Frank Dukes

Adam King Feeney (born September 12, 1983), professionally known as Frank Dukes, is a Canadian record producer, songwriter, and DJ.[1][2][3][4] A prolific producer, he has worked with artists including Camila Cabello ("Havana," "Never Be The Same"), Post Malone ("Congratulations," "Better Now," Circles") and The Weeknd ("Call Out My Name"). Dukes came to prominence in the 2010s as a composer and beatmaker whose work was utilized by prominent record producers to sample in their own productions; many of his samples have been used in songs for major artists including Drake, Travis Scott, Taylor Swift, and Kanye West, with some drawing from the Kingsway Music Library, a prolific sample library which he has run since 2013.[5]

Frank Dukes
Birth nameAdam King Feeney
Also known asFrank Dukes
Born (1983-09-12) September 12, 1983 (age 37)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Record producer
  • songwriter
  • disc jockey
Instruments
Years active2001–present
Associated acts
Websitekingswaymusiclibrary.com

Among other awards and nominations, Dukes' work has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year six times since 2017. He is considered one of Canada's top producers, having been awarded Songwriter of the Year by SOCAN every year since 2018 along with similar honors from BMI and the Juno Awards.

Early lifeEdit

Adam King Feeney was born on September 12, 1983, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and was raised in the city's northern suburb of Thornhill.[6] His first exposure to creating music was piano lessons at age five; however, he quit lessons after three years due to losing interest in it. He later taught himself to play guitar, bass and drums.[4][7]

As a teenager, he spent a lot of time skateboarding and gained more interest in music, becoming a DJ.[8] In 1999, at age 16, Dukes began collecting records from the 1960s and 1970s in an effort to understand how they were made.[4] This habit got him into record production and he bought an MPC the following year. He graduated from St. Robert Catholic High School in Thornhill in 2001.[9] Dukes has stated that he had no intention to make music his profession.[8][10]

CareerEdit

2000s: Early career and first placementsEdit

Dukes began producing music seriously in the early 2000s. He chose the stage name Frank Dukes as a teenager, inspired by the character of Frank Dux in the martial arts film Bloodsport.[11] Dukes sold his first beat for $250 to a local Canadian hip hop recording artist from Toronto named General Too Smooth.[10] In 2005, he connected with Toronto-based music manager Mo' Jointz who found Duke placements with Toronto and New York-area hip hop artists, most notably with the American hip hop group G-Unit; Dukes would produce a number of tracks for rappers Lloyd Banks and 50 Cent. A few of these would be released years later including his first paid placement for a major artist, the song "Sooner or Later (Die 1 Day)" on Banks' third studio album H.F.M. 2 (The Hunger for More 2), for which Dukes was $5,000 paid in 2008.[8] During this period, Dukes produced songs and beats inspired by East Coast hip hop but his style became slower and more moody overtime like that of the nascent New Toronto sound.[10] Dukes was one of the first producers to work with Drake, producing the track "Money" off his debut mixtape Room for Improvement, released in 2006.[12][9] Dukes relationship with producer Boi-1da, who would become one of the in-house producer's for Drake's OVO Sound label, has led to many collaborations for Drake since this time.[13]

2010s: Sample innovator and acclaimEdit

Creative relationships and album producer

At the end of the 2000s, Dukes connected with Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah, producing three tracks for his 2010 album Apollo Kids. The two met after Dukes won the Red Bull Big Tune championship in 2009; Dukes had also given Ghost a beat tape the previous year.[10][14] Dukes would later perform as his and Cappadonna's tour DJ.[15] This led to a series of Wu-Tang-related collaborations over the following five years, including producing more than half the tracks for the RZA-produced The Man with the Iron Fists album in 2012. During the same period, Dukes met the Canadian hip hop/jazz group BADBADNOTGOOD at their first live show in 2011. Dukes and the group became close collaborators, even sharing a studio for many years;[16] the band members play on many of the samples Dukes produced during the decade and, in turn, Dukes produced their first original album III, released in 2014. Dukes' work with Ghostface and BBNG culminated in their shared 2015 record, Sour Soul.[17]

