Music is such a beautiful thing. Music can make you jovial, melancholy, worship, turn up, unwind, but overall, it can heal you. Music is all-inclusive, all-embracing, and universal. Some say it’s the world’s only universal language.
It’s a wonderful experience to listen to a song or a project, and you feel like the the artist is speaking directly to you. Like an intimate conversation coming through your headphones. Beyonce’s Lemonade album is a great example of this. Another exceptional example of transparent and honest music is an artist by the name of Tray Samuels.
An honest and personal hip hop sound is what you can feel instantly when you listen to the music that Dallas-native, Tray Samuels, creates. Samuels’ grandfather is actually a famous musician in his own right – Yarbrough & Peoples. Growing up, Samuels always loved music and he would dance as a little kid. It was after a break up with a former girlfriend, though, that inspired him to write a song to get her back that made everyone fall in love with his gift, including the teaching staff.
Samuels’ hip hop music takes influences from Kanye, Drake, J.Cole and especially Ne-Yo’s song writing ability.
Music is a form of life and expression for Samuels. It is not only a form of therapy for him, but also his fans. He tries to make his music relatable , careful not to skip over anything in his life for the simple fact that it may help others.
1) How and why did you start making music?
I was taught how to play 2 songs on the piano when I was 7 and I would always go to the studio with my grandpa when I would go to visit him (Yarbrough & peoples). So I was always around music, in the 7th grade I broke up with my girlfriend and didn’t know how to get her back. I thought if I wrote a song it would work. I wrote my song and it was passed around the school by teachers and students and at that point I knew it was something I could take serious, plus I was already reading music in orchestra.
2) Who are your biggest influences? Both in music and in life.
Kanye West, he showed me it’s okay to be 100% sure in yourself. A lot of times when you’re starting up in music and you’re good at two things folks want to stick you in a box,but this is art and it’s subjective. You’re here to do what you want to do and hope the folks love it.
3) Love & Lust is a dope track off your Rewind The Story project from 2014. What was the motivation behind that? True story?
True story. I’m actually still cool with one of the ladies from the verses. It was my first year in the dorms and I had two close home girls at the time who kept getting played by the same type of guy and kept wondering why they were getting the same results. A lot of folks don’t like to be told thing, so i figured I’d write about it and hope it helps them.
Writing songs for me is a stress reliever and I know that folks go through things in life, so I always figure I’m going through this for somebody. Like the Jay Z line “I went through it so hopefully you don’t have to.” I aim to write great songs! I’m a songwriter at heart.
5) Who were favorite artist growing up, and who are your favorite artist now?
David Ruffin. His voice is legendary to me. Ne-Yo, also. I feel he’s one of the best songwriters to this day. I watch a lot of artist moves now but I will say my favorite is Kanye West & 40 Shebib .. yes I know he’s a producer but I respect him as an artist too.
6) What direction would you like your music take? Where do you see your career in 5 years?
In no way am I great right now because I have plans of growing. There’s still so much I want to reach, but I would love for my music to break the same boundaries that MJ did. He has timeless records; I want to make classic records…. In 5 years I plan to be 5 years more in the right direction. I wish I could give you a specific answer but why put a limit on what God can do, he got me here this far.
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