NEW YORK — Trey Songz was fun, flirty and fearless during his “MTV Unplugged” performance, which premiered Monday (April 26) on MTV.com. The Grammy-nominated singer recorded the material earlier this month, at Manhattan’s NEP Studio 33, before an intimate audience of (surprise!) mostly women.
“Shout-out to the guys with their girls,” a cheeky Trey said, before chuckling as he pointed at a man in the crowd: “He like, ’Yeah, what up.’ ”
The Virginia native showcased a number of the hits from his latest album, Ready, including a mash-up of “I Invented Sex” and Marvin Gaye’s classic “Let’s Get It On.”
“You don’t believe me?” he teased a fan during a brief pause after “I Invented Sex.” “I got the blueprint at the crib.
“Lemme tell you what I been trying to do, though,” he continued, transitioning into the opening line of the Gaye track. “I been really trying, baby.”
Songz, clad in a white T-shirt, dark jeans and a fitted leather jacket, was charismatic throughout his set. At ease onstage, the singer frequently interacted with his eight-piece band, inviting his guitarist and bassist to join him during a performance of Ready’s “Black Roses.” And for a cover of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” Songz brought up an overwhelmed admirer from the audience.
“A funny thing, I actually forgot a part of the song because I was making sure she was OK,” Trey told MTV News afterward, laughing about the moment. “I said, ’Are you OK, baby?’ Those are moments that I’ll never forget.”
Songz’s onstage guest was all aflutter as he pulled her close, crooning the lyrics directly to her.
“I could use somebody,” he sang as he circled her, suggestively. “Someone like you.”
Other covers included Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross” and Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” During the latter, and after running through numbers like his own “Say Aah” and “I Need a Girl,” a somber Songz took his jacket off and opened up about his recent good fortune. Taking a seat, he talked about his visit to the White House with Jay-Z and Beyoncé in March.
The singer grew more emotional as he discussed the trip, recalling words his grandmother had spoken to him. He eventually became completely overwhelmed, tearing up and describing the chance to perform on “Unplugged” as “monumental.”
“At this point in my career, with all the opportunity arising, this is definitely a major highlight within those opportunities,” he said afterward. “It’s a chance to highlight artists, a chance for them to be vulnerable, a chance for them to contort their music and give it to people a different way, to show that I’m truly an artist and that I love to do what I do: making music. To do it on that platform, the same one as so many artists before me, is just really amazing.”
Don’t miss Trey Songz on the premiere episode of MTV’s “When I Was 17,” airing Saturday at 11 a.m.!
Now that Trey has joined the ranks of “Unplugged” alumni like Nirvana and Jodeci, who would you like to see next? Let us know in the comments!