November 28, 1984
Petersburg, Virginia, United States
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R&B singer Trey Songz parlayed his smooth tenor voice into an astonishingly prolific, Grammy-nominated career as an R&B performer with multiple No. 1 albums and a slew of Top 10 hits on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B/Hip-Hop charts. The Virginia native was discovered while still a teenager by producer Troy Taylor, who largely shepherded his career from guest appearances on singles in 2004 to his debut album, I Gotta Make It (2005) and subsequent releases. Songz toiled tirelessly, slowly rising up the R&B and hip-hop ladder while focusing on mainstream success; after breaking into the Billboard 200's Top 20 with "Can't Help But Wait" (2007), he remained a constant presence on both the mainstream and urban charts before finally earning his first chart-topping album with Chapter V in 2012. Songz also flirted with an acting career, which included a lead role in "Texas Chainsaw 3D" (2013), but music remained his focus and passion, which underscored his status as one of pop and R&B's hardest working performers.Born Tremaine Aldon Neverson in Petersburg, Virginia on November 28, 1984, Trey Songz spent much of his early years in transit due to his father's work with the military. He displayed a fine singing voice from an early age, but rarely allowed others to hear it due to shyness. Friends finally convinced him to show off his talents at various showcases, where Songz's flawless voice captured numerous top prizes. While competing at one such talent show in 2000, the 15-year-old met producer Troy Taylor, who recognized Songz's nascent skill and signed him to a contract with Atlantic Records, but requested that he complete high school before embarking on a music career. After earning his diploma, Songz relocated to New Jersey, where he contributed guest on various Taylor productions, including soca artist Kevin Lyttle's self-titled debut record and Miami rapper Trick Daddy's Thug Matrimony (2004). He also recorded a number of mixtapes under the moniker "Prince of Virginia," one of which included the song "Open the Closet," an "answer song" to R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet," which brought Songz attention from the underground hip-hop and R&B communities. The exposure helped to send Songz's debut album, I Gotta Make It, to No. 20 on the Billboard 200, while its first single, a collaboration with rapper Twista on the title track, reached No. 21 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Its follow-up, "Gotta Go," performed even better, reaching No. 11 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, but mainstream popularity remained out of his reach. The following year, Songz guested on "Girl Tonite," the debut single from Twista's The Day After album; the song landed at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, providing Songz with wider exposure to the pop market. Now firmly focused on breaking into that demographic, Songz set to work on his sophomore album, enlisting not only Taylor but also his idol, R. Kelly, and producers Danja and Stargate to hone his work. But the first single, "Wonder Woman" (2007), stalled at No. 54 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, and pushed the release of his album, Trey Day, to late 2007. The delay proved to be a shrewd decision; the inclusion of the second single, "Can't Help But Wait," on the "Step Up 2: the Streets" soundtrack helped to boost the song to No. 14 on the Billboard 200, thus granting him the mainstream success he desired. The song also earned Songz his first Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Vocal Performance. Songz immediately set to work on his third album, pausing briefly to release a pair of mixtapes, including Genesis (2009), which featured recordings he made at the age of 15. That same year, he released Ready, which shot to No. 3 on the Billboard 200 on the strength of its first two singles, "I Need a Girl" and "Successful," the latter of which was also featured on singer Drake's album, So Far Gone (2009). Both tracks reached the Top 20 on the Hot 100, while its follow-ups, "LOL Smiley Face" and "I Invented Sex,"