Trenyce at a London photoshoot in 2012
|Birth name||Lashundra Trenyce Cobbins|
March 31, 1980 |
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Lashundra Trenyce Cobbins (//; born March 31, 1980) is an American singer and actress best known as a finalist on the second season of American Idol and for her work in musical theatre. Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Trenyce won one of the categories of the NAACP ACT-SO as a teenager, and attended the University of Memphis on a music scholarship. She dropped out of the university's nursing program to pursue a career in music. News of her criminal record surfaced in 2003 while she was competing as a finalist on American Idol.
Following her fifth-place finish on American Idol, Trenyce began to focus on theatre, debuting as Yancey in the play Not A Day Goes By. She went on to play roles in The Vagina Monologues, Soul Kittens Cabaret, and Mama's Sweet Potato Pie. In 2006, she played the lead role of Deena Jones in an Indianapolis production of Dreamgirls. She made her film debut in 2008 as Unique in the LGBT independent romantic comedy movie Friends & Lovers: The Ski Trip 2 and became the first American Idol contestant to headline a show in Las Vegas. She originated the role of Portia in David E. Talbert's play Love in the Nick of Tyme and was featured on its soundtrack. Trenyce performed in a 2009 North American tour of Ain't Misbehavin'. The cast album was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.
From 2010 to 2013, she played the role of the leading female vocalist in Thriller – Live for a European tour and its West End run. She had a minor role in the 2013 superhero comedy film Kick-Ass 2 as Hit-Girl's cheerleading coach. In 2015, Trenyce moved to Macau, China, to host the Franco Dragone-produced, cabaret show Taboo at the casino City of Dreams.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Credits
- 3 Discography
- 4 References
- 5 External links
1980–2002: Early life
Lashundra Trenyce Cobbins was born on March 31, 1980, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her father, Jesse, worked for St. Joe Company, her mother, Linda, worked at FedEx. She has an older sister and a younger sister. As a child, she decided to be known by her middle name, feeling that it better suited her ambitions as a performer. In an autobiographic article published in the magazine Memphis Downtowner, Trenyce wrote that her interest in music started after performing a solo in a musical production celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. She grew up in in the northern Memphis area, where she attended Central High School. In 1996, she won first place in the NAACP ACT-SO in Atlanta. While in high school, she also performed in various talent shows and pageants.
At the age of nineteen, Trenyce was arrested on felony theft charges, and was taken into police custody. At the request of a Shelby County, Tennessee criminal court judge, she completed a pre-trial diversion program that expunged the charges from her record. She described the arrest as the result of a miscommunication when she confronted a co-worker about stealing from work.
Trenyce attended the University of Memphis on a full music scholarship. While in college, she joined the university's ensemble choir the University Singers and its band Sound Fuzion, which toured throughout Tennessee. After completing three years of the school's nursing program, Trenyce left the University of Memphis to commit herself to music full-time. During this time, she did performances in venues, such as Rhythms Night Club, Precious Cargo, and Isaac Hayes' Restaurant.
2002–03: American Idol
In October 2002, Trenyce auditioned for the second season of the reality television series American Idol. The audition took place over a course of three days in Nashville, Tennessee. She performed in front of the show's producers and executive producers, and was selected by the three primary judges (Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Simon Cowell) to proceed in the competition. She then went on to become one of the top 32 semi-finalists, and was chosen as Abdul's "Wildcard" selection and proceeded forward as one of twelve finalists.
Trenyce's arrest was disclosed to the public during her appearance on the show. Producer Nigel Lythgoe denied suggestions that Trenyce would be removed from the series, as had happened with former contestants Frenchie Davis and Jaered Andrews. Lythgoe clarified that Trenyce informed producers of her criminal history from the outset, and it would not impact her participation. Trenyce placed fifth after being the eighth contestant eliminated during the finals. The disclosure of Trenyce's mug shot and felony theft charges was included in a list by Jim Cantiello of MTV News, as one of American Idol's frequent controversies. Cantiello connected the newly revealed information to Trenyce's elimination, writing: "America ends up doing the show's dirty work by voting her off". Following the news of American Idol's cancellation, a writer from Billboard included Trenyce's rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" in its list of the top 100 best live performances from the series along with season four finalist Vonzell Solomon.
|American Idol Season 2 performances and results|
|Week #||Theme||Song choice||Original artist||Order #||Results|
|Top 30||Semifinal/Group 1||"Love Sneakin' Up On You"||Bonnie Raitt||4||Eliminated|
|Wildcard||"Let's Stay Together"||Al Green||9||Paula Abdul's choice|
|Top 12||Motown||"Come See About Me"||The Supremes||11||Safe|
|Top 11||Cinema||"I Have Nothing"||Whitney Houston||3|
|Top 10||Country rock||"I Need You"||LeAnn Rimes||2|
|Top 81||Disco||"I'm Every Woman"||Chaka Khan||5||Bottom 2|
|Top 8||Billboard #1||"The Power of Love"||Celine Dion||7||Safe|
|Top 7||Billy Joel||"Baby Grand"||Billy Joel||6||Bottom 3|
|Top 6||Dianne Warren||"Have You Ever?"||Brandy||3|
"Love Will Keep Us Together"
|Creedence Clearwater Revival
Captain & Tennille
Following her elimination, Trenyce made several appearances on television shows, such as Live with Regis and Kelly, Extra, ET, Fox and Friends, The Early Show, The Wayne Brady Show, The Pulse, Inside Edition, Good Day Live, the Today Show, and TRL. She was also featured in Memphis periodicals Grace Magazine, Proud Magazine, and Party Source, and featured as one of Memphis' 30 Most Beautiful People in Elite Magazine's June 2003 issue. After the second season finale of American Idol, Trenyce embarked on a three-month concert tour with the other finalists. She performed Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" and Houston's "I Have Nothing".
