AOTW - The Revelations ft. Tre Williams

Hip-hop and R&B fans may be familiar with the name Tre Williams as he was the first artist Nas signed to Ill Will Records. Those same fans may also be familiar with Rell from his time with Rocafella Records. Neither artist’s major label deal panned out, but they managed to come together with keyboard player Borahm Lee, bassist Josh Werner, drummer Gintas Janusonis and guitarist Wes Mingus (pictured L to R followed by Rell and Tre), to form the soul super-group The Revelations. The sextet just released their debut LP, The Bleeding Edge, and it's so good that it easily warranted the dynamic soul group an Artist Of The Week feature. This week I caught up with Williams for that feature and found out more about The Revelations, the sneaky way he made sure Rell would be a part of the group, and how his time with the majors prepared him for his current journey as an independent artist.

Read the full interview HERE

Adam Bernard: Since the name of the group is The Revelations ft. Tre Williams, I have to ask, are you not a Revelation?
Tre Williams: The way it started out, I was working on my own solo project and I called in the guys to do some tracks for me. The first track we did, which was called “I Don’t Want To Know,” was so strong that I thought we ought to just be one band, so we decided let’s do The Revelations featuring Tre Williams. The group got so big so fast that the solo project just went to the wayside for a little while and we just stayed with The Revelations featuring Tre Williams, but I am a Revelation.

Adam Bernard: That could sound a little egotistical – “I am a revelation.”
Tre Williams: Yeah {laughs}, I am one of The Revelations.

Adam Bernard: The Revelations is a very old school sounding name. I’m guessing that was intentional, right?
Tre Williams: Yeah, what we wanted to do is basically show that we can be today’s artists and have yesterday’s feel mixed with our feel. Back when Otis Redding and those guys did this sound it wasn’t called soul music, it was just good music, and it was the popular music. As the years moved on it began to be labeled and slowly pushed to the background to the point now where this type of music is somewhat a novelty because not a lot of people are doing it.

Adam Bernard: How do you think audiences that have become so accustomed to Auto-Tune and vocorder affected R&B will react when they hear The Bleeding Edge for the first time?
Tre Williams: When we released the EP, Deep Soul, the reception was great. People really embraced it a lot. A guy came to me at a show and said “for the first time me and my mother listen to the same music. This is the first time I’ve put on a CD and she said ‘I like that.’ We both sit down and listen to you. She just doesn’t believe that you’re from the hip-hop generation.”

Adam Bernard: You definitely are, though, because both you and Rell had huge hip-hop associations early in your careers, you with Nas and Rell with Rocafella Records. Neither of your solo debuts, however, ever made it to stores. Do you now consider those times almost a false start to your career? How hard was it to deal with?
Tre Williams: Sometimes I look at it as a blessing in disguise because I look at what I’m doing now and think this is where I should be, this is the type of music that actually fits me, but anybody that’s an artist… when you’re with Nas you look at him and say “instant success.” You don’t look at him and say your album is never coming out. But to be with a legend and learning the things that I was able to learn and being exposed to the things that I was exposed to, and I’m quite sure Rell would feel the same way about being with Jay-Z, was priceless.

Adam Bernard: How crazy is it that you and Rell are working together now and the artists you were previously associated with had one of the most high profile battles of the decade?
Tre Williams: The whole schematics of me and Rell being together is crazy.

Adam Bernard: Really? How did you two, and the band, come together? Is there some sort of “I got screwed by the industry” support group that had a meeting, or something?
Tre Williams: {laughs} That would be a great story to write. I was actually working on my solo project and Bob Perry, who put it all together, saw Rell, who had just written a song for Usher at the time (“Here I Stand”), and asked him if he would mind coming to help write a few songs for the album. Basically, I didn’t feel like I wanted to write it all. Sometimes when you try to write it all, no matter how much in your mind you think you’re doing something different, sometimes it just falls back into that comfort zone. I walked in the studio one day and Rell was there and before I had even gotten there he had written an incredible song. When he did it he actually laid a reference (track) and I decided I wanted to keep his background (vocals). We gelled so well on tape, I asked him what he was doing and he said he was just writing, he had moved out of the artist realm. I said, let’s do a few shows together and see how it works out. Rell’s a very talented dude with a good heart and I want to see him accomplish what he set out to do. We kept writing the album and I had gotten him on so many songs on background that I was like, “who’s gonna do these parts? You gotta do em.”

Adam Bernard: Very sneaky! I like it. Now, you have a lot of experience in the industry. What kind of influence do you think your time with the majors has had on you? Do you feel extra prepared for this indie journey?
Tre Williams: You know what, I feel a lot calmer. I don’t feel stressed about anything. I feel like I can handle whatever’s coming because I’ve been through a lot. It really made me a better student of the game, especially going into these studios and recording these songs. I’ve learned not to waste time. A lot of guys don’t take the business aspect of this seriously and when they look at their checkbook they realize they just put out a whole album and it did decently and they didn’t make any money. It’s because they jerked it. Not even when it hit their hands, before it even touched their hands they had already spent forty thousand dollars just on being in the studio alone, and when they didn’t have to.

Adam Bernard: Finally, complete this sentence – The Revelations will be a success when…
Tre Williams: …people really get to hear the music. When people get to grasp the concept and understand where it’s going and see the consistency in the music and start feeling almost a kinship to it, that’s when The Revelations featuring Tre Williams will be a success.

Via Adam's World Blog