Jovan Dais: Moving Forward

When it comes to music or working towards anything with value in life, ‘time’ is a precious commodity. Sometimes you just have to be placed in the right place at the right time. Other times you have to work day and night, even when the result of that work seems far away and nearly unattainable. For Dawson Dais, singer/songwriter/producer Jovan Dais, time boils down to two things — time invested and time wasted.

Nearly a year after sharing his last release “Rhythm & Streets” with us, Jovan Dais sat down for an exclusive Singersroom update this fall. Making major moves as an independent artist, Dais, for the first time, talks his collaboration on the hit 50 Cent single “Baby By Me,” work with both Robin Thicke and Chris Brown; what he thanks ASCAP Award-winning producer Polow Da Don for, and just where he stands on his anticipated album. Also proving that hard work and perseverance works for independent artists, Dais tells us it’s not just about him moving forward and making changes in less than a year, but about helping others move forward…

Singersroom: There have been some major changes since we last spoke. How has life been treating you?

Jovan Dais: Last time we spoke about change and that is exactly what’s been happening. Since the last time we spoke, we’ve (Anotha Dais Prod.) brought in new management for myself and for the production company — Manny Halley (Imani Entertainment), the same guy who represents Keyshia Cole, Lyfe Jennings and Shyne. Me and my business partner Rodney Turner had already been dealing with him for the past couple years, but we solidified it recently. He saw what we were doing and respected it. So when it was time for us to go into business with Interscope it was nothing. He already has a relationship with them and you have to have somebody you can trust and has your best interests when you’re not in the meeting.

I also got a new production partner that’s part of the company – Hot Sauce, who is taking production to a whole ‘nother level. That is how I ended up on the 50 Cent single out titled “Baby By Me.” When we decided to do business together I changed the name of the company and me and Paul Dawson aka “Hot Sauce” formed Dawson Dais Productions. Rodney and I have been doing this for years and Manny is like the big brother in this whole thing. He’s managing the whole entity. Hot Sauce and Polow did the new record out for Chris Brown called “So Cold” and Robin Thicke’s “Sex Therapy.”

Singersroom: It sounds like God has been blessing you and that’s good.

Jovan Dais: Absolutely. That’s exactly what has been happening.

Singersroom: As far as the 50 Cent single, it’s good to see you on that. How did that come about?

Jovan Dais: It was the craziest thing, because when me and Hot Sauce went out there to work with Polow, they came up with the idea to take the sample of something that 50 had did. ‘Have a baby by me — be a millionaire’ actually came from another one of 50 Cent’s singles called “I Get Money.” So they grabbed that line and at the time I was at the studio with Hot Sauce. It was all divine timing. They came out the studio and said “we need you to do this hook real quick.” My version was just supposed to be for somebody else to sing over.

They had Trey Songz try it. Jamie Foxx was going to do it. Ne-Yo did it but, Ne-Yo ended up re-writing it — that’s the version you guys hear now. That’s the version they call the remix. 50 Cent sung it first. He kind of talk sung it, “take it off, take it off”. I just re-sung with no thought or nothing. They needed me to do it real quick, I did it. They told me they weren’t going to keep me on it and then for some reason… the strangest thing I felt that, that was it. I felt like nah, I’m going to end up being on it. I don’t know how because it would be in Interscope’s best interest to put somebody there that’s signed on the record as opposed to me being unsigned. God apparently had a bigger plan for it because I got a call back from G-Unit saying “we need your information, we want to keep you on the record” and the only thing I could think was wow…that’s really big for me in general, just because we’ve been independent from the get go.

Singersroom: How was it working with 50 Cent in L.A.?

Jovan Dais: It’s funny because what I’ve been doing for the last 15 or 20 years of my life had to come into play when 50 cent stepped in that studio. And if you want to know how it feels to be under some pressure, be in the studio with 50 Cent. I was under pressure and I was told they weren’t even going to keep me on it. 50 Cent liked it to the point where he wanted to keep me on. I was thankful just for having the opportunity to get in the booth and sing it.

Singersroom: So you’ve been in the studio with 50 Cent and Robin Thicke. From what I’ve heard thus far their projects are full of great music. What was it like being in the studio with them?

Jovan Dais: Being in the studio with Robin Thicke, I’ve learned a lot just by observing. Robin Thicke is serious about his craft. He’s serious about coming in and making great songs. He has his own ideas. He has his own melodies. You know I read about him working on and writing new music on and he’s really doing it. Some artists say that and they really aren’t doing it. He really is. He is heavily involved in what is going on in his career.

When I tell you we’ve been working, we’ve been working man. Chris Brown, Robin Thicke, the 50 Cent record, Nelly, Keyshia Cole, and our thing is just bringing back good quality music. I’m so focused on helping to re-instill music back to the way it was. If that means putting Jovan Dais, the singer, to the side I’m willing to do it for the betterment of music. I’m always going to make music and I’m always going to grab my guitar to sing the songs that I want to sing.

Singersroom: As you know there has been a lot of controversy etc. surrounding Chris Brown, how did “So Cold” come together with him in the studio?

