Emerging R&B singer/songwriter, Trey Simon has a penchant for soul. During his recent showcase at Detroit’s Cliff Bell’s, he impressed the audience with his smooth, yet robust vocals. Guided by the mantra, “Keep it soulful,” Simon is a man of God with purpose.
“Keep it soulful is a reminder to myself that it’s not about the surface. It’s about digging below the surface and going to the core of what we are as human beings. We’re a thought; we’re a breath; we’re spoken word; we’re ideas; we’re passion; we’re gifts; we’re dreams,” he explains.
Although, his genre of choice is R&B, his spirituality is obvious. With insightful determination and sensual lyrics, the 23-year-old musician has the potential to become an industry heavyweight. Prior to his show, the metro Detroit native gave rolling out an exclusive interview.
When did you know that music was your purpose?
I was young — I just knew. My uncle Todd gave me this old guitar and I just never stopped playing. I took lessons and then I kept playing and discovered more mature music. … I played for 4-5 hours a day, every single day. I always knew that that was what I was going to do. In high school, I wrote songs and my teachers didn’t even get mad, they would be like, “Alright, who is this song about?”
Who are some of your mentors?
[Local musician] Kenny Watson. I played a song for him and his said, “Bro, you’re tapping into some stuff that you have no idea about.” He took me to the city, introduced to his wife and his family. We wrote songs together, we performed together. … He’s my only brother; blood couldn’t make us closer. Mentorship is the greatest gift that we have.
Where does your maturity come from?
I have great parents; my parents really instilled a lot in me and they taught me to be perceptive. They also raised me to have a strong relationship with God. I had a great dad who always instilled in me: substance and purpose — having an understanding of that is important. I always kept a perceptive eye to the industry. I noticed that everyone’s about making yourself look “better” than you are. Where is the authenticity? Where is genuineness? Where is exposing your heart and who you are? I realized, people are scared to feel. They’re scared to feel pain, they’re scared to feel love ’cause they don’t know what to do with it. The greatest artists of all time were not afraid to be honest about the pain they felt. What I found from people that have been mentors, through their example, I’ve watched the connection that can made when you really expose your heart.
Sounds like your parents co-parented well.
Like any family, you go through things; it’s not pretty, it’s always ugly. It’s the understanding that love is not a feeling. Love is not an emotion. Love is a commitment. An understanding of knowing that no matter what happens, you’re gonna stay committed. When my parents split, I was angry — I got in trouble and made my mistakes — but it shaped me and it gave me character. My parents always had faith in me.
How do you plan to stay grounded?
There’s a [rock] band called Switchfoot. I work at a coffee shop and there was a night where the lead singer wanted to come to the coffee shop to do an acoustic set. I picked him up and we were just talking life and stuff. I asked him, “How do you honor God? How stay purposeful?” He said, “There’s always gonna be somebody with more money than you. There’s always gonna be somebody with a prettier girl than you. There’s always gonna be somebody with a bigger crowd than you. But Trey, I promise you, if you honor God with your lifestyle and bless people with your gifts, you can be confident knowing that you’re doing what God intended you to do.” So I focus on using my lifestyle as an example. If you have the confidence in knowing who you are and who God made you to be, you don’t have to do anything — you can just exist. As long I hold on to that purpose, the growth will never stop.
When is your album coming out? Any record labels floating around?
We’ve been in the studio, doing another EP. We will have something released this fall. We’re meeting with people and building relationships. Right now it’s about capitalizing on those relationships. Nothing’s set in stone, we’re just having conversations now.
What are five words that you would like people to think of when they hear the name, Trey Simon?
Heart. Soul. Love. Selflessness. Purpose.
For more info, visit his website: http://www.treysimonsoul.com/music/
Photo gallery credit: Raquelle Harris for Steed Media