Tre. Charles: currently.

Tre. Charles: currently.

“A lot of times as people we don’t give each other the room to be vulnerable and it’s seen as ‘not cool’ which pushes the negative narratives and reinforces old tropes that are not conducive to growth in our society…at times in order to move forward, we need to let go.” – Tre. Charles.

Through his music, Tre. Charles “invites you into his world with an expressive blend of warm and soulful undertones, simplistic and powerful lyrics, and emotive crooning; helping you navigate your way through the encompassing experience.” His new EP, currently. has a key theme throughout: normalizing minority masculine vulnerability. His lyrics dive into the realm of self-awareness via insecurity, mental health, masculinity, and introspection, all to the soundscape of lush alternative/indie instrumentation performed with soulful and intentional vocals.

The project (currently.) highlights the nuances of the artist Tre. Charles through a lens of vulnerability. Aiming to bring honesty and insight to the forefront of the conversation, which hopefully will inspire and sustain growth. We recently interviewed Tre. about the EP. 

What gave you the desire to create such vulnerable, honest music for this project?

The reason this project came about was because it was my safe place to let out things that I wasn’t always comfortable sharing, my journal. Being a large in stature black man comes with a lot of preconceived notions, that for me became exhausting to re explain; music has always been my outlet to be my raw and current self freely.

In your own words, “At times in order to move forward, we need to let go.” What have you let go of over the past few years, to open up space for healing and introspection?

I think I let go of a lot of things but one that’s sticking out right now is the idea that I didn’t have or deserve that space (to heal and be introspective) out loud. I think we grow up and have experiences and encounters that shape us to believe certain norms and truths, and sometimes (most times) those truths are more malleable than not.

Do you think your near-death experience through your car accident shifted your perspective on what it means to be vulnerable and truly alive in your body, mind, and soul?

Absolutely, I totally do. The crash made me stop, literally and figuratively, to focus on what I really wanted in my life and be bold enough to relentlessly pursue my passion; without focusing on the blaring opposition that my, at the time, “world” was projecting at me.

Have you become more self-aware as a result of the mental health journey you’ve been on?

I would like to hope so. I think I definitely try to be more intentionally present, but I also think that just comes with growing older and knowing your tendencies and habits. The true work comes in when you’re actively trying to address those negative habits versus just falling back into routines that won’t push you to grow as a person. 

Does being in love impact your writing?

I think so. She’s definitely been a huge contributor, supporter, and advocate for mental health and artist journey. She is one of the most prominent factors, if not THE most, that has helped me begin to stretch my way of thinking and approaching situations. For instance she pushed me to get therapy; which i’m a huge advocate for now, especially for men of color and all men in general. I think that the stigma of being vulnerable has really set back the advancements of healthy relationship dynamics within our communities; ranging from intimate partners, platonic friendships, and family interactions. So I think if we continue to, not only normalize and accept but champion vulnerability, I believe we will see a huge shift in culture in positive directions. So to summarize, yes I think being in love has impacted my writing.

Who are your top three musical inspirations?

When it comes to artists I think that is so tough because I love a wide range of music, as well as the artists who create it; from Kid Cudi to Kurt Cobain or Sampha to Bach. So I think the safer answer route is going to be an abstract approach haha. I think life, love, and lessons are the inspirations that come to mind right now just because I have always connected with music that evokes intense emotions via relatable experiences rather than passive (Bops).

Don’t get me wrong I love a good bop, but there’s something about taking a simple subject matter and saying it beautifully; enough to a point where the response is visceral in making you feel an emotion, or range of them…. but, bops go hard too, haha.

Locally, you can catch Tre. next at Common House Richmond on Friday, July 7th at 8:00 PM. Details here.


Erin Frye is our Lead Story Marketer at the Grid Collective. Anyone who knows Erin will tell you that she’s incredibly motivated by elevating people, sharing impactful stories, and improving our community. She is also a singer-songwriter, a yoga teacher, and a voiceover artist with In Your Ear Studios. When she's not working, you can find Erin bringing hope and healing to communities worldwide through accessible music and wellness experiences. Her travels as a volunteer musician have taken her to orphanages, refugee camps, juvenile jails, and more…from Africa to Europe, and across North America. Locally, she is also the founder of Gals for a Cause RVA, a Teaching Artist with FreeHorse Arts, a former Big Sister through BBBS, and a former Teaching Artist/Performer with SPARC’s inclusive LIVE ART program. Erin is most recently a recipient of the Crisis Response Philanthropy Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), an Honoree in Gallery 5 Movers and Shakers, an Honoree in JMU’s 100 Years, 100 Days, 100 Dukes ‘One World’ Program and was inducted into the JMU’s ‘Be The Change’ Hall of Fame.