Dave Tozer

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Dave Tozer
DT Crop 2.jpg
Background information
GenresHip hop, R&B, Rock, Pop
Occupation(s)Record producer, Songwriter, Musician
InstrumentsGuitar, Bass, Keyboards, Programming, Drum Programming
Associated actsJohn Legend
Kanye West

Dave Tozer is a Grammy Award-winning music producer, songwriter, and musician. He has worked with several R&B, Hip-Hop, Rock and Pop artists including John Legend, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, John Mayer, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, Kimbra, Natasha Bedingfield, Needtobreathe, Three 6 Mafia, Musiq Soulchild, Emeli Sande, Craig David, Chrisette Michele, Mayer Hawthorne, James Bay, Estelle, DEV and Jazmine Sullivan.

Early life[edit]

Hailing from Bridgeton, New Jersey, Tozer taught himself guitar, bass and keyboard. After moving to Philadelphia in the late 1990s, Tozer honed his production skills at various Philadelphia-area studios, such as the legendary Sigma Sound Studios and began working as a freelance musician playing everything from Hip-Hop and Rock to R&B and Pop. Through Max Blumenthal, a mutual friend, Tozer met University of Pennsylvania student John Stephens [1] (later Grammy award-winning R&B star John Legend) and began a fruitful, professional relationship. In addition to developing creatively with Legend, Tozer produced his three independently released albums: John Stephens (2000), Live at Jimmy‘s Uptown (2001) and Live at SOB’s (2003).

Musical career[edit]


In 2004, Tozer contributed to eight tracks on Legend‘s Grammy Award-winning major label debut Get Lifted and his writing skills garnered him a publishing deal with Viacom-owned Famous Music Publishing. 2005 proved to be an important year for Tozer with the massive success of Get Lifted, which earned eight Grammy nominations and reached multi-platinum status. Legend won three awards including Best New Artist and Best R&B Album. Tozer was a producer on Get Lifted and the track “Stay With You,” which Tozer co-wrote and produced, was also nominated for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.

In 2005, soon after the success of Get Lifted, Tozer was crafting songs for artists such as Heather Headley and Natasha Bedingfield. He also contributed to Kanye West‘s Grammy-winning single “Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” and produced another Legend track for the Luther Vandross tribute album So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross. For Tozer, the year culminated in a deal with Sony Music as an in-house producer and a renewal of his Famous Music Publishing contract.

In 2006, Tozer worked on the track “Do U Wanna Ride” from Jay-Z's comeback album Kingdom Come. Tozer also reunited with his old friend Legend and produced three songs from his acclaimed second album Once Again, including the iTunes single “On Top Of The World."

In 2007, Tozer continued to work with several different artists, including J Records recording artist Jazmine Sullivan and Mercury Records recording artist George Stanford. Along with contributing to the development of the Philadelphia-based artist, Tozer worked to get Stanford signed to Epic Records before he subsequently moved to Mercury Records.


In 2008, Tozer reunited with longtime collaborator, John Legend to co-write and produce “This Time” on John Legend’s third album, Evolver. In 2009, Tozer worked with American Idol's Elliott Yamin to co-write and produce the record "Someday" on Yamin's second album, Fight for Love.

In 2010, Tozer wrote and produced “Find Me” for Musiq Soulchild and Jazmine Sullivan for Soulchild’s upcoming album. He also went on to collaborate with Justin Timberlake, co-writing and producing three songs for Timberlake's signees, Free Sol, to be released on their debut album, No Rules, on Timberlake’s imprint Tennman Records.


In 2011, Tozer and John Legend began working together on what would become Legend's fourth studio album, Love In The Future. Tozer co-executive produced the album with Kanye West. Recording sessions for the album took place over the next two-and-a-half years. The album was released on September 3, 2013 to widespread critical acclaim, and was Grammy-nominated for R&B album of year in 2014. In addition to being one of the album's two executive producers, Tozer produced fifteen tracks, mixed twelve, and co-wrote ten songs for the album.

In 2012, Tozer teamed up with legendary soul singer Michael Bolton to co-write and produce the Motown-inspired track, "Gotta Keep Dreamin," for Bolton's, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville." Later that year, Tozer worked with Mayer Hawthorne, co-writing and producing "The Valley."

In 2013, Tozer co-wrote and produced "Painted In Tears" for X-factor runner-up and Columbia Records recording artist Rebecca Ferguson. In addition, Tozer mixed Pixie Lott's "Higher & Higher," as well as two songs for the award-winning soundtrack to 12 Years A Slave, "Move" and "Roll, Jordan, Roll." Tozer also collaborated with Warner Bros. Records recording artist Kimbra on her latest album, The Golden Echo, co-producing and co-writing the track "Nobody But You."

On August 12, 2013, John’s Legend’s "All of Me," which Tozer produced and mixed, impacted U.S Radio as the third single from Love In The Future. The week ending May 16, 2014, All of Me peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Legend’s first number one single in the United States and knocking off "Happy" by Pharrell Williams, which had spent ten weeks at number-one on the chart. "All of Me" went on to reign the Hot 100 for two weeks and become certified 8x Platinum in the United States. The song peaked at number two in the United Kingdom and New Zealand and topped the charts in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

In 2014, Tozer produced and mixed the track "Home" on Ella Eyre's upcoming "Feline" album.


