Tre G
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Tre G

Saint Louis, Missouri, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017

Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
Established on Jan, 2017
Solo Pop R&B




"St. Louis singer Tre G presents his authentic self with 'As I Am'"

St. Louis singer Tre G had no idea that attending Troye Sivan’s 2016 concert at the Pageant would change the course of his career.

Tre G wasn’t familiar with the Australian pop singer when a friend invited him to the show, but he went along anyway to experience something new.

“I was inspired by how authentic he was, that there was this whole new sound and direction, and there were people who liked it,” Tre G says. “Though I’d never heard of him, I left feeling inspired. I really started to be OK with the fact that I like pop music.”

Tre G (Tre’von Griffith) had been a staunch R&B guy.

“In my friends circles, I would only talk about the music I knew everyone listened to,” he says. “But then I started to think about the possibilities of what the music could be.”

The result was his latest project, “As I Am.”

EP cover
"As I Am"
“I think the project was something that was always in me,” he says. “It was just scared to come out because of the sound and direction. Everything about it is unconventional when you think about a black male singer. It’s very rare you get to see black guys be pop stars. A lot of times you get lumped in certain genres like R&B and gospel, the music you grew up on. But I’ve always gravitated toward pop music.”

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He calls “As I Am” fun, feel-good music, something missing nowadays.

“A lot of times the music we listen to is not feel-good music in terms of how you felt when you turn on the songs you grew up with in the ’70s and ’80s,” he says. “There’s a lack of music I could listen to that made me feel good that was current. You want music to make you feel good about love, feel good to be alive, be able to go through the different emotions.”

The new project comes with a new aesthetic and branding for Tre G — and he’s open about being gay.

Tre G
Tre G
Photo by Jessica Page
“It was definitely a struggle dealing with my sexual identity,” he says. “But when I came to terms with it and began living for me, I saw everything around me start to shift. I started attracting people who feel the same way. My partner had a lot to do with it. He’s been there, and I needed to get there so I could be more authentically myself. You have to find out who you are as a person before finding out who you are as an artist.”

“Next to You,” the lead track from “As I Am,” reflects his new openness. He says the song is the perfect love story.

“It’s a song about wanting to always be near the person you love. It’s really personal, about my relationship.”

He and his husband, Shelton, were married in 2019.

“The whole second verse is me sitting in the car talking with him. I hadn’t actually made music about the things going on in my life at the time. I felt for the first time I was creating music drawn from my personal life.”

“As I Am” follows “Motions” (2017) and “I’m Back” (2016), his debut. He’s excited but nervous for his show Saturday at the Grandel.

He knows the venue’s stage intimately. As a past Black Rep intern and performer, he performed there in “Sarafina,” “Raisin in the Sun,” “Macbeth” and “Guys and Dolls.”

“I grew up there,” he says. “It’s special — home to me. What better venue to have my biggest headlining show? It’s the place where it all started.”

The show also features Katarra Parson, to whom Tre G was drawn as a pianist. The two met in 2018 at An Under Cover Weekend at Delmar Hall; Tre G was performing as Usher, Parson as Maroon 5.

“I respect her as a musician,” he says. “She’s really advanced in her music. She’s really killing it.”

Also opening is MAXA, another singer he’s excited about. “I went to her listening event where she performed all her stuff live, and it was there when I realized I wanted her to open my show. I love her aesthetic, and it’s cool to see another artist do pop music.”

The inclusion of Eric Donte is of particular significance for Tre G. “I needed another queer artist on the bill. There aren’t many that identify that way — not a lot to choose from.”

TLT Productions, a theater company that Tre G runs with Lauron Crosby, recently concluded its third season of shows in Grand Center.

TLT’s fourth season might include its original production “Something Like Godspell,” and the troupe plans to explore ways to allow fans to access its productions digitally.

“In the world of streaming and how people like to consume things, a lot of people like to be in the comfort of their homes to experience entertainment,” he says. “We’re going to come into homes with new, innovative ideas.” - St. Louis Post Dispatch

"STL Singer-Songwriter TreG Brings His Most Authentic Self to Grandel Show"

January 4 is a characteristically brisk St. Louis evening, with showgoers filing into the Grandel in Grand Center to escape the cold. Inside, the historic theater is filling rapidly as the ushers direct ticketholders to their respective seats.

