Morgan Treni
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Morgan Treni

Ramsey, New Jersey, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Ramsey, New Jersey, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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With a calendar full of social events, as well as an ever-rotating list of local music acts, Brothers Drake Meadery is committed to showcasing the plethora of local talent the central Ohio area has to offer.

Up-and-coming singer/songwriter Morgan Treni recently performed at Brothers Drake, and I had the chance to chat with her about her journey to music, her love of Columbus, and what’s next for her.

A Jersey girl by origin, Treni seems to have settled quite comfortably into the central Ohio scene.

“Columbus is a very special city to have begun the journey,” she says. “Many things have been made possible so quickly because of the community.”

Indeed, the love she’s developed for Buckeye city seems to be mutual, as Treni’s debut Columbus performance (prior performances have taken place in Delaware) was warmly received at Brothers Drake with a standing room only crowd. Her performance served not only as the evening’s entertainment, but as Treni’s pre-album release show.

Treni’s voice is an interesting amalgam of sounds. With its sultry, smoky jazziness, her voice easily calls to mind the likes of jazz vocalist Melody Gardot; yet it also displays the bubbly effervescence of Colbie Caillat. Her lyrical styling and phrasings, however, are uniquely her own.

Sometimes theatrical and whimsical, other times subdued, the songwriter draws from her experiences in life and channels them through the way with words she developed as an English major at Ohio Wesleyan University. Treni describes her journey into songwriting as “a wonderful fusion of passions that I haphazardly stumbled into.” After graduation, she decided her words could have much more life being sung aloud rather than simply being written on a page.

“In my roots, I’m a theatre girl,” she explains. “I love musical theatre: performing, story lines, characters. Also, history. This album has really grown me into a place where I’m learning about myself, as a new songwriter for our generation, and as a disciple of old tunes. On stage, I like my songs to showcase their own little world.”

“Music is the most powerful story that we’ve got,” adds Treni.

She hopes to share her story through her debut album, Essays. Her storytelling centers on the transitioning years of a freshly graduated twenty-something finding her way in the world after college, and carving her own space in the world of music.

Essays will be available in early 2014 on iTunes. In the meantime, listeners can catch updates about her performances on Treni’s website, www.MorganTreni.com. Thoughts of a tour have Treni hopeful and starry-eyed, but for now her next move is continuing to perform at local open mic nights and as opening act for others.

She says of Essays, “Lots of enthusiasm has transformed it into something very special. I’m excited to share.” - Briana Gunther


RAMSEY - About six years ago, little was certain about Morgan Treni’s life.

The Ramsey High School graduate had just landed in Delaware, Ohio, as a freshman trumpet major at Wesleyan University.

"That ended quickly," laughed Treni, now 25. "I dropped music and was undeclared for a while. I flirted with business before I settled on creative nonfiction writing."

But even as a trumpet major, being a musician was never in the cards for the now touring singer, whose debut album, "The Dreamer and Other Essays," was released this summer with the help of $8,000 raised through a Kickstarter campaign.

"I ran from music for a long time," said Treni, the daughter of Michael Treni, a jazz composer and onetime faculty member at Berklee College of Music in Boston. She she was always surrounded by music while growing up in her Ramsey home on North Central Avenue, where she still lives today.

"I remember when I was about 7 I would come downstairs and my father would have these big scores of sheet music, and would be writing out notes with pencil on these big charts," she said.

On Aug. 5, Treni sang for the first time in her home state, at Mexicali Live in Teaneck. She described a house packed with "kind faces" and Ramsey locals and although it was a unique experience for her, performing in the Garden State is nothing new.

As a child, Treni performed at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. She wanted to be on Broadway, but her ambitions have taken her on an anything but a linear journey.

"I had this kind of funny year where I went to military school [for eighth grade], because I have a lot of energy," joked Treni. "I have a lot of energy and I wanted to go because I love doing new things, I love different atmospheres, so I went to New York Military Academy for a year and when I came back, I had a scholarship for bugle calls.

"It was awesome, so when I came back I was doing marching band [at Ramsey High School]," she said.

But playing the trumpet in Ramsey’s marching band, too, would have been short lived had the director of the band not issued her an ultimatum.

"I quit the marching band. I said I wanted to sing and [the director] issued me an ultimatum. I could sing in the jazz band if I stayed in the marching band," said Treni, "so I stuck my hand out and he shook it."

Looking back on her experiences growing up in Ramsey, it is clear that Treni wasn’t where she wanted to be. She described running from music as her "pursuit," putting down her trumpet to pick up tennis rackets and winter coats at the former Cury’s Sport Shop.

"I loved working [at Cury’s]. I loved designing window displays," said Treni, "and unbeknownst to me, that is how I was exerting my creative energies."

And after years of work and finding different outlets for her creative energies, Treni finally found a home in nonfiction writing, and finally, music. She describes her album as toeing the line between prose and music.

Bloggers describe her as a "vivacious singer" and a "Cole Porter meets feminism." Treni is humbled by her fans, saying it is empowering knowing how her music, chronicling her life’s most precious events, are well-received.

Her album, a sort of collaboration between her and her father — she hired him to write the arrangements that accompany her music — is available on cdbaby.com and will soon be on iTunes.

Currently Treni is scheduling tour dates which she posts on her website morgantreni.com, and says she is excited about a gig she is planning for this fall in her hometown. And although it may seem like she has finally reached her destination, for Treni the journey is just beginning.

"I think we’re all trying to become who we’re going to become," she said. "I’ve learned I’m very much my father’s daughter, but with my music, I’m really trying to create my own identity." - Suburban News


As busy students sometimes do, Morgan Treni neglected her homework.

Then a sophomore at Ohio Wesleyan University, she once brought a guitar to class to sing in lieu of an assigned essay.

“After class, my professor came up and grabbed me by the elbow,” said Treni, who in 2012 earned a degree in nonfiction writing. “She said: ‘You’re a songwriter.’”

A growing body of songs spawned the New Jersey native’s recent first album, The Dreamer and Other Essays.

“I got tired of waiting for people to present the opportunities,” said the 24-year-old, who on Sunday will perform to mark the record’s release. “It’s been a wonderful journey.”

Q: Could you describe your work?

A: It’s all about melodies and stories with me — more of like a folky pop, but there’s clearly a jazz influence. I love George and Ira Gershwin, Joni Mitchell, Grace Potter.

Q: As someone who grew up attending Broadway shows in New York, did life in Ohio provide any inspiration?

A: Open Road is a song that I wrote actually about . . . looking for a little bit of extra money after graduation. Somebody asked me if I would milk a cow on this honey-and-herb farm for a week.

I was going out there twice a day to milk this cow and going through this really lovely stretch of Delaware County when I wrote that song. It’s one of my favorites.

Q: You have said that first classroom performance was unnerving. How do you feel now?

A: I’m always still nervous when I get onstage. But life is short. There’s a lot of ground to cover. I’m interested in doing it in a very creative and adventurous way. - The Columbus Dispatch


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

MORGAN TRENI is a singer and songwriter from Ramsey, New Jersey. She exudes a majesty of picturesque and psychedelic energy on the stage, with a voice that twists between angelic and fierce. 

After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan with a degree in Non-Fiction Writing, Treni returned to Ohio to begin building her fan base around the college.

Together, she and her Volvo, "Old Blue," have been questing with stories, performing weekly at open mics and songwriting showcases. Treni has both the ability to invoke nostalgia, while at the same time encourage excitement for the host of her music to come.

Band Members