Exclusive: Trenyce Speaks to UrbanBridgez.com

You know her from “American Idol,” but Trenyce is more than just another singer. Trenyce was born to Jesse and Linda Cobbins and competed in local talent shows and school pageants, winning the title of “Miss Sophomore” and First Alternate to “Miss Junior” at Central High School in Memphis, Tennessee.

While on a break from school, Trenyce learned that “American Idol” would be holding auditions in Nashville, Tennessee in October 2002. Trenyce camped out for 3 days and nights, almost losing her voice in the process, but auditioned first for producers and executive producers. She was chosen by celebrity judges, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Simon Cowell to audition in California against the top 250 contestants chosen from the nationwide search. Trenyce made it through that round to the top 32. She did not go through to the top 12 after her performance in her round of eight, but was given a slot in the wildcard show. With her version of “Let’s Stay Together“–which was eventually featured on the season’s compilation album–she was chosen by Abdul to take one of the four remaining berths in the Top 12. Trenyce eventually placed fifth.

Since those Idol days Trenyce has been non stop on her journey through a wonderful career. Acting in stage plays “Not A Day Goes By,” “Dreamgirls,” “Ain’t Misbehavin,” “Love In the Nick of Tyme” and the list goes on. Trenyce recently shot her first music video as well and even more is on the horizon.

In this exclusive interview with UrbanBridgez.com, as apart of our anniversary interview series! Trenyce talked to Aries about her latest project now on DVD “Love In the Nick of Tyme,” the late E Lynn Harris, American Idol, her music project and much more!
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UrbanBridgez.com: Finally we get the chance to speak!
Trenyce: I know, I read your articles and everything. I love, love, love the mag! So I’m glad we’re getting the chance to talk. I’m at the doggie park by the way, in case you hear a bunch of howling (laughs).

UrbanBridgez.com: Thank you & no problem! Let’s start off with “Love In the Nick of Tyme!” How did you get involved in that play?
Trenyce: You know I always say “Love In The Nick of Tyme” was a complete blessing. I was doing another show and my friend Jawn Murray called me, whose also a journalist. He called and said, there’s this play that David Talbert is doing that I think you would be great for! You should go and audition and I got two other calls from people telling me the same thing. So I got three calls that day, about the same play. So I was like okay, I’ll do it! Three times is the charm for me, so I sent David an email. I gave him my resume’ and everything. So he said he hadn’t even heard from those people who told me to audition. So to me that really meant that it was all meant to be. He said he was impressed by my email and the energy I had, so really it was all fate. So I met Dave and went over and read some lines with Avant, who’s also in the show. It was instant chemistry, he was surprised me and Avant didn’t know each other before that. Then I met Terry Dexter who’s in the show. In a matter of like a week, I was hired. I have to say I have some of my best friends in the industry, from that cast.

UrbanBridgez.com: What’s your favorite memory from the play?
Trenyce: Aside from being on stage, because we had alot of fun. After the show, we would go to these karaoke bars (laughs). Singing and just hanging out or we would be in someones hotel room. We had this improv game that we would play. So we would do like a one minute improv sketch and it had to start with a line and end with that same line. So it was just alot of fun, we really had alot of fun on that show.

UrbanBridgez.com: Why should people go out and pick up the DVD for those who haven’t seen it?
Trenyce: David Talbert as a director first of all, he’s not just a director. He is a very detailed/oriented person, it’s not just about the directing. I say this all the time, he is the most musical, non musical person I’ve ever met (laughs). If you watch the play, it’s not just words that move you, it’s the under scoring of it all. The songs are not just random songs placed in the show, so I could sing. It makes sense for me to be singing a song in the show right then, you know. The songs are great, not sure if you knew but they were written by Vivian Green. This show is so different, it brings more to the stage than boy meets girl. They’re so many different relationships within the show that you care about. It’s not just the lead that you care about. It’s relatable to everyone in the world. Everyone knows those characters and it’s not just for the women, it’s for the men as well. Andre Peachery who is Harvey in the play, who’s the UPS man. He says the line “Show me a good man & I’ll show you a woman who doesn’t see him.” And there are plenty of good men out there, that feel like that. So men can relate as well. My character is a young girl who gets herself in alot of trouble. What I call young and dumb, we have alot of those in the world. Where girls are making bad decisions, no matter who is helping them out. But they end up taking their own path and when they do, they suffer great consequences. And having to find away back to what they once knew, which is an education and believing in yourself. Finding confidence to leave that guy or whatever. So you find yourself relating to these people on a real level and it’s not just words. That’s the reason why I think everyone should get the play. We’re living out peoples lives, just on stage. You walk away feeling like, wow. You learn from the characters mistakes and you get a feel of where they’re coming from. David is also a genius on the way he shot it, it made it like a TV show. It comes on like a movie, then it’s shot like it’s a sitcom. It’s shot in HD, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an urban play that was shot the way it is. He did a fabulous job with getting the reactions from everybody. If you can tell I am absolutely in love with this play (laughs).

