Don’t let Treasure Davis’ sugary sweet demeanor fool you. The California-bred songstress—who has written for Chris Brown, sang background for Keri Hilson, Kelly Price, Nicki Minaj and Keyshia Cole, and collaborated with Kid Ink and J. Cole—is now soaking up the spotlight on her own with her Heart Flavored Summer EP (via ByStorm Entertainment and RCA Records).
Treasure recently previewed her summer soundtrack at VIBE HQ (spoiler alert: the four-song package fits any relationship status) and discusses her musical beginnings, penning her emotions and the best lyric she’s ever scribed.
VIBE: How does your song-writing process begin?
Treasure Davis: Usually, I’ll get in a room with whatever producer and a writer, and we’ll just start talking. And it could just start off talking about like, ‘What was going on today?’ and eventually, with creative minds, it spirals down to something that everybody’s like “Yeah, I felt something like that before,” and I’ll come in and say, “Man, this is the colors I feel.” I see a lot in colors. I’ll say, “I just feel like greens and purples.” We’ll just start to set the atmosphere and then build from there. A lot of times, I’ll recall a feeling or a moment or something. I’ve got crazy friends-if I don’t seek stuff out, they do. So if I don’t have material, somebody around me does but, just recalling an intense emotion and allowing it to just color the mic.
Was that the case for “Heart Flavored Sucker”, too?
Actually, the funny thing about that story is that [RCA exec] Mark Pitts, who signed me, called me and was like, “Treas! You gotta hear this record! I’m finna send you this record. I heard this record and I thought it was dope! Yo! You gotta hear this record, and it’s not even finished but you gotta hear this right now!”
So he e-mailed me and it wasn’t finished. It was just the first verse and the hook, and I’m like “Yoooooo!” So I went in and finished writing it, and then Luke Christopher hopped on the remix version of it, which was super dope because then you get the other perspective of the douche-y jerk that made the girl feel that way. It’s like everybody has kind of been in that place. Well, maybe not everybody but, you give your all to a situation that’s like, “This is fine,” but it’s not. So, it’s just that expression.
I feel like you have the most poppin’ Rolodex because you’re working with everybody from Kid Ink to J. Cole.
So many things have [happened] organically. I won’t really consider it random but like singing background. I don’t know how I did it! I never auditioned for a job. I never sought out a background singer position. Literally, somebody called me and asked me [if I wanted] to do that. Going in and writing with Chris Brown, I just happened to know another really great writer and another good friend of mine who was just like, ‘Yo, come in.’ All these doors just said, ‘Oh, hello! Come inside.’
My best friend went to prom with Kid Ink, so all of these things come back around full circle and it’s really dope. Eric Bellinger, [who] wrote one of those songs with me. I remember he was in a group before he was a writer and a solo artist so I remember being in his studio and just grinding out.
Let’s start from the beginning. Did you grow up in a music household?
Both of my parents are artistic. My father is a visual artist and so is my mother, but I grew up in a household with my mother, brother, and sister and it was full of music all the time. I grew up listening to a lot of oldies. My brother and sister are six, seven years older than me, so even though I was in elementary school, I was listening to R. Kelly like I thought I was that girl in the first or second grade, singing “Bump N’ Grind”—no business singing that little girl! Just a Kindergartener rapping Snoop! But I listened to a lot of ’90s R&B, and then I went to a real ghetto middle school, Pacific Palisades Middle School. That’s when I really started getting into rap more on my own … So then I started being exposed to more alternative music like The Beatles and stuff like that. Just really opening up my palette to just dope music, wherever it comes from, which I feel like a lot of people are embracing more because the Internet makes everybody listen to everything.
Because of your diverse influences, where do you feel like your music lies?
I feel like there’s definitely an honest, sincere soul element that I can’t get away from just because I believe in passion and sincerely telling a story. It just makes me feel good. And then, there’s that knock. I think listening to a lot of The Beatles and a whole plethora of dope songwriters, from Carole King to whomever, made me fall in love with dope melodies. Sweet melodies. So, probably somewhere in there. It’s going to reach you from here (points to heart), but you also hear a true story and a sweet melody.
Do you think that’s going to be the biggest selling point for your EP?
I feel like different people listen to music for different reasons. I know that even in different places in my life, I listened to music for different reasons. I might gravitate to something ’cause it knocks and go, ‘Yeah, this is my song.’ And then in the fall, I might go, ‘Damn, they’re saying some shit.’ Then in the winter, you’re booed up and it means something different. So, Heart Flavored Summer is perfect because it kind of has a groove you can move to in the summertime, and I think that definitely will impact people. It’s a good summer soundtrack. Everybody falls in love and does stupid things.
Lastly, what is a lyric you’ve written that you hold closest to your heart?
It’s probably, ‘What if you’re the one?” Because that goes beyond the relationship. It’s the job, the career move, this is safe. I know that this is safe, but I never even imagined this: what if you’re the one? Am I stupid if I don’t take a chance on this? That’s open to anything.
Dive into Treasure Davis’ Heart Flavored Summer EP here.
Photo Credit: RCA