Don’t recognize the name? Trevor Penick may jog your memory then, or better yet, Trevor Penick from O-Town. For the past few years though, he’s been going by the truncated and slightly hipper version Tre Scott, derived from his full name Trevor Lee Scott Penick, as he embarks on a solo career.
“The thing with that is so people could be like, ‘Oh, Tre Scott. Who’s that? I like that song.’ Then maybe find out, ‘Oh him, I can’t believe I like that,’” Tre explains to OK!. “Whereas, ‘Oh, this is Trevor from O-Town. I don’t even want to hear it.’”
Shedding boy band preconceptions is not easy, and neither is starting over from scratch. Although he released a single, “Hold On,” last year, Tre has yet to find a record label to call home, but that hasn’t deterred his goal of releasing a solo album. The 27-year-old has been holed up writing new tunes, a process he describes as “phenomenal.”
“Putting words onto paper yourself and bringing them into the studio, everything feels like much more of an accomplishment,” he says, as opposed to singing other people’s words like he did in O-Town. “I’ve done shows and people have been there and they’ve known words to my songs now, and it’s even more amazing than it was before because you’re like, ‘I wrote that.’ ”
“That” are eclectic, Hip-Hop-inspired numbers Tre labels as “R&P” for Rhythm and Pop. “My music is really myself. I’m half-black and half-white, and that’s really what I think my music is. I would say it’s more rhythmic, more belty, more Hip-Hop-wise, whereas, with O-Town, it’s more like straight pop.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with straight pop. Calling his days in the Lou Pearlman-built boy band a “great chapter” in his life, the singer knows he got a chance of a lifetime on Making the Band, getting plucked out of thousands of photogenic twentysomethings because “it changed my life forever. You live and you learn, but I wouldn’t change anything. Getting picked and recording the album as a whole was a lot of fun. Traveling the world, the part that I probably overlooked the most, but I loved every second of it.”
O-Town, which also included Ashley Parker Angel, Dan Miller, Erik-Michael Estrada and Jacob Underwood, enjoyed modest success during its three-year career, selling 5.5 million albums and becoming the first artist to score a No. 1 single (“Liquid Dreams”) on the singles chart without making the airplay chart. The group, who eschewed sex, drugs and rock and roll for PlayStation, sports and songwriting, disbanded in 2003 to pursue individual interests. The decision to throw in the towel was a result of a relentless work schedule that gave the guys only four days off one year in 2001.
“It was ultimately our decision because we could have stayed together and recorded another album, but we actually just sat down and decided not to,” Tre explains. “We were so burnt out with everything. This wasn’t a process where we struggled and didn’t do anything and weren’t in the public eye. All that happened but all of that was on TV, and we were in the public eye and traveling and doing interviews from day one. It came to that point we were all just like, ‘Lets just all go do our own thing,’ so that’s why.”
The guys remain close, often collaborating on projects or playing basketball. Despite the get-togethers, all five of them still haven’t been in the same room since they split because “one person just always can’t make it. Jacob lives in Tennessee now so it’s harder too.”
Tre had a chance to bond with some other boy band grads in VH1’s Man Band — he was asked to join Rich Cronin, Jeff Timmons, Chris Kirkpatrick and Bryan Abrams in the mishmash group, but turned it down when he learned it was going to be an actual band and not a one-time deal to raise money for the Rich Cronin Hope Foundation for Leukemia as originally pitched. “It got closer and closer and they were telling me that they want to be a band and that they were going to do an album together, and I didn’t want to do that.”
Nope, for Tre, solo is the way to go. A band would also hamper the California native’s acting hopes too — he has been taking classes and going out on auditions. But music will remain his top priority.
“I would love to just drop a solo album and be heard and do a tour and perform on my own.”
For more on Tre and his music, check out his MySpace page.
By Joyce Eng