Kingsway Music Library and sample composition

During the first half of the decade, Dukes began writing music that he could use and manipulate as samples in his own work, much like the traditional record sampling he took part in as a hip hop producer. Inspired in part by his experiences working with the Menahan Street Band, a contemporary funk and soul ensemble that employ vintage recording techniques (and achieve the 1960s/1970s sound and style so often sought after in hip hop samples),[18] Dukes began recording his compositions similarly, using vintage and analog equipment. Observing the sample clearance issues he experienced while working with 50 Cent and Ghostface,[18] Dukes had the idea of using his body of work as samples for other record producers to use, much like the traditional library music model, and began sharing his work with the likes of Vinylz and Boi-1da; beginning in 2013, he packaged a portion of his compositions into various volumes for a collection titled Kingsway Music Library which he sells with the clearance of his samples guaranteed.[4][8][19]

This sample production work created acclaim for Dukes in 2014 when a composition he wrote with musician Chester Hansen of BBNG was given to Boi-1da and flipped into the Drake single "0 to 100."[20] As a credited producer, Dukes was awarded a Grammy nomination.[18] From this point forward, he was inspired to grow Kingsway Music Library into an established platform for original music for sampling. He continues to distribute a limited amount of his music this way and invites up-and-coming musicians to collaborate or contribute whole volumes to his platform. As of 2021, Dukes has released thirteen volumes of music through Kingsway.

His compositions, including those designated for Kingsway Music, have led to him working with record producers such as Boi-1da, Metro Boomin, Vinylz, DJ Dahi, Tae Beast and more, landing him prominent placements for Kanye West, Drake, Eminem, Travis Scott, Danny Brown, Jeremih, Tory Lanez and Rihanna, among others.[21]

Hitmaker

In the second half of the 2010s, Dukes began working more often with major artists in the studio. He met producer Louis Bell and Post Malone in 2015-2016 and worked on tracks for Post Malone's debut album Stoney.[22] Dukes also worked extensively on Post's 2019 album Hollywood's Bleeding. Dukes met singer Camila Cabello in November 2016, beginning what would be her debut album.[23] Notably, be produced her wildly successful single "Havana." During this time, he also produced multiple tracks for artists Amine, Frank Ocean, Drake, Lorde, Travis Scott, and The Weeknd, among others. He was also named or nominated as Songwriter of the Year my multiple music industry organizations including BMI, SOCAN, the Juno Awards, and the iHeartRadio Music Awards. In 2019, he spearheaded a collaboration between Kingsway Music Library and Toronto's Regent Park School of Music. Called Parkscapes, all tracks are performed by students of the music program and all proceeds, including licensing and royalty payments, help fund the school’s programs.[9]

In total, Dukes was a credited producer or songwriter on over 300 tracks during the decade.

StyleEdit

Dukes is known for achieving his sound through live instrumentation and analog equipment.[4] To achieve this, he often collaborates with an informal group of Toronto-based musicians and songwriters which includes Mustafa Ahmed, Kaan Güneşberk, and the members of instrumental group BADBADNOTGOOD; Dukes and the band shared an analog recording studio in Toronto for much of the 2010s.[16] At times, he has also written music for other artists with fellow Torontonians Daniel Caesar, River Tiber, and Charlotte Day Wilson, as well as with New York-based retro soul musician Thomas Brenneck.

Outside of this group, Dukes regularly collaborates with producers Louis Bell, Boi-1da,[13] Vinylz,[9] and Metro Boomin,[24] among others.

SPIN noted that Dukes' production aesthetic is informed by 'shimmering pop nostalgia' and the 'luxurious hollows' of the New Toronto sound and inspired by disparate genres.[25] On his writing style, Ryan Tedder observed, "Frank Dukes likes weird chord progressions. He doesn’t like anything to sound clean or normal."[26]

Personal lifeEdit

Dukes has two sons and resides in Los Angeles, California, having moved from Mississauga, Ontario.[27][4]

DiscographyEdit

Notable production creditsEdit

Singles charting in the US Billboard Hot 100 Top 10

Albums executive produced

Kingsway Music LibraryEdit

As creator of the Kingsway Music sample library, Dukes has curated over 40 volumes of music.[29]

Since 2013, he has composed the following volumes of original music (credits adapted from The Drum Broker),[30]

