The Pop Culture Junkie | Get Addicted
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Image Hosted by

The only positive byproduct of an industry asleep at the wheel is a dream. With over a decade of hit-making experience and a certified smash in Rihanna’s #1 single, "Umbrella" Terius "The Dream" Nash is stepping from behind the scenes to center stage with a wake-up call.

His debut CD, Love Hate, is a sonic gauntlet thrown down against complacent, cookie-cutter music. Propelled by the first single "Shawty is a Ten" the mastermind behind the explosive J. Holiday single "Bed" will do nothing short of redefine R&B for 2007 and beyond.

I had a chance to chit chat with the hit songwriter turned artist and actually ended up in a great in-depth conversation. It was like talking to a new found friend, as he was very candid and open about who he was and his music. Full of laughs and truths! If you think this is just a fluke, don't be fooled. Armed with a catalog of major hits for other artists, he's ready to put all of that into his own music! Hand-picked by L.A. Reid, The Dream is a labels dream!

Continue reading to read the exclusive interview...

Image Hosted by

Melody: How are you Mr. Dream?

The Dream: I am living the dream!

Melody: That is very, very true! You are living the dream so you should just be on cloud nine!

The Dream: I’m just floating right now, I’m trying to get to cloud 18! It’s better up there, a better view!

Melody: I bet it is and I am not mad at you for it. I’d be trying to get to 18 too. Well you’re definitely on 9. Two hot songs and now yours is about to be.

The Dream: Oh yeah, we haven’t even released a visual for that yet and it’s still going up in spins. They don’t even know who I am.

Melody: Nope. They probably think that they know who it is, but no.

The Dream: Exactly.

Melody: Well it’s getting spins in my house and my car!

The Dream: Now don’t let these dudes talk you out of this CD. You don’t want it to be 2 or 3 years from now, and they are back to call you everything in the book.

Melody: No!

The Dream: I’m going to be like, well I tried to call and stick up for you, while I was thinking about you, but noooooo! Ya’ll didn’t get my album. Ya’ll only got the ones with the “Bitches” and the “Hoes” on it.

Melody: No, I’m loving it! We definitely need a break from the “bitches” and the “hoes” and the “shake that ass!”

The Dream: That’s what I said, I said they need a break, been beating up on them too much. I told somebody that the other day. Ya’ll done beat them down so much, ya’ll can’t just do that. Ya’ll tripping, where ya’ll mama at? I think some of these guys just come from two men together, making babies.

Melody: Must be! They must not have a good woman in their life, they don’t know!

The Dream: [Laughs] They must don’t, they don’t know. I love my mama, I don’t know what wrong with these niggas.

Melody: Well that’s good, at least you are making good music, we can appreciate that!
Now, let’s talk about you for a minute, or the people who don’t know The Dream is, why don’t you tell them about yourself.

The Dream: I am a Georgia boy, of course from the ATL, I was raised by my grandfather. I may sound like I’m 60, but I’m only 27, I’m just going to tell everybody else I’m 21. I am very vocal when it comes to things I am passionate about. Very political, maybe more political than people would think as a Black, urban artist. Just real no nonsense, I got a lot of whippings when I was little. No nonsense, get your ass in a lot of trouble, do shit that makes sense, use the principles that were beat in you. So that’s me man, I’m just cool.

Melody: That’s wonderful. Well I know that you play one instrument, that we have in common, and that’s the trumpet.

The Dream: Oh really?

Melody: Yeah, well I don’t play anymore, but I started the same time that you did in elementary school.

The Dream: Yup.

Melody: …and I picked it up again in high school and was in the marching band.

The Dream: Me too! I was the drum major!

Melody: Wow, really? Okay, well I know you don’t just play the trumpet, you play a couple of other instruments.

The Dream: Well I play all those brass instruments, I can play the piano by ear, I went through a period from about 5th to 8th grade where I played all the drums in the band, so pretty well rounded.

Melody: So when did music become your focus in life?

