When Trey Songz stepped into the music scene almost ten years ago, he graced us with his debut album, I Gotta Make It, one that evidently foreshadowed what had yet to come.  A slender boy with cornrows from Petersburg, Virginia, Songz would soon take the world by storm and steal many a young girl’s hearts along the way. After all, isn’t that how he earned the moniker Mr. Steal Your Girl? He soon went on to release Trey Day (2007), Ready (2009), Passion, Pain & Pleasure (2010), Chapter V (2012) and most recently, Trigga on July 1st, 2014.

Interview by: Shantel Noel
Photography by: Karla Moy
Edited by: Khalila Douze

Trey Songz has continued to release hit after hit – tracks with unique effects on listeners. You can’t deny feeling like it was your birthday every time you heard ‘Say Aah’ in the club. When ‘I can’t stop missing you, wish I was there with you’ blares through any speaker, reminiscence about that one person who is absent hits a common chord across audiences. Fast forward nine years later and Trey Songz is still ‘On Top’.

There are few artists who have star quality, a humble spirit, and an undying love for both their fans and the music. Trey Songz just exudes all of the above and more. At 29, he has accomplished many feats and does not plan on stopping anytime soon. As a matter of fact, he already has plans to release a self-titled follow up album.

 Its been years since Trey Songz has been to Toronto. He could not have come at a better time with Drake’s 5th Annual OVO Festival and The Scotiabank Caribbean Festival happening in the same weekend. It was only right that hustleGRL.com caught up with him.

Check out the full interview below.

 

 

hGRL: How are you?

TS: I’m very well. Thank you for asking.

hGRL: You’ve been away for so long. How does it feel to be in Toronto?

TS: Its good to be back. I haven’t been in Toronto in a very long time. And I had a lot of great early beginnings in my career here. ‘Can’t Help But Wait’ was my first #1 song. I shot the video here, shot ‘Wonder Woman’ here, ‘Successful’. It’s a great city, you know. There’s so much love here for me. Especially on such a great weekend.

hGRL: Yes, you definitely picked the best time to be out here. I mean Toronto has really missed you.

TS: Man, I’m sorry y’all ain’t been getting no Trigga love. I been trying.

 

 

hGRL: Now, tell me why did you decide to name the new album Trigga?

TS: Because it’s the part of my personality that is highlighted the most on this album. You know…very flirtatious, fun, carefree, unapologetic, unforgiving. It’s very much where I am in my life right now. Its really about what’s happening versus making music that may tell some fictional story about me being in love or singing this incredible love song that I’m not actually living. I am really giving you a bit of my reality and whether it is about lust, sex, passion or love, it’s real. When we do get to the love, we get to records like ‘Yes, No, Maybe’ where I’m conflicted in a situation – [whether] I want the girl to stay there for me, but I want her to be okay, but then fuck it you supposed to be with me forever. But then there’s ‘What’s Best For You’ which basically just describes me giving a woman a pass. Like, I want what’s best for you, leave me here, this isn’t what it is… you know?

hGRL: That said, what would you say is your favourite song on the album?

TS: ‘All We Do’ is one of them. I mean it… like it changes everyday, every time somebody asks me [laughs]. But…I’ll just stay there for now. I just love the beat, the vibe…my voice is a little raspy in the verses. It goes from kind of a cool tone, like the song has valleys and peaks. It’s climatic then it calms back down. That’s why I love it the most. I think it’s probably the sexiest record on the album.

hGRL: I agree. Now, I want to know… What is the most foreign dish you’ve ever had?

TS: Most foreign dish I’ve ever had? [Pauses] Man… I had some kind of special octopus one time when I was in Japan and it was good. It was delicious [licks lips] but like 20 minutes later, I thought I was gon’ die [laughs]. My mouth was on fire. The whole inside of my mouth and I’m in Japan so, I’m like… [shakes head]

hGRL: Was it spicy?

TS: I don’t know what was happening. My whole [points to mouth and chin] was burning. All this was burning.

hGRL: Wait. That’s an allergic reaction.

TS: I know but it went away in like 10 minutes. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. I was scared for my life! [laughs]

hGRL: That’s insane.

TS: Right?!

