Every six months a new artist rises out of the Atlanta streets. This time around, all eyes are on Trent in Trees –– a 23-year-old with a psychedelic soul.
Although Trent is a brand spanking new talent, something about his sound seems uncannily familiar. Perhaps that’s because his vibe meshes somewhere between throwback 90’s hip-hop and classic ’70s funk.
You’ll thank us later for putting him on your radar. Check out his interview below.
How long have you been doing music?
I have been writing lyrics [writing] poems since I was a kid, maybe five. I started making beats and playing instruments at age 13. I have been seriously working at it and releasing music for five years now.
I know that artists hate being labeled but how would you describe yourself and your music?
[It’s] honestly a fusion of a lot of different genres. I like to broadly label it as psychedelic music, but there are a lot of hints of hip-hop, soul, funk, reggae, and chillwave.
I usually just tell people, psychedelic soul.
You mentioned being heavily influenced by primarily African-American artists, what draws you to their music.
I guess it is just the soul behind it. I haven’t really thought of it and can’t put my finger on it, but it is just something I feel in my spirit. I love the expression and it just seems real. Again, I can’t really put my finger on it…but I just feel it and it registers with my innermost being.
Your biological father was a musician who gave you up for adoption before you had a chance to know him. Although he isn’t present in your life do you attribute any of your musical gifts to him?
I am sure that is where a lot of it comes from. As early as I can remember I have been drawn to music so I feel like it has to be somewhat biological. I have always dreamt of meeting them and learning more about who I am and my history. Maybe one day.
How have you managed to maintain a positive outlook on life after your parents gave you up for adoption and your adoptive parent later passed? That’s some heavy issues to deal with at a young age.
I have always had the outlook that it is for a reason. I have never felt like I am a victim, but rather that I am chosen and things worked out this way for a purpose. I was adopted into a great family with strong values so I have always just felt blessed and chosen, rather than an outcast.
I am actually grateful for all I have been through because it has given me knowledge and perspective that many don’t have.
Last year, you did some time jail time, what kind of songs did you write while behind bars?
Thankfully, it wasn’t for too long. There are some people in there who are stuck and it really opened my eyes to how broken the system is and how it preys on certain people. While I was there, I had a lot of time for reflection and I wrote some about what got me to that point, what I needed to change, and what I aspired to be. It really just caused me to look around at what I was doing and how I was acting. It was an ego-death moment for sure. I wrote songs like “Help” and many lyrics I am turning into songs now.
You turned to spirituality to center yourself, how has growing up in church influenced your music?
It has totally influenced me. A lot of the music there is about struggle and victory, but also about peace and joy. It has always uplifted me and helped me through so much. It has given me a positive outlook, peace, and something to strive for.
Christianity is not typically celebrated in the music business. You are very vocal about your faith in God, do you ever feel like an outcast?
In some ways, yes. A lot of times I see people promoting what I see to be wrong and I’m like, man maybe it would be easier to just follow that route. But as an artist, I have to tell my truth and it isn’t easy. I feel that my entire story is one meant to give glory to God and I would never betray all that I have been brought through. I have always felt my purpose was to change a lot of people’s mind about God and show people what it is really like, as well as give people peace.
I have always struggled with anxiety and depression and God is the only thing that helped me.
I want others to feel that because I know how hard it can be. I feel that organized religion and the American church has misconstrued what it really is about. So many people try to act perfect there, but I am real. I struggle daily. I feel there is so much we don’t understand and see. Our whole world has a spiritual aspect to it and I try to go about religion a different way. It is all so real and applies to everything around us. I am a hippie with it. God is in everything and is everything. Everything is everything. Just being present and grateful for the moment and for life. Nobody is better than anyone else. We are one human race.
Do you feel isolation is necessary to develop as an artist?
Totally. Shamans would require a period of isolation to discover their true selves. I feel that’s what I did and became my own best friend. I really discovered what I want to do and what my purpose is.
Do you feel you would be where you are without the help of Soundcloud?
Soundcloud is amazing, that is where I got my first feedback and first listens. Through that, it led me to use Spotify because everyone would ask for Spotify because it is more accessible. Without SoundCloud I wouldn’t have gotten to that point. Spotify has brought me to ears I never would have reached.
As an Atlanta-based artist who sings r&b and soul music, how do you successfully navigate through a city with a heavy hip-hop landscape?
I try to do some hip-hop to get an ear, but overall I think it differentiates me. A lot of artists I have heard are trying to sound the same and imitate, but I kind of want to be a breath of fresh air and give people something unique from what they usually hear.
What are you currently working on in the studio?
I have been working on what I feel is my best song. I’ve been working with my friend Tonye Ayeba, everything he touches turns to gold. It is super funky in the first half and the second half sounds like a sunny day. It reminds me of some Frank Ocean and Rex Orange County stuff. I am putting it out March 29th.
Any upcoming shows?
My next show is March 28th at the Georgia Theatre Rooftop in Athens. My next scheduled show in Atlanta is May 25th at Smith’s Olde Bar.
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Stream Tyler, The Creator’s new IGOR album below.
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