R&B singer/songwriter and producer Terius Youngdell Nash, better known as the-Dream, was born in Rockingham, NC, but moved down to Atlanta, GA, with his mother at the age of three. He first learned to play trumpet in elementary school, later picking up the drums and guitar. Nash's singing career got off to a slow start once he graduated from high school, but he found success in selling song lyrics after he met R&B producer Laney Stewart in 2001. Stewart helped the-Dream land his first publishing contract in 2003 in light of his penning "Everything" for B2K's platinum 2002 album Pandemonium! Paired with producer Chris "Tricky" Stewart (Laney's brother), he continued to write songs for various artists over the next four years, such as the Britney Spears/Madonna duet "Me Against the Music." His watershed moment came when he and Tricky created Rihanna's 2007 international smash hit "Umbrella."
Several labels began approaching him so he could churn out more hits for their artists, particularly Def Jam, Rihanna's label, which was reluctant to sign the singer/songwriter at first. Def Jam finally stopped dancing around the issue of signing the-Dream after he sold number one R&B single "Bed" to Capitol Records newcomer J. Holiday. In fall 2007, the-Dream released his first single, "Shawty Is da Sh*!" (known on radio as "Shawty Is a 10"), on Def Jam, following up with his solo debut album, Love/Hate, at the end of the year. The album peaked at number five on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, while its three singles -- including "Shawty" -- reached the Top Five of the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. A second album, Love vs Money, followed in March 2009; though it did top the R&B chart and narrowly missed the top spot of the Billboard 200, only one song -- "Rockin' That Thang" -- received significant airplay. The-Dream declared that Love King would be his final solo album, but he retracted the statement prior to the disc's June 2010 release. Even while recording his own material, he managed to dish out songs for a wide range of popular artists, including Mary J. Blige ("Just Fine"), Mariah Carey ("Touch My Body"), Beyoncé ("Single Ladies [Put a Ring on It]"), Electrik Red (the entirety of How to Be a Lady, Vol. 1), Justin Bieber ("Baby"), onetime wife Nivea (whom he divorced in 2007), and Christina Milian (whom he married in 2009). ~ Cyril Cordor & Andy Kellman, Rovi