It's nearly showtime. All the rehearsals leading up to this special performance by St. Louis singer-songwriter TreG are in the rearview mirror — now is the time of reckoning. Will the audience be engaged, or leave at intermission? With theater, it's hard to tell.

As the curtains rise, TreG takes the lead role. Appearing confident and poised, the singer-songwriter dominates the stage, elevating what could have been a standard musical performance to a real work of art by giving his audience choreography, background dancers, polished vocals, wardrobe and precision. The singer, born Tre'von Griffith, is no stranger to the stage — this stage in particular, even. He's been performing since the age of six, with a resume that includes more than half a dozen productions here, back when it was home to the Black Rep.

All told, Griffith brings an energy that is unmatched in joy and authenticity to his performance. The show features tracks from his 2019 EP As I Am, along with performances from several like-minded St. Louis favorites including Katarra Parson, DJ HoodBunnny, Maxa and Eric Dontè.

As I Am is an EP rooted in self-love, freedom of expression and overall good vibes. It's a mix of R&B and pop, creating a sound that Griffith says "just makes you feel good." Each track flows into the next, giving listeners no opportunity to think about skipping ahead.

His music is filled with validating statements, complete with tender melodies wrapped in acknowledgement. "Fate has made a way, now I'm ready / 'Cause I'm full of all the changes surrounding me," he sings, gathering the audience at the Grandel into a captivating embrace. "Take Off," just one of the tracks from the EP, is a gentle ballad, expressing Griffith's openness to trusting where life leads him, including the shifts in his life.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes in Griffith's life came last year, when he married his longtime love. Among others, it was a moment that influenced As I Am.

"As I Am is just really personal to me," Griffith tells RFT. "I'm OK with being vulnerable, as well as the subject matter. For the first time, I just created what I thought in my head; I didn't think too much about what people would think about it."

As I Am, Griffith says, was the opportunity for him to create a body of work for himself, and draw inspiration from his life. He released the five-track project in June, following it up with a performance at STL Pride. In addition to the success of his own project, Griffith was also occupied with multiple shows from his theater company, TLT Productions. In his youth, Griffith attended Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and went on to graduate from Berklee College of Music. Since then, he's made his career in performing, directing and teaching — giving him all the tools and experience he would need to elevate his Grandel show to the next level.

It was indeed a packed year that led up to his solo performance. Griffith says the project has been a long time coming. From its inception, he says, he leaned on a team of trusted collaborators to create. From writing lyrics and cultivating melodies, As I Am was just as much of a team effort as it was a project focused on self.

"Earlier in my career, it was just me, and I wanted to do everything myself," Griffith says. "But as I've gotten older, I've gotten into collaboration. This was really about that."

With a strong background in music, Griffith says he was able to tap into his Rolodex of peers who also work professionally in songwriting. He enlisted the help of DreaVocalz, a St. Louis singer-songwriter that co-wrote "Take Off," along with several college friends for other songs on the EP.

As I Am is a letter. It's TreG's self-addressed piece, folded into an envelope and tucked away for him to read later. It's to remind both himself and everyone else exactly who he is — all of who he is. He's introspective on songs like "Take Off," he's giddy and basking in the glow of love on "Next to You," and he's living in truth on "Same Energy."

While he's not in a rush to put out a longer project just yet, Griffith says he's riding the momentum of As I Am. He wants to continue promoting this body of work before jumping into another, offering listeners the chance to get to know him. And if they aren't into it, he has one thing to say to that.

"Keep that same energy," he laughs.

Without skipping a literal beat, TreG performs all five tracks from his EP, along with an explosive cover of Usher's "Caught Up" and a splash of gospel, providing a glimpse into his musical roots.

As the lights focus on him, Griffith gives his audience studio-quality vocals without a drop in energy and emotion. Seated in the first row is his husband, Shelton, nodding along and singing every word.

Leading up to his performance, Griffith expressed his hope in garnering a positive response to his show. With barely any breathing room post-production and a standing ovation following the show's finale, it's safe to say TreG rocked the house.

Bravo. - RiverFront Times


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