Trey Songz was born on November 28, 1984, in Petersburg, Virginia. He is the son of April (Gholson) Tucker, who was seventeen when he was born, and Claude Neverson Jr. Raised as a military brat by his mother and stepfather, Songz did not have aspirations for a musical career as a child due to his shyness, saying “Singing wasn’t a reality for me, until other people started noticing I sounded good.” He recognized his vocal abilities at the age of 14. Reluctant to sing, he began performing with encouragement by friends and family in high school. Record producer Troy Taylor was introduced to Songz through Songz step-father with whom Taylor attended High School, ultimately leading to Songz signing a recording contract with Atlantic Records in November 2000. After graduating from Petersburg High School in 2003, Songz moved to New Jersey to begin recording his debut album, though recording did not actually begin until 2002.
While recording his debut album in 2004, Songz released multiple mixtapes under the alias Prince of Virginia. One of the mixtapes featured an “answer track” to R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet”, entitled “Open the Closet”. The song gave Songz some notoriety. His debut album, I Gotta Make It was released on July 26, 2005. It debuted at #20 on the Billboard 200, selling 40,000 copies in its first week of sales. It has sold 300,000 records in the US. Songz’s debut single, Gotta Make It, featuring Twista, was released in March 2005 and reached #87 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #21 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. It garnered success in the R&B/urban community but failed to make a mark in mainstream music. The album’s second and final single, Gotta Go, was released in July 2005 and reached #67 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, becoming even more successful than his debut single in the R&B/urban community and in the mainstream community. After promotion for his debut concluded, he was featured on the lead single from Twista’s fifth album, The Day After. The single, “Girl Tonite”, reached #14 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, becoming a huge hit.
In mid-2006, Songz began work on a follow-up album to his debut with longtime collaborator Troy Taylor and also employed successful Bryan-Michael Cox, Danja, Stargate and R. Kelly to help create the album. Trey aimed for the album to be more mainstream-oriented than his debut album. His second studio album, Trey Day, was released on October 2, 2007. The album reached #11 on the Billboard 200, selling 73,000 copies in its first week. It has since sold 400,000 records in the US, becoming his second album not to be certified by the RIAA. The album was going to be released on May 8, 2007, but was continually delayed in order for a successful single to precede the album, as the lead single failed to impact charts.
His second album was preceded by the lead single, “Wonder Woman”, which was released in February 2007. It reached #54 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but failed to impact the Hot 100. Because of the single’s failure, his second album was delayed from May 2007 to October 2007. The album’s second single, “Can’t Help but Wait”, was released in August 2007 and was released to promote his second album and the film Step Up 2 the Streets soundtrack as a single for it. The single reached #14 on the Hot 100, and #2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It became Songz’s first Top 20 hit on the Hot 100, and helped to boost his second album’s sales. The single was also nominated for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 2008 50th Grammy Awards. The third single from the album, “Last Time”, was released in January 2008 and reached #69 on the Hot 100, and #9 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The fourth and final single from the album, “Missin’ You”, was released in May 2008, but failed to chart completely. In mid-2008, Songz was nominated for a BET Award for Best Male R&B Artist but did not win the award.
In 2008, Trey began work on his third studio album with Bryan-Michael Cox, Sean Garrett, Stargate and Troy Taylor and aimed for the record to be more mature than his first two. Before releasing his third album, Songz released a mixtape titled Anticipation in June 2009 through his blog, which featured songs from his third album. Another mixtape from Trey was released in the summer of 2009, called Genesis. Genesis was a collection of Trey Songz’s first recordings when he was fifteen years old and was released to show his fans the dedication that he had to making a record when he was young. Trey released his third studio album, Ready, on August 31, 2009. The album reached #3 on the Billboard 200, selling 131,000 copies in its first week. These are his best first week sales to date and the album was his first to reach the Top 10 on the Billboard 200. The album has since sold over 1,000,000 records in the US, earning a Platinum certification from the RIAA in June 2014, becoming his first Platinum album.
The lead single from the album, “I Need a Girl”, was released in April 2009 and reached #5 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart and #59 on the Hot 100, becoming an R&B/urban hit but not a mainstream hit. A promotional single, “Successful”, featuring rapper Drake, was released in June 2009 and reached #17 on the Hot 100, becoming Songz’s third Top 20 hit. The single also served as the second and final single from Drake’s EP, So Far Gone. The second official single from his third album, “LOL Smiley Face”, featuring Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em and Gucci Mane, was released in August 2009 and reached #51 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The third single from the album, “I Invented Sex”, featuring Drake, was released in October 2009 and reached #42 on the Hot 100 but #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, becoming his first single to top that chart. Like the first two singles from the album, it achieved success in the R&B/urban community but only some mainstream success. charted within the Billboard Hot 100, and topped the R&B chart. The fourth single from the album, “Say Aah”, featuring rapper Fabolous, was released in January 2010 and reached #9 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The single has become Trey’s highest charting single on the Hot 100 and one of his most successful singles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. He also collaborated with R&B singer Amerie on her song “Pretty Brown”, the third single from her fourth album, In Love & War.
The fifth and final single from the album, “Neighbors Know My Name”, was released in February 2010 and reached #43 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. A sixth single, “Yo Side of the Bed”, was going to be released in June 2010, but its release was canceled due to unknown reasons. A music video, featuring singer Keri Hilson, was filmed and released, however. Songz was also the opening act for Jay-Z on his Jay-Z Fall Tour in late 2009. The album was nominated for Best Contemporary R&B Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards in 2010, but lost to Beyoncé’s I Am… Sasha Fierce. On April 1, 2010, he recorded an episode of MTV Unplugged, which aired on April 26, 2010. A documentary-series about Trey, Trey Songz: My Moment, began in June 2010 to positive reviews and high ratings. The 10-part series will end in August 2010 and follows Trey during his time as opening act on Jay-Z’s Jay-Z Fall Tour in late 2009.
