Upon the release of the first single ‘Heart Attack’ from his new album ‘Chapter 5’ R’n’B crooner Trey Songz arrived in London to support his record and to soak up the city’s nightlife. I was lucky enough to interview the respectfully assertive and focused singer on behalf of Taletela.com, and spoke to the 27-year old about his relationship with Kelly Rowland, being called arrogant and settling down…(and yes, his PR were pissed off over some of my questions…)
We’ve had a lot of superstars in London recently and we’re loving it. I know it’s not your first time here, and you tweeted a picture of yourself and Joe Budden having a blast in the city a few nights ago – what was that night like?? How are you finding London?
That was just a party (laughs) that was just a regular night! There were a couple of parties that I went to…I’ve been here like a week. I went to a couple of clubs, had some dinner at some great restaurants, I went to see the ‘Watch The Throne’ gig on Friday. I actually went up to Leicester on Saturday – so I’ve just been out here chilling man. Did a little shopping at Selfridges, I like coming to London.
What did you think of the Jay Z and Kanye ‘Watch The Throne’ gig?
It’s was great, it was a great show – amazing.
Your new album Chapter 5 is finally here…
It’s on the way…it’s almost here, we on the first single ‘Heart Attack’ (laughs)
I know you have some amazing collaborations on that LP, tell us a bit about some of those…
I got my homie Big Sean, I got T.I, I got J. Cole and a few other special guys that I want on there as well. I actually have the records with them on but I’ve got to make sure that everything is ironed out before I start name dropping (laughs) but I am excited about it man. Shout out to Rico Love and Benny Blanco for helping me put ‘Heart Attack’ together.
There are a lot of great guys on the project…Troy Taylor and Eric Hudson and a great songwriter by the name of Najja McDowell who has the same background as me – he is doing great things. We’ve got phenomenal records on this album, I’m sitting here running the records through my mind and I am genuinely exited about it.
Speaking of ‘Heart Attack’, many have commented on how good you look with Ms. Kelly Rowland in the music video, surely that relationship cannot be strictly platonic?
Oh it’s definitely platonic, I wish it wasn’t! (Laughs)
How was it working with her?
She is amazing, I joke around with the idea of that but all in all she is such an amazing friend and person. When she steps into a room she makes the whole room glow and she just has a spirit about her that is really kind and she is always the same person every time that you meet her. She is very much the professional and works very hard – she studied the treatment and made sure that she was very knowledgeable about it. She actually dropped a couple of things to do that for me and so I was very happy and very thankful.
Do you feel the need to prove yourself in anyway? Some have dismissed you has a “pretty boy” and some labeled you arrogant in regards to comments you made last year about being the best in your field within your generation. Does that get to you? What do you think of comments like that?
I think that in anything you do you should be confident in that, to not be confident in what you do, or to be feel like you can’t be the best…then why do it? I doubt that when Michael Jordan played basketball he was worried about what everybody thought about him trying to be the best, you know what I mean. He was viewed as arrogant in his time and Jay Z was probably viewed as arrogant before he became to be Jay Z, he kept telling everybody that he is the best rapper alive and your like ‘what?’
I speak my mind and I speak my truth and I am very confident in myself. I am what people call handsome…for people to call me a ‘pretty boy’ I’ve been called that all my life – I guess I look good.
You can turn on any radio and what you’ll find is R’n’B artists essentially doing dance music, so far you have dodged that what are the chances of your following that route? What do you think about it?
I’m not to big on following trends, I think some dance songs are amazing and I think some of them are bullshit …
Any in particular?
For you to ask me that is childish…
I’m not here to diss anybody, that’s corny. I’m just saying that I don’t think it is all-bad that people are doing dance music. I love a lot of dance songs and they can be made great but when you get to the point where every song on the radio is a dance song – all of them can’t possibly be good you see what I’m saying? I don’t want to get caught in the mixture of jumping out of the window just to do something because it’s a trend, I would rather sustain my place in the game with authenticity and try to continue to do what it is that I do and if I do step into that world – have something about it that still makes it my own.
