The man behind some of the hottest tracks from Meghan Trainor, Twenty One Pilots, and Jason Derulo among others — Ricky Reed knows his craft. A nominee for the Grammy for Producer of the Year, Reed isn’t slowing down in 2017 with a single called “Be the 1” — a teaser from a solo album he’s releasing later this year.
Though his main focus has been on producing until recently, this isn’t the first time Reed has worked on writing and singing his own music. He played with various punk bands growing up, and he also performed as part of the group Wallpaper. — a hip hop, dance and pop fusion act that landed gigs at festivals like SXSW — until a series of hard times caused him to step back.
“It’s interesting because the reason I sort of slowed down on making my own record is because at the last point of my career when I was writing songs for myself I went through a series of tragedies in my own life from a sort of shake up,” Reed relates to Billboard. “I kind was couch surfing for a while, my then-manager passed away, and I was just then feeling that nobody cared what I had to say, and what my perspective on things was.”
Despite his personal traumas, Reed persevered and re-entered the studio to once again pursue his solo work — a decision that was heavily influenced by two significant milestones in his life.
“What brings me back to making my own record now is I met the love of my life and I’m sort of here now on the edge of fatherhood — we have a kid coming,” explains Reed. “My life has just done a complete 180 from the last time I did music. I just want to shout it from the mountains, love and all these good things I’m feeling now. I’m like, bursting with self-expression so I need to get it all out there.”
Immersing himself in his own music again has paid off greatly. “Be the 1” features a pulsing beat, highlighting Reed’s vocal range while exploring the new love he’s found (“You must be the prototype/ Other lovers couldn’t get it right”).
“All three off us jumped on instruments and were playing like a band — figuring out some parts and getting into an emotional space,” says Reed. “And the actual concept of the song as we started digging into it, I felt like a relationship that you may be in for the rest of your life can start in such an unassuming light way.”
Speaking from his own heartfelt experience, Reed notes: “You could walk into a random house party and walk out flirting with the woman you’ll be with for 80 years.”
Listen to the stunning “Be the 1” below.