Songz’s fourth studio album, Passion, Pain & Pleasure, was released on September 14, 2010. Trey began work on the album in early 2010 with Sean Garrett, Troy Taylor and Stargate and has stated that the album will be his most personal to date. The album was completed in July 2010. The album’s lead single, “Bottoms Up”, featuring female rapper Nicki Minaj, was released on July 27, 2010 and has reached number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming his biggest hit to date. The single has since been certified 3x Platinum. “Can’t Be Friends” was released as the album’s second single in August 2010. Songz embarked on the Passion, Pain & Pleasure Tour on August 6, 2010 with singer Monica. The tour is his first headlining tour to date and consists of shows in venues that seat 3,000 to 5,000 people. Songz also contributed the song “Already Taken” to the Step Up 3D soundtrack, which was released on July 27, 2010. He filmed a video for the song, which was released in July 2010. The leading lady in the video is former girlfriend and professional dancer Helen Gedlu. Songz appeared at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2010. Songz performed at BET Awards 2011 which broadcast on June 26, 2011.
On August 18, 2011, it was announced Songz will be working on his fifth studio album titled Chapter V. In an interview Trey said the album, which will act as the follow-up to Passion, Pain & Pleasure, is said to be nearing completion. He also carried on to say “It’s my sixth year in the game so I’ve been here for a while now. You can expect the best me you’ve ever heard. I don’t have any release dates in mind right now but I’m just making music and enjoying myself in the studio and having fun. When I get to a place where I feel comfortable saying a date or all of that, people will definitely know. I have a few dream collaborations on that album that I want, but they say if you blow out your candle and make a wish you can’t tell people what you ask for or it won’t come true”.
On November 28, 2011, on his birthday, Songz released his Inevitable EP to prepare for the release of his album. The EP opened with first week sales of 27,000 landing it at No. 23 on the Billboard 200 and No. 4 on Billboard’s Top Hip-Hop R&B Albums chart. As of October 18, 2012 the EP has sold 91,000 copies in the United States. In February 2012, Songz will embark on his Anticipation 2our to promote his mixtape Anticipation 2 and to raise awareness of his new album. In July 2011, he was cast in Texas Chainsaw 3D as Ryan, the male lead role. The film was released on January 4, 2013.
Chapter V was released on August 21, 2012, by Atlantic Records, and on August 17 as a digital download. Trey Songz toured in promotion of the album on his Anticipation 2our, a tour spanning from February 9 to March 11, 2012, in North America.Rapper Big Sean was the tour’s supporting act. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first week sales of 135,000 copies. It was Songz’ first album to top the chart. Chapter V was also Songz’ first album to chart in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at number 10 on the UK Albums Chart. As of October 3, 2012, the album has sold 238,400 copies in the US, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album’s lead single, “Heart Attack”, was released as a digital download on March 26, 2012. It charted at number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100,and number 28 on the UK Singles Chart. Its music video was released on May 4 and featured Kelly Rowland playing Songz’ love interest. The second single “2 Reasons” was released on June 12. Its video was premiered on June 12 by BET’s 106 & Park. “Simply Amazing” was released in the United Kingdom on August 12. It charted at number eight in the UK. Its music video, directed by Justin Francis, was released on July 23. “Never Again” was released as a single in the UK in November.Its music video was released on November 21.
On Christmas Day, Songz released the song titled “Na Na” on The Angel Network. In February 2014, Songz released another track featuring Young Jeezy called “Ordinary” and he was also featured on the remix to Mariah Carey’s single, “You’re Mine (Eternal)”. In March 2014, Songz released the second single of his album called “SmartPhones”. On April 1, 2014, 50 Cent released a single featuring Songz, titled “Smoke”, from his fifth studio album Animal Ambition. On July 1, 2014, Trey Songz released his sixth album Trigga and it debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 105,000 copies. On May 18, 2015, Songz digitally released the full-length album Intermission I & II. Half of the tracks on the album were previously available on the Intermission EP, which was released on April 14, 2015. Tremaine The Album was released on March 24, 2017, three years after his last LP. This album is based on his given name, Tremaine Aldon Neverson.The LP is made up of 15 songs and the lone feature comes from fellow Virginia artist and frequent collaborator MIKExANGEL on “Games We Play.”
Songz’s music is generally R&B, and occasionally displays his ability to blend with Hip-hop while still maintaining a production of songs that evoke emotions and vary in subject matters that revolve around the appreciation of women, stimulation of club rave-ups, expression of lust and chronicling the highs and lows of love and relationships. Songz’s musical influences include Luther Vandross, Prince, R. Kelly and Usher.
The Grammy nominated Chapter V most notably demonstrates his versatility, vocal range, lyricism and melodic girth as he expresses his eternal love for his woman through singles such as “Simply Amazing” with “Heart Attack” showcasing his vulnerable side that discusses trials and tribulations of love and heartache. “Ladies Go Wild” is a dance-friendly track that stems from his experiences of his international nightlife and travels. The “Hail Mary” track balances sensuality against grittiness and likens the pleasures of a woman to a ‘hail mary’ football throw, while “Without A Woman” exemplifies his appreciation for women over a classic 1970s R&B sound. Moreover, “Check Me Out” effortlessly combines Trey’s rap flow and melodic skills, in extension to “Dive In” which is considered to be his most signature-sounding record that uses suave wordplay to compare his pending conquest of a woman’s body to taking a dive in the pool. Songz describes his albums as work “that will take you many places, emotionally and sensually.”