Platinum-selling contemporary gospel group Trin-i-tee 5:7 gained mainstream appeal and success in the late 1990’s with hit singles, such as “God’s Grace” and “My Body.” Now, the trio returns with T57 on September 18th, their debut project under the management of Mathew Knowles’ Music World Entertainment and his gospel division, Spirit Rising Music. Here, Chanelle Haynes, Angel Taylor and Adrian Anderson dish on new management, music and life after the storm.
Essence: It’s been five years since The Kiss, your last CD, where have you three been?
Trin-i-Tee 5:7: We’ve been in training with Mathew Knowles at Music World. We went through a boot camp training, which included fitness, vocal, media and production training. We wanted to refine and reinvent ourselves so that we could come back strong.
Essence: After The Kiss, Sonja Norwood (R&B singer Brandy’s mother) served as your manager, how did you make the transition from her to Mathew Knowles?
T57: Sonja became our manager at a point when we were becoming more educated about the business side of this industry. She understood what we were attempting to do and what we were striving for. She took us on and began to guide and mentor us about the business minds. In the end, Sonja said Mathew wants to meet with you all. So, she played a key part in that negotiation and it went smooth.
Essence: Do you still call on her as a mentor?
T57: We’ve maintained a very healthy relationship with her. But when we joined Music World, they completely took us on holistically.
Essence: Let’s talk about your new project. You each have more writing credits now.
T57: “Well, it’s an exciting thing to have this much writing credit on our record. We evolve with every record, and we each love bringing different aspects of writing and vocal arranging to the table. When we collaborate, it’s always a surprise what comes out. We just bring it all together whether we sit at a table together or at separate moments. Plus, what you’re going to hear on this album is an evolution. You’ll hear how we’ve grown. Not only do we sing about our relationship with God, but about actual life experiences as young women. This album is us.
Essence: Who are some of the producers that you guys worked with? Anyone new?
T57:Solange Knowles wrote a song called “Like You.” and DJ Static actually produced the track. We also worked with the Battle Boys, who are in-house producers at Music World. And of course, Walter Milsap (who’s worked with entertainers, such as Yolanda Adams, Alicia Keys, Usher and Dave Hollister) produced “I Need You” and our single “Listen.”
Essence: Is there a song that is more closely connected to each of you?
T57: “I Need You” comes from a very raw place, especially since we dealt with Hurricane Katrina during that time.
Essence: You just finished filming your music video for “Listen” in New Orleans. How did it feel to return home after the storm?
T57: “It was hard. It was our first time going back in that capacity. Earlier this year, we launched the “Ambassadors of Hope and Triumph” campaign. We went to the colleges, hospitals, businesses, and churches and just donated our time and our talent. Aside from needing financial support, New Orleans needs their spirits lifted. It’s not the easiest thing to go back home and see everything so different, but in many ways, the spirit of the city is still there.”
Essence: What’s the background behind your name, Trin-i-tee 5:7?
T57: The scripture is 1 John 5:7 which reads ‘For there are three that bear record in heaven, the father, the son and the holy ghost…” and we could go on. But, what it means to us is that we’re three people but ultimately we have to connect and be one and come together as one. That’s what a group is. It’s a lot like being in a marriage, where you’re two people, but your heart, your souls and your minds have to come together all of the time.
Essence: Early on, you replaced an original member, how do you move forward and keep your strength as a group now?
T57: “One of the key things is just like a marriage, you have priorities, and to us, we are very passionate about what we do. It comes first, it’s our passion, it’s our priority. None of us are married, and we don’t have kids or anything like that, so we’ve been blessed ato truly focus and maximize ourselves within ourselves and within our career. Adrienne was our makeup artist and she was also our friend. So, when we were looking for a replacement after our other member left, we knew she was the “One”. Our friendship laid the foundation for what we have now. So, with everything, you have to love each other. I mean, with the original group, they were put together because they were good together. And with anything, that’s important, but it’s not everything.”
Essence: You are such talented gospel artists as well as being attractive women. Do you find that the gospel music industry has a hard time with your beautiful image?
T57: We’re confident and comfortable in our skin. We’ve always loved high heels, fashion, beauty and fun. But you have to see yourself as God sees you, and that’s a true transformation. When you get to a place where you see yourself as God sees you then you recognize that your light is bright and beautiful. So, when people now come and try to alter that, it’s an outside source, and if you really think about it, if you start thinking of yourself as other people think of you, you’re in trouble, and it’s gonna take you a long time to get out of that. Life is too short to spend so much time not liking yourself. You should love yourself. If you shape yourself into a commercialized being and you never challenge yourself to be shaped into who you are supposed to be, then you’re cheated out of you blessing