Grammy week has arrived! We’ve made cheat sheets on all the best producer nominees, so you can impress the guests at your Grammy party. Read up on Nineteen85 below, then check out the full series here.
#1. He bought his first instrument with money from his paper route
Anthony Paul Jefferies aka Nineteen85 grew up in Toronto’s Scarborough district to a Jamaican mother and Canadian father. Using the money he earned as a newspaper delivery boy, Jefferies bought himself a guitar and taught himself Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin songs. When he was in high school, he was part of a punk band, and that was his first experience writing music and making recordings.
#2. He credits another OVO great for his sparse style
Like many young producers, Jefferies started off wanting to get all his ideas on one song. But his mentor, Noah “40” Shebib of OVO, taught him to step back his productions and leave room for the artist. Sparseness is now a signature part of Jefferies’ sound.
#3. He’s a private guy in the public eye
A social following of only 21K followers on Instagram and 12K followers on Twitter is a rare sight for a hip hop producer of Jefferies caliber. Jefferies prefers to remain private and let the music do the talking — according to him, a producer is not a beatmaker but a feelmaker.
#4. He made Timmy Thomas a very happy man
Jefferies stumbled upon the 1973 Timmy Thomas song “Why Can’t We Live Together” while thumbing through radio stations in his car, a couple of months before “Hotline Bling” would hit those same airwaves. It was one of those magical musical “aha” moments, and Jefferies built the Drake hit around a sample of “Why Can’t We Live Together.” Thomas didn’t know his dusty track had been revived until “Hotline Bling” was already climbing the charts.