Songwriting is an art that not every artist can master. This is why accomplished songwriters like Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen, and Bob Dylan stand out from the ever-thickening crowd. It’s because writing meaningful songs that resonate with people isn’t easy. To strike the right chords with their audiences, a good lyricist must ensure they’re writing lyrically intricate songs that sound melodious and match the production. Yet, most pop music today is overridden with meaningless choruses and hooks.
With mass-market production as the main goal for most mainstream record labels, few artists concentrate on the impact their music will have—except for how easily it can get stuck in people’s heads and become a chart-topper. This is why good music, the kind that speaks to the everyday lives of people, is next to nowhere these days. What little good music manages to surface is often produced through collaborations with renowned songwriters and lyricists. That’s where individuals like Tony Scales, also known as Chef Tone, enter the mix.
Born in the south of Chicago, Tony’s upbringing wasn’t the easiest. He spent his adolescence in and out of shelters and saw some of the difficult days of his life. Fortunately, music was a crutch that helped him through these turbulent times. Although he never received a formal music education, he did hone his musical craft through repeated practice and dedication. People often say that experience is the best teacher, and it’s especially true in Tony’s case. He would play music for other kids at the show-and-tell sessions at shelters—this was pivotal to his development as a musician.
Perhaps it was the turbulence in his past, his grit that got him through some very tough times, or the encouragement he received for his talent as a child that enabled him to transcend the boundaries of conventional lyricism and introduce a new arch to music. Today Tony Scales is a celebrated songwriter with endless accomplishments to his name. He has collaborated with megastars, including Justin Bieber, Dr. Dre, Nicki Minaj, and Drake, and written verses that reflect a depth of understanding—not just of words but also of switching flow and creating a complex yet structured verse.
Owing to his superior understanding of music, Tony’s contribution to music has received wide praise both from listeners and the industry. While his lyrics are still talked about today on social media in comments and discussion forums, he has also accumulated several multi-platinum records and Grammy nominations. That’s without discounting the fact that one of his songs also topped the Billboard Hot 100, and altogether, his body of work has amassed a billion streams collectively.
An important feature of Chef Tone’s music that helps it stand out from the crowd is the natural flow of his lyrics. There’s an underrated beauty in the way his verses complement each other and have a sense of profoundness about them, even though he isn’t big on difficult vocabulary. Expanding on this skill, he explained, “You should never just search up synonyms to finish a rhyme. This is because forced rhyming typically indicates that you had to look around before you eventually found a word that fits the flow. And so, the emotional impact of a lyric might be destroyed by forced rhymes since they suggest that you have probably paid more attention to rhyme than to meaning.”
Tony Scales has already accomplished numerous milestones, and he has no plans of stopping anytime soon. In fact, he’s working on a new project with a talented artist called Maejor and is also working on a psychedelic company. Hence, it’s safe to say Tony Scales isn’t just a songwriter; he’s the epitome of cool.