We profiled The Dream in the current issue on the strength of the now mainstreaming "Shawty Is Da Shit," which we are still banging out on the invisible keyboard at least once a day. But now we have another song off his forthcoming Def Jam debut, and this one has a GUITAR SOLO and an outro reminding us that Mr Nash wrote "Umbrella." We remember dude! Thank you for all the awesome songs! Make the jump for The Dream Gen F from Issue 48.
Make It Rain
The Dream speaks for himself
By Will Creeley
Of all the fame-making gigs in modern R&B, “workhorse songwriter” isn’t a popular option. As real as that reality might be, it doesn’t stop the Dream from boasting about his accomplishments with the same breezy self-confidence you’d find in a diamond-encrusted star. “I wrote ‘Umbrella’ in fifteen minutes,” he says with a laugh.
And maybe he’s earned his attitude. The aforementioned “Umbrella,” Rihanna’s prom-pop bombshell, rode a late spring wave to glittering summer jam ubiquity and got the Dream a deal of his own on Def Jam. With a solo album due this fall, the Dream hopes to make his grand entrance, transformed from quotidian songwriter to certified rainmaker.
But it only seems like the Dream came out of nowhere—the 28-year-old has paid his industry dues, plus tax. Born (and often credited) as Terius Nash, at 22 the Dream parlayed his musical talent into a meeting with Laney Stewart, a veteran R&B goldsmith and a Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis disciple. Impressed with the Dream’s knack for sticky melodies, Stewart set him to work writing post-millennial love songs for junior balladeers B2K. Plunging into his apprenticeship, the Dream racked up checks writing for baby divas like Mya and 3LW, and even met his wife Nivea when authoring “Okay,” her collaboration with Lil Jon. Working with Tricky Stewart (his mentor’s brother and a versatile songwriter himself), the Dream co-wrote “Me Against the Music,” Britney Spears’ last gasp before hurtling over the takeout Taco Bell precipice. He’s still mad about the way the Britney-on-Madonna lip-locking stunt ruined its reception: “It put a stigma on the song!” he says. “After that, no one was tryin to check for the drum programming to hear how crazy that shit actually was.”
Now, post-“Umbrella,” the Dream is holed up inside a Las Vegas recording studio, busy “puttin the Quincy Jones” on the forthcoming debut Love Me All Summer, Hate Me All Winter. “Shawty is Da Shit,” the lead single, showcases the quirkier sides of the Dream’s dual songwriting and singing talents. Propelled by candy-rain-on-candy-paint synths, the song seems to put him in the same lovestruck-in-the-club territory that R Kelly and T-Pain have staked out, pining for a childhood crush that’s all grown-up. But it is the Dream’s abiding Southern chivalry that makes the narrative new. More springtime Sunday morning than strip joint Saturday night, the Dream coos reminders to his male listeners to tip their ladies, but this time it’s for Eggs and grits in the morning/ Pancakes with the bacon on the side.