Stepping forward with his saxophone in hand, musician Trey Daniels has released his debut album, “Evolve.” The record is a nine-track composition which showcased the instrumentalist’s unique ability to blend contemporary and traditional music into one sound through one instrument.
“Evolve expresses a few different things. The change that I’ve been through, from picking up the saxophone in the sixth grade to being 30 years old,” Daniels said.
“It’s the physical change and the musical change that I’ve been through, starting in Tampa where I was born, going from Tallahassee to Atlanta. All of the cities just shaped who I am today. The album just covers the musical journey about my changes and the positive change I invoke to society. I think that music is a good way to do that.”
While “Evolve” is mostly an album of instrumentals, Daniels made sure to provide a special guest spot for songwriter and artist Ryan Toby. Mostly known for being a member of hip-hop group City High, Toby went on to write for Mary J Blige, Monica, Tyrese, and Chris Brown. He was also a writer on Usher’s diamond-certified album Confessions.
It took Daniels almost a year to produce and record “Evolve,” mostly due to being on tour with legendary singer Anita Baker.
“I wanted to make it an instrumental album for the most part. Something that’s really different than a lot of instrumentalists and a lot of music artists aren’t putting out. I wanted to be different with that approach,” Daniels said.
After he started playing saxophone in the sixth grade, it didn’t take Daniels long to decide that he wanted to make music his career. In the eighth grade, he made the decision to pursue music professionally after receiving his first paid gig.
“I got my first gig doing something for the city of Tampa,” Daniels said. “As an eighth grader, if you get a couple hundred bucks to play for 30 mins, it kind of stands out.”
Six years ago he decided to move to Atlanta to take part in the city’s music scene.
“Atlanta was just rich, and still is, in terms of its musical culture. Atlanta’s music scene impacted the industry, so I wanted to be a part of that,” he said.
At one point, he worked at Office Depot in the morning and hit the town at night looking for opportunities at open mics and in nightclubs, cafes, and lounges. He received his first paying gig in Atlanta at Katz Cafe in Midtown.
With the album now available, Daniels continues to tour the country with Anita Baker.
“It started as added shows. She did three shows in March. Her audience kept demanding more shows, so she told me ‘Trey you can be on this tour as long as you want to,’” Daniels said.
For him, working with Baker is not just a job but a learning opportunity. According to Daniels, he’s learned how to properly run a show just from watching Baker. Not to mention, she’s also in support of his musical ambitions.
“I’ve been with her since May, and she actually endorsed my product. She allows me to sell “Evolve,” where her merchandise is,” Daniels said.
“She told me, ‘I’m on my way out, you’re on your way in.’”
For Daniels, it’s a welcoming compliment to have a power figure in classic R&B, like Anita Baker, embracing his music and seeing him as the future. With the release of his album, Baker’s team has agreed to work with Daniels on figuring out how to put together a tour for him inside of Baker’s trek. This will allow him to further market his music to her audience.
While the details for how long Daniels will be on tour with Baker and when his separate spots will happen are unclear, his debut album “Evolve” is currently available on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Tidal, and Amazon Music.