title=-1_0 title=-1_0

Trey Songz: The Joy Of Sex (Pg. 3)

As candid as Trey is singing about erotic things, he’s honest talking about them, too. He lost his virginity at 15 to his first girlfriend tragically named Rolett, and he’s been in love twice, most recently with a backup dancer, Helen. His eHarmony ad would include: must love to cook, have a take-no-shit attitude and be adventurous in the sack—“Make sex all that it can be,” he says. While R&B singers can sound like scripted Kardashians in interviews, Trey doesn’t go off cue cards. He considers himself “one of the realest artists” for this reason. When asked about his Grammy nom, he offers a stark, undiplomatic response. “To win would be great, but I never really focused on Grammys, Academy Awards, none of that shit ‘cause that’s a committee of people telling another committee of people that this person won,” he says, weeks before losing a gramophone to Beyoncé. “That’s not the people’s choice. I’m a winner everyday. The people say I won. And let me tell it, I’m the best with or without a Grammy.”

True, Trey is a genuine people’s champ. His niche populace acts as small-time A&Rs who happened upon precious goods: the solid albums, the hardcore remixes, the intense rap-infused freestyles and the mixtapes, including last year’s libidinous Anticipation. There’s the catchy signature adlib (Yuuup!) and Ready, a single-heavy opus designed for tomorrow’s baby boomers. Fellow singer/songwriter Ne-Yo compliments Trey’s newfound grown-man appeal. “I like that he’s not doing the whole R&B thug thing anymore. There is no such thing,” he says. “I’ve thought for a long time that he has one of the more distinct voices in R&B. It’s one of those voices that you hear and you automatically know who it is. I feel like some of his earlier songs complimented his voice a little better. But no one was really paying attention so he had to, dare I say, dumb it down.”

At the rehearsal for BET Honors a few days before the show, in a packed Manhattan studio, Trey practices for his Stevie moment. Hunched in a chair by the speakers, Julie Greenwald dissects his slow ascension. When she arrived at Atlantic in 2004, Trey was preparing I Gotta Make It and wasn’t happy with the direction. (“A lot of hands in the pot,” he says.) “Every career artist that ever became the biggest important artist did not explode overnight,” says Greenwald, who references her era at Def Jam Recordings. “Jay-Z, his first album, was not our best album. And look at that guy’s career. Everybody wants the act of discovery. No one wants to be told by a big fuckin’ record company.”


 

I’m a winner everyday. The people say I won. And let me tell it, I’m the best with or without a Grammy.”

 


 

Former Warner Music Group Executive Vice President Kevin Liles describes Ready as the perfect Trey Songz album. “This album is who he is. He really does think he invented sex,” says Liles, now Trey’s manager. “He really does wanna do what he do to have the neighbors knockin’ at the door.”

The first time Trey Songz sang was to impress a girl. The song in question: “Killin’ Me Softly With His Song” at his sixth grade talent show with his classmate Felica at Maryland’s Catonsville Middle School. His mom—or “mumma,” to him—had him when she was 17 in Petersburg, Virginia. His dad, Claude, was in and out of jail for selling drugs and barely around, but that didn’t stop Trey from hoping he would be. He’d pack his Mickey Mouse suitcase and wait by the window only to disappointedly unpack hours later. He now has a distant on-and-off relationship with his pops and admits to being detached from those close to him as a result. “Sometimes I just think my pops ain’t really wanna see me. So I ain’t really understand,” says Trey. “It made me angry in a lot of situations. I fought a lot when I was younger.”

That and the constant relocating on account of his military stepdad Kenny (Trey attended three different junior high schools) made him both aggressive and cold. In seventh grade in Catonsville, he kicked a boy for missing a shot during a game of lacrosse. He got into another fight because another boy called his very petite mother fat. “He was always the new kid,” says Tucker. “He was a jokester, so sometimes he would continue to play when people would get tired of playing. Then they’d get serious.”

He didn’t always believe in his talent. At 15, Trey needed the okay from his mom that music, not college, was the right pursuit. Next came practice. While friends were off playing basketball, Trey was shooting notes from his gut. Through his stepdad, he met businessman Charles Farrar and spent his summers between studios in New Jersey, Manhattan and Brooklyn. The first song he wrote: “All the Things I’d Do,” an if-you-were-my-girl story. “He always had swagger. His [stepfather] is a good looking guy, very confident, and I think he exuded that to his son,” says Farrar, who still runs into Trey at industry events. “It wasn’t an arrogance or something that was negative. It was just a swagger, a walk. You just know."

From the Web

More on Vibe

Kentucky Catholic School Faces Backlash After Students Berate Indigenous Peoples March Protesters

Representatives from Kentucky's Covington Catholic High School have confirmed plans to look into their student body after several of their students appeared in a viral video harassing and mocking protesters at an Indigenous Peoples March.

The viral video above spread around the web Saturday (Jan. 19) a day after the protest that took place in Washington, D.C. Teens in the video were rocking "Make America Great Again" to support President Donald Trump and the anti-abortion March for Life demonstration that was also taking place on Indigenous Peoples Day.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports  Laura Keener, the communications director with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, released a statement about the video: "We are just now learning about this incident and regret it took place. We are looking into it."

In the video below, Indigenous elder Nathan Phillips of the Omaha tribe was reportedly performing a song meant to calm down the crowd when the large group of teens surrounded him, with one eye to eye as he and another elder chanted.

https://twitter.com/2020fight/status/1086476619877765120

In tears, Phillips recalled the incident, calling for an apology and that the teens would "put that energy into making this country really great." The teens also got their messages mixed up when they also screamed "build that wall" toward him.

