Life & Style | People

Just who is Dallas Austin?

You may have heard about the music producer due in court today for allegedly possessing drugs en route to Naomi Campbell's birthday party in Dubai. But what do you know about this man?

  • I-Cheng Chan, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 July 1, 2006
  • Tabloid

At 33, Dallas Austin has already long been one of the most sought-after record producers in his field.

The African American has been the invisible magic behind an impressive string of hits that has boosted the careers of artistes including Pink, Gwen Stefani, TLC and Anastacia to name but a few.

Should he ever wish to monumentally name-drop, Austin could boast of having worked with the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin.

How it all began

The man whose road to success has, until now, been paved with gold was born in December 1972 in Columbus, Georgia, USA.
 
By the tender age of 7, young Austin had already started learning the guitar and playing keyboards.

Such was his musical ability that soon he was finding his rhythm with the drums, the harmonica and the bass guitar to broaden his awareness.

At 14, he moved to Atlanta and played in funk and R&B bands before embarking on his producing career three years later.

His first effort, producing Joyce Irby's Motown single Mr DJ, featuring rapper Doug E Fresh, reached No 2 on Billboard's R&B charts in 1989.

It marked the start of a meteoric rise in a fiercely competitive industry.

Recognition

A significant milestone came when Austin produced two top 10 singles on Another Bad Creation's debut double-platinum selling album, Coolin' At The Playground.

Recognition for his role in their success was soon rewarded with being asked to work on Boyz II Men's debut album, Cooleyhighharmony.

Austin wrote and produced eight songs on the album that sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

The phenomenal achievement led to Boyz II Men being crowned the Best Selling Artists R&B Group in Musical History and Austin being named Billboard's Top Producer of the Year in 1991.

Midas touch

This was to set the tone for countless collaborations with a virtual who's who of the hottest acts of the last 15 years, thanks largely to Austin's involvement.

His Midas touch was the making of TLC in their rise to fame with their debut album, Ooooooohhh ... On the TLC Tip.

And their 15-million selling follow up, CrazySexyCool, won Austin his first producer/songwriter Grammy award.

Austin went on to co-write the music and co-produce This Time Around for Michael Jackson's HIStory album released in 1995.
 
He also put his creativity into Madonna's Bedtime Stories with two of the three songs he contributed - Secret and Human Nature -  becoming hits.

Latest work

Recent achievements include working with Gwen Stefani on her first solo album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby., and with Pink on the successful singles Don't Let Me Get Me and Just Like A Pill.

Austin owns a recording studio in Atlanta and opened his own label, Rowdy Records, in 1992.

As for his personal life, Austin is married and has four children including a son, Tron, born in 1997 during his relationship with TLC's Rozonda "Chili" Thomas.

What went wrong

Dallas Austin was arrested at Dubai International Airport on May 19, on his way to supermodel Naomi Campbell's birthday party, and charged with being in possession of illegal drugs.

It is alleged he had 1.26 grammes of cocaine and five-and-a-half capsules of cocaine and an MDM drug for personal use in his pocket when searched.

A hearing is due to take place today at the Dubai Court of First Instance.

If convicted, Austin could face between one and four years in jail.

Worthy work

Songwriter and producer Dallas Austin was involved in the success of the following:

 - Sugababes: Push the Button and Ugly.
 - Madonna: Secret, Sanctuary, Don't Stop, Survival, The Power of Good-Bye (Dallas' Low End Mix), and Your Honesty.
 - Gwen Stefani: Cool, Crash and Danger Zone.
 - Pink: Don't Let Me Get Me and Just Like a Pill.
 - Anastacia: Left Outside Alone and Sick and Tired.
 - TLC: Creep, Case of the Fake People, Unpretty, Silly Ho, If They Knew, Shout, Don't Pull out on Me Yet, Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg, What about Your Friends and Hat 2 Da Back.
 - Janet Jackson: Just a Little While.
 - Michael Jackson: They Don't Care about Us (Dallas Austin Main Mix) and This Time Around.
 - Boyz II Men: Motownphilly and It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.

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