Meet your new favorite producer. Trust us – he’s up next.
Words: Zauni Tanil
Interview: Ajolla Cole
For 20-year-old Trevon Lee, it’s all about the music. The producer, whose music is a collection of chill, smooth, and sensual melodies, has gotten love from dope artists and DJs like Doja Cat and Chantel Jeffries. But for Tre, who produces under the name youknowtre, it’s not about the admiration (though he admits it’s dope). For a guy who will spend days at a time locked in his in-home studio working, it’s all about getting his message across, making the best song possible, and being one of the greatest producers in the game.
Raised in Las Vegas Tre, who started as a rapper in high school, credits one of his favorite producers, K Roosevelt for getting him into producing.
“I didn’t know too much about producing at all, and then I’d look at credits and see the same guy producing all my favorite songs; I started researching it, and at the time I was rapping and I didn’t have any beats to rap on so I made my own. From there producing kind of happened naturally. And it feels the same today – it’s natural. I can get my point across way easier through producing.”
And he does get his point across. Ask Tre who he is and he’ll point you to his music. There is no separation for him, one seamlessly flowing into the other. He speaks in melodies; using chord progression to articulate everything he wants to say, convey any message he wants to send.
“The chord progression is really what dictates the mood of the song, whether it’s happy, sad, whatever the case may be. But I usually go for that smooth sound. Smooth, chill music reflects my personality.”
“It’s the melodies, usually melodies are the #1 thing I listen to. I just love melodies. How I feel when I hear a certain chord – it’s this feeling I get – it’s like euphoria.”
That euphoria seeps through his work – echoing in tracks like Let Me Feel (see above) or Young & Lost (a track DJ and influencer Chantel Jeffries liked) so smooth and soulful you get lost in them.
His music is a journey. Listen to his SoundCloud and you’ll be taken through a range of emotions. There’s one trait that stands out in all of Tre’s work – and that’s clarity. Each track leaves you with a sense of understanding. You feel his message, and even on tracks with minimal lyrics, you just get it. It’s a trait that radiates strongly in Tre’s presence.
He speaks with a sense of calmness, a certain clarity that says he knows who he is, and what he has to offer. It’s a clarity some spend decades searching to find. He’s got a self-assuredness that puts others around him at ease. It’s almost as if his belief in himself is so strong it rubs off on those around.
Not only do you believe in his journey, but suddenly you find yourself believing more strongly in your own.
It comes through when he speaks about deciding not to take the college route, and pursuing music fill time:
“The thing with school is that it made me feel inadequate because my talents aren’t the same as an academic student. I stay away from situations that make me feel like I’m not enough. I’d rather be making music because it’s the best version of me. It’s how I articulate myself. Other people can go to school and get good grades and feel like them, but that’s not how I feel like me. I was a manager at Express a few months ago and I quit to focus on music. Nobody understood why, but music is really what makes me wake up in the morning.”
“I’m smart, I feel like I can do anything I want to do; not many people believe in themselves like that, but you have to. Most people are lost because they don’t know where they fit in, but I know music is where I need to be.”
That’s the thing about Tre, he truly loves what he does. He speaks on music with a passion and romanticism so pure you can’t help but admire and respect it. And while adoration may not be the goal, garnering respect for his craft is important.
“I want to be the best at producing, that’s the goal. I want to make every genre of music; I want to be the best producer, ever. I feel like I know enough to get there, I just need to get there. I see the end goal it’s just getting there is the thing.
It’s hard to get people to understand what you have to offer unless you have a tangible #1 record. That’s how music is, people don’t care about what you have to say unless you have something to back it up. I feel like I’m one of the best producers and I could be the best ever, but just because people don’t see it and it’s not shown yet people don’t understand. It just comes with time.”
He says this with no trace of bitterness, or frustration, but with matter-of-factness that he knows his time will come eventually. With a growing audience, new collaborations, increasing love from powerhouse artists, and other local artists buzzing about Tre’s talent, we have no doubts his time’s coming – and soon; But no matter how many new artists he works with, how big he gets, or how ill his DJ skills will be, to Tre it’ll always be about the music.
“I just really like music. Anywhere music can be heard, that’s where I want to be.”