  • Kingsway Music Library, Vol. 1 (2013)
  • Kingsway Music Library, Vol. 2 (2013)
  • Kingsway Music Library, Vol. 3 (2014)
  • Kingsway Music Library, Vol. 4 (2014)
  • Kingsway Music Library, Vol. 5 (2015)
  • Kingsway Music Library, Vol. 6 (2015)
  • Kingsway Music Library, Vol. 7 (2015)
  • Kingsway Music Library – Colors (2017) (released as LP)
  • Kingsway Music Library, Vol. 8 (2018)
  • Kingsway Music Library, Frank Dukes X Allen Ritter (2018)
  • Kingsway Music Library, Vol. 9 (2018)
  • Kingsway Music Library, Vol. 10 (2019)
  • Kingsway Music Library – Parkscapes (2019)

Awards and nominationsEdit

ASCAP AwardsEdit

ASCAP hosts a series of annual awards which honor achievement in American songwriting, composition, and publishing. Dukes has received honors at ASCAP's Pop Music, Latin, and Rhythm & Soul Awards ceremonies.

Year Ceremony Category Work Result Notes Ref(s)
2015 Rhythm & Soul Awards Award Winning R&B/Hip-Hop Songss "0 to 100 / The Catch Up" (Drake) Won [25]
2016 Planez” (Jeremih Featuring J. Cole) Won [31]
2017 Pop Music Awards Award Winning Songs "Needed Me" (Rihanna) Won [32]
Rhythm & Soul Awards Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song Won [33]
2018 Award Winning R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Won [34]
"Sex with Me" (Rihanna) Won
"Fake Love" (Drake) Won
Award Winning Rap Songs Won
Pop Music Awards Award Winning Songs Won [35]
2019 Rhythm & Soul Awards Award Winning R&B/Hip-Hop Songs "Broken Clocks" (SZA) Won [36]
2020 Latin Music Awards Award Winning Songs Yo X Ti, Tú X Mi” (Rosalía) Won [37]

BMI AwardsEdit

BMI hosts a series of annual awards which honor achievements by songwriters, composers, and publishers, based on tracks performance time. Dukes has received honors at ASCAP's Pop, R&B/Hip-Hop, and London Awards ceremonies.

Year Ceremony Category Work Result Notes Ref(s)
2018 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards Award Winning Songs "Congratulations" (Post Malone) Won [38]
2019 Pop Awards Songwriter of the Year Won Shared four ways [39]
Award Winning Songs "Havana" (Camila Cabello) Won
"Never Be the Same" (Camila Cabello) Won
"Better Now" (Post Malone) Won
R&B/Hip-Hop Awards Won
"Be Careful" (Cardi B) Won
"Pray for Me" (The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar) Won
2020 Pop Awards "Sucker" (Jonas Brothers) Won [40]
"Wow." (Post Malone) Won
R&B/Hip-Hop Awards Won [41]
London Awards "Never Be the Same" (Camila Cabello) Won [42]
Song of the Year Won

Grammy AwardsEdit

Dukes' work has been included in the Grammy Award nominations every year since 2015. From 22 nominations, he has won three awards; all of his wins are for singular production credits on an awarded album. The following works are for his role as producer unless otherwise noted.

Year Category Nominated Work Result Notes Ref(s)
2015 Best Rap Album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 Won Produced "Groundhog Day"
Oxymoron Nominated Co-produced "Grooveline Pt. 2"
Best Rap Song "0 to 100 / The Catch Up" Nominated Producer
2016 Best Rap Album If You're Reading This It's Too Late Nominated Produced 3 tracks[a]
2017 Best Urban Contemporary Album ANTI Nominated Produced 2 tracks[a]
Album of the Year Views Nominated Produced track "Pop Style"[a] [43]
Best Rap Album Nominated
The Life of Pablo Nominated Produced track "Real Friends"[a]
Major Key Nominated Produced track "Work For It"[a]
Blank Face LP Nominated Produced track "Overtime"
2018 Album of the Year Melodrama Nominated Produced 6 tracks[a]
Best Urban Contemporary Album Starboy Won Produced track "Attention"[a]
2019 Album of the Year Beerbongs & Bentleys Nominated Produced 3 tracks[a]
Black Panther Nominated Produced 2 tracks[a]
Invasion of Privacy Nominated Produced track "Be Careful"[a]
Best Rap Album Won
Astroworld Nominated Produced 3 tracks
Best Pop Vocal Album Camila Nominated Album producer
2020 Lover Nominated Produced 3 tracks[a]
2021 Album of the Year Hollywood's Bleeding Nominated Album producer, songwriter [44]
Song of the Year "Circles" Nominated Songwriter
Record of the Year Nominated Producer

