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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Finally this hour, new music from the songwriter Terius Nash. He goes by the stage name The-Dream. And over the past decade, he's had a hand in some of the biggest pop songs on the Billboard chart.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG MONTAGE, "SINGLE LADIES," "UMBRELLA," "BABY")

SIEGEL: Justin Bieber's "Baby," Rihanna's "Umbrella," Beyonce's "Single Ladies" - the list goes on. But when The-Dream writes music for himself, he says he always comes back to R&B.

TERIUS "THE-DREAM" NASH: R&B is a conversation that you should be able to sit down and have.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TOO EARLY")

THE-DREAM: (Singing) You give him all my loving, you gave him all my time...

SIEGEL: Rhythm and blues is based on love and heartbreak. So you need it because that's real life.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TOO EARLY)

SIEGEL: The-Dream's new album is called "IV Play." That's the Roman numeral IV, by the way. And here he is talking about a track off the album called "Too Early."

THE-DREAM: You're having an argument, and it's 6 p.m. And you have a good chance of getting over that argument, and it's going to be OK by the time you go to sleep. But too early in the morning means when you wait till that hour - like, if something's been bothering you, and you wait till like 2 a.m. - and then you want to start the argument, it's just too early, I guess. It's - it's going to set the tempo for the next day.

And it's just - that's tiresome in itself. It's like, oh, God. So that's what this song is. It's too early in the morning to break up, then make out.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TOO EARLY")

THE-DREAM: (Singing) My heart's hurting, but the bills due, car note and the rent too. Baby girl, life's hard enough. You're too fast, can't keep up. So many things I could do to you, the blackout, the cops come. Can't see my daughters, can't see my sons when I come home undone. 'Cause it's too early...

Once we get to the hook, actually, this church type of harmony that goes on - and I layered it, man. I layered it. I was channeling my earlier church days, when I used to go to the country in Hawkinsville, Ga., with my grandfather. And those guys get up and sing. And these are guys that sang hymns, you know; like, the old-school ones that are still like, basically sewed into my brain.

And vocally, the pain of a Southern church harmony that has this slave type of feeling to it, and it's just hurt. And that's what the climax is. The climax is that much hurt. And wrapping that up into this song and saying like, that's how hurt I am, and I have to leave because of this hook that I'm about to sing. And it's not even about what I'm going to sing. The harmonies itself explain the hurt and the feeling.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TOO EARLY")

THE-DREAM: (Singing) It's too early in the morning to break up and then to make out. It's way late for pretending. It's time to stop now...

SIEGEL: That's Terius Nash, also known as The-Dream, talking about the song "Too Early," from his latest album, "IV Play."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TOO EARLY")

SIEGEL: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News.

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