Being quiet, humble or low-key isn’t usually the image anyone has of Los Angeles-based entertainment professionals, especially popular musicians who trade on brash, bold and often controversial public personas.
But brothers Darius and Dominique Logan weren’t raised that way by their parents in Sacramento, and they’re not that way now. The brothers are up-and-coming songwriters and producers with credits on the Grammy-nominated R&B album “Three Kings” by the group TGT.
Hosted by LL Cool J, the Grammy Awards are scheduled for Sunday at L.A.’s Staples Center and will air at 7 p.m. on Channel 13.
“Three Kings” is the first record from TGT, a trio of veteran, single-name, modern-soul crooners – Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank. While the group’s smooth, tuxedo-ed, champagne-and-candlelight style isn’t threatening legacies of Marvin Gaye or Al Green, its August Atlantic Records release was a big deal, debuting at No. 1 on Billboard’s top R&B/hip-hop albums and No. 3 on the Billboard 200.
The Logans contributed to two songs on the album. They wrote “Take It Wrong” (performed by Ginuwine & Tank featuring Black-Ty) with Tyrese Gibson; it was produced by Fabbien Nahounou. The Logans also co-wrote “Lessons in Love” with several other writers and received producer credits for that track.
The songs were a big break for Darius, 27, and Dominique, 22, who moved to Southern California from Sacramento in 2009. The pair are now working on songs for artists including Chris Brown, Usher and Ke$ha, while hoping to get their own group, Blaq Tuxedo, off the ground soon.
The Logans were around plenty of music while growing up, but what they listened to was fairly specific. Father Waymon Logan – founder of the community organization Dayspring Outreach, designed to help at-risk children and families in Meadowview – and their mother, Tammy, put a strong, no-nonsense imprint on their sons.
“We weren’t allowed to listen to any secular music growing up as kids,” Dominique said via phone from the home the brothers share in North Hollywood. “The only things we could really listen to was gospel and Michael Jackson. That was all we really knew until we got older and started venturing off into other music. But for the most part it was the Winans and the Jacksons.”
Darius said the limited exposure early on has helped them to carve out an original space in their crowded, ultra-competitive field.
“That kind of helped us create our own sound because when most people hear us, they say our sound is our sound. It’s distinctive,” he said. “So many people are inspired by hearing all these other people, but it’s an imitation of it.”
Darius was a basketball star at Sacramento High School, and after graduating in 2006, he went to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin on a basketball scholarship. He returned to Sacramento after a year and attended Sacramento City College and American River College while starting to make music with his younger brother.
Dominique creates the rhythm tracks, making the beats, and the brothers collaborate on the song from there.
They’ve been able to make their way in Southern California with the help of family friends and contacts who put the brothers in touch with artists.
“My cousin Rodney Jones was friends with Andre Merritt, who had been writing forever for Chris Brown,” Darius said. “He started critiquing our work, that was the first test for us.”
Within a month of arriving in L.A., they working with young hip-hoppers the New Boyz, and they continue tailoring songs for the various artists who call on them.
“We adjust to their style because basically that’s the best way to sell a song,” Darius said. “Everybody’s doing the same thing as us, trying to get on the album.”
The brothers aren’t planning to attend the Grammy Awards, but if the album wins, Darius said they’ll be “somewhere celebrating” with TGT.
Call The Bee’s Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder.