Outside of hit-making and sending girls into a frenzy, R&B heartthrob Trey Songz has another very important commitment that continues to be a priority for him. Through his foundation, Angels with Heart, he’s been using his star power and influence to inspire his very dedicated fans, who he calls Trey’s Angels to help those less fortunate in anyway possible. “My fans would give me so many gifts for my birthday and I wanted to get them to channel those efforts to where people in need could benefit,” says Trey of how Angels with Heart was started. “I don’t need the gifts. The fans flourish me with love anyway.” He’s turning 30 towards the end of this month and has decided to take his commitment a step further by introducing his “30 Acts of Kindness” campaign. Throughout the month of November he’ll be performing random acts of kindness for unsuspecting recipients on a daily basis, and he has of course, called on his Angels to do the same.
“30 Acts of Kindness” isn’t the only way Trey plans on gifting his fans either. He’s also set to deliver in the form of a co-headlining tour with Chris Brown. The as-of-yet untitled tour is slated to hit a city near you in the coming months and will see two of R&B’s brightest stars and biggest sex symbols coming together for a one-of-a-kind experience. Trigga sees the pairing of him and Breezy as something more significant than just an opportunity that is guaranteed to drive girls crazy and that may potentially lead to new music from the two singers. “Us teaming up as two powerhouses and putting egos aside shows unity in R&B. Similar tours happen all the time in other genres like Pop and Country, but when it comes down to us as Black men who sing, you don’t see a lot of us teaming up and empowering one another on this level,” he admits.
Taking a break from all that he has going on, Trey Songz spoke with Life + Times to tell us more about his “30 Acts of Kindness” project, collaborating with Chris Brown and how he’s been able to maintain success for almost ten years.
Life + Times: What exactly is the “30 Acts of Kindness” project?
Trey Songz: The project is actually an extension of what I already do with the Angels with Hearts Foundation, which is my foundation that’s run by my mother. With me about to turn thirty this year we wanted to do something special for the month of November. The 30 Acts of Kindness is just showing people that when you’re giving back no act, no matter how small or how big is ever too small or too big enough. I met a family down in Texas who had a new baby that was like three weeks old or something. It was a beautiful baby and beautiful family. I wanted to pay for their food. That was the first act. Back in Virginia my mother went and paid for this young lady’s food. It turned out that this young lady has had a lot on her shoulders. My mother knew nothing about that at the time. The next day in church somebody heard the sermon that the young lady has been taking care of her whole family and that her mother had a tumor. You just never know who you’re helping and what is going within their lives. In Los Angeles, we went down to Skid Row and filled like 250 bags with some food, drinks and fruit for the homeless. It’s been feeling real good to be able to do these things.
L+T: How does it feel knowing that with your influence you can help inspire others to do good?
TS: I think that’s the most beautiful part about it. It’s one thing to be able to do something yourself like donate money or whatever, but when I can get the people that already follow me to extend themselves it can become like a chain reaction. It’s just amazing, because then so many more people could be getting helped. It’s like that commercial where one guy helps a lady across the street and then somebody else see’s it and then goes on to help somebody else and the cycle just continues. I think of it a lot like that.
L+T: You and Chris have been toying with the idea of a joint tour for some time now. Why is now the right time for the tour to come together?
TS: In 2015, it’ll be ten years that both he and I have been making music professionally. We’ve been friends throughout that whole span. At this point in our careers, with Chris and I still being in a great position musically, having people still loving us and also having just both released successful albums this year, and especially having seen so many other artists come and go, it just made sense. This is something I feel will be good for him as well as me, not only business wise, but also personally. A lot of people have seen me stick by Chris through a lot of stuff. He’s taken a lot of scrutiny and I’ve stood by him through all of it. Friends and there for friends and one thing that remains true about us is he’ll be my friend regardless. Also, I think us stepping up and showing the world that we’re able to do this is a big deal, because money and business opportunities can change people and friendships. I believe that that along with the radio stations being forced to play certain things nowadays cuts a lot of opportunity out for a lot of young and new artists. But if you have artists like myself and Chris Brown still staying true to the genre it gives youngins’ a chance as well.
L+T: You and Chris are actually friends and share a bond. How will that chemistry you two have play a role in the shows?
TS: I think that’s the part that’s going to come the most natural. The Powerhouse shows that we most recently did were a taste of what’s to come. We didn’t even get a chance to rehearse for any of that, so a show with production put together, rehearsal schedules – man, I’m just excited about the possibilities of that.
L+T: You and Chris released a few freestyles not too long ago. Were those an indicator that there’s possibly a joint project in the works?
TS: There’s more music to come. Right now what’s happening is you have two friends hanging out and coming up with ideas for things that we could do together, so whether it be touring or putting together a mixtape or recording an album – who knows what’s to come. We enjoy making music together. That’s my homie. We genuinely care about each other, and I think you’re going to get the best outcome from that.
L+T: Though you and Chris are singers, you both are also pretty dope rappers. So who’s the better rapper?
TS: Oh yeah, you know it’s a competition. Everybody thinks they are better. Who am I to say any different? [laughs]
L+T: How soon can we expect to see the video for your Nicki Minaj-assisted single, “Touchin, Lovin”?
TS: We actually got the video shot already. It should be coming out very soon. I’m actually upset that it isn’t out as of yet, but will be out in a couple of weeks. Every time I go on my Twitter or Instagram fans are like, “When is it coming?!” or “When are the tour dates?!” It’s like, when’s this, when’s that’s, so we’re looking to give them some information soon.
L+T: I’ve read other interviews where you’ve said that your latest album, Trigga is your most honest album. Why do you feel that way?
TS: I think it’s speaking to points that people wouldn’t have expected from me. It’s barefaced honesty. I’m not in love at this moment. I’m not really searching for love at this moment. The album is about everything that was going on while I was making this album. It’s me having fun. It’s me telling you about the relationships that I did mess up. It’s me in the club. It’s me passionate. It’s me in the bedroom. It’s me in every aspect with the mindset that I was having during the process of making this album. But it’s still R&B. It’s still chord progressions, still harmonious and still melodious. I’m very proud of that, because I’ve had the most impact and creative control with this album then any of my previous albums.
L+T: You mentioned that Trigga is still R&B, and throughout your career you’ve kept your music very R&B, even when other artists stepped away from the genre to experiment with other genres. Why have you been so committed to staying true to your R&B roots?
TS: It’s very true what you said. Some people left R&B to do something else. But R&B is my core. It’s what I love. It’s what I grew up on. It’s just what feels right. It would’ve been easy for me to go make an EDM record or something to be on the top of the charts or a quick money maker, but it wouldn’t have been true to who I am. I think that real music and grooving and really speaking what you feel is winning these days. You have R&B on the Pop charts. Everything is influenced by what we in R&B do already, so why run away from it?
L+T: Like you said, your debut will celebrate its 10-year anniversary next year. What would you say has been central to you lasting so long in this game?
TS: We just spoke about one, which is staying true to myself. It’s about working hard, never accepting “no” for an answer and learning from my mistakes. It doesn’t even have to be mistakes sometimes. It’s about learning in general. That’s learning the business of music, learning what the marketing budget is, learning what money goes where, learning how to talk to executives, learning how to have meaningful conversations, etc. It took a lot of patience as well.