Artist Spotlight: Trey Songz

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Tremaine Aldon Neverson may be his government name, but to the world he is no other than Trey Songz. The R&B singer, songwriter, rapper and actor was born November 28, 1984 in Petersburg, Virginia to April Tucker and Claude Nerverson Jr. Due to his stepfather’s involvement with the military, this military brat didn’t have a normal life. He spent seven years of his life traveling and because of the constant moving, he was a shy kid who didn’t have a desire to be a singer until other people began to notice how good he sounded.

Songz resized his abilities at the age of 14 when he moved back to Virginia. He began to freely perform for his family and friends in high school. In 2003, record producer Troy Taylor discovered him through his stepfather who attended the same high school as Taylor. From that moment on it was history and Songz signed with Atlantic Records while receiving a $100,000 advance. After graduating high school, he moved to New Jersey to record his debut album.

Two year later, Songz released his first album ‘I Gotta Make It’. This album sold 395,000 copies and peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard charts. With his first paycheck, Songz kept his promise and bought his mother a new home. In 2007, he rebased his second album ‘Trey Day’ which peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard charts. ‘Trey Day’ set him up for stardom and featured his first hit single ‘Can’t Help But Wait,’ which reached No. 11 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance.

Success was all his and in 2009 Songz flipped the script by chopping off his braids, working out intensively, and trading in his baggy jeans and sneaks for button down shirts and tailored pants, openly admitting that for his third studio album ‘Ready’ he sacrificed “originality” for commercial success. The physical appearance wasn’t the only change, his style of music changed as well. He ditched the soulful love ballads for hyper-sexualized club-ready Hip-Hop tracks. Overall, the makeover was a true success, the album reached No. 3 on the Billboard charts and gave the airwaves six hit singles which were “I Invented Sex”, “Say Aah”, “I Need A Girl”, “Successful”, “LOL Smily Face”, and my all time favorite “Neighbors Know My Name”.

Of course, his measure of success decreased due to his sacrifice for fame. Songz said, “Success can be a dangerous drug. It definitely changes people, and can take you to another world, if you allow it too.”

Songz steered away from the music for a while but he made his comeback late in 2018 by dropping two mixtapes, ’11’ and ’28’ in honor of his 34th birthday.

Amari Ferguson is a Senior Broadcast/Mass Communications major from Gary, Indiana. She will be a contributor for The Campus Chronicle for the 2018-2019 school year.

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