ATLANTA (AP) — The-Dream is reaping the benefits of a stellar music career inside his lavish Atlanta home in an area where the singer dreamt of living when he worked a few blocks away more than decade ago.
It's a home built on The-Dream's Grammy-winning hits from co-writing Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)," creating the hook for Kanye West's "All of the Lights," and singing on "No Church in the Wild" by Jay Z and West. His solo career is well-decorated with a plethora of radio-friendly bangers, including "Falsetto," ''Shawty Is a 10" and "Rockin' That Thang."
Now, The-Dream is once again up for two Grammys for his work on West's "Ultralight Beam," nominated for best rap song and rap/sung performance. The nominations come at an appropriate time for the singer-producer, who released his six-track EP, "Love You to Death," last week.
Shortly after listening to John Coltrane during a photo shoot, The-Dream — who is signed to Jay Z's Roc Nation management — spoke with The Associated Press about his Grammy noms, West's recent meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and why he thinks Jay Z should meet with Trump as well.
AP: You have a gorgeous home.
The-Dream: Thank you, man. When I used to work my 9 to 5, I used to go to this abandoned house down the street. It was for sale, but nobody knew it. It was a mansion. Every day, or at least four days out the week, I would just stand on the porch of the house for like a year straight. That was around 2001 or 2002. I told myself back then, "This is the kind of house I'm getting."
AP: You're expected to release your new album "Love Affair" next year. Why did you decide to release an EP now?
The-Dream: The album was done in August. ... Instead of pouring a body of work on you, let me give you time to really show you what Dream is on.
AP: You mentioned that "Ultralight Beam" should have also been nominated for song of the year at the Grammys. Why?
The-Dream: It embodies where we are in the world right now, the feeling. A song isn't just about hearing; you have to feel something when you walk away. Usually in those Grammy categories, the song with more feeling actually wins. ... When I listen to this record, whether I'm in it or not, I would still feel something listening to it. I would know what that is. There's a world trying to figure out religion; that's why there are so many atheists because religion is forever moving the goal post. It's like I'm trying to keep my faith. Everybody is trying to find that place. ... Ultimately, the song affects so many people once you get it into your ear.
AP: Kanye caught some criticism for meeting with Trump this week. What do you think about them meeting?
The-Dream: Everybody should. Jay Z should go next. Everybody should so you can come back and report to us and let us know what's going on. We need briefings, too. Eventually, 'Ye is going to tell — whatever that is. And we know 'Ye is blacker than black. You cannot not go and see him. You can't. It's the same thing when the police shootings happened. I asked Jay to meet with every police chief that he could, because that's the only way. Being a leader means you still have to shake that person's hand.
AP: Have you spoken with Kanye since he was released from hospital?
The-Dream: No, I haven't. I want to send a shoutout to 'Ye. I know he went off on Jay about not reaching out to him. I reached out to 'Ye two times and still haven't heard back from him. I just want to let 'Ye know that, and I'm not mad at him. I'm not going to go crazy about it at my show. I love 'Ye to death, but he still hasn't hit me back. I'm sure his mind is busy. It's a lot of people that care for 'Ye, including Jay and he knows that. This isn't a good time of year for anyone who has lost someone. I lost my mom on the 23rd of December in 1992. Her birthday is on December 1st. That's why people commit suicide around Thanksgiving and Christmas, because that's the time when families come together. ... I'm not a psychologist, but I've dealt with it long enough to know that he cannot be thinking about that. He has to be thinking about his mom at this particular point. Once he gets into the new year, he'll be all right.
AP: You have your paintings on the walls of your home, and you've given some away to Beyonce, Jay Z and Kelly Rowland. How did you get involved?
The-Dream: I used to draw cars when I was growing up. I wanted to be a car designer. I've never been professionally taught. It's something that comes and goes. I may feel like it in the morning and set up an easel then start to paint what I'm feeling at the time.
Follow Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mrlandrum