What qualifies you as a triple
threat? It is certainly more than the ability to do three things at once. It is
the ability to do those same three things and actually excel at each. Self
proclaimed triple threat Tray Chaney originally caught the eye of audiences
around the world with his performance on the HBO’s hit series The Wire. He is
now expanding his resume with rapping, and writing books. Wire fans may
remember his role of Poot. The self doubting character who was much more of a
follower than a leader. Unlike the lackey character Poot, Chaney is a leader
who is taking his destiny into his own hands by not stifling himself to one
craft. We can expect to see him promoting his new book The Truth You Can’t
BeTray and creating his new album Jack Of All Trays. If that isn’t
enough for you, then you can always get the seasons of The Wire.
AllHipHop.com: Music and acting now seems to go hand in hand. How did
you get involved in acting? How did you get involved in music? How long have
you been rapping? I heard you began your career at four.
Tray Chaney: Well as far as music and acting, a lot of my fans that
watch me on the HBO series The Wire as well as individuals in the community and
around the world don’t realize that I started in this business as an R&B and
Hip Hop dancer at the age of 4 years old. By the time I was 8 years old, I was
winning at the Apollo Theater in New York city and I have footage of it on my blogsite www.traychaneyblog.tumblr.com.
At that young age and in the late 80’s early 90’s i was getting groomed as an
artist, music/rapping was a major influence. Big Daddy Kane inspired me to rap
believe it or not. I use to always rap when I was dancing and winning
local talent shows in the Washington, D.C. area, where I’m originally from. This went on for about 10
years, then I caught the acting bug in high school, by taking a couple of drama
classes. I knew I wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be a triple threat. I
auditioned for The Wire fresh out of high school. That was my 1st audition ever
as an actor and I booked the role of Poot through the grace of God. Those were
five of the best historical years of my life. I feel good to be a part of
history, so I guess u can say that’s where my journey began as far as music as
well as acting.
AllHipHop.com: You have a song with Jazz from Dru Hill called
“Dilemma.” How did you two
link up for the track?
Tray Chaney: Well Jazz is actually a good friend of mine. We met at a
premiere of the 3rd season of The Wire. We expressed how much we were fans of
each other and I jumped out there and said I would like to record a song and
feature him on it. (laughs) He was a little stand offish at first, because he
didn’t know I could rhyme. So he said he would let me know the next time he was
going to the studio and I could swing past and show him what I had. I had the
idea for the record about being caught up between 2 woman because at that time
that’s what I was going through. Jazz introduced me to his brother Marcus
“G-Mann” Anthony and his cousin Marqueet Jackson. G-Mann produced the
track and we all collabed on writing it and the rest is history. The
Hip-Hop community is a little shocked that I can rhyme. I take whatever I do
very serious, especially this entertainment business. We shot the video for it
just to give a visual for You-Tube and we got another smash international pop
song called “Baby Let’s Go” featuring G-Mann. My good buddy DJ
Chrisstyles from Hot 99.5 in Washington, D.C. is starting to spin it. These executives will soon catch
on. I am a Triple Threat, so keep your ears open for Jack Of All
Trays the album coming soon and I can’t wait to shock the world.
AllHipHop.com: What is it like to have to do the difficult scenes on The
Wire? The ones where you are murdering someone or doing something that is
completely not of your character?
Tray Chaney: Well that’s just the beauty of being an actor. You have to
become someone your not most of the time and that’s how it’s been for me in
most cases. I think the world experienced a heart felt moment when Bodie and I
had to kill Wallace in season one on the show. I know they did because I had a
tough time as well doing that scene because one of my best friends was killed a
couple of months before and it made me wonder and think what he was doing as
far as pleading for his life. It just really touched me. That scene was a very
true test for me to pass as far as acting goes. My fans let me know each and
everyday that it was pulled off.
AllHipHop.com: How do you prepare for a scene of that nature?
Tray Chaney: I prepare for scenes like that by just going back in my
mind and really isolating myself away from everyone and really becoming that
character and I learn from Don Cheadle, Denzel Washington and other great
actors that had to do scenes similar in a movies. I study my craft very hard
and I don’t have a problem taking advise.