Jovan Dais: Chris Brown has a lot of great sounding records. When there are no cameras around you get to really see who people are…the pure essence of these people, even 50 Cent. 50 Cent is not running around with no thugs or clowns or anything like that. He is running around handling his business from studio to studio getting songs right and Chris Brown is doing the same thing. I can’t do anything but respect these guys’ hustle. It was work time. They are about putting in the work. Chris Brown has a lot of good things coming out though. His new song called “So Cold” that Hot Sauce co-produced is a great song that Ester Dean wrote and I’ve seen her on Singersroom too. From the production side, from it being created to it being able to air, I’ve been able to see the process. I’m just learning and seeing from a different side, what it takes. I love singing but I’m also interested in the business. You got the music and then you have the music business. These are two separate things.

Singersroom: Now we’ve talked about all of the great things going on for you production wise but, I’m sure people want to know when your album is coming out? Are you still recording?

Jovan Dais: I am always recording…that’s constant. But, the funny thing is when I’m recording songs I think “this will be great for…” Like right now I am working on a new artist coming out. He goes by Trevante. He’s a new artist on Interscope. We’ve been working on his stuff. A lot of my material is ready to go. I’m just looking for the right opportunity to put it out.

Singersroom: Are you at all holding back because of the state of music right now?

Jovan Dais: To be honest I love music but not the state that it’s in right now, especially R&B music. If you really want to compete, either you have to go and do the extreme opposite, which would be to come in with a strong voice like a Jazmine Sullivan or you have to play their game, which is you to come in there with a record that’s just as equal to or better as what’s on the radio, which is saturated with auto-tune sounding records. I mean it’s no surprise. It’s very easy to do. But it’s unfortunate because it’s changing who makes music. Before, the only people that came out with music were the people that had a passion for it. Now that is not the case. Right now you can take someone that can’t sing a lick, put them in the booth and when they open up their mouth you immediately hear a tuned voice, because the voice they have is going through the auto-tune from the beginning of the song to the end. You don’t hear the real voices anymore.

Singersroom: With that said, I know you wanted to address some of the controversy surrounding “Baby By Me“….

Jovan Dais: It’s definitely been a little confusion. I’ve been reading, you know, different comments on Youtube about my version and Ne-Yo’s version. I don’t take nothing away from Ne-Yo. But, you can hear his is not as edgy as the version that I did with 50. His is definitely smooth because you know he is smooth with “I don’t play no games.” Mine is talking about, “I’ll leave your headboard broken, you think I’m joking. Bet I get you open…” I’m singing what 50 wrote. Ne-Yo’s singing what Ne-Yo wrote, so that is why mine has the harder edge. I don’t take credit for anything other than just being a vessel and utilizing my voice.

Singersroom: 50 Cent referenced something that I thought was interesting before the album’s release. He essentially said that he has to keep giving the people what they want, despite some of the backlash he gets from doing so, in his case the more hardcore or street records.

Jovan Dais: Some people don’t want to hear 50 Cent talking about girls and (want to) hear the hard, hard stuff and he has that on the album. It’s all about growth. Sometimes we want it to be the same but the artist is bored with being the same. Eminem was bored with being the same. That’s why he came out with that album that was so different because there was no more motivation to do the same thing you’ve been doing. Kanye too…He came out with a record called “Jesus Walks,” who thought he’d come out with “808s & Heartbreak” (after). Creatively he’s doing what he wants to do. Black Eyed Peas, what they’re doing right now it’s crazy creatively. It’s all about growth.

Singersroom: With growth in mind, Dawson Dais is not just working on R&B and Hip Hop. You’re working on some new rock and pop material…

Jovan Dais: My partner Hot Sauce, he plays every instrument. He can play any genre of music, and he does it well.

Right now we’re focused on helping everyone else and building our brand. We have a Pop artist from Germany that we’re working with right now by the name of Ebru. We’re just into working with great talent and giving other people the opportunity-especially with the young artists coming up. It’s all about the knowhow. You gotta have some knowhow in this game if you want to benefit.

Singersroom: So you find greater value in helping others?

Jovan Dais: Absolutely. I’m still passionate about my music. But when it’s other people’s music, it’s their passion when they’re talking to me. I’m happy to be a part of that.

My nephew, Young Carlo, we’re getting ready to take him thru Atlantic or Universal, Interscope is interested as well, so other than just focusing on myself I’ve been focusing on the team around me and building up our brand more and more and more. It’s been all good stuff though. I thank God that Polow took the time to listen to Hot Sauce and what he’s doing musically because it has changed our lives.

Singersroom: Powerful man. I thank you for taking time out to give us an update on how things have been going and proving that hard work, perseverance and ambition pay off in the end. What are your keys to success if there is such a thing?

Jovan Dais: My father had me involved with this since I was eight years old. I’ve gotten years of understanding. I’ve been to meetings that went good and meetings that went bad. I know how it feels for a record company not to be interested. Now I know how it feels for a record company to be interested. I know the different sides of the spectrum, so I know how to find a happy medium. If you don’t put time into (what you’re doing) you’re going to miss certain parts and it will cost you everything. When that happens to someone who wants to make music, it makes them not want to make music anymore.

This isn’t overnight. I want to be the representative to let everyone know that you can do it yourself and it can work. The only thing that is required is for you to believe. —— By: Interview By Njai Joszor


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