Chatting With R&B's Secret Weapon

by Marcus Holmlund / photo by Andrew Zaeh
Terius "The-Dream" Nash has long been R&B's secret weapon, but his cover's about to be blown. Having penned such monster hits as Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" and Rihanna's "Umbrella," in addition to his solo career and day job as an executive VP of A&R at Def Jam, he has influenced every corner of the industry. His fifth solo LP, IV Play, out now, shows The-Dream outgrowing the updated doo-wop catchiness of his earlier works, and making a sexy return to old-school R&B expressionism.

On your new track "Slow It Down" you sing, "DJ, you know you're wrong / Enough with the motherfuckin' dance songs." Is that a statement about the current state of R&B?

R&B used to be about family and love and the blues. And it seems it's just not about that anymore. Right now, it's about 15 percent music and 85 percent bullshit.

What else is on the roster for you this year?

I'm working on stuff for Jay-Z's new album and I did some records with Kylie Minogue. And whenever Bey's ready to go back in, I'm ready.

You've worked with a lot of big stars. Have you ever been star struck?

Surprisingly no. God made everybody and all of us are great at what we do.

Do you think you can bring R&B back to the way it used to be?

You need help to do that! I need people who want to make love again, people who want to slow dance again instead of making those "ratchet"-type records for the club. [The industry] needs to understand that R&B will never be as quick of a hit as hip-hop is. Rap is urgent. Love takes time.

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