Industry Lessons and Support From Trey Songz
"I was living with Trey. [The label] had bought him this little studio house so Troy Taylor, who discovered him, was there and he had a room. I had like a little basement area and Trey didn’t necessarily live there but he came to record because all the equipment was there. That was the most pivotal point in my life because I was young and I’m watching him work and he was cutting off his braids and going through the haircut and some people didn’t like it and some people liked it. It was kind of like, 'Ok is this the album that is going to make or break him?' It was a lot of pressure for that album to be successful. At that time, I was [trying to be] who the label wanted me to be. They were like, 'Go record' and I didn’t know what Atlantic wanted to hear back to further move with the deal. The songs that I was recording, I don’t know if they ever got to them but there was a lot of focus on Trey’s stuff being finalized. But I will say everyone in Songbook wanted me to win."
At that time, I was [trying to be] who the label wanted me to be. They were like, 'Go record' and I didn’t know what Atlantic wanted to hear back to further move with the deal.
"[Trey and I ended up up recording songs for his album.] So I was recording this song with Trey and he was like, ‘Man you really have a gift for song writing. Like you might not know it but you really do. You write great songs. He’s like do something like this for me.’ At that time I was 16 and I was really focused on my music but he was already still, though he hadn’t reach the pinnacle of his career, women still knew who he was and they were like all over him and I was just 16, barely gone through puberty and really focused on my music. I’m like, ‘Were at different points in our lives, I couldn’t really write a song for you. I’m not in the club every night, I can’t even get into the club so what am I going to write? So one day I came home and he was like, “Hey I got this beat and I think you would kill it. Sit here and write it now because I know if I leave it, you're not going to write it."
"We sat there and wrote it and that record ended up being 'Jupiter Love,' on the Readyalbum. We wrote it and it was only a first verse and a hook done. And months later, he already picked the tracklist and everything. I didn’t know how much that song was going to be a blessing to me. So I was like, ‘Ok I didn’t get my feature but it’s cool.’ The whole time I was there in that house, I was trying to figure myself out as an artist. Trey never, me being another artist, he never looked at me like ‘Who the hell is this kid?’
My goal was always that I wanted to make half a million by 21 or before I turned 21. I was able to accomplish that.
“It’s very competitive in this industry and he always gave me advice because he came from the bottom up. He was telling me, ‘I know there are some people out there that don’t want me to win.’ He was giving me the industry from the inside out, just like all the way through. I always respected him for that. He ended up keeping that record and once it came out, it became a fan favorite on the album so much to where like the royalty checks, because I wasn’t on to a publisher or anything when that song came out. With the royalty checks from that I was able to go get me a penthouse in Atlanta."
"People are always like 'You're so cool and down to Earth.' And I’m like 'I wasn’t like this in Florida.' It’s easy to be this way because I have more money than I ever had my whole life, I’m living how I want to live. My goal was always that I wanted to make half a million by 21 or before I turned 21. I was able to accomplish that. Now if you asked me how I was able to save that and manage it, that’s a whole other story!”