TreZure aka Widow has been in the hip-hop game for a while. After a five year sabbatical in which she struggled with her sexuality, TreZure came back feeling a new emancipation. Riding high from the success of her return to the game, TreZure spoke with David Atlanta about what’s next, her struggle to accept herself and her desire to rip the roof off of Atlanta favorite, My Sister’s Room.
TreZure, you’ve been around a while. Can you tell us a little bit about your career?
Man, I’ve been around for a minute enjoying and being a part of Hip-Hop. After returning to the game off a 5 year sabbatical in early 2010, I came back and have been performing and releasing music ever since. I released my album “My Emancipation” on Grip the Mic Records just letting the world know I’m here. I’ve recently been nominated for two Hip-Hop Female of the Year Awards both the Carolina Music Awards and Queen City Awards and won a National Poetry Award for Spoken Word Single of the Year with another artist named S.L.A.P. So now I’m just trying to keep working and spring boarding off this initial success.
So a five year sabbatical? What was all that about?
Yeah, in 2005 my life changed dramatically. That was when I was coming out as a lesbian and with all that I was going through with that, just the adjustment to that change, made it hard for me to concentrate on music. So I walked away from it. In 2010, I returned and things took off. And I’m sure it was because I was finally being true to myself and who I am. The road to get to this point has been hard, but I wouldn’t have done one thing different. It’s been challenging and rewarding, but I know the LGBT community will support their own.
What’s next for TreZure AKA Widow?
Right now I’m working on new music that I’m going to start rolling out around September and a whole new project. Not sure yet if its going to be a mix tape or an actual album, but it’s coming. I’m also going to be starting a magazine called Simply Stud. It’s going to highlight studs and the lifestyle of masculine-identified women. I want to take away the mystery about us. So music and more work, work, work. I also did a song about bullying with Tim’m T. West (formerly of the legendary gay group Deep Dick Collective) and I want to do more collaborations with other gay artists like him for our community. Just let my voice be heard.
What’s the most personal track you’ve ever recorded?
Wow. . .most of the My Emancipation album was personal. But for sure “Think About It” off that album really ranks up there. It’s like an open letter to the straight community and I think it could really be an anthem for the LGBT community.
Who are your influences (past and present)?
I’m influenced by the greats of Hip-Hop: Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Jay-Z and Rakim.
As far as present day I really love the lyrical rappers because I feel I’m one of them so Joe Budden, Jadakiss and so forth. I’m influenced heavily by R&B too.
Is mainstream success a goal for TreZure aka Widow?
I think that used to be my goal in the earlier stages of my career. Right now I’m just trying to grow the message and keep growing as an artist. And really just be a presence and mouthpiece for the LGBT community. If mainstream success comes with that, then so be it and I welcome that. But if not, I definitely see myself having LGBT success and LGBT support as I keep pursuing my dream.
In a genre that has been blasted as anti-gay and anti female, what’s it like being an out female hip-hop artist?
For sure it’s a double edged sword. Hip-Hop is sexist and homophobic so those are definite challenges. But for me it hasn’t been as hard as I thought. Some people won’t gravitate towards me and my work because of my sexuality, but there hasn’t been any issues of harassment since I’ve been back performing. No hecklers or anything like that.
I’m finding most people to be supportive, even the straight community. I try to let the music speak for itself. Hip-hop is known for its homophobia, but I really do see things changing. By Frank Ocean coming out as a bisexual, and others making a stance, I’m hoping it will help others to own their sexuality and come out and help change people’s mind.
Is there danger is being labeled an out hip-hop artist? In other words do you feel there are some who don’t take your music seriously because you’re out?
I’m sure there are, but nothing that I’ve experienced outright. Most people are really into the music I make, whether they are hetero or homosexual. I don’t expect for everybody to embrace me and that’s ok. I just want to keep doing what I do and stay positive.
Do artists like Jay-Z who has come out in support of marriage equality and the recent coming out of Frank Ocean make things better?
Oh absolutely! And we need more straight Hip-Hop artists to do that. Most stars that have commented on marriage equality and homosexuality, have came out in defense of it and that is so very helpful in bridging the gap. So if Jay-Z says something is ok, then millions will follow that, just because of his influence.
After watching the 2006 documentary Pick up the Mic there is a distinction between those who want to be known for more than their sexuality, do you think the two are inextricably linked?
For me, I hope others can see past my sexuality and see the passion I put into every song I write. I want to be known as an artist first, just like any heterosexual artist would. But I’m also aware enough to know that I’ll still be seen as the “homosexual rapper” to some people. Hopefully those things will change with time. I really try to be optimistic in that way, but I don’t want to be naive about it either. It is very much still a challenge for me and other gay artists.
Have you ever performed in Atlanta? Any upcoming plans to perform in Atlanta?
No, I haven’t yet but its definitely in the plans. I really took the time to make my name known in this region and I’ve been successful in that. Now it’s time to reach out and Atlanta is definitely a spot I’m coming to. Atlanta has a large gay community and they need to know me if they already don’t. So you should see me down there in the next couple of months if not sooner. I really want to get into My Sister’s Room and perform…just go in there and tear it down.
What should people expect from a TreZure AKA Widow show?
Intensity and passion. I want my love for music to spill out into the crowd and bring them in and that’s what happens at a show. I sweat, I move around, I engage and that’s a Widow show. I want people to walk away with a little bit of me still in them. The only way to really know is to come out and see. So when I’m in your city, come out and show love. That’s the best way to know.
You can stay in touch with TreZure and pick up her album on her website below.