UrbanBridgez.com: That’s always a good thing to get from an artist on a project.
Trenyce: Yeah, because I’m really critical and I know some others are as well. I don’t know about alot of the actors in the play, but I remember Morris (Chestnut) saying he doesn’t really ever watch his work. And I know I don’t either. I’m always thinking why did I make that face, my eyelashes were crooked, oh I look ugly when I sing, or whatever! But with this show, you just can’t take your eyes off of it. You really are engaged from the first word till the last.

UrbanBridgez.com: I’m going to buy it!
Trenyce: Yeah, you’ll probally call me back and be like Trenyce, you were right (laughs). I’m going to get this for my mama (laughs).

UrbanBridgez.com: (laughs) You were also in the screenplay for Not A Day Goes By from the E Lynn Harris Novel, tell us about working with E Lynn.
Trenyce: It was an absolute pleasure! Before he passed away we were also talking about doing another show he was taking to broadway. “Invisible Life” which was the very first book that he did. That book blew up in a huge way in the black community. So we talked about that and he wanted to make it a movie. He was such a poise, articulate, genuine guy. I was really hurt by his death. It was startling because I think it was just about a month before that he was telling me about these things. “Not A Day Goes By” was the first play that I had ever done, it was great. I remember how nervous I was, I was acting alongside Jackee’ Harry who’s an Emmy winner. I’ll never forget those pep talks, they really helped me realize that acting was what I wanted to do as well as singing. We still keep in contact till this day. Again, another good show where some of those people are some of my best friends.


UrbanBridgez.com: How did your upbringing in Memphis prepare you for the entertainment industry?

Trenyce: It has more to do with my parents, they were in the entertainment industry, they’re musicians. My mother decided it wasn’t something that she could do, she was very religious at the time and she didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize her relationship with her mom. Which made her more open to me pursuing my dream because she hated that she didn’t get a chance to do those things. They always allowed me to work on my craft, they were always right there. If I wanted to sing, my mom was right there in the clubs with me. Letting me do whatever I needed to do as long as I got my school work done. As far as preparing me for what I see on a daily basis, hum. The fact that I was raised in a normal family. I was taught to say no mam, yes mam. be respectful, just treat people the way you want to be treated. There’s no reason to be ugly, you’re talented but there are a million people who are talented. So what makes you so so special, yes you should feel you’re great, but that doesn’t mean you have to tear someone else down in order to get where you’re going. Not to mention my parents would kill me if they ever found out I was something other than a southern bell (laughs). That stays in the back of my mind no matter where I’m at. It’s really important to be respectful towards people, that’s how you get blessed!

UrbanBridgez.com: People still talk about that killer performance on American Idol when you performed Whitney’s “I Have Nothing,” did you ever receive any feedback from Whitney regarding the performance?
Trenyce: Aww, thank you! No I have not, I haven’t received any feedback from Whitney. I can’t say I’m upset or anything because at that time it was still a fresh show. So industry people were not as fascinated with it. It was still considered a pop/bubblegum show. Now it’s such a phenomenon, that if I was to sing it again this year, she probably would say something. So it’s all about the timing of it all, hopefully at some point in my career. I’ll get the chance to tell her, how much she has been an inspiration in my life.

UrbanBridgez.com: Now let’s talk about the album, when will fans finally get it?
Trenyce: You know that’s a very good question (laughs). And it’s so crazy because I get interviews all the time where I feel like I’m saying the same thing. I always say, it’s coming..it’s coming (laughs). I promise, at some time in my life, I’m going to do that. I have to, it’s a dream of mine. The thing is, the industry has changed so much! Now you just have to think of a bigger and better way of capitalizing off of your talent. The whole idea of YouTube and iTunes and downloading and all of these things. Unfortunately the timing is bad for new artists. Indie artists and people saying, oh you came from Amerian Idol and it should be easy. But it really isn’t, the type of music I want to sing, is real music! We’re living in the age of Pro Tools and drum machines. It cost alot of money to hire actual musicians for your project. If you want to have that live sound and stay true to who you are. I could of put out an album that was not so great, years ago. And did what everybody else was doing, just to say oh I have an album out. But I’m really dead set on making something that my fans are going to be proud of. Something I can be proud of, that’s fun and energetic. Something that stays true to me! I have to say, it’s been really difficult. And if you know anyboy in the industry and what the industry has become. Then you understand what I’m saying. It’s not so cut and dry anymore, it’s not like hey I’m going to meet with Timbaland because I’ve been on Idol. The good thing is now, I think the Idol’s have a better shot. Now you have all of these producers and writers who are watching regularly. But it was six years ago for me, so I have to hope whoever I meet still remembers my name or whatever (laughs).

