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The Daily News (Halifax)
Entertainment, Sunday, October 29, 2006, p. 19
Music

TroBiz cleans up at awards
Hip-hop artist takes home three trophies from African Nova Scotian Music Awards
Dean Lisk

Hip-hop artist TroBiz said getting any kind of recognition, let alone the three awards he got at last night's African Nova Scotian Music Awards, is enough for him.

"I was really surprised, I was more focused on performing tonight," said the 32-year-old, who received the rising star, artist of the year, and hip-hop artist awards.

TroBiz, whose real name is Tremayne Howe, wasn't even in Casino Nova Scotia's Schooner Showroom when his first award was announced to the audience of more than 300. It included Lieutenant-Governor Mayann E. Francis.

Took awhile
"Thank God for giving me the power to get up and do this everyday," said TroBiz, when he did make it onstage for his second award. Last night was the ninth year the African Nova Scotian Music Association honoured musicians within its community.

And the Winners are:
Here are the winners of the ninth annual African Nova Scotian Music Awards, which were handed out at Casino Nova Scotia last evening;

- Up and Coming Youth Award: P. Cain
- Galaxie Rising Star Award: TroBiz
- Artist/Group of the Year: TroBiz
- Best R & B Artist/Group: Asia & Nu Gruv
- Best Gospel Artist/Group: Marko Simmonds
- Best Album of the Year: Everything, by Shane C.
- Best Hip-Hop Artist/Group: TroBiz
- Best Live Performance: Asia & Nu Gruv
- Music Pioneer Award: Carl (Sleepy) Thomas
- Black Business Initiative Development Award: Jam On Records
- Music Heritage Award: Roland J Simmonds

Illustration(s):
Trobiz: Triple award winner who performed at last night's show at the Casino.
Category: Arts and Culture
Uniform subject(s): Music
© 2006 The Daily News (Halifax). All rights reserved.
Doc. : news•20061029•HA•0048

news•20061029•HA•0048

- The Sunday Daily News, Halifax, dlisk@hfxnew.ca



The African Nova Scotian Music Awards Show moved onward and upward on Saturday night, hosting its ninth annual evening at Halifax’s Casino Nova Scotia for the first time.

The glamorous Schooner Room hosted the celebration of homegrown gospel, soul, jazz, hip-hop and world beat, with a broad spectrum of performances throughout the night. "This music is the sound of triumph, of family, of joy," said Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis in her opening remarks. "It is the sound of success.

"As the first black lieutenant governor, it’s a privilege to congratulate the African Nova Scotian Music Association, its volunteers and the nominees who enrich our culture every day. Their music is the very nature of diversity, enriching our lives in so many ways."

One performer who heard the sound of success on Saturday night was Halifax R&B/hip-hop performer TroBiz, who earned three ANSMAs, including artist of the year, hip-hop artist of the year and the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award, which comes with a $1,000 cheque.

"I’m very, very surprised," said TroBiz, a.k.a. musician/producer Tremayne Howe, whose new CD The Beginning lands in stores on Nov. 15. "I feel blessed today! It’s a feeling I didn’t anticipate.

"The support of the musical and business communities has really benefited me and our label could be blessed with a better situation, to be able to perform and showcase with all this talent. Putting a record out is hard, but events like this make you feel like it will fly."
- Chronicle Herald


Four hundred pieces of music. It's the amount of work Trobiz, AKA Tremayne Howe, has developed since he got serious about his music six years ago. It's also music he created without releasing an album of his own. After an extended period of honing his craft, the R&B/hip-hop artist is finally launching his long-awaited debut The Beginning, officially revealing it to his Halifax fans this Saturday at the Seahorse.

"It wasn't that I was afraid," says Howe. "I just didn't know how. I had an idea of how, but I have a family that I have to answer to. I have to answer for what I invest my time and money into. I've been really trying to be very sharp with where I stand and how serious I take what I put out."

A son to two legendary performers, Coleman Howe and Muzz Marshall, Howe grew up in the community predominately made up of east coast ex-pats in Montreal known as Little Scotia. He returned to his roots to play basketball for Dalhousie in the late '90s. It was then that the music he grew up with started to show in his own life. Howe ran into local DJ JoRun Bombay who invited him to learn how to make beats in the studio with a young Classified.

His burgeoning interest led him to perform at hip-hop shows and he often organized concerts to raise funds for gear. For a time in Halifax one couldn't walk down the street without seeing the Trobiz name on posters taped to lampposts. Howe began to produce his own music, selling some of his pieces to television along the way. Since then he's worked with local artists such as Shy Luv and Dammien Alexander, more recently with Jordan Croucher and Littles the General. After receiving much encouragement from his peers, Howe set to making his first full-length.

