Trey Lorenz: Sleeper became a star

January 21, 1993|By Los Angeles Times

Trey Lorenz, the hot young R&B crooner, recalls the time about two years ago when he got his big break by nearly dozing off late one night in a New York studio.

To keep from falling asleep while waiting for a buddy who was auditioning for Mariah Carey, Mr. Lorenz, then a college student and a struggling artist, started singing.

"I was doing anything to stay awake," says Mr. Lorenz, whose pop/R&B ballad single, "Someone to Hold," recently made the pop Top 20.

"I was waiting for my friend because I was afraid to take the subway alone," the 23-year-old Florence, S.C., native says. "That was the firsttime Mariah heard me sing. She noticed that I had good range, but I was just trying to stay awake, not make an impression."

But Mr. Lorenz did impress Ms. Carey with his soulful vocals -- and she called him a few months later when she needed a backup singer who could handle very high notes.

After using him on her recordings and in TV appearances, Ms. Carey arranged an audition that led to Mr. Lorenz's contract with Epic Records. Ms. Carey co-produced most of the singer's debut album, "Trey Lorenz," released in October. She also co-wrote two songs and sang backup on five, including the hit.

For Ms. Carey's highly successful early 1992 "MTV Unplugged" appearance and album, Mr. Lorenz dueted with her on her hit remake of "I'll Be There," the Jackson 5 oldie.

To capitalize on the buzz created by the single and TV show, Epic released Mr. Lorenz's debut album in October, several months early.

A recording career was Mr. Lorenz's plan ever since he was a youngster. His parents, though, wanted him to go to college. He went after both goals, graduating last year with a degree in advertising from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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