WXTJ Writes! by Max Russ: on his debut single “Stressin.,” Tre. Charles reflects upon our current moment
Tre. Charles is a driven, charismatic, and thoughtful artist who connects with his audience through music that’s both warm and deeply personal. His debut single ‘Stressin.,’ which drops on April 26, embodies the personal and social struggles that he has faced throughout his life as a young black man in America, along with capturing the isolation that most of us have experienced during the current pandemic. I sat down with Tre. last week—metaphorically I suppose, since it was over Zoom—and talked about the meaning behind this track, some of the stress he’s experienced over the last year, racism in America, and more. I encourage you to read on and get to know more about this talented musician, and definitely check out his new single + music video!
Although he’s sung and played the guitar throughout his life, Tre. began to pursue his musical ambitions and make songs around October of 2019 while facing stress from his job. He found that throughout his diverse career of odd jobs, some in leadership roles and some not, he wasn’t living up to his truth. He wanted to tap into his passion, which was his art. In many ways, this song seems to be a realization of his own aspirations: “I wrote this song a while back,” he told me, “and it represents my pressures from being in an industry that I don’t necessarily want to be in…I saw that I was fulfilling someone else’s dream versus my own.” Tre. also mentioned that around two years ago, he experienced somewhat of a divine intervention—after a car accident injury and his subsequent rehab. “After that, I realized exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted to reshape what I was doing and putting my ability out there.” To this point, ‘Stressin.’ is a liberating track, both for Tre. to develop his sound and for listeners to celebrate his transformation. While the pandemic unfortunately put a halt on live performances, these obstacles don’t seem to get in the way of Tre.’s determination and passion for music.
Tre. currently lives in Durham, N.C., but he grew up in somewhat of a nomadic style along the east coast. His experiences in so many locations inform his astute perspective, especially in regards to the different forms of racism he has seen and endured. Though Tre. has lived in the Southeast recently, where racism and bigotry are often times more overt, he was raised in upstate New York and recalled how his hometown faced segregation and more discreet instances of racial injustice. Citing the recent trial over George Floyd’s murder, Tre. told me that a major layer of stress that went into this song is the sense of being “hopeful for change, but also knowing that not a lot has changed,” he said. “Small victories [like the Chauvin verdict] are victories, but it’s a jaded feeling because it’s more of a high-profile accountability.” Tre. emphasized that he captures a story with his music—both from personal experiences and on a larger scale—about the difficult experience of being black in America. For me, it’s telling of both his character and resilience.
‘Stressin.’ is a timely release for a number of reasons, but it’s also important to note that on a basic level, it’s simply a wonderful song. Tre. pairs his excellent guitar riffs with a strong foundation of drum loops; his vocals are luscious and soulful. Overall, it is music that anyone can appreciate, and its value only increases due to the stress that he addresses in his wordplay. Be sure to check out Tre. Charles’ website here, and most importantly, listen to his debut single out April 26!
by Max Russ, check him out as the co-host of “Weekly Vibecheck” (Wednesdays, 4:00-6:00 pm).
WXTJ Writes! is brought to you by a team of 21 wonderful writers hoping to bring life to our website, spring of 2021 and beyond. Get ready to talk music, media, entertainment, the arts, and special stories told by radio-loving students—every week here on wxtj.fm.