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Chit-Chat: Five Minutes With Ryan Trey

After releasing his sophomore album, STREETS SAY YOU MISS ME, at the end of last year and coming out with the deluxe edition this week with three bonus “RIDIN 4 U,” “RESET,” and “POURING OUT MY HEART,” Ryan Trey has confidently settled into his breakout era. From releasing an amazing album to collaborating with Jordan Ward on the hit single "WHITE CROCS" to earning the opening spot on Mariah The Scientist’s world tour, he's doing his thing.

Sitting succinctly in the middle of R&B and trap, Ryan Trey borrows from the two genre's equal obsession with toxic love, but instead of romanticizing the messy realities of young love, he peels back the layers of its misunderstandings, revealing a charming vulnerability throughout the project. With an honesty that sounds like an emotionally-aware attempt to wear his heart on his sleeve, Ryan Trey’s balance of tender melodies and crooning trap bars transforms into an evolving narrative that feels new and fresh in a space that desperately needs it. Before his Rolling Loud California set, on a sunny day in West Los Angeles, we caught up with him to discuss his current tour, his thoughts on collaboration, and his upcoming deluxe project. 

This is your second Rolling Loud – what feels different for you in terms of your sound and where you're at as an artist this year vs. last?

You know the set list is changing because I have new music out right now; I just put out an album, and I’m on tour right now, so I’m even testing out newer music, and I’m just more comfortable. That was my first festival so I was dealing with a lot of different nerves but this time I’m just chilling which is cool. 

You’ve spoken about captivating the audience at a festival that caters more towards hip-hop. As an R&B artist, how different is it to engage an audience like this versus at your individual concerts where people are expecting to hear R&B songs and how are you feeling about going out there today?

I honestly don’t change anything I’m doing; it’s more about making sure the music sounds good. Even though Rolling Loud is catered towards a more up-tempo, faster rap-type vibe, people still have R&B in their hearts, and all it takes is people walking by to hear something that they like. So, for me, it’s really just staying true to the music that I’ve been making this whole time!

Your most recent project, STREETS SAY YOU MISS ME, was your first full-length project since 2018. What are you most proud of from that project, looking back at it as your more formal introduction to the industry?

I think it was the best feedback I’ve ever gotten as an artist, given that I only had like three projects to my name so that one put me on tour, it put me in front of new brands and in front of new eyes and it got me back here so I think it’s dope the amount of exposure I got from it. 

You’re currently on tour with Mariah the Scientist, how has it been performing with her and what’s your guys’ relationship like being on the road and on stage, and interacting like that on a creative level?

Yeah, I love Mariah. She’s like a sister to me, and we’ve definitely gained a big bond being on tour together, even more than when we were making music. Just hearing her perform and her seeing me perform, I think we’re both just learning how to tour on this level. You know we’re both new artists, so it’s cool!

Along with Mariah, you’ve collaborated with a lot of other artists so far, who’s been your favorite collab in terms of chemistry?

I would say Chris Brown – I got a Chris Brown record that I haven’t released yet that I’ve been performing on tour but definitely Chris and Mariah for sure!

If you weren’t a rapper, what would you be doing instead? 

Probably a veterinarian, like helping dogs and shit, yeah...

Who's an artist that when you listen to them inspires you to work harder?

Lil Wayne, he records a lot, and he used to record on tour. I used to watch all of his documentaries, and he just has a really, really good work ethic, so Wayne, for sure. 

If you could describe your come up in three words, what would they be? 

Slow-burn. Rollercoaster. Potential. 

What’s next for you? What direction do you see yourself going with your sound and your music? 

More music, that’s all I really care about. All my music is about different relationships and stuff I’ve been through. Music is always the answer. 


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