In The Spotlight: Torre South

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Today on The Spotlight, we have singer Torre South! With a father as a minister, Torre grew up in the church, but didn’t start singing for a while. “My brother and sister mostly did all the singing, and I kind of stayed in the background,” Torre admitted. Around middle school, he finally began singing a little bit in church and began doing some songwriting for his brother and sister, who often sang together when his father would travel to preach. “They were like BeBe and CeCe Winans,” he joked.

Raised solely on gospel music, he didn’t even hear a secular record until middle school, but eventually fell in love with R&B listening to artists like Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Michael Jackson. He also delved into hip hop, specifically UGK and the Geto Boys, who inspired his own sound. “I think that’s where you hear a lot of the street content, where I get it from,” Torre said of hip hop specifically inspiring his own music. “That’s why I call myself Torre South. I’m still Southern. I have that Southern soul about my music.” In addition, gospel artists that he loved included Commissioned, the Winans, Andrae Crouch, and John P. Kee. The singer described his own music as a “hybrid,” where you hear a fine mix of all of these genres.

Torre knew that he wanted to pursue his music seriously at the age of 18, when he wrote a song called “Change (“To this day, I cannot remember this record. I just remember the title,” he laughed).” He sent it to someone, and got great feedback on the song, which sparked his interest in songwriting. “I knew I had a gift. I knew I had ability,” Torre said. “Once I started getting in the studio around that age, I said ‘Okay, I got it. This is something that I really want to do.’” However, when it came to work, he noted that he had always been a part of other people’s dreams, working mainly as a songwriter for various artists in the industry.

Two years ago, he decided to step out on his own, and go into creating his own music. “Ever since I’ve been putting the passion and the effort behind myself instead of other people’s projects, it’s been working. I’ve been getting a whole lot more done,” the singer said. Though he does believe he can hang with the best songwriters and continues to write for other artists, he wants to also put his own work out for listeners to enjoy “What door opens [from it], I don’t know. That’s up to God,” Torre said. “He’s the captain of my ship. I’m just sailing.”

Torre released his first solo project, Allow Me To Introduce Myself, on March 18, 2015. After recording about 20 or 30 songs, the artist started putting out tracks online for purchase. “There was a DJ down in Florida, DJ Jay Rock, that hit me up,” Torre said. “He was like, ‘Man, let’s get together and do a mixtape.” The two put the tape together relatively quickly with the tracks that Torre had previously recorded. “What I attempted to do was to give people a little bit of everything. I didn’t get into pop or EDM or anything like that,” he said of the tape. “I got some real street content records on there. I got some love songs, I got some relationship records. I tried to give people a little bit just to show a little diversity and some flavor.”

The singer also opened up on the current state of R&B, in which you see several artists switching over pop/EDM sound to branch out to gain more listeners. We actually had an interesting discussion of artists in general crossing over into different sounds other than their genre, which can be good and bad (R&B artists doing EDM/pop, etc). “I actually think that R&B is losing its identity because of it,” Torre stated. “R&B has to decide who they want to appeal to. It’s a lot of people who want real R&B vocals, arrangements, and content.” We went on to talk about how R&B typically evokes emotion, feelings of love and happiness. I wouldn’t say that R&B is necessarily dead. It’s definitely out there, but not at the level it was in the past. The industry and music itself is constantly changing, and the few great R&B artists often get drowned out because of a variety of different factors. However, I have to say I think it’s partly on consumers as well. Many of claim to want “real R&B” back, but are we supporting the artists that are out there attempting to give that to us? Something to think about.

Currently, Torre is working on an EP, “L.I.F.E. Love Is For Everyone. “It’s all about love. [The] good, bad, great, ugly, passion that type of EP. It comes easy for me to write those records,” he said. “And I feel like it’s much needed. Nobody sings about love anymore.” Sounds like it’ll be a really dope project! Torre plans to release the tape around June or July 2015.

In terms of what sets him apart from the pack, Torre believes that there is truly only one Torre South. “I think [it’s] my writing ability, my vocal arrangements. I think I have a real keen ability to put together a great song,” Torre said. “I don’t feel like there’s anyone out there who sounds like me.” He also believes that his approach is genuine, and fame is not his main goal. “I just want to be well-known and respected for my abilities,” Torre stated. “I don’t have to be ‘famous.’ I’d rather be remembered.”

In the future, Torre wants to write music for other artists, work on projects of his own, and be compensated well for it, citing The-Dream as an example. “Dream writes for all kinds of different people, but he’s still able to put out his own projects, and that’s what I want to do,” the singer said. He also sees himself going into A&R at the right label, because of his ability in artist development. Torre is definitely taking the first steps into developing an even bigger career for himself in the industry!

You can check out more of Torre's music on SoundCloud! You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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