DIXSON’s career may be in its early stages, but he’s already accomplished what many haven’t so far.
The Roc Nation signee is a singer, songwriter and producer who has spent a lot of time in the background, behind the boards and arranging vocals for big names like Chance the Rapper, Justin Bieber, Chika, YEBBA, Kirk Franklin and Kim Burrell, among others. But over the past few years, DIXSON, born Darius Scott, has been making himself known as an in-the-forefront artist.
Nothing is a greater example of this transition than the Made in America Festival. While this year’s event is next month, it actually isn’t the first time the Atlanta native has performed at it. In 2017, now-labelmate Vic Mensa tapped him to be his lone background singer during his set, which included two rockstar musicians who had a front-row seat just as their performance began.
“There was a lot on the line for that particular Made in America because basically from what I remember it was like an audition for the 4:44 Tour [for Vic Mensa] to open,” DIXSON tells BET.com. “I felt a lot of pressure to get every little detail right. And then of course right as we walk on stage [Jay-Z] and Beyoncé come sit stage side. It immediately raises the bar of pressure for both of us. And we killed it.”
The experience would only be the first involving Vic, DIXSON, and their stageside superstar onlookers. Mensa would go on to open for the 4:44 Tour for Jay-Z and DIXSON would see himself garner credit in liner notes of Beyoncé’s latest album, RENAISSANCE.
His first listing was for “Virgo’s Groove,” which DIXSON says came as a surprise. While in the studio working on his own music a friend suggested he link up with singer/producer Leven Kali, who was working on a record for Bey’s seventh LP. Once doing so, DIXSON recalls being asked to lay down some vocals for the track – an opportunity he jumped at.
“He puts on the beat and I just go in the booth and kind of blackout,” he says. “We did it very, very quickly, honestly, because Leven had pretty much had the song laid out. It just had some parts that were missing, and yeah, it ended up sticking. It's crazy from that studio session to the record coming out I don't think I ever touched it again. So I was just honored that what I did had enough staying power to live and exist on the record.”
For “Pure Honey,” DIXSON says he was much more “intentional” when it comes to the record.
“BloodPop, who is a mastermind, played the beat. And I was like, Nah, run that back one more time. I needed to hear the beat again. And midway through I ran in the booth and just started freestyling on an idea,” he recalls.
And if working on songs that ended up on Beyoncé’s album wasn’t enough, DIXSON also contributed to her track “Be Alive,” featured in the Will Smith-led film King Richard, for which he received an Oscar nomination for original song.
Now working on his own solo music, the past 14 months for DIXSON have been major. In June of last year, he dropped his official debut album with DARLING, and now, he’s back with 4 Daisy, his second solo studio LP and biggest one to date.
Scheduled for release next month, the project is full of DIXSON’s enigmatic vocals and trademark songwriting, which are exemplified on “Cherry Sorbet,” 004Daisy’s lead single. Released in May and featuring Sevyn Streeter, the song is a harmony between the two singers sure to spice up any romance. It, along with the rest of the LP, proves why DIXSON is very formidable as someone much more than a background singer and producer.
“The album has taken on many shapes and iterations and I feel like the one that we landed on is perfect for the time, perfect for where I am like in my career as I’ve developed. It's bringing me back to the center of why I got into business in the first place,” he says. “Between [my debut project dropping in 2017] and now, I toured, I lost my father, and I needed some time to create a new sound and really figure out what I wanted to say.”
Last June, DIXSON also performed at Essence Festival. And while he didn’t perform on the main stage, he says the experience was an amazing one full of music lovers, many of whom were hearing his music for the first time.
“I remember back in 2019 when I got signed I wrote down things I want to do, like I want to play [Saturday Night Live], I want to do Essence [Fest], I want to do like some late night things, and I didn't really think twice about it,” he reflected on the opportunity. “Then we get the call for Essence and I had a moment where I'm going back through my old journals and land on that page where I said it and it was just a surreal moment – just writing something down and seeing it come to pass. That's really cool.”
Next month will also provide DIXSON with one of the biggest full-circle moments of his career as he’ll perform at Made in America – not as a background singer, but as a billed artist.
“I'm about to put on a real show. I'm back and forth with a costume designer getting my custom jackets and everything made like I'm ready to put on the show. I think it's time man, I have this body of work that I feel like will sit well with that audience,” he touts. “Obviously, it’s HOV’s festival and I have an immense respect for him, but to be in this lineup – Bad Bunny’s headlining, Tyler [The Creator] is headlining, Jazmine Sullivan so it’s just so many amazing artists, I get to be there with my label mates – it's a big moment for me and I'm just excited to be there".
Check out DIXSON's new music video for "Cherry Sorbet," below:
0004Daisy will be available everywhere on Sept. 16, 2022, and will be available for pre-save this Friday, Aug. 26.