are you currently working on?
Dream: We got the Mary J. Blige stuff…
RTNY: I know her new album is going to be fire.
Dream: Yep, I got nine records on there. Celine Dion just came out last week and I have a record on that one. Of course we just mentioned Chris Brown’s stuff. I got Usher – I got like four or five records on him.
RTNY: So do you know when Usher’s dropping, has he said anything about a release?
Dream: You know, I haven’t talked to him lately. I’m probably going to call him after this interview now that you mentioned it. You know… I don’t know when he’s actually trying to drop, but I think it’s going to be around Valentines Day though, just between me and you.
RTNY: Alright, appreciate that exclusive.
Dream: It’s all good, you know we’re trying to get together; he has a great album also.
RTNY: Who would you like to work with, that you haven’t already?
RTNY: So Prince is next in line…
Dream: Yeah, I’m going to have to try to get with him
RTNY: The album…
RTNY: What can we expect from the album, Love Me All Summer Hate Me All Winter?
Dream: They can expect a content experience. And that’s just me basically saying that I went and tried my best to write these records, especially for the ladies at the end of the day. It’s very orientated for the women out there and me just trying to give them their props. You can expect a lot of Prince, R.Kelly, and Michael influence in this album, and you know, expect something new!
RTNY: What’s behind the title of the album?
Dream: To me, love me all summer is like when you’re hot, everybody wants you, everybody wants you to write a record. And when you’re not so hot, and you’re cold, nobody is checking for you.
RTNY: So, while putting this album together, who are some of the artists and producers you worked with?
Dream: In the contingence of the whole album, me and Tricky Stewart produced this record from top to bottom. Individual tracks we had some help by Los who did the “Bed” record with me and also “Shawty Is A Ten”. As far as artist: Rihanna, Fabolous, and Kelly make appearances.
RTNY: When’s the album dropping?
Dream: December 11.
RTNY: Alright, so what’s the next single?
RTNY: Is it more on the lines of some of your previous songs?
Dream: Basically, falsetto is your high-pitched voice of course. So you’re basically making a girl you know…use her falsetto voice.
Dream: Yeah…you can pretty much put it together from there.
RTNY: Any shoutouts before we end?
Dream: Yeah, just shoutout to the consumer for giving me a chance to do what I do. And make sure they go get that album on December 11. Put that in bold print – December 11. If it ain’t good, I’ll give you your money back personally with a personal check with my address on it.
RTNY: Let everyone know some of the websites where they can keep up with you
Dream: Myspace.com/thedreamteam and you can also go to defjam.com and buy my album, you can pre-order it right now
RTNY: Well, alright, thanks for the interview, it was insightful and I wish you success on the album.
Dream: Thanks, so much
End of interview.