"I started developing my own sound and I thought, 'You know what, I could probably do this,'" says Howe, who owns the Up Close Barbershop on Gottingen. "People have influenced me around here. Guys like Classified said, 'Man, things are starting to kick off, why don't you put your stuff out.' I'd be like, 'I'm doing this for fun right now, but we'll see.'"

It's obvious from the way he talks about his past and present projects that Trobiz likes to keep things a little old school. He is a man influenced by his upbringing and heritage. He uses original instrumentation on The Beginning, and worked on many of the tracks with his father, who he says is often his harshest critic.

"My father is an extreme high-end perfectionist," Howe says. "I'm way down in the moderate-low, I kind of want to get things going. He definitely helps me balance that out. But definitely I have that guidance to be high-end, be on top of your game, super-sharp."

The Beginning is an extension of his roots, recalling the sounds of a household filled with funk and soul musicians. The disc also mixes the styles of contemporary R&B and hip-hop, incorporating party tracks with slow jams. But rather than sing about the stereotypical cars and bling, Howe prefers to tackle the deeper issues, while maintaining a sense of fun.

"A track like 'Power' is political and it talks about what's going on in our city, that there are better days," he says. "But then I go all the way to a song like 'No Hook' and be a bragging MC. I do different styles of music because I believe there's no such thing as fake hip-hop and I don't think there's such a thing as real hip-hop. Music to me is music; it's as real as you hear. I embrace everybody's style."

Coming from an area that's not known for its R&B artists, Howe knows this is his chance to break new ground for the east coast. He admits his desire to represent his peers was part of what forced him to take his time with the music, rather than rush to force mediocre records on the public. Now that he's ready, he's not backing away from what lies ahead.

"I think there's no limit to what this stuff can do," he says. "Why? Because I have music that can sit up there with your commercial artists and I also have some gritty stuff. So that being said, I don't really see a cap on what I can do."

Trobiz cd release w/Muzz Marshall, Ian Janes, Dammien Alexander and Uncle Fester, December 9 at The Seahorse, 1659 Argyle, 10pm, $12, 423-7200.
- L.P. Johnston, "The Coast", Dec 7th, 2006


By: Dangerously, Jesse
To those in the know or anywhere near it, the fact that Tremaine (Trobiz) Howe is just now releasing his first solo record may come as a shock. He's been around for - what - ever now?
Back in 1998 or so, he put out a record with Tacktishion (now of Universal Soul) under the group name The Overlordz. I was all caught up then in the alternative rap stylings of local acts such as the Sebutones and the Goods, so I had no idea what was happening in the north end.
What was happening was an alternative to the alternative. Everyone had different reasons why they knew they were keeping it more true to the foundation of hip hop than anyone else. While some thought breaking down the bounds and fetters of convention was more appropriate, some thought maintaining an aggressively rap-fuelled attitude was what it took.
The Overlordz actually straddled those worlds, and, unfortunately, I think they fell through the crack between them. I heard the album, but failed to buy it. My dough was short in those days and the rap was long. I missed out.
In 2000, Trobiz one of the Halifax artists featured on the 44N 63W East Coast Explosion project. An ill-fated compilation, it was dreamed up by Toronto label dudes seeking not so much to expose East Coast hip hop as it existed, but to stripmine it for marketable personalities to combine with their in-house (read: not Haligonian) production team for presumable commercial hotness.
The project also featured Classified and Jorun, and if any of those three had been involved in the beatmaking, the record surely wouldn't stand as the embarrassment many consider it to be. I think it was a discouraging experience for some of the cats, and I'm glad that it didn't spoil Trobiz's appetite for hip hop.
Gritty rap
Around the same time, Jorun was creating a compilation of local MCs over his expert beats, including a track called The Vigorous which featured Trobiz solo.
I can't stress enough how dope I thought that track was, how dope I still think it is. Canadian rappers often suffer from a stigma, that they're not as authentic as U.S. rappers. We don't sound tough enough, we don't sound real enough. The Vigorous sounded like gritty rap from whatever mean U.S. streets you'd care to imagine.
I've heard that Tro doesn't like that track anymore. Well, I don't care. If I had to make an all-time list of my 10 favourite Halifax raps, The Vigorous would be on there. It was listening to an early mix of that over and over on my minidisk in 2000 that I decided I would make certain to always know what Trobiz was up to, and make sure I didn't miss out on it again.
And I failed! Every so often, I'd hear a beat and my eyes would bug out and I'd ask someone, yo, who produced that? And they'd look at me like I had applesauce all down my shirt and say, uh Trobiz? Like I was stupid. And I would hear that he had some kind of major U.S. label negotiations going through on that were going to make him a grillionaire.
But I honestly didn't know what was up until I ran into his mother, Nova Scotian soul sensation Muzz Marshall, at a music-industry conference. Since she's also the head of his record label, Marshall marshalled a copy of Trobiz's brand new album into my hands. The thing is gorgeous, designed by the man himself, and just looking at it makes me proud to reflect upon the things my city can produce.
Clean and smooth
The Beginning sounds like nothing you've heard from Halifax. This is big-league rap music, it takes itself seriously and it virtually screams record sales. I don't mean that it sacrifices quality for commercial gloss, but glossy it is. If it's being marketed correctly, it's going to be coveted by many fans across Canada.
Let me be frank for a second, lest you think I just gas up any local artist who happens along. This record is not really my thing. It's nothing like The Vigorous; it's extremely clean and smooth.
I am not the audience this record was made for, but I recognize the skill that went into it. Reading the liner notes is exciting to me - seeing the extensive list of instruments played by Trobiz himself makes me jealous.
I'm not saying the record leaves me cold. I'm just saying that other people are going to love it a lot more than I do, because it's the record they've been waiting for. I'm glad for them, because it's about time someone crafted a smooth hip-hop record with real care.
I can't wait for this to hit. Let's watch it happen at the release show: The Seahorse, 10 p.m. on Saturday. I'll be skating through after catching the Jason Molina show the same night, just to prove that lovers of all music can get down with Trobiz. Jazz guitarist Ian Janes will be playing.
You will be listening, or you will be left as disappointed as I was when I didn't buy The Overlordz CD.
jesse@dangerously.ca
- The Halifax Daily News (Dec 7th, 2006)


