Sat in the boardroom of the Four Seasons hotel on Park Lane, Clash is feeling out of place. Choosing one of the empty chairs to sit in, we half-expect Alan Sugar to enter the room, ready to fire us. We are waiting for R&B singer and songwriter Terius Nash, aka The-Dream, to put his trainers on. We’ve been sat here for half an hour.
When he finally appears to greet us, a cheerful and soft-spoken man sporting a white T-shirt, trilby, Ray-Ban sunglasses and a gold Uzi earring, we can’t be annoyed. He orders an English breakfast tea before beginning, explaining that he only recently woke up despite it being almost 3pm – he hasn’t yet adjusted to the time difference.
While you may be forgiven for missing his recently (May 2013) released fourth album ‘IV Play’, and you may not even be aware of him by the alias tattooed across his neck, it’s most likely that you’ve heard multiple records by The-Dream. With his blunt honesty and falsetto vocals, he is a pioneer for what’s become labelled alternative R&B, and his ‘Love’ album trilogy and other releases prior to ‘IV Play’ have rightfully garnered him a cult fanbase.
However, whether you know his name or not, it’s the other side of his career, as a songwriter, where his music has become most widely known. A quick scan through his discography flags up a who’s who of the biggest names in modern music, and some of the biggest pop songs of our generation: Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’, Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’, Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’, and most the Jay Z and Justin Timberlake collaboration, ‘Holy Grail’.