The Dream: It wasn’t until I was like 17 or 18, it’s funny because it didn’t come into fruition until about 2000. It’s like my granddaddy’s ragging me, ‘yeah well, you’re not going to make any money in music.’ He’s old school, he didn’t mean any harm by it. He just wanted you to go out and get you a real career. Go to school, do what you needed to do. Kind of like, ‘okay, I’m going to show you.’ It put that chip on my shoulder, so I was going to ride out forever. But it really didn’t start until late, I was in band and all of those things, but when I got out of high school it was like ‘okay, well…’ I was getting into other things like cars, going to work, putting rims on my car, but after a while I just said ‘you know what, if they are riding in that car for doing that. I’ve been doing that since I was in the third grade. That’s easy as hell, let me do that.’ I didn’t know nothing about the writing process, as far as like lyrics, of course you know being in the band, you learn so many songs, you’re taught so many songs. It’s there, you just don’t know how to use it, as far as what it means in the business place in the music business. We wasn’t educated on that, it’s more so, go pick up that basketball, go pick up that football. No one told us where music could end up. Now they are taking music out of school, which is so dumb. But it happened real late for me, my first record was on B2K, the “Everything” record, so that’s 2002 or 2003. That hasn’t been that long for anybody else to get to this point. In my second year I wrote a song for Britney and Madonna. I already got off to a start that doesn’t start off like that. I was still learning what I was supposed to be doing, but that’s how it went down. Nobody had opened that part of my Pandora’s Box…

Melody: Well I am glad it made its way out!

The Dream: Oh yeah, it’s out now!

Image Hosted by

Melody: With two hit songs out right now, “Umbrella” which is Rihanna’s hit song and J. Holiday’s “Bed” which has become the new baby making song, they both have this addictive sound. It’s one of those things where you have the ability to make the songs that get stuck in your head. You can’t get them out, your just singing them and you don’t even realize you are singing them. Was that planned, did you know that would be your signature touch?

The Dream: It just comes, whatever I do I just let it come out. However I’m feeling, I was just talking about this, you let the feeling bleed through you and come out and let it be what it’s going to be, no matter what the song is about or the accent you put in it or whatever it is. Just let it come out, the melodic part that’s just something that I understood that there’s something that has to be catchy in the song for people to hone into what you’re talking about. That’s kind of the hook, it hooks you into it, then I just have to pull you in. Then when you start to realize the words lyrically and have content. Then it’s like ‘wow, I really mess with this song now.’ It’s kind of like a jab and a hook. I don’t know, I can’t explain it. I’m just blessed, how about that? [laughs]

Melody: So tell me about your writing process, do you write it down?

The Dream: Nope! I go straight into the booth. Just like my predecessor, Jay Z says he goes straight into the booth, your boy does the same thing.

Melody: Just go in and lay it out…

The Dream: Lay it on out, just come out, right on out.

Melody: Not everybody has that ability, which means you are truly blessed.

The Dream: I think I am more blessed just to be working in a business that I am great at. I am great that this and I am actually in the business I am doing it. A lot of people are probably working at a job they shouldn’t working at or maybe their parents told them they should be doing this. They are talented but they are more useful at a different job. And I think that’s where it comes from, even though I am blessed to do this, I am more blessed or the same at just the opportunity to do it. Because I could very well be the best garbage man, like right now, I know I would be. ‘Mr. Nash, he sure does come here and he takes my trash, he empties it out, he puts the garbage can right back where it needs to go.’ That would be me, so I’m just glad I am in the business where I can take advantage of my ability.

Melody: Tell me about your name, The Dream.

The Dream: Actually one uncle of mine, I didn’t pick it up until later on, I guess like 18 or 19, but earlier when I was 10 or 11 my uncle Edward, I don’t know if he was just babbling or just talking but he would be like, ‘we need you to be the dream now, we need you to have goals for higher things for yourself aside from the thing we have for you.’ He was talking more about school and being a doctor, because I grew up in Westside Atlanta, Bankhead. So I had a lot of friends that I don’t have around anymore, it’s not like I’m a suburban kid, I’m from the hood. But at the end of the day, you see a lot of things happen to a lot of people, I think he just didn’t want me to get caught into that. So I just kind of picked it back up, like ‘yeah I’m the dream!’ That’s exactly what I am going to turn everything into. If you ask me any question, it’s probably going to be the biggest answer you’re going to get. You can say ‘what artist are you going to put on your record?’ Look for me to say the biggest artist that’s out. I just dream big all the time now, just because of that statement from him.

Melody: That’s good that you had someone in your life to instill that in you.

The Dream: I think my grandfather instilled it, my uncle just said it. He was probably just stopping by to get some money from him. [laughs]

Melody: You’ve written some really big chart toppers. When you wrote them did you think automatically that it was a hit?

