ESSENCE.com recently chatted with Trey about his Angels With Heart benefit concert, the importance of giving, and why he’s one of the hardest working men in R&B today.
ESSENCE.com: You’re hosting a benefit concert for your charity, Angels With Heart. What made you want to start a charity?
TREY SONGZ: I have “Trey’s Angels” who are my fan club and when I was on tour my fans were giving me a lot of gifts. I had the idea to have them to channel that [giving] toward people that need it. So, I did a video clip on my iPhone and I asked my Angels to donate to people in their area and commit random acts of kindness in their community. The feedback that I got was amazing. They would send videos back with them at homeless shelters, feeding the elderly, tutoring kids. It made me realize what power I had that could be used for good.
ESSENCE.com: Will your charity be focused on helping those in your hometown or across the country?
TREY: We’ll be everywhere. I’m planning to use it worldwide, actually. I’ve been to Australia, Europe, Africa and that was just this year. I do believe that charity starts at home and that’s where my first organized event was held—in Petersburg, Virginia. We helped children get free haircuts, little girls get their hair done, and we fed about 300 to 500 people. In my video, “Top of the World,” we showcased a lot of what was happening during that time.
ESSENCE.com: You’re planning a benefit concert on November 25 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, but it’ll also be online. Why did you decide to show it online as well?
TREY: I have so many fans who don’t live in New York and I want to be able to help them witness the show. Furthermore, it’s a cheap ticket price (just $5) and the money goes to a great cause.
ESSENCE.com: Do you think more artists should give back? There’s been a lot of talk about artists being involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, what is your take on that?
TREY: When life is over and people look back on the legacy of who you are as a human, not only artists, but everybody should realize their blessings and help change lives. My fans actually gave me the initiative to start this. When you have so many people in your grasp and hanging onto the words that you say, I think it’s important to say the right words.
People can get involved with Occupy Wall Street because that’s what they choose to focus on, but there’s people in all streets, and people that live in the street everyday. There are people who don’t make a choice to sleep in the street, but they have to do that. I’d rather focus on them.
ESSENCE.com: You’ve been very busy lately. You’ve released two mixtapes this month and you’re releasing an EP, “Inevitable,” in a few days. What can we expect from it?
TREY: I just want to point out that the proceeds from “Inevitable” will also be going to charity. “What I Be On,” as well as “Top of the World,” and three new songs will be on it. It’ll be on iTunes and it’s gonna be in retailers. But it’s not about sales or chart positioning for me right now. This music is my gift to the world and how people relate to me, and I’ll be giving it away and giving that money to a good cause.