Born into a musical family in Munich Germany in 1968, Toby was influenced by both parents who were established figures in the Munich music scene with their group, “The Jazz Kids.” His Danish father is a clarinet player and a pilot. His German mother is a piano player and an aspiring psycho therapist.
At age four, Toby was expected to study banjo and join the "Jazz Kids" but he took to Mom’s piano instead. By the time he was seven, he and his brother Jens formed their own band the “Gad Rollers,” and played original rock'n roll compositions during intermissions of their parents' gigs. The newly found recognition around town led to performances in various radio and TV shows. Before long, Toby and Jens scored their first recording deal with hit-producer Gunther Mende, the writer of the Celine Dion smash “Power of Love.” But Mom and Dad turned the deal down and decided education was more important.
Young, fresh and enthusiastic, the Gad brothers continued to form various bands and seized every opportunity to play their latest compositions on stage.
Though too young to get into most clubs at age 13, Toby and Jens were no strangers to the live music scene in Munich. Weekly gigs in bars, concerts in open-air summer festivals and shows in legendary live clubs such as the "Domicile" spread the word, and Munich hit producer Tony Monn showed interest in the brothers. Tony handed over his state-of-the-art recording studio to Toby and Jens whenever he was out of town. The young men were able to spend endless days and nights in a fully equipped studio writing, arranging and recording their first three record releases.
In 1986, when Frank Farian, Germany’s most successful producer (No Mercy, Boney M, Milli Vanilli,...) was looking for new talent, a mutual friend turned him on to the Gad brothers’ material. The next day the boys flew to Frankfurt and thus started a seven-year collaboration with Frank. One week later they found three of their songs on Milli Vanilli's debut album, which later went multi-platinum.
Farian recognized the young men’s potential as artists and produced Toby and Jens’ first album “Q”, which was followed by a live tour. Funk legend George Clinton liked the record so much that he spent a full day jamming with the brothers and later invited Toby and Jens to perform two songs on stage with his P-funk band.
In 1990, Toby met the exotic Mauritian singer Jacqueline Nemorin. This became the beginning of a 10-year collaboration between the two. Together with Farian, Toby produced Nemorin’s first album “The Creole Dance” on BMG.
In 1994, Toby signed on with manager Klaus Frers (Daydream Music Supervizing) and produced Nemorin’s second album for EMI Europe. It was also Klaus who moved the duo into music production for dozens of successful TV shows, commercials and movie soundtracks. Toby and Jacqueline wrote and produced the title-song for the movie “Neverending Story III,” the music for two popular daily TV talk-shows that stayed on air for four years, and the single "The Magic of the Fall", which went on to win the BDA Gold Award in L.A. for best TV trailer concept.
In 1998, Toby was hired by the Spanish producer Rafael Perez to work on Enrique Iglesias’ third album. That same year Toby signed a deal with Joost Van Os, former head of Polygram, and Sony ATV which lead to songs on the albums of Ruth Jacott (Gold), Oli P (Gold) and Nino de Angelo (Top-30).
With a slew of successes on the home front, Toby grew anxious for an international breakthrough and started thinking about relocating to his second home in London where his Mom lived or...to the US. Over the years he had produced records in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New Orleans, etc., but it was New York City and it’s amazing energy that excited him the most. In December of 2000, he packed his studio in a cargo container and crossed the Atlantic.
Europe becomes the past, and a new chapter begins in a new world. Toby's Strawberrybee studio opens in Midtown Manhattan and he starts over, collaborating with new artists, new writers and new contacts.
The first two years in New York prove to be a dire test for Toby's perseverance. His publishing deal expires, and after writing over two hundred songs with various US artists and songwriters only one of them makes it onto a record, "Unspoken" by Jacqui Velasquez. Meanwhile, overseas two of Toby's songs become #1 hits, but it's not enough to tempt him back.
Then one day Toby makes a connection which changes the course of his career. After years filled with countless days running from door to door, meeting record labels, publishing companies, and music law firms, Toby meets DAVID SONENBERG. The two click almost instantly, and Sonenberg, who has managed artists like The Fugees, Blackeyed Peas, and Natasha Bedingfield, senses similar potential for greatness within Toby, and proposes to become his exclusive manager.
In 2006, Toby had his first #1 US single "Big Girls Don't Cry," a song he'd written with FERGIE, of the Blackeyed Peas. The song reaches #1 and stays there for an astonishing 21 weeks, breaking numerous records, and making others. The multi platinum anthem was nominated for a Grammy, and then won the ASCAP song of the year award... twice. The song would later go on to the #13th most played song in the decade, and in the top 100 of all time.