The Dream: Yeah, well I think it goes a lot further than just writing a record. Some of them are not always undeniable because you have to understand, you’re adding as a songwriter, things into it visually that hasn’t happened. Kind of like, Michael Jackson had to be marketed as a video artist, nobody really knows it, they don’t get it now. They think they think it was the music from the beginning but it wasn’t. You got the feeling because you saw him move so you were like, ‘oh my God, this is crazy! This is how you move to this. Okay we didn’t know.’ That usually comes with a lot of the things we do today. Everything isn’t just a radio hit so when I have an idea about a song, like there’s a song Nicole [Scherzinger] has with Sting called “Power’s Out” it’s about whenever your powers out, as a friend, not like when your bill ain’t paid, more like when a tornado comes through, something like you’ll always have a home when your power’s out, but used as a metaphor. Anything you need you can call me and I’ll succeed you. So at the end of the day that needs to be displayed on video for it to have the impact it need to have with people. So sometimes you need artist to actually be artist and to go to TV land and deliver the record for you.

Melody: Now that you’re an artist, have you ever written a song and wanted to keep it for yourself?

The Dream: Yeah, “Bed!”

Melody: I don’t blame you!

The Dream: Hmm mmm, I wanted to keep that one, but I wasn’t even thinking about being an artist back then. It’s just funny because it was like between two weeks of me deciding to want to be an artist. I wrote that record and I was like, I probably shouldn’t have sold that shit. But I sold the record and then was like, oh yeah well okay, then L.A.[Reid] was like okay and then I had to go make “Shawty is a 10.” He was like okay, cool!

Melody: I’ll take both, both are hot!

The Dream: It one of those things also, where like “Bed” is going to be phenomenal on the radio and it’s going to do what it needs to do no matter what you do on it on a television screen. “Shawty is a Ten” is going to do what it has to do because it’s talking about all the right things and it has all the melodies in it, but it really comes across when you see it performed or you see the video for it, it’s like okay I get this guy so now I get the song. “Bed” is more straight on, straight forward, this is what the song is talking about…

Melody: You don’t have to figure that one out…

The Dream: Right. “Shawty is a 10” is more like an event, it’s like okay what is these guys doing? The same impact can happen both ways.

Melody: Now it was a really short time between you deciding to be an artist and you were pretty much handpicked by L.A. Reid which not many people can say that’s happened to, so tell me about becoming an artist and going with Def Jam.

The Dream: You know what it was, it was basically what were just talking about. You do records for other artists and it’s never really their fault, sometimes the art that you put forth doesn’t always get the right look. Whether it’s video or it’s radio, sometimes the demographic was wrong for the record, or whatever it is. Somebody is cutting a record because they have enough money so they buy the record from you and they are going to put it out. What I was trying to do was to take control of what comes out, what type of records come out, when they come out. To change the sound with different seasons throughout the year. Having that type of a thing is great for me and for people that I am in business with. Not only that, it’s just easier for me to give people whatever it is they are trying to get, quickly. Basically I’m grateful for that part of it but it was really more here than on the business side of it, I can’t lie about that. Just to be in control of that, instead of having another artist in control of when they are going to hear the next “Umbrella.” Then you have to leave that up to some president somewhere. That’s what happened to “Umbrella” the first time, some president didn’t like it. So what would have happened if some president didn’t like, it would have ended up in my iTunes with all the other “Umbrellas.”

Melody: Well that first president lost out on some money! [laughs]

The Dream: [laughs] Surely they know that!

Melody: You describe your sound as “Prince meets R.Kelly at a T-Pain concert in ATL.” So explain that for those that might not get the references.

The Dream: The T-Pain element is more so that there is a certain rugged part about me, there are certain words that I am going to say that where you say ‘what beautiful melodies,’ and I’ll say ‘shit!’ And it’s like ‘where the fuck did that come from?’ So that’s the T-Pain part of it and I only say T-Pain because people know exactly what he’s doing right now. He’s like a hybrid of a lot of other things which is like the R. Kelly. R. Kelly, which is as far as the content, he’s not afraid to talk about a certain thing and normal R&B artist can’t talk about that or go there and just moving on to the Prince thing, it’s just musical. Very harmony based type of stuff, a lot of eighties vibes. So that really explains a lot about me as far as what I do.

Melody: Now let’s talk about your album, which you put together is a month!?

The Dream: Yeah, actually because it was mixed and everything, but I wrote that album in nine days.

Melody: Wow!