^[a] Grammy Certificate-eligible contributions as per award category specifications on contribution playing time.[45][46]

iHeartRadio Music AwardsEdit

The iHeartRadio Music Awards is an annual awards that honors music played across American radio.

Year Category Work Result Notes Ref(s)
2019 Producer of the Year Nominated
Songwriter of the Year Won
2020 Songwriter of the Year Nominated

Juno AwardsEdit

The Juno Awards are Canada's most popular music industry awards. As per Juno regulations, performing producers and songwriters do not receive honors for their nominated work. As such, Dukes has one nomination.

Year Category Work Result Notes Ref(s)
2019 Songwriter of the Year Nominated "Be Careful", "Better Now", "Call Out My Name" [47]

Latin Grammy AwardsEdit

Dukes has received two nominations and one award at the Latin Grammy Awards. Both are for his work with Rosalía.

Year Category Work Result Notes Ref(s)
2019 Best Urban Song "Con Altura" (as a songwriter) Won [48]
2020 Best Pop/Rock Song "Dolerme" (as a songwriter) Nominated [49]

Red Bull Big TuneEdit

The Red Bull Big Tune competition is an annual series in which hip hop producers battle head-to-head, much like DJ competitions. Dukes competed from 2007 to 2009, at which point he was crowned the national champion.[50]

  • 2008:   Red Bull Big Tune – Detroit Runner Up[51]
  • 2008:   Red Bull Big Tune Finals Runner Up[52]
  • 2009:   Red Bull Big Tune – Detroit Runner Up[53]
  • 2009:   Red Bull Big Tune Finals Champion[50]

Secret Genius AwardsEdit

The Secret Genius Awards were honors awarded by Spotify in 2017 and 2018 to the most influential songwriters, producers, and engineers.

Year Category Nominated Work Result Notes Ref(s)
2017 Secret Genius: Hip-Hop Nominated “Fake Love”, “Congratulations”
2018 Producer of the Year Nominated “Havana”, “Never Be The Same”, “Better Now” [54]
Secret Genius: Social Message Pray For Me" (The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar) Nominated Shared with Doc McKinney

Soul Train Music AwardsEdit

The Soul Train Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony honoring African-American music and entertainment. The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter's Award, also referred to as Record of the Year, is the sole award which honors songwriters.

Year Category Nominated Work Result Notes Ref(s)
2016 The Ashford And Simpson Songwriter's Award "Needed Me" (Rihanna) Nominated Shared with songwriting team
2018 "Broken Clocks" (SZA) Nominated Shared with songwriting team

SOCAN AwardsEdit

The SOCAN Awards are Canadian music industry awards, honoring achievement of its members in songwriting, composing, and publishing. Dukes has thrice been awarded Songwriter of the Year.

Year Category Nominated Work Result Notes Ref(s)
2018 Songwriter of the Year – Producer Won [55]
Rap Music Awards "Fake Love" (Drake) Won
"Congratulations" (Post Malone) Won
Pop Music Awards "Havana" (Camila Cabello) Won
2019 Songwriter of the Year – Producer Won
Pop Music Awards "Better Now" (Post Malone) Won
"Pray for Me" (The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar) Won
2020 Songwriter of the Year – Producer Won [56]
Pop Music Awards "Sucker" (Jonas Brothers) Won
"Wow." (Post Malone) Won

Other accoladesEdit

Year Ceremony Category Work Result Ref(s)
2018 Black Reel Awards Best Original or Adapted Song "Pray for Me" (Black Panther) Nominated
2019 APRA Awards International Work of the Year "Havana" (Camila Cabello) Nominated

ReferencesEdit

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