Behind the Boards is a series where we put the spotlight on some of the biggest producers in the industry and delve into some of their pet projects. Here we sit down with Poo Bear to talk about his work with Justin Bieber, Usher, DJ Khaled and more.
Songwriter and producer Jason Paul Douglas Boyd, aka Poo Bear, is best known as one of Justin Bieber’s key collaborators, but since his breakthrough with 112’s “Peaches & Cream,” he’s been making hits for more than two decades. These included Usher’s “Caught Up”, DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” and Lupe Fiasco’s “Bitch Bad” – not to mention an unusual collaboration with Zac Brown on his solo album The Controversy.
While speaking Consequence over Zoom, Poo Bear explained that his success stems from a constant work ethic, which he likened to an NBA basketball player who stays in the gym. “I try to write at least 600 songs a year,” he says. “Everything I write is usually placed, whether I’m with an artist or not. For me it’s more than just exercise, it actually becomes a source of income.”
Working with frequent collaborators like the Audibles, Sasha Sirota and shndō, Poo Bear assembles skeletons of his records and oversees production to create “a complete thought and idea” that makes sense not only lyrically and conceptually, but sonically as well. “There are many different roles that fall under the producer label, but the most important is the person who delivers the finished record,” he says. “Ultimately, the person making the record and the people who physically played the music and instruments are also producers.”
On Friday, November 18th, Poo Bear will be hitting the road again on his own with The Book of Nabeel, the follow-up to his 2018 debut Poo Bear Presents Bearthday Music. For the album, the Miami-based musician worked extensively with poet Nabeel Zahid, turning his collaborator’s prose into songs by adding structure and melody. Described by Poo Bear as one of his finest works lyrically, melodically and sonically, it includes the single “Distant Shore”, which was a hit on the dance charts.
Read below for an in-depth look at a small selection of Poo Bear’s work, including Justin Bieber’s Purpose, Usher’s Confessions, and DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” and “No Brainer.”