The Dream: I think if we boiled it all down to actual literal time that I spent doing certain things it’s probably less than that but in nine days we had it. I just did a new song though, actually the writing part was really quick and it was recorded in less than three hours about 2 days ago and we are going to stick that one on the album. It’s called “I Love Your Girl,” it’s crazy.

Melody: It sounds crazy, but it sounds interesting…

The Dream: Other than that after nine days it was done, it was gone, finished. I knew exactly what I wanted to, I was tapped in.

Melody: How was it coming in from being a songwriter, where before you were selling your songs, now you are writing them for yourself to sing?

The Dream: It’s so much easier but I feel grateful when someone sings my songs. It’s two different feelings, it’s easier because it’s you being able to do it. Like Usher has this record from me called “Moving Mountains” and I am grateful that he’s singing it because it’s a great song and nobody would accept that type of a song from me right now. But he’s further along in his career where he can sing that song. I’m just grateful that I can write for him and he can sing it for this whole other crowd. They’ll be like ‘oh wow, he went to a whole other level.’ And people will say ‘why didn’t you keep that song?’ Because it’s more than just a song sounding good, it’s about knowing what your limitations should be. I don’t care how gifted you are, you have to give people small doses, a little bit at a time. So yeah, I’m feeling real good about this writing thing.

Melody: I can understand that there are two different feelings, I think that when you sing songs that you’ve written, the record is so much more authentic.

The Dream: Yeah, it more authentic and that’s one thing I can say about Usher, he got it. Every artist doesn’t always get it. Rihanna got it on the “Umbrella” record, she really did. No matter what nobody says about her, she got it. She nailed that song and we were able to define her style and break her off that record. She has a definitive style now and I can go back and write her those types of records until I fall out.

Melody: You’re right, she’s found her niche.

The Dream: Right, she found her niche and two of the best record from the album we did together that one and “Breaking Dishes.” Both of those songs, she got her swag on. But I know that every one of my song, I am directly connected to it and I am able to deliver it a certain way so definitely understand what you are talking about. That’s the part I meant by it being easy, because I don’t have to coerce myself into believing what I’m singing about.

Melody: Right, it just comes out naturally and if you can get the artist to understand it, then that come out too.

The Dream: That thing about big artists, if they get it, like the Mary J’s, they get it. They’re big for a reason. They are able to take your song, make it theirs and still mean it like you meant it as a songwriter. Like a movie writer, you write a movie and you hope Russell Crow does his thing. You thinking about Gladiator, you’re thinking this guy better go get his swerve on. And when he does, he wins a Golden Globe for it.

Melody: So who all did you work with on this album?

The Dream: It’s Fab[olous] and Rihanna on it right now. Jay [Z] is going to get on one of these records, we don’t know which one he’s going to get on. Someone else maybe getting on it, I don’t really want to say [coughs] Andre 3000. We just trying to take it easy.

Melody: Well that’s going to be hot! So when is it going to be available?

The Dream: October 16th

Melody: October is going to be big! This is going to be a big time for you!

The Dream: Just wait until next year comes! This is the fun time.

Melody: I smell another hit with J. Holiday’s “Suffocate” which you also wrote.

The Dream: Oh Yeah, that’s an old one too. This is when the fun stuff comes out, this is when the catalog starts to come out. People get to say ‘oh my God, I love it’ and it’s like yeah you do? I wrote that two years ago. That record is incredible!

Melody: That is a very incredible record.

The Dream: Did you hear it?

Melody: Yes, I heard it!

The Dream: [sings a verse]

Melody: Whoo! I love that song. That is crazy! You are all over the place, you can’t turn on the TV, the radio, the internet, without finding something that you’ve touched.

The Dream: Young Joc’s new record is out now ”Coffee Shop,” I wrote that one too.

Melody: Goodness, what are you trying to do!?

The Dream: Hey, I’m trying to sew it up!

Melody: I am not mad at you, you have a serious hustle going on and I am not mad at it!

The Dream: I also have that new Eve single coming soon.

Melody: Wow. I am just amazed, I am really impresses. I am glad I had a chance to talk to you, because you are a force to be reckoned with!

The Dream: Ah, you making me blush!

Melody: [laugh] Aww, and with your album coming out, it’s just the icing on the cake. So everything that you’ve given to everybody else you can take and give to the world to enjoy. I know they will. You are officially a friend to the blog and so you will get special treatment!

The Dream: See, I’m a friend!

Check out The Dream on MySpace and be on the look out for Love Hate this October!

All photos are exclusive to taken by Mikelle Moore, shot in Miami's Aqualina Hotel.