In 2007 Toby found platinum success again, this time with Australian rock duo THE VERONICAS. Their album "Hook Me Up", which includes nine songs produced/co-written by Toby, goes triple platinum. The single "Untouched", produced and co-written by Toby, reaches #1 in several countries and sells over 1.7 million copies in the US.
The very next year Toby has a second #1 hit on the US airwaves, when his song "If I Were a Boy" is recorded and released by grammy winning mega star BEYONCE. "If I Were a Boy" went #1 in ten countries and top10 in over twenty countries worldwide, reaching double platinum status.
In 2009. Toby and his management, David Sonenberg & William Derella, launch a record label, KITE RECORDS. Their first artist is starlet JESSICA JARRELL. Often hailed as the new Beyonce, who debuts in 2010 with a 50 date US tour with JUSTIN BIEBER. Toby co-wrote and produced most of Jessica's debut album. Their second artist is a singer songwriter by the name of SUSAN JUSTICE. Susan was signed to KITE/WARNER BROS through Kara Dio Guardi and Tom Walley. Toby co-wrote and produced her debut album as well.
From that point on Toby has been fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented artists in the industry, including ALICIA KEYS, COLBIE CAILLAT, ROBIN THICKE, PIXIE LOTT, SELENA GOMEZ, KELLY ROWLAND, DEMI LOVATO, MILEY CYRUS, EMILY OSMENT, BRANDY, JORDAN SPARKS, NATASHA BEDINGFIELD and more!
First of all I want to honor my grandfather, EGON SCHEIBE ( 1908 - 1998). He invented airplanes, sold over a thousand of them worldwide. He is a real legend of aviation history and he is my personal hero. As a young kid, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and he was always at the drawing board, drafting countless sketches of weird looking contraptions that would eventually fly. He explained me his latest ideas while people around him doubted they would work and months later he would take me on a flight in the real thing... He was a true visionary and I learned from him that if you have a dream, no matter how many people discourage you, if you know it in your heart and keep at it, you can make it work.
My father CHRISTIAN GAD made his biggest dream come true 4 years ago. After he retired from his work at my granddad's company as an engineer and a test pilot, he bought a little sail boat called "Nelly" and eversince he spends more time on sea than on land, crossing the Atlantic Ocean three times ( 24 days without land is beyond my imagination...). He has always been a daredevil, but since "Nelly" he is a changed man. I never knew how much I loved him until I moved to America... Papa I miss you!
My mother GABY GAD left the family when I was 7, studied psychology and moved to England. It made me grow up faster and though it left its scars, looking back, even if I could I wouldn't change a thing. For the past 20 years she lives in London Vauxhall as a spiritual and alternative healer in the once notorious Bonnigton Square and tours the world with her traditional dixiland jazz bands...
One memory I want to share is our Cannes-vacation, when I was 12 years old. Mami brought 100 $ and a guitar for a 10 days vacation ( The plan was to make music on the sidewalk to pay for our basic needs ). The first night we slept in the park near the train station and the guitar got stolen. The next 9 nights we slept on the beach, ate food from fruit market leftovers, and learned what it must be like to be homeless. I thank you for this vacation, it opened my eyes!
My brother JENS GAD ... once my worst rival, now my best friend. He is doing his thing, lives on a tiny Spanish island in the Mediterranian Sea and still manages to sell records worldwide. New York and Ibiza couldn't be more opposite, nor could we, and yet time reveals how much we are alike. We discovered music together as toddlers, moved out of home together, had our first platinum record together and I think without each other's support, and without all the competition between us, we wouldn't be where we are now.
A major influence on my career was FRANK FARIAN ( the father of MILLI VANILLI, No Mercy, Boney M...). My brother and I signed to him in 1988 as artists and I left him 7 years later as a producer. I never imagined that someone who has sold over 100 million records, starting out a as a poor cook, would still work 24/7. I remember once when he was sick... I was alone in his studio and he laid there on the couch in the kitchen for two days just because everything inside him said he had to be in the studio... His infallible sense for hits made him Germany's most successful producer and his drive was contageous.