"I heard them saying 'build the wall, build that wall,'" he said.  "This is indigenous land. We’re not supposed to have walls here. Before anyone came here there were no walls, we never even had prisons. We always took care of our elders, we took care of our children. We taught them right from wrong."

 

View this post on Instagram

 

#ipmdc #ipmdc19 #indigenousunited #indigenouspeoplesmarch #indigenouspeoplesmarch2019

A post shared by KC🇬🇺🌴🌴 (@ka_ya11) on Jan 18, 2019 at 4:42pm PST

Speaking to The Enquirer Vincent Schilling shared how Phillips has been attacked in the past for standing up for indigenous peoples. Schilling, who is a member of the Mohawk tribe, said Phillips was pelted with trash just a few years ago by Eastern Michigan University students who hosted a Native American-themed party.

"As a Native American journalist, I find this to be one of the most egregious displays of naïve – I can’t even say naïve. It’s racism. It’s blatant racism," Schilling said.

"The guy has just been through a lot. To see Mr. Phillips treated this way is an incalculable amount of disrespect, and it's absolutely unacceptable in Native culture. As a Native man, I’ve got it countless times myself I’ve been mocked, I’ve been teased, my culture has been ridiculed. This is just another brick in the wall. I wanted so bad to walk up to those kids and say, 'You know this is a Vietnam veteran, right?'"

Director Ava DuVernay slammed the teens for their behavior as well as a number of indigenous social justice figures.

Thank you to @VinceSchilling of @IndianCountry and many others who identified the proud Native man who is being harassed. He is Mr. Nathan Phillips. I’m reposting this video from “ka_ya11” on IG. This man’s words pierce my heart. The grace. The wisdom. The hope. pic.twitter.com/BKOA40SVq5

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 19, 2019

Thank you for the kind shout-out @Ava

Nathan Phillips and I have shared in a sacred pipe ceremony to honor Native American veterans.

He is a Vietnam veteran, such behavior is terrible.

Again, thank you for your support. https://t.co/RRaQeEJFku

— Vincent Schilling (@VinceSchilling) January 19, 2019

The teens in the video haven't been identified.

Continue Reading
Carlos Osorio/AP

Man Exonerated After Serving 45 Years Forced To Sell Prison Artwork For Money

A Detroit man who served 45 years behind bars for a crime that he didn’t commit, is forced to sell his personal collection of artwork that he made in prison. Richard Phillips, 72, doesn’t have steady income at the moment, and his lawyer is currently battling the state of Michigan to get him compensated for the wrongful conviction that stole his freedom.

"I don't have an income right now," said Phillips while showing off his paintings to Fox 2 Detroit. "This is my income."

In the early 1970s, Phillips was wrongfully convicted for the murder of Gregory Harris. He was sentenced to life in prison but always maintained his innocence. “I would rather died in prison than admit to a crime I didn’t do,” Philips said.

Phillips was convicted through an eyewitness account implicating him and a second man, Richard Palombo. In 2010, Palombo admitted that Phillips had no involvement in the murder and that he didn’t even know him. A new investigation was launched in 2014, nearly 20 years later Phillips appealed his murder conviction.

Last March, Wayne County Prosecutors Kym Worthy dropped all charges against Phillips, officially freeing him from prison. “There’s nothing that I can say to bring back 40 years of his life. The system failed him. There’s no question about it,” Worthy said at the time. “This is a true exoneration. Justice is indeed being done today, but there’s nothing that we can do ... to bring back those years of his life.”

Art played a big part in helping maintain his sanity through the sentence. Though he remained optimistic, Phillips admitted that he never truly believed he would be released. To pass the time, he began painting. He pulled inspiration from everywhere: his favorite artists, photos and even tapped into some of the loneliness that he felt in prison. "It was created in a harsh environment. But it goes to show you that beauty can come from something ugly."

Last year, Detroit's Demond Ricks was awarded $1 million for spending 25 years in prison on a wrongful conviction. As it stands, Phillips is the longest-serving wrongfully convicted former prisoner in U.S. history.

Phillips' artwork will be on display at Michigan's Ferndale's Level One gallery beginning Jan. 18.

See more on his artwork in the video below.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Gladys Knight Defends Decision To Perform National Anthem At Super Bowl Amid Criticism

Glad Knight says she wants to “give the National Anthem back its voice.” The music legend released a new statement defending her decision to sing  the National Anthem at the Super Bowl in Atlanta, next month, amid criticism from fans.

Several artists turned down offers to perform at the Super Bowl in protest of the league’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick. Knight clarified that her choice to sing has nothing to do with Kaepernick, and she doesn't exactly agree with the anthem being "dragged into the debate."

"I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things and they are police violence and injustice,” Knight said in a statement to Variety. “It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.”

The 74-year-old singer also noted that she has been on the forefront of social justice issues for much of her career. "I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words,” Knight said. “The way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good.

"No matter who chooses to deflect with this narrative and continue to mix these two in the same message, it is not so and cannot be made so by anyone speaking it,” she continued. “I pray that this National Anthem will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward and untangle these truths which mean so much to all of us."

Knight isn’t alone in catching heat for joining the Super Bowl lineup. Travis Scott and Big Boi, both of whom will perform with Maroon 5 at halftime, received backlash as well.

Earlier in the week, reports surfaced claiming Scott had a meeting with Kaepernick that ended with “mutual respect” and “understanding.” Kaepernick’s girlfriend and Hot 97 DJ, Nessa Diab, denied the report tweeting, “There is NO mutual respect and there is NO understanding for anyone working against @Kaepernick7 PERIOD. #stoplying.”

Continue Reading

Top Stories