AllHipHop.com: How different is the character Poot from you? What are some
Tray Chaney: Tray Chaney and Poot are totally different. Tray Chaney is
a leader and Poot was more like a follower. Poot was forever catching a disease
for not strapping up. Tray Chaney advises individuals to strap up and practice
safe sex. The similarities are at times I can have a soft heart. On The Wire
Poot was kind of soft-hearted.
AllHipHop.com: When it comes to music, what do you listen to? What
Tray Chaney: Kanye West Graduation album, 50 Cent Get Rich or
Die Tryin, Jay Z American Gangsta, Freeway, Free At Last. I
am loving that new Black Eye Peas single. The reason why I name those albums is
because every last one is a story and that’s how my Jack of All Trays
album is going to be. I listen to those albums everyday, and find something new
each time. That Black Eye Peas new single “BOOM, BOOM, POW” is
incredible. My record “Baby Let’s Go” is starting to get mixed in
with their song here in D.C. I just love Hip Hop music period, not leaving no one
out. I listen to everything.
AllHipHop.com: You have a movie with Freeway. What is your character
name? What is his personality like?
Tray Chaney: The movie that I have with Freeway is called “What We
Do” and it will be released on April 21, 2009. You got Omillio Sparks, The Young Gunz, E-Ness and Cuzin
E just to name a few who are also in the movie. I play the character by the
name of Shorty, and he’s one of Freeway’s little homies that really follows his
lead. I had a great time working with all of those guys and they show me love
whenever I go to Philly. You know they gone collab with me on my album as well.
Freeway is a dope.
AllHipHop.com: Can you tell me a little about the actual movie?
Tray Chaney: What We Do is directed by Tron Anderson and he also
wrote State Property. The movie is based on Freeway’s life. It’s hard to
say that it does not remind me of State Property because all my homies
are in this film. The streets are going to feel this joint. Tron Anderson did a
great job. The movie can be purchased at FYI, Walmart, Target and Amazon.com.
AllHipHop.com: What other projects are you working on now? Other films?
Tray Chaney: I have a movie with my homie Anwan “Big G”
Glover (Slim Charles on The Wire) called Hood Related, starring
myself and Snoop from The Wire. Anwan and I represent D.C. to the fullest, he’s
like a big brother to me. I am filming a movie as we speak in D.C./NY called The
Conversation, directed by Frank Jackson from DC. I also have projects going
on in LA with Video/Movie Director Dr. Teeth that I have to keep quiet about. I
have a self published book that’s available on Amazon.com
entitled The Truth You Can’t BeTray. It’s my inspirational
autobiography. Me and my manager YZ from Blackworld Ent. are getting with
a few writers/producers to develop the book into a screenplay. Everyone that
goes and purchase a copy from Amazon.com will have a chance to at least
audition. It’s no profanity in the book. It’s starting to get a lot of
attention. I have been so busy with getting this message/book out. It’s like so
precious to me. Purchase the book and get familiar with my life, the
before and after the 1st and 2nd seasons of The Wire. Go to traychaneyblog.tumblr.com
to read a synopsis. Before I forget I am producing a show with my alter ego
Microphone Funk and he is a guy from the planet called Funkland and he’s stuck
in the 70’s. He actually interviews me about my book. It’s on my blog. He has
been trying to get at Pimpin Curly (50 Cent) for the longest to get an
interview, so Pimpin Curly if you out there holla at a brother.
AllHipHop.com: What was it like working with Chris Rock and Bernie Mac?
Any interesting experiences on the set?
Tray Chaney: Chris Rock Gave me a small cameo in his movie Head of
State. It was such a wonderful experience meeting Chris Rock and the late
Bernie Mac. I truly miss Bernie Mac though. He use to have me laughing so hard
on the set and those two guys together where hilarious. A portion of my
proceeds from my book goes to the Sarcoidosis foundation because not only did
Bernie Mac have the disease, but my father is living with it now, so I truly
support the cause to fight the disease.
AllHipHop.com: How has your life changed since you began acting and
doing music? Do you consider yourself a celebrity now?
Tray Chaney: My life has really changed. My fans keep me going.
Without them I would be nothing. That’s why I have so much that I have to do
from music, acting and writing. I have a lot going on that keeps me focused.
Now you ask do I consider myself a celebrity. I will let you and my Wire fans
Follow the Tray Chaney movement www.traychaney.blog.tumblr.com,
and don’t forget www.myspace.com/traychaney.