UrbanBridgez.com: It has changed, some of my industry friends are always talking about that & I’ve watched it changed before my eyes for the worst.
Trenyce: It’s changed tremendously and if you’re a real singer, it’s like what do you do. Do I sell out or do I just say no this is what I came to do. I’m going to do this, or I’m not going to do anything at all. Plus my family and friends who, I’m an all or nothing type of person. Specially when it comes to my gift, I just feel like I would be doing my self as well as everybody a disservice if I and not to put anybody down. But if I pulled a Britney Spears. You see what I mean, it wouldn’t even seem authentic. I’m still very driven, I have an exceptional team around me, that if I just remain patient and focus on my goal. I’ll get there and fortunately I’ve had the pleasure of meeting David Foster recently. One of my best friends Ruban Studdard was in town doing the show with David Foster and Friends. With like Deborah Cox, did you get to see it?

UrbanBridgez.com: No but I heard about it.
Trenyce: Now that’s a show, it inspired me all over again. That’s the type of music I wanna do. That’s the kind of way I would want to be marketed. Those are the types of people that I would want to sing for. There’s no way I could do “Opps I Did it Again,” there’s no way. I would be laughed at. So when I met David Foster and he was like I want to hear your voice. I love discovering new talent, I love working with real singers. I know if I get with a David Foster and Diane Warren, I’m going to get a timeless record. So that’s in the works, I’m going to put that into the universe and say it’s done. And hopefully, my friends, family and fans will hear something from me soon!

UrbanBridgez.com: The video for “You Make Me Sick” got alot of positive feedback on our site.
Trenyce: Yay (laughs)!

UrbanBridgez.com: Was that your first time shooting a video?
Trenyce: Yes it was. And the way that it came about was so random. Just to show you how God works. I have a friend, who is also my assistant, his name is Cordell Capone. And he was listening to my demo in the car, a friend of his was visiting from out of town. He works with Jada Pinkett on HawthoRNe. He’s the one that shot the video. He was like what is this song I’m listening to and Cordell was like oh that’s my friend Trenyce. He asked him does she live here (L.A.) and he said yeah. He wanted to meet me because he had a concept for it. He said he had never done a video before, only TV and film. But I’m really interested in branching out and doing music videos. So he came over my house, his name is Malik Million his real name is Dwight Gibson. He was so passionate about it. So I said okay, I’ll do it. Then I got cold feet because I didn’t have anything out. I’m going to do this video, then what? People are still going to be mad because there is no record, there’s nothing I’m doing after this. He said no, you don’t understand people just want to see something. It’s just for you to stay relevant. Usually when I’m afraid to do something, it’s a sign for me to go ahead and do it because it means I’m headed down the right path. So he did it and we had a fun time shooting it. My best friend was involved and catered the whole thing, all of my friends showed up for support. I had the time of my life. Even though that song won’t be on the record, it still showed people I’m out here.

UrbanBridgez.com: Who are some of your favorite female vocalists who inspire you?
Trenyce: It’s so funny, because my favorite female vocalists haven’t changed in ten years (laughs). It’s the same people who have made longevity out of their careers. Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Gladys Knight, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Cher, Madonna, I’m just really into real strong singers and people that are not strong singers, there performances are so bad ass. That you just sit up and pay attention. Somebody that I really like now is Lady Gaga. It’s not really anything about her singing or anything, but she’s introducing something else. It’s not your typical look or style. She’s in her own lane and I respect that so much.

UrbanBridgez.com: What else do you have coming out & are you currently working on?
Trenyce: Let me think, there are alot of things, (laughs).

UrbanBridgez.com: Yeah I was doing my research on you and seen that like LMAO (laughs).
Trenyce: Yep, that’s a sketch comedy show with my best friend Tierra Williams. My manager and I are putting together a one woman show. We’re doing a play together, that’s kind of in a preproduction status. It’s going to be great, it shows alot of acting range for me, as well as the singing. I really want people to see that I’m serious about the acting as well. I have Christmas shows coming up, that I’ll be posting dates up where I get to unite with my Idol friends. I know I’m leaving some stuff out, my manger is going to be like why didn’t you say so and so (laughs). It’s alot and I love the fact that in this industry, you can try your hand at anything, if you want. It’s all about getting to the right people, so producing, directing, writing, I’m doing alot of things.

UrbanBridgez.com: That’s great, I’m proud (laughs)!
Trenyce: Thank you! I know there are other Idol’s out there more as far as the media goes. But I’m really blessed to be able to stay working. For the entire six years since I moved to L.A. I haven’t gone back to a regular job and I don’t intend to.

UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
Trenyce: Basically thank you so much for the continued support! I’m going to make sure I put out things that are, things that are positive and uplifting. Things they can be proud of, I’m always cautions and aware of things I do or say. So they don’t have to worry about that and if anytime they want to chat I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, I always want to stay in contact with them because they know what they like and what they want from me. I appreciate it because I know after six years, they could of been like nah (laughs). Moving on, I’ve found someone greater, another Idol is better than her. But I really appreciate them sticking with me. It’s been a rocky road, but having them there has made it all worth it.

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