Tray Chaney: Jack of all Trays

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

similarities?

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

inspires you?

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

answer that

Follow the Tray Chaney movement www.traychaney.blog.tumblr.com,

www.twitter.com/traychaney,

www.facebook.com/traychaney

and don’t forget www.myspace.com/traychaney.

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