With decades in the music industry, superproducer Dallas Austin has stories for days when it comes to fellow artists in the industry. And he’s not afraid to tell them, whether they’re his or not. But recently, during an interview with Angela Yee, for her Fox Soul show, “Established with Angela Yee,” Austin opened up about the difficulties of working in a such a small industry when romantic relationships and business intertwine.
You may know that Austin dated the late Kim Porter, Diddy’s long-time on again, off again girlfriend and mother of his children before she left him for Puff. (He shared that Zoe Saldana’s character in Drumline is based on Porter. And aside from his mother, she was the person he’d known the longest in his life.) So things got a little sticky when Porter began dating an industry peer.
Austin found himself in a similar situation when Rozonda Thomas, better known as Chilli from TLC, also left him to famously date fellow singer Usher.
Dallas said that even after he and Chilli broke up, he was still producing for TLC. In fact, the group wanted to record a song Austin had written about their breakup. It was “Cool,” which eventually went to Gwen Stefani.
They group tried to record the song but it just didn’t work out. And Dallas likened that studio session to sitting in a “torture chamber.”
When Yee asked him how he initially coped with the news that Chilli was dating Usher, Austin said not to well.
“Oh, I wanted to kill everybody because honestly, I was friends with Usher too. We’re two different people. We always have been. But it was crazy because I moved to Miami. I was just so fed up. ‘I got to get out of Atlanta. Things are going too crazy.’ I moved to Miami, I sat up in that house. Me and her first broke up then. I started working on music in Miami, in this house where I set up all my equipment. But by the time I called and said, ‘Hey, let’s be together in Miami.’ She said, ‘No, no, no. It’s a wrap. I’m done.’
I’m thinking this is the worst year because she goes and started dating Usher and I’m going mad. We got a kid. That’s my girl, this that and the other. So I went through this whole year thinking it was the worst year of my life when really, I did all the P!nk songs at that time. ‘Just Like a Pill’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Get Me’ was about my relationship I was in. I did Blu Cantrell’s ‘Hit Em Up Style.’ I did Drumline. All of this stuff was going on but I must have had blinders on because I was in such that space that everybody gets to when you breakup. It’s painful. It’s crazy. You hear stuff on the radio. People are calling you and telling you they’re in a video. I didn’t realize I had taken all of that energy and I put it in these records and making Drumline. And when that year was over, I was in Atlanta, premiering Drumline with all my kids with me and I thought, ‘Damn, why did I think this was the worst year? This was the best year I ever had.’”
You can watch this portion of the interview in the video below.