Stricken with a certain sense of southern hospitality, even on the phone one can sense that Trey Songz is no longer that young boy fresh out of high school trying to make a name for himself. No. This is a Young man who has proved himself as a creditable R&B singer and a worthy contender in the male R&B game. Gotta Make It dropped and it was a highly acclaimed album but it lacked in overall album sales and lasting chart topping hits. Where did that leave Trey Songz? Right where he needed to be. Trey continued to keep his shine by making guest appearances on hits like Twista’s Girl Tonight as well as Young Joc’s First Time. Even after appearing on hit singles, Trey still possess a certain humbleness to himself. Keeping in close contact with his family and acting as a model big brother, Trey confesses that he hasn’t quite made it. Instead, he is just beginning.
Singersroom: Is there a certain theme you’re going for on Trey Day as opposed to Gotta Make It?
Trey Songz: Yeah, it’s Trey Day (laughs).
Singersroom: Now you have made it, so what are the differences?
Trey Songz: In a lot of people’s eyes I might have made it but I’m still doing my thing. But at the same time I feel like Trey Day is going to be a representation of growth. It’s been a couple of years since my first album and I got a lot of loyal core fans. I feel like the first album was an introduction and now we’re off into it. “Ya’ll know who I am so let me get loose with it.”
Singersroom: How are you getting loose with it on this album?
Trey Songz: I’m very proud of it. I tried to think outside the box in a lot of cases. On production we got Troy Taylor, we got Brian Cox, Jimmie Jam and Terry Louis, R. Kelly. We got a great cast of producers that brought the best out of me and it shows growth.
Singersroom: Do you feel like you’ve evolved on this album?
Trey Songz: It’s been two years. I’m twenty-two now. Not to say that’s old but I was younger and I have been singing a lot more. My voice has gotten a lot stronger and I’ve been exercising it. We recorded a lot of songs for this project. In the process I think my singing has been taken to another level.
Singersroom: What was your life like before your career took off? Where were you working?
Trey Songz: I was trying to get into the game. When I got my deal I was nineteen; I was fresh out of high school. I moved to New York right after high school, well New Jersey. I moved in with Troy Taylor. I started pursuing this as soon as I moved in with him. I was sleeping in his basement and waking up doing music and studying music. That’s just what it was for me.
Singersroom: Is it true that your mom told you that you had a year to make it and then after that you would have to go to school?
Trey Songz: Yeahâ¦They said I had to go to school or get a job or something (laughs).
Singersroom: Were you nervous on your journey to making it? Were you worried at all?
Trey Songz: I was cool (laughs).
Singersroom: You didn’t have any worries about it not happening fast enough?
Trey Songz: Once I decided this was what I was gonna do, I never looked back. My momma giving me a year was cool. She was still doing what she could do for me. I didn’t have no job so she was still sending me money when she could. A lot of my friends were in school. I’m out here pursuing this music thing. So sometimes it did weigh down on me like it wasn’t happening hella fast. But when I look back on it, It did happen hella fast.
Singersroom: You have worked with some Japanese artists as well. Why did you decide to cross over?
Trey Songz: I don’t know if it’s important for anybody else but I’m not going to limit myself to the United States.
Singersroom: Does the audience give you a different feel?
Trey Songz: It’s most definitely different because half of these people don’t know English.
Singersroom: Do you have to conform for them?
Trey Songz: I don’t conform for them. They love me for who I am so I go and do me.
Singersroom: You weren’t nervous about performing for a new genre of audience?
Trey Songz: Nervous for what? I mean there is a little piece of nervousness that comes with everything new that you do, but once I shake that off I’m never scared.
Singersroom: I read that you study singers like Donny Hathaway and R. Kelly. What were some of the things you were trying to learn from these artists?
