Tony Scales, professionally known as Chef Tone, is an American record producer and songwriter. Born in 1983, Tony Scales spent his early life on the south side of Chicago. He had a turbulent time as a youth, spending it in and out of shelters, but that was long before he realized his true calling. Scales was always interested in music, be it the keyboard he had as a kid or remembering his father owning a saxophone. As a kid, he would sing–admittedly off-key and loudly around the house, to the annoyance of his family. Ironically it was this freestyle, at-home, when he realized he had a real skill that could be further polished.
It was in 2007 that Scales connected to an entertainment manager and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Within months of relocating, he was offered an exclusive producer and songwriter deal with Atlantic Records, the first from this label. As a songwriter, his first placement was with artist Plies for ‘Please Excuse My Hands,’ featuring Jamie Foxx. The number was an instant hit and made it to the top 10 position on the music charts, leading to his long-term deal to write, produce, and develop talent with the record label. From that success, there was no looking back for the songwriter and producer. Scales went on to work with Trey Songz, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Dr. Dre, Justin Bieber, etc. When it comes to female singers, some of his favorites in the industry include Aretha Franklin. As for his favorite male artists, Scales is a Michael Jackson devotee, suggesting Jackson beats everyone because his music transcends time, age, and culture.
Since he consistently worked hard to earn a name for himself in an extremely competitive industry, he makes sure to take out time for young and aspiring artists by visiting schools and camps to mentor them to pursue their dreams. Moreover, he is working on developing programs for kids from the inner city to help them get exposure and learn the tricks of the trade. He advises the youth to be consistent with their efforts when they can’t find motivation around them. It is difficult to always be inspired and enthusiastic about your dreams, especially when life is full of unexpected twists and turns. However, the key to success is staying persistent, working hard, and not letting failures come in the way of your hustle. Success is never instant or easy, but what makes people successful is their determination and consistent approach to making it big, irrespective of the people or circumstances surrounding them.
One thing is sure, the process of writing is not the same for every artist. When Scales writes songs for artists, he keeps in mind their fanbase, likes and dislikes, and expectations, but beyond that, he also takes into consideration how to write songs that will bring more fans into the fold. This is not all! He taps into people who may not be interested in a particular artist, but with soulful and strong lyrics, they might start following their music. Currently, he is working with several talented artists, including Maejor, and believes some great music is in the pipeline from this combination.
The only challenge Scales faced during the process was the lack of understanding of the business part, which is common among creatives early in their career. They are so focused on their craft that they ignore the business portion. “The companies at large have failed to educate the creative community and have found it rather to their advantage to exploit.” As he puts it, “The process of making a song isn’t hard, especially when you have spent hours and hours on mastering it. However, navigating the politics is what can get a bit tricky at times.”
Scales has enjoyed a #1 Billboard charting song, multiple multi-platinum records, multiple Grammy nominations, and over a billion streams collectively. Some famous songs from various artists he has worked on are Ludacris’s ‘Sex Room,’ Jamie Foxx’s ‘Best Night of My Life’ and ‘Gorgeous .’Apart from that, the list includes Flo Rida’s ‘Respirator,’ Sean Paul’s ‘Entertainment’ featuring Juicy J, Nicki Minaj, and 2 Chainz, Maejor Ali’s ‘Lolly’ featuring Justin Bieber and Juicy J. A few other notable achievements include Justin Bieber’s ‘Heartbreaker,’ which topped the iTunes charts at #1 in 63 countries, peaking at #13 on the US Hot 100 chart, becoming Tony’s fastest-rising release. His collaboration with Trey Songz on ‘Invented Sex’ featuring Drake debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 chart and peaked at #1 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop albums chart. He’s also penned down and produced singles for Trey Songz, like ‘Bottoms Up,’ ‘Love Faces,’ ‘Say Aah,’ ‘Yo Side of the Bed,’ and ‘LOL,’ which received immense popularity and love from fans across the world.
Tony Scales is indeed the kind of songwriter and producer who believes in working passionately and focusing on honing one’s skills constantly. As you keep getting better at your job, money and fame will follow on their own.