R&B performer TroBiz launches new "Beginning" on Saturday
By STEPHEN COOKE Entertainment Reporter

Award-winning Halifax R&B/hip-hop performer Trobiz (Tremayne Howe) launches his new CD The Beginning on Saturday night at the Seahorse Tavern. The record also marks the debut of the new East Coast label Jam On Records, a joint effort with his mother, well-known soul singer Yvonne ’Muzzy’ Marshall. (Andrew Tench)
When you’ve been in the music industry for any length of time, it helps to have a sense of humour.
That’s why Halifax R&B/hip-hop performer TroBiz laughs when asked about the title of his new CD The Beginning.
"It’s the first solo project I’ve been able to put together, and I’ve been working at this for a while," says TroBiz, who launches the CD on Saturday night at the Seahorse Tavern. "Basically, it’s irony. It’s ironic that I’ve been around that long, and yet so many people don’t know me yet, so it’s a brand new beginning for them.
"It’s a double meaning in that sense. Someone who doesn’t know me will go, ‘Hey, that’s crazy, Tro finally put out an album!’ "
The 2006 triple ANSMA Award-winning musician, born Tremayne Howe, has been active as a singer, songwriter and producer for close to a decade. In one sense, The Beginning is the start of a new phase in his career, but one listen to its confident grooves will tell you that TroBiz is no rookie. His first national splash was on the EMI Music Canada release 44N/63W, which featured a broad range of East Coast urban talent, and since then he’s earned a reputation for both his own tracks as well as work with acts like Universal Soul and Classified.
The real beginning for TroBiz was back in his childhood days, growing up as the son of musicians Yvonne "Muzzy" Marshall and guitarist/band leader Coleman Howe. As the child of active professional musicians, music became a defining force in his upbringing.
"I remember as a young guy, my parents would have wires all over our townhouse in Montreal. And I ran from that at times, because I didn’t want to get locked in to music," says TroBiz.
"Then, here I am now years later, loving being locked into it. But they didn’t force music down my throat. They were so busy doing their thing that I would just watch and learn a little bit. But I kept up with my sports and my social life as a kid, but as I got older I got more interested in what they were doing and started picking up things."
As a result, TroBiz grew up fascinated by the records of his parents’ generation, and you can hear that blend of old and new sounds on The Beginning. Classic soul grooves played by real musicians blend with TroBiz’s mix of soul crooning and contemporary rhymes, including shout outs to both Marvin Gaye and Kanye West.
"The fun is experimenting, trying to get that tone on our own, that classic soul feel, with our own layering," he says. "It helped (as a kid) to have stuff being created right in front of you, because you learn things you don’t know you’re picking up.
"You’re hearing it all the time with the bands playing, even when you go to bed at nine o’clock and they’re still going. They’ve taken it seriously their whole career; they’ve always been the home laboratory to rehearse with ever since I can remember."
His parents’ musical know-how has also spilled over to the business side, with his mom handling administrative duties for their new label Jam On Records, which they hope will be home to a variety of styles of music.
TroBiz wants the label, and the release of The Beginning, to show musicians that it is possible to create a polished, professional project from start to finish in Halifax.
"People may not know that Yvonne ‘Muzzy’ Marshall has a great head for business. A lot of the success we’re starting to have with the CD has a lot to do with her other side, the managerial and business skills that help out a lot with this project."
In the meantime, TroBiz is focusing on his performing game, playing shows like the ANSMA Awards and Nova Scotia Music Week with a full band, and thinking about the upcoming ECMA showcases in Halifax in February.
"For me (playing with a band) just makes things that much more interesting and fun. A lot of guys just go with backing tracks, so this gives me a chance to go with something different. You really get to play with your tones, and it never sounds the same way twice."
( scooke@herald.ca)
- Chronicle Herald (December 8th, 2006)


