Introducing Gospel Music's Tré Thomas

Sunday, 08 May 2011 10:50 Written by  Tiffani Alexander

I feel like the music can relate to a broad range of people and that’s just because I’m being myself. When people realize that your heart is right, and there’s no fluff around the message, it’s easy for them to relate to it. ~Tré Thomas

Up-and-coming gospel artist Tré Thomas is on a mission to bring people closer to God. His approach is a little different: He infuses an R&B sound and feel into messages that tackle issues we deal with on a daily basis––issues he feels God can handle if we simply give them over. With a sound influenced by the likes of Brandy, Tweet and Luther Vandross––as well as Richard Smallwood, The Hawkins family and Donald Lawrence––one is introduced to a fresh musical blend that is a bit uncommon in the gospel arena. However, it is this exception that Tré believes will assist him in his mission.


Here, Tré talks to GlossMagazineOnline (GMO) about his music, why it’s important to be yourself, the current state of gospel and secular music, and more.

GlossMagazineOnline (GMO): When did you first realize you had a musical gift?

Tré Thomas (Tré): I was seven years old. It was the day I was baptized. I went in my room, and I remember I was listening to Whitney’s album; I was listening to “Greatest Love of All.” And I was listening to Luther Vandross and I was trying to match their tone exactly. I was seven and studying them and I was like ‘oh, wow –– I might be able to do this.’

GMO: Your background in the church clearly has shaped you as an artist, but R&B influences are prominently heard in your music. Why is it important for you to blend these two,  if that is in fact your intention?

Tré: I was definitely brought up in the church, but musically I was drawn to R&B. Just because of the way it felt, it just made me feel different. So, as an artist I think it’s important to bring the two together because that’s just who I am. It’s like the best of two worlds for me. I can have a message and also use my musical background and influence to create music that makes sense to me first, and then hopefully it will reach people and I think in this time––in this culture––that will be effective.

GMO: Would you consider doing a secular album and how do you feel about artists who do both (Michelle Williams, David Hollister)?

Tré: I’m not sure that I would consider doing an R&B album, just because of my level of comfort, that’s just a personal thing. My music is very R&B influenced, but lyrically, I want to make sure that my lyrics express a certain thing. In terms of other artists, I support Michelle Williams and David Hollister because if they’re able to do that, I think it’s cool. Music is music, and whatever you’re able to do, and do it well, then I say do it.

GMO: Do you think the people in the church are as accepting of artists who do both gospel and secular music?

Tré: I think it depends on who it is. For someone like Dave, people were more receptive to him as a whole. But then there were other people that they were not so receptive to. I think it just really depends on who you are as an artist and what you are able to accomplish. And then, I also think it can also have to do with your style of music.

GMO: Tell us about your 2008 album A Natural Contrast. What was the meaning behind the title?

Tré: A Natural Contrast is my first baby, my debut album. And I really wanted to put together a solid project that basically encouraged people to be themselves and never give up on their dreams. In coming up with the title for the album, I know a lot of people on their first album, it might be self-titled, but I wanted to step out––I didn’t want to just be “Tré Thomas” on my first album. I came up with the idea of me being naturally different and I was trying to figure out a way to say that.

There are a lot of artists, a lot of singers in the industry. But, everyone has to find their own niche, what they bring to the table that’s different. For me, yes I’m a church dude, but my background is R&B so my sound is very different. It’s not something that can be put into a certain genre or category. It’s different, and the way that I approach the music lyrically, I’m naturally sharing my heart. I’m just being me. I’m a real down to earth dude, but because of some of the things I’ve been through, I’m able to relate to people. That’s the whole thing behind A Natural Contrast. It’s just me being naturally me, naturally different.

GMO: Where can we find the project?

treTré: The project is on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and Rhapsody. And if all else fails, you can definitely go to to find all the links to where the music is.

GMO: Are you currently working on an album and if so, what can we expect to hear and when?

Tré: Yes, I’m working on the sophomore album now. This one is going to be a different approach and sound. On A Natural Contrast, because it was my first one, I had to make sure that I covered all my bases. So there were some things on there that had the R&B influence, and of course there were some things that had the church influence. So the second album, I’m taking a more aggressive approach on the R&B approach to the music. I’m really excited about it because it’s a refreshing sound in terms of what gospel has to offer. So, I’m really excited about it, hopefully it will be out by the end of the year.

GMO: It seems like most artists are independent these days. Are you as well?

Tré: Right now I’m an independent artist; I put the first album out independently and at this point the second one will be as well.

GMO: What are your thoughts on the music scene today in general? Is there room for an artist like you on mainstream radio?

