''I'm a perfectionist...You have to stay on top of things and do things yourself, sometimes.''
A quote from a professor trying to encourage a failing student? Wrong. Lines from a father/son scene from an episode of ''The Cosby Show?'' Not even!
Those inspirational words are from the mouth of EastWest recording artist Dino n regards to his latest LP entitled THE WAY I AM. And he is no less determined to make even bigger noise than his last go 'round.
Yes, this is the same singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer who busted out in 1989 with the near-platinum debut LP, 24/7, which spawned the hits ''I Like It,'' Summergirls,'' and the title track, amongst others. The same cat came back in 1990 with his second album, SWINGIN', which had the Top 5 single ''Romeo'' and others jump off of that. In the past two years, Dino became the Invisble Man, changing record labels while recording 20 tracks, 10 of which comprise the jams that appear on THE WAY I AM.
''I enjoy all different types of music,'' says Dino. ''I have hip-hop flavored jams, mellow grooves and ballads, hippie-pop tunes and even some techno influenced tracks. The album is sequenced so that the songs vibe into each other.'' And some of those vibrations will have many a rump shaking once they hit the clubs and the airwaves.
''The Way I Am,'' the opening and also title track, lays out the Dino rules: ''I got my own thing baby/stay up off my back...That's the way I am!'' As he croons this in the chorus, the new jack beat leaps out, swinging right into the house party funk of the second jam on the album, ''Sock It 2 Ya.''
From the sweeping sounds of the mellow moving ''Back To the Heart,'' to the stirring subtlety of the slow jam ''Endlessly,'' to the Byrds/PM Dawn 70's funk innovations of ''The Feeling,'' it becomes apparent that Dino can not only make your body move as a musician, he can also seduce your ear as a producer. But that's no surprise, since Dino has had that role on all three of his LPs, as well as playing most of the instruments.
Although he cites L.A. Reid, Babyface, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Teddy Riley as influences on the production end, Dino says, ''The bottom line is the song. Most of the other stuff doesn't matter.'' The artist follows his own advice by recording a fat beat remake of The Five Stairsteps' classic ''O-o-h Child.'' Along with the fact that it's one of his favorite songs, Dino says there's another reason why he ressurected this particular jam. ''It's a perfect illustration of where people's heads need to be,'' he says. ''It's a song of hope...because people need to think more positive. It's the way things need to be.''
Now that he's down with EastWest, Dino feels like he is with a label that is more focused and committed to his music. ''I was under a lot of pressure doing this LP,'' the artist says. ''And I feel like EastWest was into the project. I had them involved all the way.''
As far as where he would like to see himself down the line, it's definitely on solid ground. ''In ten years, I see myself a an established artist.'' Dino says.
''Your life as an artist is only so long. So, also I'd like to be seen as a credible writer and producer.'' With the release of THE WAY I AM, Dino takes giant strides towards his goal.
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