Like R.Kelly without the sketchiness, The-Dream possesses a natural talent to speak to women. The singer-songwriter, born Terius Nash, blends Atlanta’s bass with R&B’s traditionally emotive lyrics to create songs like Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” Ciara’s “Ride” and our personal favorite of his, “Fancy.” Last year, The-Dream married fellow singer Christina Milian after a whirlwind romance and the couple recently welcomed their first child, a daughter named Violet. And like many celebrity couples, rumors abound that, despite the ring, The-Dream is getting his jollies elsewhere. We doubt he’s cheating, but we figured we’d ask — ’cause we’re nosy — along with getting the scoop on Ciara’s new LP, her chance of success and his own forthcoming album “Love King” out on June 29.
PARLOUR: We recently saw a rumor that you and wife Christina are experiencing issues because you’re unfaithful… on camera. True?
The-Dream: The rumors are not true and it really boils my blood. Christina and I are cool. People keep asking, ‘Why haven’t we seen you guys out together?’ I’m working, that’s why you haven’t seen us. She’s at work too in Los Angeles. The women in the pictures are actually legitimate friends of mine. The photo with me in the car and another woman… she’s a good friend who’s at my house all the time. It’s sad, because [the blogs] have humiliated her. She feels bad, I feel bad and you don’t know what that [judgement] does to that person. Who takes responsibility for that? I understand freedom of speech but if I made my living spreading rumors about people, my family wouldn’t claim me.
How are Christina and baby Violet?
Violet is great, I just saw her last night. She’s three months and one week old with a definite personality. I think she’s going to be a sassy talker. Right now, she’s just long, fat and looks like me. I know Christina hates it because she’s looking at the baby like ‘Where am I? I did all the work for nine months!’
Do you help Christina out when you’re home?
I don’t because my “helping out” turns into expectations. I’ll get Violet on a late night maybe one or two times, but after that, no. If Christina’s tired, call the nanny, call Violet’s granny. We got people.
Has Violet met her sister, Navy, your daughter from your previous marriage to singer, Nivea?
Navy, who’s five years old, hasn’t seen Violet yet because Christina’s been working in Los Angeles but that’ll change for the BET awards later this month. I may bring Navy to Los Angeles with me. She’s also full of personality, right now she’s all about herself.
What’s with the names drawn from colors?
I was trying to think of the personality of the person. I chose Navy because it’s a strong color but it’s understated and classy to me, and that’s why I gave her that name. With Violet, her name just happened to be a color later.
What effect has re-marriage had on “Love King”?
I think I’m more of a bad guy on this album and I don’t think Christina had a lot to do with it. I live in a certain creative place when I make an album. I could be writing about something I experienced two years ago, that I’m just dealing with now. I have stories and I’m willing to tell them how I see it. I think that’s why people appreciate my music.
You’ve worked with producers Tricky Stewart and L.O.S. on your last two albums, “Love/Hate” and “Love Vs. Money,” are they the only producers on “LoveKing”?
Yes, it was just me, Tricky and L.O.S. I haven’t ventured out yet.
Describe the song “Florida University.”
It’s not Florida University really, it’s a play on words. I’m telling a girl what its short version is, ‘FU.’
You’ve said that you wanted to work with R.Kelly, did you find him?
We’re actually putting something together for his next album. I don’t know what his release timetable is for his next album, but I’m sure the music will decide when it will happen but there’s no definite time.
What’s your favorite song from “Love King”?
“Take Care of Me,” the lyrics of “Take Care of Me” say I’m here to do what I said I was going to do, I’m not like those other people you’ve dated, but don’t play because I’ll break it down and start all over again with someone else.
What about your track “Panties to the Side”? Is that what we think it is?
It’s about a quickie. When you can’t really get into it all the way and you can’t take the panties all the way off, so you just push them to the side. Sometimes you do it just because its hot. You have no reason not to take your clothes off but you just keep them on. Every woman should try it, call your man at work and tell him ‘I want you to come home and pull my panties to the side!’
You’ve said you’re going to end your solo career after “Love King,” still true?
I thought about going out with a bang but I’m black, I could be telling a lie. My decision would never be based on sales or where my singles sit on the charts. My career is really based in writing and production and when I’m performing, that part of my career takes away from my production side, so really the choice to stop would be to make sure my production business remains in tact.
Speaking of producing you’ve got a track on Drake’s “Thank Me Later” LP called “Shut It Down” and you’ve just finished writing Ciara’s entire new album too. Is this really her last shot at pop stardom?
I think so. You only get so many times to, and I won’t say fail, but not achieve. There’s an expectation of where Ciara should be in her career. To others, she’s achieved but not to us, because we saw where her career was headed. But now she’s back on the horse. When she first came out I, like Lil Jon and Jazee Pha, understood exactly who she was. It was that whole Atlanta vibe because if i’m not Atlanta, no one is. I knew if I had a chance to get with her creatively, there’s a specific type of swagger that she’s got. Tricky and I did her whole album, but it’s not all shallow songs like “Ride.” There’s play time but there’s substance too, it’s a great listen.
I also wrote another version of this piece here. He probably should’ve said he LOVED helping with baby Violet. Oh men… Enjoy!