I think with the dance songs, that they are just songs and that it’s not anything special about it as far as the artists are concerned. Any artist can sing most dance songs, it could be a hit for this artist or this artist and I look at that as the easy way out.
The Hip Hop community can be vicious towards even legitimate rappers, let alone singers who are exploring rap for themselves – upon releasing your own Hip Hop material were you concerned about the reception you would receive?
One thing you got to learn in the game and in life is that people are gonna be critical of whatever it is that you do especially when you have a magnifying glass on you.
I’ve been a Hip Hop head since before people even knew who Trey Songz was so that’s not gonna change just because I am considered an R’n’B singer now. Especially when music is allowing people to expand their wings a little more…
Will we be hearing more from the rapper in you in the future?
Oh definitely, definitely.
How do you feel about sharing the bill with D’Angelo at the 2012 Essence Music Festival this year?
D’Angelo is amazing, I’m happy to see him back I haven’t seen him perform live in while. Actually I’ve never seen him live in person except on DVD’s and on stuff like that. I am glad to see him back performing and doing music.
I’m happy to be back at Essence; the amazing festival for the beautiful black people, it’s always peaceful – when you go to New Orleans for it you feel the love in the air, everybody is happy to be there and it’s like the biggest cookout ever (laughs) so I am just happy to be a part of it – it’s my third year straight so thank you essence.
What can we expect from your show this year? Can you tell us anything?
It’s my third year like I said and so I’ve got to do something special – I haven’t been able to really conceptualise anything special for that as I haven’t had rehearsal for it yet but very recently we did Superfest out there in Australia and I performed at a huge festival in Angola with Wyclef which was at the same magnitude as far as people are concerned. Those festivals they have upwards of like 30-40,000 people at least and Essence is like 50 or 60,000 I think…so I gotta plan something special for them.
We know that Omarion is joining Rick Ross’s Maybach Music label, and I’m sure you’ve also got an eye for expansion, will you be making a similar move in the future?
Not a similar move in that regard because that would do nothing for me…
There are reports that you will be joining RocNation…
Yeah I heard those reports, they were actually management reports but rumors will be rumors.
There is no truth in that?
Concerning reports about your love life, could you touch on some of the unique pressures of being someone as adored as yourself maintaining a relationship in the public eye – am I right to assume –
No you’re not right to assume…
Assumption is the father of all fuck ups…
(Laugh) You don’t have an eye for settling down at this point?
I actually would like to, it’s hard in the music industry especially having so many women as fans. It’s hard to see who is there for real reasons, especially in todays age where you can become a star off somebody else’s back really quickly and I have to be cautious of that.
Furthermore on a more human level, it’s a real thing to have to give so much of yourself, especially when I already give so much of my self as far as my artistry and the brand but in a relationship your other half deserves all of you at some point and at this point I can’t give that. I’m trying to learn how to balance it out but I would eventually and soon like somebody to share my life with.
I couldn’t overlook a line you tweeted from a Prince song called ‘Insatiable’, I know you’re a fan and you performed a version of ‘Purple Rain’ at the BET Awards years ago – the media reported that he was unimpressed by your version…did he ever hit you up about that?
I saw Prince at The View one day…
The TV show?
Yeah, and he was coming out to give tickets away and we spoke for a while backstage, he gave me some great words.
Can I press you? What did he say?
What me and Prince talk about is between me and Prince…
(Laugh) What dish is guaranteed to win Trey Songz heart every time?
Some good soul food…fried chicken, macaroni…
What was the first CD you bought?
The Fugees – The Score.
The last CD you bought?
I actually recently bought a lot of singles, you know what’s crazy? I didn’t buy one album I just went through clicking on so many singles. I bought some Meek Mill, some Rick Ross, I bought a Frank Ocean song…I don’t remember who else but I know that I spent like 200 bucks.
If you could be anyone else for a day who would you be?
If I could be anyone else for a day…I’d probably be Barack Obama, just to see what those pressures of being president are like. I have days when I’m like man…and I know that everyday is like that for him, being judged and being scrutinized. I am used to that but I’m sure he is used to it on another level and I’d just like to feel those pressures for a second.