“I believe the music business is what you make it. You definitely have to go into this with your eyes wide open, and with your mind made up as to what you want to do with your career. So far, I am loving it. I have met some very interesting people, done some traveling and there is more to come.” – Tra Cee @tzlewis73
Listen to the Interview
Episode #330 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2016/06/08/episode-330-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax
GETTING TO KNOW TRA CEE
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Interviewing: Tra Cee – singer/songwriter and COO of Terror Records, Inc.
as I am currently experiencing it, can be exciting and challenging. I believe it is what you make it. You definitely have to go into this with your eyes wide open, and with your mind made up as to what you want to do with your career. So far, I am loving it. I have met some very interesting people, done some traveling and there is more to come.
The pros: Singing in front of an audience, and being able to share what I love with people I love.
The cons: This is a very crowded area of entertainment. Finding an audience and gaining fans – and getting sales – is definitely a challenge. But it is a challenge that I wholeheartedly accept, because chances like this only come around once.
Hurdles and pitfalls…
I have an awesome support system. I have people who believe in me and encourage me to keep going. If something doesn’t work, I find something new. There is always another way to accomplish something, and if I can find it, I will.
I have been able to meet and interact with so many people from so many different areas and backgrounds. I have met people I would never have known from all around the world, and my music has been heard, and played internationally – social media has definitely been a blessing to me. Used effectively, it is a great marketing tool.
I find myself having to always be available…
As I am just getting started in this business, I have to make sure that my pages stay updated and active, and I have to make sure that I interact with my fans and supporters. Staying in the public eye is necessary to gain traction in this business, and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. But that is why I am grateful for my manager – Matt Roy (MRManagement – www.mrmtalent.com). I am finally able to put some of this into his capable hands and concentrate on being an artist. There is always another song that needs to be written, it’s nice having the time to do it.
Singles vs an album…
Because it allows me to get a feel for what my audience likes. To release an entire album of songs without knowing what you should be releasing is a recipe to have to go back to the drawing board. I would rather take my time and find my niche and make music that fits it.
I find it is easier to market a single as opposed to an album – the attention can be focused on one song, instead of splitting my audience’s attention between songs that they may never listen to. Now, once I have found out what songs are successful, and I have an idea of the direction I need to go in, I will include the successful singles on an album, along with a few new tracks and then market it that way.
There is no way that I can be in this business and not be aware of the current trends and how they affect album sales. I don’t have imitate what is already out there, but I can include some of the elements that will help to make my music relevant, and still keep it my own.
I am most afraid of…
Failure. More specifically, letting my daughters down. I do what I do because I want my daughters to look at me and know that nothing is impossible for them. I want them to know that it is never too late to pursue their dreams. And most importantly, I want them to be proud of me, to be able to tell their friends “That’s my mom”. So for me, failure is not an option.
My personal definition of success is..
Being happy. That is what is most important to me. I could have all the money in the world, but if there is no peace and happiness along with it, then it means nothing.
One thing I am particularly proud of is…
having my song played on the radio in London, and then actually going to London and performing live during a radio interview I did there. That is one of those moments that made me happy. And when I think about it, it still does. It was something that I never even considered doing – but an opportunity was offered to me, I was asked to come over and perform – a by-product of social media networking – and I couldn’t let it pass me by. That is the type of exposure that it takes years for most entertainers to achieve, and I am blessed to have had this happen for me so soon.
My overall goal for my life & career is…
A simple one: To make good music that people actually want to hear, and to be able to make a living doing what I love. And to enjoy my life, and girls, and my team – and smile along the way.
3 Ways that I challenge myself …
1) Vocal training – my voice is my tool. It is a muscle that I exercise daily to make sure I am in peak condition.
2) Listening to new music, keeping up on what is current, and making sure that I am always evolving – change is constant – so I can never get comfortable.
3) Branching out and discovering new outlets of exposure – I am interested in writing songs for movies, commercials, video games, and maybe even doing some brand endorsement or voiceover work. Always striving for something bigger, something that takes me out of my comfort zone.
That is how is I plan on being successful.
Music has always been a part of my life…
My mother is a very talented singer, as were my aunt and grandmother. So as soon as I could speak, I started singing. I guess you could say I really didn’t have a choice in the matter when it came to that. I have always liked to sing – I won my first talent show at the age of 6 singing Love Come Down by Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King, but I didn’t start singing professionally until 1999 when I began performing with a band, and then with a recording choir. I became a part of my current label in 2013 – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Favorite Song by Tra Cee ft. Da General…
It is about listening to and enjoying your favorite song. That song that when you have had a hard day, or when you just want to enjoy yourself and forget about the world for a few minutes, you can put it on and listen to it, and smile.
I heard the track for this song, along with several others, and I really liked it! It was something that I had never heard before, and I knew I had to write to it. Honestly, the words just came to me, and I had the song written in about 5 hours, and had it memorized in 6. The only thing missing was the rap – so I asked my label mate to come up with something, which he did, and once we recorded it and played it back, we knew we had something special.
We recorded the song and we were going to upload it online as part of our initial compilation album we were putting out at the time. And then…our system crashed, and the entire session was lost. We hadn’t had a chance to mix and master it – so imagine my irritation at the fact the song was gone. Once the studio was back up and running, we went in and recorded it again, and in truth I feel it actually came out better the second time.
I want to write, sing and release music…
that people enjoy. I want to take people back to a time when life was simpler, and music had substance. I want to make music that my daughters can listen to, and sing, and it not be degrading to them. I want to write songs that when you hear them, you smile because it speaks to your soul. That is how I am going to market it – good music that comes from my heart and soul, and reaches yours.
I live in the Midwest ..
Indiana to be exact, right outside of Chicago. The music scene here is pretty vibrant – we have had some great performers come out of Indiana and Chicago – The Jacksons, Chaka Khan, R. Kelly, Jennifer Hudson – just to name a few. It is a mostly hip hop oriented scene though – but it is always easy to find an open mic event, or concert happening.
There are lots of places to go – The Star Plaza in Merrillville, The Shrine, The Sub T, The Chicago Theater, The UIC Pavilion, for example – Chicago is also home to Second City, so there are plenty of comedy clubs that you can check out too. There is always something to do in this area.
I like reading, music and movies! I like sci-fi and I would love to go to Comic Con – I plan on doing that soon. My girls and I like hanging out in the library and in bookstores, and we like to go to the Disney store and look around – it’s one of our favorite places to go.
I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
Stevie Wonder. He is a genius to me. There is so much that I feel I can learn from him – from singing to songwriting to performing – there seems to be nothing that he can’t do. He has overcome so much adversity, and I truly admire him both as a person and as an artist.