Trey Songz: Spotlight Live, New York City—10.2.2007

Anybody who’s somebody shows up to New York City’s Spotlight Live for their infamous Tuesday night R&B showcase. To commemorate singer Trey Songz’ second album release, Trey Day, on Oct. 2, 2007, BMI and Atlantic Records put together a line-up showcasing Trey and other up and coming R&B artists. Songwriters turned singers was the theme of the night, with guests including P. Diddy, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Liles, and Terrance Howard. First up was Corte Ellis, who has written songs for Beyoncè and Fantasia. He energetically took the stage with his band, back-up singers, and a set that proved he reserved some of his exceptional songwriting for himself. Following was Jaiden, who has worked with Lauryn Hill and Alicia Keys. While his performance was more toned down than his predecessor, it was soulful as ever. The New York native performed a healthy helping of love songs, and even took a seat at the piano. His talent was undiluted by the sex-symbol mantra that other male R&B singers mistakenly carry. Instead he showcased his artistry, letting his talent speak for itself.Sadly, the same accolades cannot be given to singer Ray Lavender. Gaining notoriety for his current single, “My Girl’s Gotta’ Girlfriend” and for being the newest “inmate” on Akon’s Konvict label, Lavender gave a stand-out performance free of a live band and back-up singers. He hyped the crowd on his own, which was admirable, but the praise stops there. Lavendar’s oversexed performance included several tired moves – showing off his abs, doing pelvic thrusts, and suggestive tongue movements. For the most part the audience seemed to enjoy this throwback performance, comparable to old-school Bobby Brown with training wheels.Closing out the show was Trey Songz in all of his pretty boy glory. The self-proclaimed Prince of Virginia opened with a single from his debut album Gotta’ Make It and went on to perform several tracks from Trey Day. Thankfully Trey Songz is a quality artist who sings and performs well without the use of simple-minded lyrics and overdone dance moves. The authenticity of his songs was matched by the crowd’s reception.The climax of Trey’s performance was an extended version of “Gotta Leave,” where Trey called on various members of the audience to sing. Dru Hill’s Nokio (who also sang back up for Trey) and Jaheim were among the singers who elevated the crowd’s excitement level. By the end of the evening, it felt like one big party that all present were lucky enough to attend.