Around New Orleans they call him "Shorty." It rolls off the tongue for most locals "Shawty." His real name is Troy Andrews, but he's better known for his adopted stage name Trombone Shorty, a title he procured as a brass instrument-playing kid prodigy when the trombone was as tall as he was.
Shorty got his start alongside his older brother James playing NOLA clubs and hustling his music with pals in the French Quarter's famed Jackson Square, where they'd cash in $400 each at age 10. (Not bad for a kid, especially when you play PlayStation.) He's come a long way since those days. Today, locals will tell you that, at 28, Trombone Shorty is one of New Orleans' ambassadors of soul. His demeanor is so effortlessly cool and cordial that it becomes contagious, like he was put on this planet to make it a better place, and has already started to, not only through his music, but through his Trombone Shorty Foundation, which aims to pass the torch for generations of New Orleans musicians to come.
For a second year in a row, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue closed out the 2014 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. VIBE caught up with the Treme native at his old music hustling spot and talked to him about his come-up and rap influences like Juvenile and Mystikal. We even got a park performance of a NOLA rap track that you might recognize.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the VIBE interview. You'll be hearing more about Trombone Shorty, guaranteed.