Jersey’s Own Trust Tate talks music and his creative process with HypeFresh Magazine.
1. Who is Trust Tate?
Trust Tate is a 27-year-old from the Bronx, NY and bred in Jersey. Tate is a product of public school education with a multicultural perspective on life. I’m always looking at the bigger picture. As a Cicely Tyson Performing Arts High School and Rutgers grad, Tate has since become a vocalist, rapper, producer and engineer, with aspirations to be completely self-sufficient. I have no intentions of putting himself into a monolithic box.
2. What’s it like being from Jersey City?
Growing up next to NYC, I was used to being around people from different backgrounds who took pride in their culture. In fact, I grew up right above a Spanish restaurant on Monmouth Street and 7th street, near 3 different high schools. The Spanish music I heard early on influences my music today.
3. Being that you were shot at the age of 7-months-old, what is your take on gun violence in the Black community?
We live in a bang bang bang society. We have always had to go through that. First, they quarantine us and put us in boxes. Then, we start to see our neighbors as enemies. As a matter of fact, Black on Black crime shouldn’t be the first conversation, but still one that needs to be had. We are people scrambling for resources. The 16-year-old who shot me was trying to get at someone else. Although I was shot in the left arm twice and my bicep was severed, I don’t fault him for it. Everyone isn’t strong enough to overcome their influences and the desperation from their experiences. People are just trying to survive. At large, we need to do a better job of regulating our children and our neighborhood.
4. What inspires your music?
Life inspires my music. Music is art and art reflects life. Music is therapy. I’m operating in a scenario where passion makes money not money makes passion. My motto is to be freer with myself, my music, my family and friends. The more comfortable I am with myself, the better I can deal with myself. Real life thoughts, experiences and memories translate to music.
5. How is your music reflective of a therapy session?
My process includes beat selection and self-reflection. I ask myself two questions: Did I really feel something when I made it? Didi think about something specific or a particular theme? I get my ammo from experiences. We all have them, but we get caught up with worrying if people can relate. My goal is to protect people’s energy and protect people’s mental health. I want to tip the scale from the norm of sweeping pain under the rug.
6. What has your journey been like transitioning from SoundCloud to the mainstream music industry?
I’m actually never leaving SoundCloud. It’s free and not divisive. Artists like myself can freely experiment and know people will listen. Fans have bourgeoisies about who to listen to. People have to trust you to give them a feeling that they’re relying on. Music is an expression of something. To me, SoundCloud is like other platforms – it’s a connecting piece between artists and fans. It gave me the foundation to reach the heights that I’ve reached thus far.
7. Tell me about your background in music.
My father came up as a teenager with legends such as Rakim and KRS-One in Long Island and the Bronx. was also a well known break dancer like Crazy Legs in the 80s and 90s. On the other hand, my mother raised me on eclectic sound from Jay-Z to John Mayer. Music was destined to be my way of life.
8. Who are your music influences?
I can go on all day but I’d say I’m influenced by Michael Jackson, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Kanye, Jay-Z, Disturbed, Metallica, Tool, Marilyn Manson, Gwen Stefani, Amy Winehouse, etc. Lastly, I would add Jersey Club Music in the mix too – I generally gravitate towards artists that are free spirited. I also have vinyls of SWV and Diana Ross. I was a psychology major, so I acknowledge the fact that I am consciously or subconsciously influenced by these people.
9. What do symbols mean to you?
I’ve been studying religious symbols from around the world. I want to study all religions. At the moment, I don’t adhere to any religious discipline, but I’m curious to know what all peoples’ histories are. I look closely for differences and similarities between Abrahamic and Non-Abrahamic religions. Each religion comes from two trees, which has come from one tree. In fact, I’m waiting to get my results back from ancestry.com. I’m eager to determine my religious background based on religious practices in the motherland.
10. How has your creative process changed during the pandemic?
I have definitely honed in on my creative process. I have actually been quarantined since January 2020. Since then, I’ve been in the studio, locked in. I make music everyday three to four times a day, mixing and mastering for myself and other artists. I’m always studying something. I’m currently studying photoshop so that I can do my own cover art. I love working with people; therefore, I’m working to better myself to help others.
11. What can you tell your fans and music fanatics about ‘FaceTime’?
‘FaceTime’ is a story that everyone can share. Everyone can relate to the reality that someone calls you and you don’t feel like talking. The person may not even have anything to say, but uses you as a boredom killer. Then you think, “why are we even on the phone right now? The WIFI is fine, but I don’t dig the poor connection. My cousin, Jus1, shows the other side where a woman is on FaceTime but hiding from her man in the bathroom. The producer is from UK – makes Afrobeats and pop beats.
Be sure to check out Trust Tate’s new single, ‘FaceTime.’