Since the late 1980s, Grammy-winning Dallas Austin has written multiple Billboard number one hits, including “The Boy is Mine” from Brandy and Monica, and TLC’s “Creep.” Over 50 of his songs have been hit singles, and he has worked with the likes of TLC, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Aretha Franklin, George Clinton, Michael Jackson
, Santana, After 7, Erick Sermon, Johnny Gill, Shakira, Janet Jackson, Macy Gray, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie
, Natalie Cole
, Madonna, Bjork, Brand New Heavies, Fishbone, Grace Jones, Tricky and Usher.
After the Columbus, Georgia native was signed by Klymaxx member Joyce “Fenderella” Irby to her Dive One Entertainment company as a songwriter and producer in 1988, Austin produced the first Boyzz II Men and TLC projects (respectively Cooleyhighharmony
, for which he also co-wrote songs, and the quadruple-platinum Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip
, for which he co-wrote the Top 10 hits “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” and “What About Your Friends”).
Austin worked on other Motown acts besides Boyzz II Men (including Irby, for whom he co-wrote and arranged the 1989 hit “Mr. DJ” featuring Doug E. Fresh and boy band Another Bad Creation, for whom he co-wrote and co-produced “Playground” and “Iesha” from their 1991 debut album Coolin' at the Playground Ya Know!
), as well as other LaFace Records acts besides TLC after co-founders L.A. Reid and Babyface
brought him there. He was soon sought by After 7 to write and produce songs for their album Takin’ My Time
, and by Madonna, for whom he co-wrote and co-produced her 1994 album Bedtime Stories
(and its single “Secret”).
Other key songwriting credits in Austin’s catalog include TLC’s “Unpretty,” Blue Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!),” Pink’s “Don’t Let Me Get Me” and “Just Like a Pill,” and Gwen Stefani’s 2004 single “Cool.” The multi-instrumentalist (he plays guitar, keyboards, bass, harmonica and drums) also co-produced the 2002 musical comedy-drama film Drumline
(which was based on his experience as a drummer in his high school marching band’s drum section) and executive-produced its soundtrack, which included his composition “Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love),” a hit for NSYNC’s JC Chasez.
Austin’s additional musical endeavors include opening his own recording studio, D.A.R.P. (Dallas Austin Recording Projects), in Atlanta, as well as the labels Rowdy Records (home of QT's hit “My Baby Mama”—for which Austin played keyboards--and acts including For Real, Illegal, Da King & I, Y’all So Stupid, Colin Munroe, Da Backwudz and Fishbone), Limp Records (A View to a Kill by Shadz of Lingo and The Pendulum Vibe by Joi), and Freeworld Entertainment (alternative rock band Tool’s single “Forty Six & 2” and teen vocalist Sammie’s debut album From the Bottom to the Top