Is Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III your real name?
That’s absolutely true. It’s kind of colonial; you know its one of those Jamaican names that has followed my family to America.
Where does your love for music come from?
My dad used to always play the ukulele in the house and sing Calypso songs, he made music fun for us and my mom was also a big music fan so we always had music going on with parties and stuff, a lot of salsa music cause they are from Panama so a lot of Latin and Caribbean music.
You know personally I just look at it with a very compassionate point of view; everybody wants to do something positive for their family and provide for their family and I think we should all be able to have that opportunity to do so.
“I Need a Dollar” your first hit on HBO?
Absolutely, I spent from 1995 to 2005 rapping and from 2005 to 2010 spent time sort of figuring out how to sing and I had the opportunity to write this classic solo album and “I Need a Dollar” took off with the help of HBO’s How to Make it in America.
The TV supervisor was aware of the Indy label I was on and they were asking for music. I had just finished my album so we sent it in and they said, wow this I need a dollar song really works for the concept of this TV show and asked if they could use it.
“Wake Me Up” collaboration with Avicii
The truth is it was collaboration the song was completed in studio between Mike Einziger and Avicii. I had written the lyrics on a flight from Geneva to Los Angeles and Avicii had invited me to the studio to record a song that he had received from Mac Davis and I recorded that song with Avicii and he appreciated my voice and we ended starting on another song and he really liked what I did in terms of writing a melody. When he was in the studio with Mike Einziger he called me up and said we need some lyric for a song and I came with what I thought was my strongest lyric at the time which was “Wake Me Up” and Mike had come up with a nice guitar cord progression and when I got there I just recorded my song over his guitar cords and it was a nice acoustic version and Avicii took that acoustic version and made a fantastic dance hit.
It was a song that I wrote and produced with a production team called Rock Mafia here in Hollywood they do a lot of stuff with big named artist and I have a friend who is a fantastic poet and works there and I told him I want to make something that sounds urgent almost like a ticking bomb and that’s almost exactly what happened. And we just wrote this concept of sitting on a ticking bomb and it turned out fantastic I think.