Fresco Trey – Key To My Heart
If you’ve spent any time on TikTok in the last few months, you’ve seen teenagers expressing lament over the lyrics, “He gave you 100 when he had 100,000 / I gave you 20 with only lint in my pocket.” The song? “Need You” by Whitehaven’s own Fresco Trey.
The catchy song about leaving unappreciative people behind has more than 73 million views on TikTok in addition to 7.6 million global streams across platforms. Trey, 23, hopes the vulnerability on his music continues to resonate with his fans.
The St. Benedict at Auburndale High School alum was on his way to becoming a college basketball player until his interest in the sport began to wane and he shifted his focus to pursuing a musical career.
In 2021, Trey signed to Warner Music Group and released his debut EP, “Heartbreak Diaries,” where he shares his keen sense for melody and aspirational lyrics.
Since his career took off, Trey has been splitting his time between Memphis and Los Angeles. He will return to Bluff City for a live show at Black Lodge (405 N. Cleveland) on April 16. While the $60 backstage passes are already sold out, general admission tickets for $9.01 and VIP tickets for $40 are still available here.
The Commercial Appeal got to catch up with the young star to discuss his rise to fame. Some responses have been edited for clarity and length.
CA: How did you start getting into music?
Fresco Trey: My interest in music started at 2 years old. That’s when I first won a talent show. My cousin went to Hamilton [High School], and he brought me to his talent show to perform a song. That was my first time doing music.
My older sister had always been able to sing. When I got to high school, that’s when she started making music. And in 11th grade, she was home for a little bit, she went to the studio and I went with her. While we were in the studio, I was helping her come up with certain melodies. While I was helping, everybody was like, ‘Bro you need to start coming back. You need to start doing music.’
I was like, ‘Nah, I’m playing basketball,’ but when we left the studio, I’m thinking about the studio in my head the whole time. So then I was writing a song with no intention of recording. My sister was on the same phone plan, so my notes were linked to her phone. And she’d seen me write music, so she booked me my first studio session. And so I recorded a song, and she ended up singing on it afterward, and I dropped it, and it did pretty good.
So after seeing that, and just having that whole feeling of making a song and seeing the reaction, it kind of just took me like a drug, and I was addicted.
CA: How did you get the name Fresco Trey?
Trey: I came up with my name in ninth grade while in Spanish class. We were discussing weather terms when I learned that ‘fresco’ translated to ‘cool.’ For whatever reason, that word really stuck with me. I ended up looking into the word further and found it also meant ‘fresh.’ After learning about that, I just knew that it was the perfect name.
CA: Who are your musical influences?
Trey: Before I started, it was 2Pac. He was the one who just gave me the confidence to do it. And as I started getting into music myself, it became Post Malone, Justin Bieber and YFN Lucci. [YFN Lucci] kind of paved the way for me, too. I love Sam Smith and Rod Wave.
CA: You speak a lot about romance in your music. Do you find it hard to be vulnerable? Or does that come a lot more naturally to you?
Trey: It comes natural to me because I’ve always been a person that will dare to be different. I’ve never once in my life said, ‘I’m not gonna wear what I want to wear’ or say what I want to say or anything of that nature, just because somebody might not think it’s cool. I wanted to be a person who made it cool to be vulnerable or made it cool to wear a certain thing. I wanted to be that person, you know, for everybody who didn’t want to do what I’m doing.
That’s my whole thing. In Memphis, it’s always ‘hype music,’ as in shoot, trap, kill, girls. I want to be one of the first people and one of the more impactful people who just stood on creating a new lane and having a lot of people follow that lead after me. I feel like I’m slowly doing it because I’m starting to see a little bit more of it.
I’m starting to get embraced by more hip-hop artists out of the city. It’s a beautiful thing to see. My mission with music is just to let my fans know that it’s OK to be vulnerable or have feelings or you cry sometimes.
CA: Your sound is completely unique from what we hear coming out of Memphis. What parts of Memphis do you think influenced your music?
Trey: I would say like the grind behind it. I think that’s the number one thing that’s impacted me — just knowing that there ain’t no easy way into this. So even if you got to go old school and pass out some CDs, which I did, whatever it takes to do it, you got to go out and get it. Friday night high school football games, FedExForum, Beale Street, corner stores, everywhere. We out there.
One thing Memphis is known for is the grit and grind, so I always thank Memphis for that.
CA: You’re kind of just getting started in music right now, but in the future what are you hoping to explore next?
Trey: I want to start an actual clothing line, not called Fresco anything. I want it to be a legitimate clothing line that is super successful. I want to start a whole real estate thing. I got my own label started. But right now we’re just working on getting me out the door. When the time comes, I want to chop those trees.
CA: How do you feel about your sound blowing up on TikTok? And how do you feel about the trend that’s emerged from your music?
Trey: That was super cool, super dope. A lot of my songs that were doing good were some of the more upbeat and more hype. It’s really good. But I tell my dad like, ‘Man, I just want my music to pop.’ I want the music for me to pop that’s super real, super emotional. When I dropped ‘Need You’ and it went crazy, I just feel like that was God is confirming that I should stay true to what I’m doing. Because that’s the music that I want people to really know me for because that’s my truth. That’s all of me on a beat. So many people resonate with it and just feel for it and sing with so much passion.
CA: Where did you get the inspiration for Heartbreak Diaries?
Trey: I was making these sad songs, and everybody was asking me if a girl broke my heart or what girl broke your heart. So I was just like, I wanted to do ‘Heartbreak Diaries’ just to get people understanding that all of my songs aren’t about a girl breaking my heart. When I’m talking about sad stuff, some of it is about a girl breaking my heart, but all of it isn’t. Some of it is about a friend doing me wrong. Some of it is about a coach doing me wrong or a teacher doing me wrong. It’s a lot of different things that come with my heartbreak than just a girl, and that’s what I wanted to just get like my diary, so people can understand it a little bit more. That’s where the inspiration came from. Working with [Lil] Tjay was cool. It was dope. We got kind of the same personality, so it was dope working with him.
Heartbreak Diaries is available on all streaming platforms.
Astrid Kayembe covers South Memphis, Whitehaven and Westwood. She can be reached at [email protected], (901) 304-7929 or on Twitter @astridkayembe_.
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