Tré: The industry in general, my personal opinion, is that we’ve kind of gotten away from real talent. We’ve gotten away from real singing, and I think we’ve settled for a formula––a formula that is “as long as I’m entertained by whatever it is that you do, I’ll accept it.” And a lot of that has to do with radio because consumers don’t always know what they want. So, in terms of radio, radio pretty much dictates what the listener “wants” to hear. So, we’ve settled in some ways in terms of what real talent is and real can be relative, but back in the 60s and the 70s, they didn’t have auto tune. They had to stand there and sing. Talent was talent and it was undeniable.

In terms of what I do, I do think that there is a space in the industry for what I do and my sound. It just would take people to be open to it. It would take radio to even be open to it and have an open mind to all approaches to gospel music. Gospel music doesn’t just sound traditional, that’s why our Kirk Franklins have been successful––or Yolanda Adams. Someone took a chance on them and I think in today’s industry, in terms of what gospel is, people don’t take enough chances on different approaches to the music.

GMO: Who are your musical influences? Have you worked with any?

Tré: My musical influences, number one would be Richard Smallwood, and yes I’ve worked with him. He featured me on his 2007 release, Journey–Live in New York. Other influences would include the Hawkins family; I’ve been able to work with them on a few things. Donald Lawrence. Influences vocally would be Tweet, Brandy, Carl Thomas, Luther Vandross and the old Whitney. And in terms of producing, it would be Babyface.

GMO: You’ve sung background for artists like Tye Tribbett, DeWayne Woods and Maurette Brown-Clark. What are those singing experiences like for you, working with that caliber of artist?

Tré: It really is true: Your gift does make room for you. For people to even recognize that you have the ability or the talent to sing, and do it well to the point where they trust you to do it, I can’t even describe what that feels like, especially in the moment.

GMO: Who is your dream collaborator?

Tré: If I could, as a singer, I would love to do a collab with Tweet. And I would love to do a collaboration with R. Kelly as producer.

GMO: Whom are you compared to musically––who do people say you sound like?

Tré: I’ve heard people say [I sound like] Musiq Soulchild, I’ve heard people make references to Tweet just in terms of the way that I arrange background vocals. A lot of people do say Musiq and I’ve studied him so I can understand that. People also say that I sound like Ted Winn.

GMO: You were recently featured on BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel. What was that experience like?

Tré: That was a great experience, like a once in a lifetime thing. It was very emotional because Richard [Smallwood] is my godfather and he introduced me. So it was emotional for like your dad to introduce you to the world where he’s been for 25 or so years. It’s cool for people to see your talent and appreciate it and say, “You know what, this a great talent and I think that you all should be exposed to it as well.”

But it was a great moment, to be able to perform my first single; "My First Love" ––and it go over well––was an incredible feeling. It was a standing ovation once I finished and Bobby Jones was excited, I didn’t expect that kind of response because the song has a different approach. So that whole experience was great.

*Watch Tré's performance of "My First Love" on Bobby Jones Gospel here: "My First Love"


GMO: There’s a gospel singing competition, sort of American Idol-esq. What are your thoughts on shows like American Idol, The Voice and X Factor? What do you think of the artists that are coming up in the industry through these competitions?

Tré: I think it’s cool, because there are a lot of people that the world wouldn’t necessarily hear if it wasn’t for those shows. And there are a lot of people who have drive and have the confidence to actually go out for those shows, and so in that way I think those shows are really good because it gives them a platform and it also gives the world the opportunity to know who these people are. On the other hand… I’ll leave it there. [Laughs]

GMO: What advice do you have for aspiring gospel artists and artists in general?

Tré: My first piece of advice would be to stay true to who you are. Don’t try to be like anybody else, create your own sound. Create your own niche. There are too many artists out here to try to be like someone else. If it’s meant for you to be a part of the industry, then there is a place for you that is carved out just for you.

Don’t let outside forces dictate the way that you make music, just stay true to who you are.


Catch up on what Tré s up to (it’s more than just the music, he’s also involved with community outreach and education), follow him on Twitter @Treslim; visit his website at, and listen to his Internet radio show, Love Ludes (Monday nights at t9 PM EST) at

Tiffani Alexander

Tiffani Alexander

Publisher and Editor in Chief of (GMO), Tiffani Alexander came to Chicago in the fall of 2004 to pursue her Master's degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. Tiffani earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of
 Maryland, College Park. She has worked for both Cygnus Business Media and Maher Publishing before embarking on her dream to start her own magazine. In addition to publishing GMO bi-monthly, Tiffani freelances and works as an editor on a legal journal in Washington, DC.


Tiffani can be contacted at

Follow her on Twitter: @TiffaniGMO



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