As part of Universal Music Group’s week of Grammy Awards celebrations, 11-time nominee The-Dream blessed us with an exclusive chat event: “Behind-The-Hits.”
For those of you who don’t know (*squints judgment-filled eyes*), The-Dream is the man behind “Umbrella” by Rihanna, “Baby” by Justin Bieber, and “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé, just to name a few of, like, a thousand hits. In a rather intimate space at Spring Studios in the Soho neighborhood of New York City, press, fans, and friends heard the stories of how these blockbuster songs came to life. We also got a surprise performance from one of The-Dream’s newest signees, Bria Jhané.
The evening’s Q&A was hosted by Miss Info, whose long-standing relationship with The-Dream made for some amazing questions and revelations. Here are a few of the gems he dropped.
He wrote it in 15 minutes, and Bey loved it the minute she heard it. The song was inspired by his mother—who he said was “the hood Iyanla,” always giving the ladies advice—and her girl’s night. So young The-Dream always heard the woes of the women and the advice of his mother, and it turned into a hit song.
Mama Tina Always Lets Him Have It
Anytime he writes a song that Mama Tina considers “nasty,” for Beyoncé i.e. “6 Inch Heels” and “Partition,” she chews him out when she sees him. “I knew it was you who wrote that nasty song!” she scolded him after learning he wrote “Partition.”
He and Rihanna instantly knew it was going to be one of her biggest songs. She was a new-ish artist at the time, and he knew he was taking a gamble, but he thought she had that “it” factor. When asked what that “it” factor is, he said that you know when someone has “it,” and Rihanna does.
“Rockin’ That Sh*t”
The song was originally meant for Jamie Foxx, but Jamie didn’t like it. He said he wanted something more “The-Dream-ish.” It became The-Dream’s first single on his second album.
Best R&B Albums
The-Dream doesn’t think there’s been an R&B album in the last 10 years that tops his first two. Do you agree?
And for shits and giggles, he wrote J. Holiday’s “Bed,” which was actually the song that motivated him to launch his solo career after he saw it become a massive hit.