Tony Dofat Shares His Fondest Memories of Heavy D

Heavy D and Dofat mixing board

Today would have been Dwight “Heavy D” Myers 49th Birthday.  Grammy Award winning producer Tony Dofat was one of Heavy’s closest friends and recorded over 30 songs with him throughout his career, starting with 1993’s Blue Funk. So he was kind enough to share some of his fondest memories of the Overweight Lover.

1. We lived together in L.A. for about two years. Universal leased us a house in the Hills and he loved how I cooked. My best meal was chicken wings and he’d get mad at me for making good chicken wings.  He was working out but kept going back to the kitchen. One time he said “I used to drink 40s when I was little. Let’s get some 40s to drink.” Just to do fun stuff. It was always something fun. We used to have poker games and John Salley would come by. Chris Rock. Chris Tucker. They’d all play poker for money at the house and I’d cook. It was some unreal type of life when you think about it when you’re on the outside looking in. Karl Kani used to come over.  Arsenio Hall and Hev were really close. And Denzel. They’d go out to dinner all the time. They were really friends because they cared about his interests. They loved his aura and his personality.

2. He liked to record in the actual control room instead of the booth. He hated the booth. We’d set the mic up there and wear headphones and he would record it and we’d punch him in a line at a time.

Heavy D and Dofat mixing board

Heavy D and Tony Dofat recording “Waterbed Hev” at Larabee West Studios.

3. Lou Tucker was the first person he told he was having a baby, his daughter Xea. I was the second. He was all nervous. He’d do anything for that girl. He was super sensitive already but once he had a daughter that was icing on the cake. He’d read to her, he’d smother her with kisses. He gets it from his family. He has a loving mother and father. His whole family is loving. They treat me like I’m their son.

4. He always inspired me. I said I wanna be a chef and he told me go to cooking school. When I said I wanted to write a book he said go write a book then. That’s one of the reasons I wrote the book and dedicated it to him. When I lectured some 8th graders recently I told them to choose your friends wisely. Find people who want to see the best for you. Anything I wanted to do he said do it.

5. When I bought my first jewelry I spent a lot. It was like 70 carats of diamonds. He said Tony, jewelry and stuff like that is fun when people go “ooh and ahh” but after they do it you’re not gonna wear it anymore. One of the things he learned from his family is that “If it doesn’t breathe don’t love it.” I spent a whole bunch of money on jewelry and he was right. I didn’t wear it anymore.

6. He was a different type of executive. Executives don’t care about artists. They smile when they’re on the charts but when they’re doing nothing for you it’s “Who?” But he was a friend before being an executive and there aren’t a lot of those people anymore. He wouldn’t take advantage of you as an artist.

7. He was just a positive guy. If I ever came to the studio with a negative attitude he’d say Dofat leave and come back. He’s one of the first dudes outside of my family to say ‘I Love You’ to me. One day he went for a walk and came back and had bought me a T-shirt and some sneakers. A Beatles T-shirt and some Chuck Taylors. He was that type of dude.

Tony Dofat Chucks

8. Everything he did as a producer was always different. We’d listen to something to inspire us and he’d say “Dofat let’s start with this” and he’d say a pattern and I’d just bang on the table and make sounds messing with the reverb. 9 times out of 10 it came out great. His iTunes playlist was so broad, everything from the Beatles to Red Hot Chili Peppers to hip-hop. That inspired the sound of what he was looking for. We did a song for Monifah and we were listening to the Beatles and they used this instrument called the Mellotron. It was one of the first keyboards that played a cassette tape and it would loop with the sound. They used that and he wanted to make a song based on that. Puff was paying top dollar for our records because he really loved them, not just because it was Heavy D. We really made great music.

9. Once his mind was made up, it was made up.  We used to argue in the studio all the time but he’d say that was good because we would meet in the middle and make great music. He used to tell people “That’s Tony Dofat. He’s a legend but he’s an asshole.”

10. He didn’t like phony girls. He liked regular down to earth girls. Even if she was unattractive he’d treat her like she was a queen. Girls would bring their friends to the studio and he didn’t discriminate. Love is love.

11. Acting was his passion and I supported him. That’s why he moved to LA. He had ideas for movies and wrote some screenplays. He was really passionate about it. He and Will Smith were close friends and Will was trying to help him as well.  Queen Latifah and Shakim used to come over to the house, they were helping him out as well.

12. One time we were in the elevator at The Four Seasons and Robert De Niro and his wife stepped on. That was the first time they’d met and they were big fans of each other. De Niro was like “Heavy D I love you.” That was funny.

13. I bought a brand new Porsche when we were in L.A. He used to say “Dofat, don’t ever get bored, because that’s when you go out and buy dumb shit.” I’d go to the Beverly Center and just buy $800 worth of cologne. So one day I got bored and went to Santa Monica and bought a new Porsche. It only had 800 miles on it and I parked it on the street in front of the house. Two weeks later I go to NY to visit my kids, when I come back there’s a big ass dent in my door. I asked what happened and Hev said “Sorry, I couldn’t see it when I was backing out of the driveway.” After that I didn’t even want the car anymore. I gave it back.

14. He would curse. Not in public [or on record] but he would definitely curse.  

15. When we were out at clubs and he’d use me to introduce myself to get the person’s name [if he forgot] because he didn’t want to be disrespectful.

Heavy D and Dofat Negril

Heavy D and Tony Dofat at Negril Village in NY.

16. The Heavy album was great. There was a song we did called “Imagine That” and Puff tried to buy it from us for $75K and Heavy said no, that’s gonna be my next single.  That should have been the first single. We did that whole album in my house. I built the studio in the house just for Hev to record it and it paid for itself because my fee was like $300K and the studio only cost me a $100K to make.

17. That song he did with 8Ball and Pun “On Point,” Heavy came up with that idea of doing a song called [originally called] “The Heavyweights.” I did the beat and he sent it to everybody and they came to my house in White Plains to write their verses.

18. “Ask Heaven.”  Heavy’s brother died on Thanksgiving Day. I remember because me and his brother Jerry were cool before I started making music. His parents are strong, man. They’ve buried three of their boys. Heavy was the youngest. I did that song with Eric Sermon. Eric came up with the original beat and I helped co-produce it. Chico came and recorded his vocals.

19. I came up with the “Big Daddy” song on a plane on the way back from NY. I’d been visiting my kids and I had the idea in my head. When I landed I asked the driver to take me straight to the studio. I did the beat in 30 minutes and that was one of the first beats I did for the new album. Heavy heard it and was like “That’s cool, but lets make some more.” D.O. was co-executive producing and when he heard it he said “This beat is fire, what’s up with this?” I got my friend Kiana Hinton to sing on it and she did it and that became the first single. It went gold and was just shy of platinum [selling] 900 something thousand [copies]. The label stopped manufacturing the single because they wanted album sales. We coulda had a platinum single.

20. The reggae album Vibes was something he wanted to do for a while and finally got the courage to do it. Olivia is the woman singing on “Long Distance Girlfriend.” We didn’t give her credit on it but she is the one singing. This was 2009. We were nominated for a Grammy for best Reggae album of the year and something else. D-Nice has pictures of both of us backstage and while we rehearsed.

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