JACQUELINE NEMORIN has spent 10 years with me, almost 24 hours a day, being my artist, co-writer, co-producer and fiance. A decade... I'm glad that we're still friends after all this and looking back at some 25 record releases on Major labels and 20 TV /movie projects that we had together, I'd say we've made quite a bit of noise (-:
After leaving Frank Farian in 1995, KLAUS FRERS got Jacqueline and me a deal at EMI records and for the next 5 years he fed us with countless TV-, Advertising-, Movie-score- and soundtrack-opportunities. As Klaus got our "film music career" to a point where we could have made a fortune every single month, Jacqueline and I went for 7 weeks to Borneo/Indonesia and we choose to make a U-turn and never do score again. I felt I had cheated on myself. My heart really beats for music that is 3 dimensional, music that doesn't depend on motion pictures, music that has it's own life, crosses oceans and becomes thescore to everybody's personal movie. So I started over and aimed for writing singles ... actually everything Frank Farian wanted me to do in the first place...
The new focus drove Jacqueline and me deeper and deeper into debts. We had invested in talents that didn't get record deals, and as we were so broke that neither GEMA, nor the bank would give us any more credit, JOOST VAN OS came as our savior. In 1998 he offered us a 5 year publishing deal with SONY/ATV/CYCLUS. Our main "Sony guy", GEORG CLAUS, someone we already knew from our "Never Ending Story 3" record, became one of my favorite publishing guys. He speaks his heart and acts on it. He kept pitching songs we wrote years ago until they made it on 4 number one records.
Through my work with WILLA I met DAVID SONENBERG and soon after he proposed to become my manager. I admire people who trust in their instincts, don't operate fear driven but are driven by the love for music and see the big picture when I get lost in details. David has great intuition and has proven it over the years, selling over 300 million records with "unconventional" acts like Imani Coppola, Wycleff, Joan Osborne, The Spin Doctors, The Fugees, The Black Eyed Peas... I love these records and not too long ago I discovered that the man I work with was involved in all of them. He tells me when a song sucks and it makes me want to write a better song. I need such honest feedback and I am excited about this new work relationship with David, WILLIAM and his wonderful DAS COMMUNICATIONS crew.
If those first 3 years in NYC were like going back to school, then my more than 100 various CO-WRITERS were my teachers. We all share the same dream and live the same crazy life in which all that counts is a simple idea, a moment, a little feeling that can be turned into something powerful enough to move the entire world. Some writers have become great friends and regular collaborators and some are just a-song-in-a-day encounters but I learn from each of them. It really doesn't matter how experienced a writer is. Some kids I write with can be more inspiring than Grammy winning top writers. Every song is like a journey, sometimes a very personal experience that can feel & heal like therapy. I feel blessed for those intense moments of creation and thankful for being able to share them.
My first room- and soulmate in NYC was WENDY OXENHORN. She is the most charitable and caring person I've ever encountered. For many years she was a spokesperson for the homeless in NYC and for the past 5 years she dedicated her life to saving legendary Jazz musicians who can't afford their medical bills. Her annual charity concert at the Apollo lines up stars like Cassandra Willson, Herbie Hancock ....If you want to donate for a good purpose, consider THE JAZZ FOUNDATION OF AMERICA.
I want to mention one place in New York City that is special to me, with one extraordinary man behind it... THE VILLAGE UNDERGROUND and RON GRAND.
When I first came to NEW YORK, I practically started over. In my first year I wrote 100 songs that every record company turned down. I had to learn my lesson the hard way. The second year after another 100 songs, I began to understand that I can only survive in NYC if I find out who I am, and regardless of all the great music out there, stay true to my inside, do my own thing, do me! The third year, 300 NYC songs and more than 100 co-writers later, I finally saw fruits of my hard work and 2004 looks extremely promising. During this learning experience, THE VILLAGE UNDERGROUND served as my church and my anchor. This joint has the best talents I've ever seen, without egos, without all the hype that comes with the Biz. This place gets me inspired, focussed, and even more ambitious to pursue what I came here for: MUSIC.
RON GRAND and the unbelievable MELANI DANIELS host the weekly sunday night open mike and I recommend every artist and writer to join in as often as possible, learn from the best and jump into the cold water when you are ready to swim.
The turning points in my career were whenever I said "NO". Too many times before I said "YES" to offers that payed but weren't meant for me. I did them with half my heart, the result misrepresented me and got me unfocussed. My father said "NO" to me several times in life when I asked for his support and those were the moments I grew. I realized I could fall bottomless if I didn't act responsibly and I learned that my word is more powerful than I ever thought.
I saw people having 20 different talents they'd like to turn into professions and doing everything a little bit but nothing 100%. This made me say "NO" to my design & art studies, NO to being a musician on the road, to being an arranger for hire, to being a score writer, NO to continuing living comfortably in Germany... I figured if you focus all your energies on one goal, you'll eventually get there.