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Dominique Trenier, ex-manager for D’Angelo and producer for Mark Ronson’s debut album, was found dead in Los Angeles yesterday. No cause of death has been revealed yet. Trenier’s death was mourned by colleagues and friends including Ronson and The Roots’ Questlove.
As D’Angelo’s former manager, who functioned as the executive producer of the singer’s outstanding sophomore album, Voodoo, Trenier was a powerful force behind the scenes. He also co-directed D’Angelo’s most-known video, “Untitled (How Does It Feel?).” In addition, his resume encompasses production credits on the Space Jam soundtrack and Mark Ronson’s debut album, Here Comes The Fuzz. Ronson took to Instagram to recall the influence Trenier had on the artist, “I can trace most every important thing that happened in my career back to his hand.”
The Roots’ Questlove remembered his friend and colleague via Instagram with the caption “Trenier. So Much Wisdom. So Little Time.”
Words for Dom Part 1 For a good chunk of my life, Dominique Trenier was one of my very closest friends. He was also my musical mentor, my most trusted set of ears and my earliest champion. At 24 years old, I was just a downtown kid playing records at trendy hip hop clubs. One Friday night, he came up to my booth in the VIP room at Life and said, “Yo, i got this girl. She’s got an incredible voice…really incredible. Anyway, i don’t know what the album’s supposed to sound like exactly, but i want it to feel like one of your [DJ] sets. You know, EPMD, AC/DC, Chaka Khan…Biggie, all that shit”. I was both psyched and incredibly flattered. Dom was a already a bit of a downtown icon. His music cred was nuts. He worked with D’Angelo & rolled with Puffy, Russell and Andre. His charisma was off the chain, all types of people were drawn to him (i think he was holding court with Chris Rock & Rick Rubin that night). And most recognisably, he had this crazy raspy voice that sounded like he’d been gargling razor blades since the age of 6. Nobody knew how his voice got that way. Like Seal’s scars, one morning he apparently just awoke that way. And the fact that a young black man could have the same throaty timbre of a 70 year Jew from Brooklyn only added to the legend of “Exotic Dom”. A few weeks later, he introduced me to the “girl”—Nikka Costa. And over the next two years, under Dom’s musical guidance, Nikka, her husband Justin and I produced Nikka’s debut album—which in turn led to me getting my first album deal with Elektra. Also, being a walking charm factory, Dom always knew the best people to hang with in every city. The time we visited London, Dom says, “Yo. My friend Jade said the flyest club night is tonight. It’s called YOYO. We’re going”. That night, I met Leo Greenslade & Seb Chew. Through my incredible friendship with them and playing their night YOYO over the years, among other wonderful things, I met Lily Allen. Dom also introduced me to Guy Moot at an early Nikka gig in London. A few years later, Guy sent Amy Winehouse to my studio in NY to see if we would click musically. I can trace most every important thing that happened in my career back to his hand
Revisit the music video for “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)” below.