By Molly Ingram
This is a young man that is going places. Maybe not the places we are used to seeing the young people with promise go, but he is going none the less.
Meet Trey Nelson, known by his performing name of Finessé. Remember when we were younger and our parents couldn’t understand what the appeal was in the Rolling Stones or why Dylan only had one name? Well it was kind of like that when I met with Trey on last Friday. I didn’t get it then and honestly, I still don’t, but I do get this. Trey is a remarkable young man who has a dream and he is going to pursue that dream with all of his being. And honestly, what more could you ask from the youngsters today? It sure beats someone tied to their phone and Instagram account with no will to work, try, develop, or dream.
I met Trey after he emailed me at the Island News with a request to cover his act at the Gullah Festival. Cheeky fellow. But no one else has requested anything from us – no photo coverage, no stories, nothing. Just run the press release and we’ll be fine. Here was a young man who wanted to make things happen and I gave him a lot of credit for taking the initiative. So we started to email.
Trey grew up on St. Helena Island and has a very strong connection with “his people” who make up the cultural fabric of that Island. He is the son of an elementary school principal mother and a salesman father. He graduated from Beaufort High School where he stuck his fingers into lots of pots.
At 18, he has decided to skip college. The “mom” in me came out in our interview and, of course, I pushed the “you need to go to college and get a degree, even as a back-up” theme and what Trey came back with, I couldn’t refute. “If I go to college and get out in four years, what happens to my dream in the meantime? How much of my dream could I have accomplished if I had put my all into it rather than sit in a classroom?” I could tell he meant every word of it.
And work he does. He calls himself a classy hip hop artist. “When you hear the name Finessé, it should give you a mark of quality. It literally is defined by style and skill and that’s definitely me when you listen to me and live my art. I am so glad I went for more than what I saw, what I never knew, because the people that like what I do, and how I do it, learn and improve their lives because of it.” No dirty words, no gratuitous sex or violence, just good music and lyrics delivered in a way to inspire and encourage those around him. That’s Trey Nelson.
Besides furthering his personal career as a hip hop artist, Trey also believes strongly in his fellow artists, whether they are in painting, music, graphic arts, photography, or behind the scenes producing records or videos. He has started a company called Southern Nothings which is helping fellow artists gain exposure in the world for their art. “I want to make artistry a viable living. I want people to be able to make a dollar from whatever they do.” And he feels he can open doors for them and help keep them focused. There is very definitely a marketing mind at work here.
Trey has so many irons in the fire I’m surprised he can keep them all straight. A new recording project called OK, I’m Good. A music video for his single that is available on iTunes. PSA’s for a new movie coming out shortly. And he’s performing at quality venues like the Festival wherever he can find them. And then he has set up Southern Nothings to help others.
Just to round out his personality, Trey told me that he is into “investments, stocks, real estate, fashion, technology, book publishing, plays, movies, jewelry, even car dealerships. If it interests me, that’s my business. And I’m minding my business 24/7. You know, Molly, curiosity doesn’t kill the cat. It just makes him better and more interesting.”
Wow. A young man with a dream. A dream he is going to pursue with all his being and still be able to drag some fellow artists along with him. His quick smile and winning personality is going to open the doors and his talent is going to take him places. Check out his website at www.styleinthaskill.com.
So after chatting with Trey for over an hour, did I understand what classy hip hop was any better than when I started? No. But I did know this guy was destined to be something special and I am proud to call him a friend.