Talks Songwriting, a New Album, Pharrell and More – Billboard

Dixson, born Darius Scott, exudes the confidence of a seasoned artist, with a career that extends far beyond his third album – which he is in the process of polishing for submission to his label, Roc Nation. With the first album of 2018 Young and 2021 DEAR under his belt, Dixson has made inroads to secure his place in today’s R&B space. Despite her early wins, the triple threat can already claim writing credit for Beyonce’s ‘Be Alive’, the standout track for this year’s Oscar darling King Richard. Dixson isn’t just looking to find his place in the industry, he’s preparing to win championships.

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“You know how you walk into an arena and see all the championship banners?” he asks sincerely. “I want every album to be my goal post – and this one is important to me. A big growth point.”

Last June, the Atlanta-born singer took the stage at the Essence Festival’s Coca-Cola Superlounge, singing lyrics about love, lust and life. Later that evening, he appeared at Spotify’s House of Are & Be, moving through the crowd, cultivating relationships, still dressed fresh in Dior and Margiela. It’s safe to say that Dixson knows exactly what it takes to win, it’s only a matter of time. He discusses his process with Billboard below:

Can you explain this image on the cover of your first album, Young? What is the meaning of Berkeley Hills Baptist?

I lived in Dallas. I lived there for six years. I was an executive at Neiman Marcus so I like the clothes. I like a little flash, you know? But I used to live there and I was driving to the church where I used to sing for Bishop TD Jakes at The Potter’s House – but on the way I saw this church on the side of the road and I I was like, “Yo. What is this space?

One day, I just pulled over on the side of the road and started walking around the property and thought, “This would be a great place to shoot.” So we just did a photoshoot, honestly. We weren’t even looking to make it the cover of the album. It was so good. Kudos to Denzel Golatt. He’s a very famous photographer now, but he photographed us in Dallas when we all lived there, and it ended up being the album cover.

So you just travel to different cities and end up hanging out with the creatives?

Oh yeah, we find each other. I always find the creative person in the room, [but] no matter where I am. I could be abroad. I lived in Paris, and some of my good friends to this day [are ones that] I met there. And I was there as a student, but I found the creatives, they found me and we were all hanging out in cafes.

What did you study in Paris?

I studied fashion merchandising and French.

OK, so you’re really into the fashion side of things.

I love it. I love fashion. As if I could show you my whole outfit right now…

You could.

OK. So my suit is Dior, the shoes are Margiela and all the Dior jewelry is mine.

What do you think is the most distinctive difference between your albums, Young and DEAR? Sonically, they are completely different.

There are crossing lines with Young and DEAR. As, Young was my baby. I did it in the second bedroom of my apartment in Dallas. I just quit my job and it was a tough time for me. Luckily, I was financially well off so I was able to take some time off to do what I wanted with my life. And Young was my babyso I listen Young and I have the impression that there are then lots of flaws. When people talk about it, I get nervous.

Can’t really hear the flaws, though?

I know I know. But I feel like, “Yo. They can hear faults. But Young was exactly where I was in life: just young and rambunctious. Just trying things, throwing paint on the wall. With DEAR, it was just much more subtle. It was the first album I ever made as a signed recording artist – I was on a low budget and tried to make it sound expensive. That was the thing.

I wrote it for women, obviously, and I think as black people, I sometimes think we have a hard time believing that we owe ourselves luxuries too. My dad used to tell me that when they bought vinyl they felt like they had the most money in the world because they had change. A real piece of history. When my dad bought his first Curtis Mayfield album, he was on top of the world. And I wanted to make music that makes our people feel that when they hear it. It was a big deal for me, to use our creative output as a bargaining chip – that’s why I wanted the album to sound expensive, and I think it did.

That’s a great point. Vinyl records in black homes are really, really important.

My grandmother just decided this year to leave me his records. And she’s almost 90 years old. She says, “OK, you can come get them.” I’m not going to bend down and go through all the crates.

Has your main goal always been to come out as an artist or did the idea come to you while you were working on your production skills?

The goal was always for me to do both – and we tried to keep that balance. Because you know, when a thing grows for me as an artist, sometimes I just can’t do that much production and songwriting. So we always try to find that perfect balance.

One of my mentors is Pharrell. I admire him so much, because he’s found the perfect balance to be able to do all the things he’s good at. He is my North Star when it comes to my career path – not just because I know him, but he is proof that we can always do anything. I always knew I could do both. It’s just a matter of when.

Here in the newsroom, you talked about Atlanta and the legendary Black Monolith.

Thank goodness for this town. Thank goodness I grew up there and felt free from an early age to be who I am and what I wanted to be. Me and my cousins, we’re from a side of Atlanta that’s a little risky at times, but I manage to be this, the. And they see me walking on Campbellton [a street that runs through Southwest Atlanta] – and they know who I am – I used to go to my hair salon in my skateboard gear or whatever, but everyone in the neighborhood knew me, and they were okay with me being myself.

My cousins ​​used to go to their old school [cars] and roll down the windows like, ‘Aye n-ga what are you doing?’ But it was love! So many dope artists from Atlanta – look at EarthGang, look at Andre 3000, look at all those guys. They really come from parts of Atlanta where you wouldn’t think they could exist in those spaces. It is the proof that this city gave birth to this culture which allows you to be yourself and to be your full self.

It’s one of the blackest cities in America and proof that black people don’t have to be one thing. We had a black mayor for many years for all time. And these people have a higher education. It’s just a beautiful thing to see when I come home, I go to the mall and I walk around and look at the new generation of kids running the mall and I’m like, ‘We were not dressed like that! But that’s OK, because they are free to do so.

So the next project –

Phew!

I know it’s crazy to already ask about the next project…

No no. It’s perfect timing actually. I’m almost done. I will take the next week and a half to tighten it up. I’m supposed to return it soon, and I’ll say it’s expressive. It’s a different sound. I try never to do the same thing with each project. Since we went out Young, I wanted each project after to feel like a piece of growth. As human beings we growing up, we recognize growth, we see it, don’t we? But where I’m in the music industry, it’s like – people want to keep you in one place. The fans don’t want you to grow up. It’s a strange relationship, because you have to build that trust with them.

I used to avoid uptempos, but now? I’m completely hooked. I listened to Fela, we listened to James Brown. It’s deep. It’s deep work, with layers. And every song, you’re gonna feel. So I’m glad everyone hears it.