I’ve been a big fan of London songwriter, producer and all-round good guy Tre Jean-Marie, 20, for a long time now. His potential as a hit writer has been evident for a while and at last it seems his talents are getting the recognition they deserve as he’s about to put pen to paper on his first publishing deal. So I thought there’s no time like the present to ask him a few questions and spread love and awareness of this exciting, young UK talent.
Knew Knowledge Interview
Tre Jean-Marie, songwriter/producer
- Twitter: @trejeanmarie
- Soundcloud: /trejeanmarie
- Management: Jordan Jay & Ross Gautreau at Karma Artists
- Lawyer: Simon Long at Collins Long
Hi Tre. So how did you start out in music?
I come from a musical family. Both my parents and some of my cousins are deep in the industry, so I’ve always been exposed to it. I remember being 9 or 10 years old and sneaking on my Dad’s computer in the middle of the night to teach myself Logic 5, and I haven’t turned back since.
Where do you prefer to write your songs?
Studio, home…The tube! Literally wherever I feel comfortable and catch a vibe!
What equipment do you use to write and record with?
I used to be obsessed with outboard gear, but it’s not really practical, so now my set up is really simple. I have a travel bag that fits my laptop plus all its accessories, and that’s pretty much it – I can plug in to wherever I’m working from around the world.
What do you like to write about lyrically? Do you follow any themes or concepts?
However the music makes me feel. If I’m writing with an artist I try to pull from their own experiences rather than mine, after all, I’m there to enhance them.
What is in the pipeline for you over the next 6-12months?
There’s lots I can’t mention or go into detail on, but there’s a MNEK single I’m really excited about that I’ve co-written/produced. I’ve been working quite heavily on Jacob Banks’ record too, and Emeli Sandé and Jojo are also amongst my favourites of recent work…The next 12 months should be fun!
What has been the highlight of your song-writing career so far?
This interview with Knew Knowledge 😉
How do you find with the artists you work with?
Mainly through the usual channels of managers, record labels and publishers. But every so often I’ll hear something fresh through social networks or at a showcase and reach out to the artists directly.
You’re close to signing your own first publishing deal. How has this has come about and how it is to be the subject of a signing frenzy?!
I’ve actually done one [publishing deal] before but things went wrong quite early and I was fortunate enough to be able to get out. I’ve been working my arse off for a long time now, so to have material finally being released and to see it paying off by so many publishers – and even some of my idols putting in offers – is an overwhelming feeling. But that said, I know how important it is to not get complacent and stay focused. I’m pretty close to closing a deal with one of them at the moment.
You recently set up your own publishing company too. How easy was this and why did you decide to start your own operation?
Starting my own publishing company was quite difficult at first. I had a lot of meetings with people who were impressed to hear the ideas I had coming from the mouth of a 20 year old, but were too scared to make the commitment – perhaps because of my age, or because I don’t have a history in the publishing world. But I have a lot of talented unpublished friends, and I really wanted to create a model where, when possible, I could source opportunities for them. To me, doing a joint venture with a bigger publisher who was as excited about my vision as I was and saw the long-term potential was more important than finding somebody that was just going to throw some money about. It has started to grow quicker than I could have ever imagined.
It sounds like your business empire is growing nicely. Are you interested in doing your own artist project in future too?
I’ve started and scrapped my own project so many times that I think my friends are getting tired of me saying it lol. The trouble is that I don’t want to do it purely because everybody else is – and that’s no discredit to all the producer-artists out there, because there’s some amazing ones – but if I do end up having my own artist project it would have to be completely left, and that would have to come naturally.
Describe your experience of the music business in 3 words;
If you could be in a writing session with any songwriter dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Pharrell Williams. He’s had hits from before I was born and has managed to stay relevant up to this day. The Neptunes [his production team] have produced and/or written a lot of my favourite records of all time.
Pharrell – Frontin’ ft. Jay Z
Name 3 great new artists you have recently discovered…
- I’ve been working with this guys called JP Cooper recently, and every time I hear him sing I’m mind blown.
- Grades is hands down my favourite producer-artist house project right now.
- There’s this UK rapper called Little Simz I’ve only just discovered. She’s great!
What was the first record you bought?
If I said S Club 7, do you promise not to judge me?
When was the last time you bought a CD or vinyl? What was it?
I can’t remember the last time! Digital is so much more convenient.
What will you be doing/where will you be in 10 years time?
I hope to be be doing exactly what I’m doing now but with a long discography and success that will inspire the next generation of writers and young entrepreneurs!
Finally, choose one from each;
Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye? Marvin Gaye
New Jack Swing or Neo-soul? Neo-soul
Jean Michel Jarre or Herbie Hancock? Herbie Hancock
‘Thriller’ Michael Jackson or ‘Bad’ Michael Jackson? Thriller, but only fractionally
Kanye or Jay Z? Yeezy!
Beyonce or Katy Perry? Queen B
George Martin or Quincy Jones? Quincy Jones