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Chilling in London for a few months after spending Christmas with his son, Flavour magazine caught up with versatile producer and former So Solid affiliate JD aka Dready. Why is he racking up so many air miles in Richard Branson’s favour? What has he been up to for the past couple of years? Who is he working with now? The answers to all three questions lay somewhere between Busta Rhymes and Dr.Dre.

‘It’s not a matter of just going out there one time and having great meetings and getting album cuts – it doesn’t work like that,’ says the radiant producer. ‘So I’ve been going to America now for the past six years, on and off. But in the past two years…the flights have been really hectic. Last year alone I went to Miami eight times.’ The sun-kissed imagery Miami conjures up doesn’t align with the idea of hard work, but his dedicated work ethic is something Dready has drawn attention to for years – ‘but now that I’m in America my work ethic has probably tripled that because there were so many producers, so many artists to give beats to, so many people, just so many different opportunities… Someone approached me about scoring a film; that never happens here – well it could, but you’d have to chase it. But in America it’s just like everything’s there.’

The art of success
There’s certainly an art to making the most of all that’s there for the taking. The canvas is daubed with three strokes of success – banishing complacency, being time efficient, and working as though your livelihood depends on it. In Dready’s words, ‘You get out what you put in, end of. When you work with people like Busta Rhymes, you’d think he’s never had a deal in his life, you’d think he’s got ten pounds in his bank account – he’s a workaholic. He walks around with a studio, he has a microphone, laptop, everything.’ Such is Busta’s urgency that he has been known to record track vocals in hotel toilets, to send them off within hours. What will these two musical workaholics come up with on Busta’s forthcoming album, Back On My Bullshit? A broad smile informs me, ‘So far I’ve got two or three tracks on there. I’ll be happy with one! But we just finished a track the other day for a film.’

A visit to Dready’s MySpace showcases concoctions with Busta, Akon and Shabba Ranks (‘Clear The Air’), Rah Digga (‘New Shit’), Raekwon and Busta (‘Ice Water’) and Dr.Dre’s Aftermath rapper Bishop Lamont (‘They Say’). He confirms, ‘I’m heavily involved in Rah Digga’s next album; me and her are good friends and I’ve got a fair amount of tracks on there and I’m helping her pick beats and everything. I’ve [produced for] Cassidy… Raekwon… I’m doing a lot of tracks for Bishop Lamont – I’ve done eight songs with Bishop, when you’re in competition with Dre I’ll be lucky if I get an interlude, because Dre’s the man! Especially when he’s executive producing the album.’

Working at a top level
Competing for work with the likes of Dr.Dre, Pharrell and Swizz Beats, must have changed his outlook out the quality of urban music in the UK. Admitting that he finds musically progressing in the UK less of a challenge, Dready’s criticism isn’t of the artists here but of the flawed moulds the industry pushes them into. He explains, ‘There’s so much quality in the UK but what happens with our artists is… because the industry is so messed up, you kinda feel like you have to do what they’re telling you to do. So then you’re watering down your sound and they’re telling you all kinda things, so by the time a consumer like me would hear it I’m thinking ‘this is whack – there’s no competition’ – but you’ll probably go and see these producers and hear some of their stuff and wonder ‘so why didn’t you release this one?’

The industry here waters you down, and then they tell you exactly what to do and then they drop you. It’s really mad. They give you their formulas and then – when they don’t work – instead of them getting fired, you get fired.’

Having overcome depression, losing laptops full of beats, studio robberies, and taking the huge risk of selling his house in order to make waves on the other side of the Atlantic, it seems essential to note a mantra Dready lives by: ‘Success is guaranteed on the number of times you get up after you fall. You’ve just gotta have that drive. I’m one of those people that just won’t stop.’

Keep your eyes and ears on www.myspace.com/jdt10

By Marsha Gosho Oakes

3 COMMENTS

  1. I am loving this article on JD, its great its inspiring. I watch his drive and motivation to succeed and makes me check myself as an artist and entertainer to see what else I can do to push harder for what I want. Good one FLAVOUR I think this is definitely an article that must be read and will inspire many. JD has shown us what the UK industry may show us as impossible is actually POSSIBLE.

  2. I’m digging this article, i’ve meet him a couple of times and his really down to earth and cool. The sky is not just the limit with him and he now knows all his hard work is paying off. His working with alot of Big guns and i’ve known about his work with Rah Digga, Busta and Bishop…

    Got to love Flavour for showing him love and maybe opening the eyes to alot of people who did not know…

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