 

 

hGRL: As we all know, the music industry has changed a lot over the years, especially with the emergence of social media and new artists who continue to pop up out of nowhere. How do you manage to stay relevant and afloat in this industry? I feel as though you’ve obtained a lot of success so, tell me how have you been able to keep up that steady pace?

TS: I think people have different expectations from different artists. I think different listeners have been molded and conditioned to do different things. Like, the younger generation is definitely conditioned to buy singles, conditioned to really only be interested in singles. And if you do get an album, you either have invested interest in an artist, or a personal connection with a song, or some kind of special thing, which I feel I have a lot of with my fans. I feel like my fan connection is the difference between me and every artist. The way that I connect with my fans and the way that I…. I basically studied the music industry you know from single growth to the way video content has become so dominant. I remember 5-6 years ago it wasn’t as important to have a video for a song immediately. You know now it’s almost like if you got a hit song, you could do a garbage video just to make a video because you know people want to see something. So, for me it’s more about connecting with my fans and creating an experience that they can buy into holistically. You know versus the idea of… this is a single for black radio… this is a single for white radio… this video will be for this song and this song has nothing to with this song but they on the same album. Just having something you can believe in, something you can rock with. You know?

hGRL: I just wanted to add that, I feel as though your career has been very fun to follow over the years.

TS: Thank you.

hGRL: You’re very welcome. From the very beginning I saw someone who was very ambitious and passionate about the music so, to see how far you have come is very inspiring. But it almost seems as though nothing has really changed, and yet everything has changed.

TS: Thank you. I mean even though music has changed, I haven’t really changed much. I’ve adapted and adjusted to what is happening. My career growth has always been steady. I would say when Ready came out there was a point where my career jumped but even then it was at a steady pace. It is really just consistency, hard work, and believing in myself more than anybody else.

 

 

hGRL: What kind of sacrifices do you think you’ve had to make in order to keep things going the way they have been going?

TS: Love, having a steady girlfriend, kids… I’m about to be 30 in November… I missed my brother’s first piano recital. I don’t get to see my goddaughters grow up. I see one of them more now that she lives in LA and my godsons, I see them like 6-7 months apart. They’re huge when I see them. Like, basically a lot of family stuff. Regular life stuff too that I like. My next album is actually called Tremaine which will give you some insight into the person I am versus Trigga being the person I am as well (but not as much as I am Tremaine because of course that’s me).

hGRL: Why is it that we know enough about you? You seem to keep the people guessing and shut the world out of your personal life.

TS: Yeah… My personal life is very shielded – especially when it comes to love and things like that. I feel as though once you allow people into that space, its like corrosion.

hGRL: I feel you on that one. What would you say is the most memorable moment in your career thus far?

TS: [Pauses] The one most memorable moment? Wow [pauses]. There are so many. I just had a flashback of so many different things [laughs]. If I would have to say the one most memorable moment…. I can remember every part of shooting my first video. I can see the whole day right now [pauses]. I wouldn’t say it was the greatest moment of my career, but I remember everything from waking up, to getting my hair done. I remember my Grandpa and my brothers were in the video. I remember how cold it was. I had a girlfriend at the time, and I remember us being in an argument. I remember the video was shot right up the street from my Grandfather’s house at the time. My hood was on fire! I mean I can also remember performing with Jay-Z for the first time (2010). The first time I won a BET Award and brought my mama up there. Buying my mama a house. I mean there are so many different moments for me. It’s crazy.

hGRL: I want to know your thoughts on marriage. Do you think it is obtainable in this day and age? Also, do you think marriage is important?

TS: I think that anything is possible as long as two people are working towards it. This generation is more aware that monogamy is a choice. It’s not natural. I mean if you see somebody that is attractive, you see somebody that is attractive. You know the thing that the older generation had over us is that they weren’t perfect to the whole world. They were perfect to their neighborhood. And they knew that if they fell in love with a girl you wanted to keep them from all the guys around. You married because that was what you were taught to do. That’s why divorce rates are so crazy. A lot of people are put into situations where they didn’t know what they were doing. You think you are doing the right thing. I think marriage is still very real but I think for our generation the love has to be stronger than it ever has been for it to work.

hGRL: Do you see yourself getting married?

TS: Yeah. One day.

hGRL: Thank you. That’s all I got for you.

TS: That was good. That was real good…

 

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