Over the last two decades American singer-songwriter and producer The-Dream has built a strong solo catalogue, but his musical impact stretches far beyond his own output. As both a writer and producer, his creations have been immortalised through some of R&B’s biggest artists and songs; we’re talking Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’, Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ and Kanye’s ‘All of the Lights’, to name but a few.
It’s this knack for lyricism and the example The-Dream set that helped fellow Atlantan producer and Harsh Riddims boss Ryan Parks AKA Fit Of Body navigate a path to his own sound — and all from the comfort of his bedroom. Not only this, The-Dream’s ability to straddle multiple roles within music played its part, and it’s this skill that Ryan showcases through his Praise You mix.
Alongside solo material—new and old—Ryan dives into The-Dream’s collaborations and shares the impact that the singer-songwriter has had on his own musical output.
Why does The-Dream mean so much to you?
He set an example and a template for me to follow. Not that I am in anyway comparable to The-Dream, but I listened to what he was doing and felt like I could do something like that in my my own bedroom; in a one keyboard and an 8 track kinda way.
What makes a The-Dream record so unique?
His voice, his melodies, how instantly singalong-able some of his songs are.
When did you first hear The-Dream’s music and what impact did it have on you?
2007ish, whenever ‘I Luv Your Girl’ came out. I think it put a little glide in my step; made me feel a little smoother than I actually was.
Any standout memories from dropping a The-Dream track in a set?
I’m not really a DJ, but I use to sing along to ROC before performing all the time.
How has The-Dream influenced you as a producer?
He might be more of an influence on the vocals than the production, but I liked that he wore multiple hats and he wore them well. He’s not an amazing singer, but he can do his thing. He’s a really good song writer. His production is quintessential Atlanta in it’s own way.
How did you approach this mix?
I watched a couple of Dream interviews. I listened to Prince, Mary J Blige and some other Dream influences and collaborators. I went through his more recent work too, which probably gets overlooked because his back catalogue is so heavy.
What did you want to say about The-Dream and their music?
He makes hits, he makes the every-person’s hit.
What would you say is The-Dream’s biggest legacy on electronic music?
“Ayye, aye, ayyye, aye”