In 2016, Tozer co-wrote, produced and mixed "Beautiful & Fragile" (feat. Jay Prince) for UK newcomer D/C. Tozer co-wrote 2 songs, and produced a significant amount of Needtobreathe's sixth LP "Hard Love" which was released on July 15, 2016 and debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 charts. Tozer produced and mixed "All We Needed," and "Warm It Up," which he also co-wrote, on the Craig David album "Following My Intuition" which was released on September 30, 2016 and debuted at number 1 on the UK album charts.

On March 22, 2017, John Legend released “In America.” Produced and co-written by Tozer, this song was featured on the season 2 premiere of WGN’s hit show, Underground. A politically charged record that addresses issues of economic hardship and social injustice, Rolling Stone said of “In America,” “‘In America’ moves deftly between a thumping verse and a sweeping chorus, building incrementally to a gospel-tinged fever pitch that tapers swiftly into a sparse, chilling end. Legend presides over the track with equal parts anger and hope.”


In an interview with David Weiss of SonicScoop, Tozer summed up his approach as a producer, stating, “Magic is what I’m after. Writing a great song, it's like you've tapped into some spirit that’s guiding you. The words flow, the dots connect, and you've created something with a mystical quality. You know that feeling when it comes. When I’m with an artist, I’m on the lookout for voodoo.” [2]


Selected Credits[edit]

Year Artist Song Title Album Contribution
2017 John Legend "In America" Single Producer/Songwriter/Musician/Mixer
2016 Craig David "Warm It Up" Following My Intuition Producer/Songwriter/Musician/Mixer
2016 Craig David "All We Needed" Following My Intuition Producer/Musician/Mixer
2016 Needtobreathe "No Excuses" Hard Love Producer/Musician
2016 Needtobreathe "Let's Stay Home Tonight" Hard Love Producer/Musician
2016 Needtobreathe "Money & Fame" Hard Love Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2016 Needtobreathe "Great Night" feat. Shovels & Rope Hard Love Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2016 D/C "Beautiful & Fragile" feat. Jay Prince Badman EP Producer/Songwriter/Musician/Mixer
2016 Mayer Hawthorne "The Valley" Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2015 Needtobreathe "Brother" Single Producer/Musician
2015 Ella Eyre "Home" Ella Eyre Producer/Musician/Mixer
2014 Kimbra "Nobody But You" The Golden Echo Co-Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2013 John Legend Full Album Love In The Future Executive Producer/Producer/Songwriter/Musician/Mixer
2013 John Legend "Roll Jordan Roll" 12 years A Slave (Music from and Inspired By the Motion Picture) Mixer
2013 John Legend "Move" feat. Fink 12 years A Slave (Music from and Inspired By the Motion Picture) Mixer
2013 Pixie Lott "Higher & Higher" Single Mixer
2010 Musiq Soulchild "Find Me" feat. Jazmine Sullivan Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2010 Free Sol "Panic Attack" No Rules Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2010 Free Sol "The Coolest" No Rules Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2010 Free Sol "Restraining Order" No Rules Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2009 Elliott Yamin "Someday" Fight for Love Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2008 John Legend "This Time" Evolver Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2008 George Stanford "Heartbeat" Big Drop Producer/Songwriter/Mixer
2008 Lizz Wright "Speak Your Heart" The Orchard Songwriter
2006 Jay-Z "Do U Wanna Ride" Kingdom Come Instrumentalist
2006 John Legend "Maxine’s Interlude" Once Again Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2006 John Legend "On Top Of The World" Once Again (iTunes Single) Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2006 John Legend "Closer To You" Once Again (Bonus Track) Producer/Songwriter/Musician
2005 Kanye West "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" Late Registration Instrumentalist
2005 John Legend "Love Won’t Let Me Wait" So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross Producer/Musician/Mixer
2004 John Legend "Stay With You" Get Lifted Producer/Songwriter
2004 John Legend "I Can Change" feat. Snoop Dogg Get Lifted Producer/Songwriter
2004 John Legend "Let’s Get Lifted Again" Get Lifted Producer/Songwriter/Musician/Mixer
2004 John Legend "It Don’t Have To Change" feat. The Stephens Family Get Lifted Songwriter
2004 John Legend "Let’s Get Lifted" Get Lifted Instrumentalist
2004 John Legend "Live It Up" Get Lifted Instrumentalist
2004 John Legend "So High" Get Lifted Instrumentalist
2004 John Legend "Refuge (When It’s Cold Outside)" Get Lifted Instrumentalist
2004 John Legend "Johnny’s Gotta Go" Get Lifted (International Release) Producer/Songwriter/Musician/Mixer
2004 John Legend "Money Blown" Get Lifted (International Release) Producer/Songwriter
2003 John Legend Full Album Live At SOB’s Producer/Songwriter/Musician/Mixer
2001 John Legend Full Album Live At Jimmy’s Uptown Producer/Songwriter/Musician/Mixer
2000 John Legend Full Album John Stephens Producer/Songwriter/Musician/Mixer


Further reading[edit]

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