Piano music rings through the first floor of the Turner Lynch Campus Center as students type away on their laptops and sip before-class coffee. Instead of the normal, off-beat rendition of “Chopsticks,” this time Richard Rodger’s “My Funny Valentine” echoes throughout the building. Without a doubt, it can be expected that Tré Rice, also known as Mr. Tréezy, is at it again, soothing the Starbuck’s studiers with his grade A piano skills.
From the raw age of 5 Rice has been playing piano, however his interest in the art elevated during the summer between his seventh and eighth grade years when his mother registered him for the Juilliard School’s Jazz Camp in Atlanta. Surrounded by professional jazz musicians, Rice was able to develop an appreciation for the diverse nature of piano music. Instead of being bombarded with hundreds of Beethoven or Mozart pieces, he was able to observe unique pianistic developments in style and genre.
Rice is captivated by musicians J. Cole and Erykah Badu and admires their genuine artistry. Badu’s swag, style and ability to attract an immediate audience inspires Rice to be true to his individuality when it comes to his music.
J. Cole’s musical message similarly influences Rice to follow a creative path that highlights his passions. “I look up to him so much because of the message that he sends in many of his songs,” says Rice. “He is not afraid to show people his fears, insecurities and emotions.”
In terms of fellow pianists, Rice admires the skill of Duke Ellington and the versatility of Brian McKnight. Ellington’s pianistic dexterity pushes Rice to constantly surpass the goals he sets for himself. “Duke Ellington is one of the best composers and pianists to ever live, and I hope to be able to arrange music better than he can,” says Rice.
Brian McKnight’s ability to excel in multiple musical zones, encourages Rice to pursue growth in his vocal abilities in addition to his pianistic talents. In Rice’s opinion, McKnight’s “deep understanding of chord structures enhances his songs” separating his music from other vocalists.
In the next few months, Rice will be uploading multiple videos to YouTube as well as launching his personal website where he will feature new songs and original beats. In addition, his website will include online piano lessons for purchase.
For long-term goals, Rice is determined to eventually have some of his own songs on Apple Music, along with accompanying music videos. However, for those eager to hear Mr. Tréezy’s music before then, be sure to stay tuned for upcoming shows on and around Oglethorpe University’s campus!
Tré Rice utilizes his artistry to speak directly to his audience’s experiences. Whether it be about love, low self-esteem, life aspirations or family, Rice conducts his music to discuss emotions that he or someone he knows has dealt with.
As for his post-college music career, Rice already knows where he wants to be. “To be honest, I’ve already seen the future; it’s just a matter of it getting here,” he said. “At the end of the day, I make my music for me, and if other people like the songs I compose and produce, then that’s just sugar.”