Dallas Austin

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Dallas Austin
Birth nameDallas L. Austin
Born (1970-12-29) December 29, 1970 (age 50)
Columbus, Georgia, U.S.
GenresPop, R&B, hip hop, new jack swing, pop rock, electropop, dance-pop
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer, film producer
InstrumentsKeyboards, drums, harmonica, guitar
Years active1989–present
LabelsRowdy, Limp Records, FREEWORLD
Associated acts

Dallas L. Austin (born December 29, 1970) is an American musician, songwriter, record producer, and film producer.


Early life[edit]

Austin was born in Columbus, Georgia. In a lengthy 2019 interview with DJ Vlad, he divulged numerous details of his life and career. Austin had two brothers who as young men were frequently in prison for crimes such as drug trafficking and robbery. His mother was self-employed as the proprietor of a restaurant located next door to their home. At the time of Austin's birth, his mother had never held a job where she was not self-employed, and would not do so until the family moved to Atlanta when Austin was a teenager. Austin did not much like living in Columbus as his family's finances were not the best and he disliked his living conditions. As a child, Austin became interested in music and asked his mother to buy him a keyboard; she was initially reluctant to do so because she was concerned that he would not stick with his interest, but Austin managed to assuage her fears by proposing that she start out by buying him a small machine, then, as he kept with it every year, buy him progressively larger machines; his mother relented and she followed Austin's suggestion. When he was a teenager, one of his brothers threw his keyboard across his bedroom; Austin was very much upset by this as he felt music was his "way out" of his living conditions. He recalled after this event feeling that he could no longer put up with his life in Columbus, and he boarded a bus to Atlanta to move there, where he told his family that he would stay with his aunt. Austin's mother said that if he was leaving, then she and his brothers would also move there as she did not want to be apart from him. To do this, Austin's mother had to save up money, and his mother and brothers joined him months later. Austin's mother got a job at a restaurant. Austin by this time lived in neighborhoods where the Ku Klux Klan was prominent. [1]


Austin got his start in the music industry by way of Klymaxx member Joyce Irby.[2] Under her guidance, he was enlisted as a producer for her company Diva One Productions.[2] Austin produced the lead single of Irby's debut for Motown Records as well as the songs "My Music" and "I Will Always Love You" for Troop's 1989 album Attitude.[3] When he was starting out as a producer, he would frequent a local skating rink and records that he produced would be played over the sound system; T-Boz, his future collaborator of TLC fame, was also a frequent patron.[1] He used to take his keyboard to school with him, but his mother expressed annoyance at this, telling his school guidance counselor that she did not feel his production career would work out, but the counselor told her that because Austin had kept at his hobby for so long (it was his eleventh grade year), then perhaps it would indeed work out, and suggested that Austin's mother back him. His mother, upon hearing this from a third party, agreed to support Austin. Austin, who was nearly finished with his compulsory education, expressed his wish to cease going to school. His mother, though not pleased with this, allowed him to do so. He spent a large amount of his time at the aforementioned skating rink, where the owners had built a studio for an Atlanta production collective, Organized Noize. All of this was around 1986.[1]

In 1990, Austin branched out on his own. His work on Motown led him to work on albums by other acts signed to the label - the first being the little known group Glasswurk.[2] Austin later helmed the bulk of the debut albums for the Motown signees Another Bad Creation and Boyz II Men.[2][4] When he telephoned Joyce Irby to say that he was to work with Boyz II Men, she told him that she was going to "[sue] everybody" and immediately thereafter hung up the phone. Austin initially did not understand why she said this, but would later find out that it was because he was considered a "work for hire" employee of Irby. He consulted a lawyer and the lawyer said that although the employment contracts to which he was a party were not favorable to him, they were fair enough so he advised Austin to keep working under them. Irby did not sue anybody and everything worked out as Austin was, as aforementioned, able to produce on the debut Boyz II Men record.[1] When DJ Vlad asked Austin why he only produced one song on Boyz II Men's second album, he said it was because he "didn't like them" after the first album. He said in turn that this was because the members had ostensibly become vain since their success had begun, paraphrasing them emphasizing costly tangibles with statements such as "Man [...] I can't finish counting the diamonds in my Rolex right now.", and "we gotta let somebody win [referring to music industry awards] this year; good thing we're not there."[1]

Austin was later recruited by L.A. Reid and Babyface to work on a couple of projects for their record label, LaFace Records.[2] The duo recruited him to work on the debut album for TLC.[2] From there, he was granted a deal for his short-lived group Highland Place Mobsters, which was Austin joining the members Glasswurk who were formerly signed to Motown.[2]

In 2014 Austin appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as a co-host.[5]

After his success with other acts, Austin was recruited by After 7 to produce a few songs on their second album, Takin' My Time. Austin then worked with Madonna on her 1994 album Bedtime Stories. In the 2000s, Austin worked with pop acts and produced hit singles like TLC's "Unpretty", Pink's songs "Don't Let Me Get Me" and "Just Like a Pill," and Gwen Stefani's 2004 single "Cool."

Personal life[edit]

Austin has 3 children, including a son, Tron Austin, born in 1997 to TLC singer Chilli, and a niece, whom he helped raise after the death of his brother, Claude Austin, in 1994.[6]

Record labels founded by Dallas Austin[edit]

Recording studio[edit]

Austin owned a personal recording studio named D.A.R.P., an acronym for "Dallas Austin's Recording Projects."[9] It was later renamed UAMG Studios, short for "Urban Angels Music Group."[10]



  1. ^ a b c d e Dallas Austin on Producing Michael Jackson, TLC, Boyz II Men, Monica, Pink (Full Interview), retrieved November 3, 2019
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Make It Funky: The Rise & Fall of the Highland Place Mobsters". redbullmusicacademy.com. Red Bull Music Academy. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
  3. ^ "Producer Dallas Austin talks about Boyz II Men's debut album, 'Cooleyhighharmony'". Wax Poetics. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  4. ^ Siegmund, Heidi. "The Young and the Rowdy : At 21, Dallas Austin is a hit R&B producer, an A&R scout, a hip-hop frontman and a record label owner. Now he wants to branch out". articles.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
  5. ^ "Dallas Austin | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  6. ^ I-Cheng Chan (July 1, 2006). "Just Who Is Dallas Austin?". gulfnews.com. Al Nisr Publishing LLC. Retrieved March 8, 2016. Austin is married and has four children including a son, Tron, born in 1997 during his relationship with TLC's Rozonda "Chili"[sic] Thomas..
  7. ^ "trademark: LIMP RECORDS". tmfile.com. TMFile. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  8. ^ "LIMP RECORDS". trademarkia.com. LegalForce, Inc. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  9. ^ Hogan, Ed. "Dallas Austin - Biography & History". allmusic.com. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  10. ^ "Urban Angels Studios (@UAMGatDARP) - Twitter".

External links[edit]