Usher isn't the only person who has benefited from the success of his album Confessions. Songwriter/producer Bryan-Michael Cox's star is on the rise, thanks in part to the album and his contribution to the hit single "Burn." Cox co-produced and co-wrote the song with frequent collaborator Jermaine Dupri.
"I've been doing this for a long time, but 2004 was an introduction to me for a lot of people, thanks to that record," Cox said. "Because of my association with 'Burn,' people are starting to look back at what else I've done. It has definitely raised people's awareness of me. I was blessed to be part of that project."
Cox's discography already reads like an awards-show lineup: It includes tracks with Alicia Keys, B2K, Mariah Carey and Destiny's Child, among others. However, his crowning moment has been "Burn": The song earned the producer two Grammy nominations.
"Everybody who does this for a living dreams about being nominated," Cox said. "It's the ultimate accomplishment. I've always been the silent guy — I come in, do my job and head out. I like to leave all the glory and shine to others, but this is the validation that means the most to me. It also makes me want to work harder to get that same recognition again."
Cox could easily find himself in the same position later this year: His recent list of collaborators includes Whitney Houston, 112, Faith Evans and Mary J. Blige, among others. Cox recently re-teamed with Dupri for Fantasia's next single, "You Got Me Waiting."
"JD, Johnta Austin and I were working on the song for Ciara," Cox explained. "Her camp liked it, but they didn't want another ballad for her. So I sent it to J Records and they loved it for Fantasia. She cut it immediately, and now it's one of my favorite records."
Like most young entrepreneurs in this business, Cox also has aspirations of starting his own label. He recently inked a deal with Universal for his Blackbaby Inc. production company. The label will serve as home to Cox's first-signed act, Dirty Rose.
"They're four guys from Texas," said Cox. "They're off the chain — one produces, one plays guitar and the other two share vocals. I hate to compare them to anybody, but they're reminiscent of Jodeci — that real street soul. That's how I want all of the music on my label to sound.
"I want to continue to produce hits," he continued. "I'm still this young, hungry cat and I think I am bringing some new blood into the game."