Discography

CDs: 1) Taste Test 2) TROBIZ.. "The Beginning" 3) 44n 63w East Coast Compilation EMI 4) Classified "Union Dues production and MC 5) Universal Soul "Time Capsule" production
SINGLES: 1) "It's Your Time"; 2) "Neva Satisfied";
3) "Love Song featuring Jordan Croucher"; 4) "One World" 5) "Good Old Days"

Photos

Bio

WHO IS TROBIZ….
he’s an east coast favorite based in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the son of two respected musicians, Coleman Howe & Muzz Marshall, who have shared stages with the Funkadelics, Kool & the Gang, Sister Sledge, Teddy Prendergast, Patti Austin, Diane Brooks and Ben E. King! That soulful feel flows in Tro’s bloodstream. Tro uses his musical background to make his original musicianship of today sound like vintage samples. It’s the real thing! Funky as funky gotta be. And guess what? He even co-produces with his father “Coley” and together, they blend eras. He also credits his roots in Africville, Nova Scotia, for that soulful feel in his music.

ABOUT TroBiz
Urban/Hiphop artist, producer, TroBiz, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has always led a double life — a family man and entrepreneur who runs a well-established barber business, and then TroBiz, the artist… born to a natural rhythm and brought up in a household filled with music and harmony. He sat at his first set of drums at age 9 and has never missed a beat since. He emerged on to the music scene approximately 13 years ago, and has released 3 CDs during that time. His love for both Nu skool and O’le skool has led him to a fresh, new and unique sound, blending the eras unheard of before and second to none. TroBiz has poured himself into this work and has kicked off with praise as a triple, African Nova Scotian Music Association (ANSMA) award winner as well as a nod from CBC’s Galaxie, as one of their 2006 Rising Stars. This ECMA nominee has shared a stage with the Rascalz during their Northern Touch Tour, Jazzy Jeff and Ludaris to name a few.

HIS SIGNATURE MUSIC..
can be heard on the video entitled “The Amp”, by Mack Dawg which has opened doors to the southern States as well as overseas with 250,000 distributed globally. TroBiz has also composed instrumental tracks featured on The Learning Channel (TLC), the CTV series "Forensic Science “Exhibit A” and CBC television series "Street Cents". Much Music has extended Trobiz support in providing TroBiz medium rotation for his first video “Neva Satisfied”. The video for Tro’s club banger track “Do What You Do”, video produced and directed by Maurice Hemmings is targeted for release on Much Music.

TROBIZ HAS PRODUCED ...
some of the strongest artists in Canada, most from Nova Scotia. Artists include Muzz Marshall & Atlantic Soul, Classified, Jordan Croucher, Shy Love, Universal Soul (2 videos), Malik Shaheed (Music Plus host), Justin Smith, Dammien Alexandre, KL (Marvin Upshaw), Kaleb Simmonds and Tara Chase, to name a few. He has also produced for a long list of artists outside of Nova Scotia and throughout Canada. His music is recognized world-wide including Switzerland, Amsterdam, France, US and even Taiwan. Currently, Trobiz and co-writer Coley have been hosting songwriting sessions with upcoming artists, with an objective to help develop original music within Nova Scotia. These sessions have included the help of some of Nova Scotia’s finest musicians and vocalists.

RECENTLY TROBIZ LAUNCHED
his co-founded, indie record label “Jam On Records” with the support of Nova Scotia Tourism and Culture. He recently released his CD entitled “The Beginning" under the label. His second album ONE WORLD is set to release Sept 2007!