Trey Songz: A lot of the older singers, they portray emotion very well. You listen to their lyrics and you can feel what their saying. It’s not just them singing and them having a nice voice. It’s the emotion that they’re putting along with it. When I couldn’t sing high pitched, I would listen to girls. I would listen to Aaliyah and Prince. I would sing along with them and my voice would crack but I would have to keep singing.
Singersroom: So you rounded out your style.
Trey Songz: Most Definitely.
Singersroom: I know you’re into hip hop. You know how Tyrese did the whole Black-Ty thing. Do you have any plans on rapping in the future?
Trey Songz: Not at all. I mean, I don’t see that happening. If I’m going to do it then it’s not going to be something that’s thought about. It’s going to have to come naturally. Like Wonder Woman, I didn’t say man I’m a rap on this track. I just went in and rapped on it. If I’m rapping on some songs on the album then it felt good and I was like I’m gonna rap on these songs. Rapping is something I take seriously. I love it. It was my first love; I started rapping before singing. If I ever go that route, it won’t be wack. Not to say that the Tyrese joint was wack, it just won’t be something where it’s like why is he doing that?
Singersroom: You got to prepare your audience.
Trey Songz: Yeah, people really only know you for one thing. Even if you’re good at something, like Tyrese; I actually listened to some of his stuff and he’s alright. Like lyrically he can put some words together, but if people are not use to that then they will put you in a box. Singersroom: They won’t even take you seriously. You will get dismissed.
Trey Songz: Yeah, they won’t even take the time out to listen to it and see if it is good quality.
Singersroom: That’s true, my girl bought Tyrese’s album and she told me she wasn’t going to even try to listen to the Black Ty disc. She never even cracked rapper.
Trey Songz: Exactly. She has accepted him as a singer and that is what he is to her.
Singersroom: You have any plans to do any movies, especially since you’re not going to branch out into rap?
Trey Songz: I have a small role in Wendy Williams’s movie. It’s called the Queen of Media.
Singersroom: The one with Robin Givens?
Trey Songz: Yeah, I have a small role but it’s pivotal. I play DJ Ivy, he’s like the first cat to put her on radio. He is like the first person to ever give her the mic at a college station. I think with the acting thing, I wanna take my time with that. I want to make sure that music is where I want it to be before I go into acting.
Singersroom: As far as albums, you can produce a quality album. However the charts don’t reflect that quality album. What are you’re thoughts?
Trey Songz: I think that all that comes with time. Nobody starts out at the top. I appreciate the fact that I had to work my way to the top so that means that I won’t take it for granted.
Singersroom: Your life is totally different now but you’re still a young guy. What do you do for fun now?
Trey Songz: I spend all my down time with my family.
Singersroom: How do you manage to keep that balance?
Trey Songz: If I have time off then that’s where I’m gonna be. I have little brothers that are in middle school. They’re growing up becoming young men and they need somebody to look up to.
Singersroom: Do you do any of the writing on your albums?
Trey Songz: I do most of the writing on my albums. Although my single Can’t Help But Wait, Johnta Austin actually wrote that. I’m very involved in the writing. But I am not a fool. I know when somebody else comes with an idea not to shun it away. Most of the time I sit back and think of the concept; it might start with a beat. I try to write stuff that people can relate to.
Singersroom: Do you have any plans to start doing some writing for some other artists?
Trey Songz: Most definitely, I just laid down a bunch of hooks. Hooks are so much easier to do than a real song. I just recently worked with Black Elvis. I worked with Drummer Boy, Nitty, and Bangladash. Got hooks for Gucci Mane, Boosie, Webbie. Young Byrd and I have a song together so it’s a lot of stuff for people to look forward to.
Singersroom: Why sing Trey?
Trey Songz: I mean I’m a keep it real, the pay is great. I love it. It takes care of my family. My momma doesn’t have to work anymore and I take care of my brother like a son. Outside of that I love to sing. I like to come into people’s lives and change their emotions. I might not be able to do this forever, but I do love it. Trey Day October 2nd. —— By: Interview By La’Juanda Knight