Trenyce's rendition of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" was included on the compilation album American Idol Season 2: All-Time Classic American Love Songs (2003). AllMusic's Heather Phares praised Trenyce as one of the strongest performers of the show, but criticized her cover version for having an "indistinct quality". Trenyce was also featured on a cover of "God Bless the USA" along with the other American Idol Season 2 finalists. During an interview with Lime Music, Trenyce said she was offered a record deal around the time of her appearances on American Idol, but rejected it because of her belief that the contract was bad. She followed this by naming the record deals offered by the series as one of the worst, but felt that "it [is] almost impossible to sign a deal with a record company and get everything you want". During this time, Trenyce's mother served as her manager.
2004–09: Transition to musical theatre
Trenyce's work in theatre primarily focused on "various entertainment aspects of African-American interest". In 2004, Trenyce made her theatre debut as Yancey in Not A Day Goes By, a play adapted from the E. Lynn Harris' 2000 novel of the same name. The play was produced for a North American tour conducted by ALW Entertainment and AJ Peaches Entertainment, and ran from January–May 2004. Jet wrote that Trenyce brought "life and voice into Yancey", and described her as one of the show's "rich vocal talents". The Chicago Defender felt that Trenyce displayed a "theatrical perception as she interprets a character". She later performed parts in the episodic play The Vagina Monologues, and in two Nicci Gillbert's stage plays: Soul Kittens Cabaret and Mama's Sweet Potato Pie. She participated in a North American tour of Mama's Sweet Potato Pie.
Trenyce played Deena Jones in an Indianapolis production of the musical Dreamgirls, which ran from June–July 2006. The production was directed by Bob Hardin as a collaboration between the Madame Walker Theatre Center and the Scottish Rite Performing Arts. NUVO praised Trenyce's performance, writing that she had a "smooth voice [that] creat[ed] a sound for The Dreams that could easily have taken the group to the top of the charts". In the same year, she became the first American Idol contestant to headline a show in Las Vegas with V: The Ulimtate Variety Show and Late Night Idol at the Sahara Hotel and Casino. She hosted the shows for a total of nine months.
In 2007, Trenyce played Portia in David E. Talbert's play Love in the Nick of Tyme, which coincided with his fifteenth-anniversary working in theatre. She performed alongside actors Ellia English and Morris Chestnut. The North American tour of the play went to seventeen cities, starting in the Beacon Theatre on January 16, 2007. On September 7, 2010, the production was released on DVD, along with its soundtrack. The play was also broadcast on BET. In the following year, she performed at the Razz Room in San Francisco between July 22 and August 2. In 2008, Trenyce made her film debut as Unique in the LGBT independent romantic comedy movie Friends & Lovers: The Ski Trip 2. In 2009, she contributed the title track to the soundtrack for the film Truth Hall.
Trenyce went on to play a role in the thirtieth anniversary revival tour of Ain't Misbehavin'; the character was identified as the breakout role for Irene Cara, Nell Carter, and Debbie Allen. Trenyce was added to the revival because of a recommendation from her former American Idol co-star Ruben Studdard. She said her time with the musical helped her to research and understand Fats Waller and his music, and she felt a close attachment to his musical legacy. During the tour, Trenyce worked with singer Frenchie Davis, who had also appeared on the second season of American Idol. The cast album received a nomination for Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, but lost to the cast recording for the 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story.
2010–present: Move to London and Macau
Starting in 2010, Trenyce starred in the Michael Jackson tribute musical Thriller – Live as the lead, female vocalist during a European tour. She was previously approached to participate in the production in 2009, but rejected the offer due to busy schedule in the United States. Trenyce's casting director later convinced her to do the European tour in order to establish herself as an artist in an international context. Trenyce reprised her role when the show was featured at London's West End Lyric Theatre. She was the only female singer in the show, and the only American lead. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Trenyce said that the audience was initially hesitant to see a woman interpret Jackson's music. While in London, she also hosted the variety show The Box. During this time, media outlets noted that Trenyce worked closely with singer R. Kelly.
In 2010, Trenyce sang during the interludes and dance performances for Louis Van Amstel"s Ballroom with a Twist. She performed alongside American Idol alumni David Hernandez. She was a part of a rotating cast along with other American Idol finalists, such as LaKisha Jones, Vonzell Solomon, Mikalah Gordon, and Gina Glocksen. Karyn Saemann of Madison.com described Trenyce as "a truly gifted singer who did more than justice to several tunes", especially in her performances of Whitney Houston songs. In 2012, Trenyce provided the vocals for Baff Akoto's short film Afterglow; the film follows a group of friends as they navigate jazz culture in London. During a behind-the-scenes feature, Trenyce said that she was attracted to the project due to its focus on jazz. Trenyce was contacted by a mutual friend with Akoto about the casting call, which specified a preference for a dark-skinned, American woman who could sing jazz and currently lived in London. During the production, she worked closely with American trumpeter Abram Wilson.
She had a minor role in the 2013 superhero, comedy film Kick-Ass 2 as Hit-Girl's cheerleading coach. While living in London, Trenyce was contacted by her agent to audition for the part. According to her agent, the role was originally pitched as a rough forty Sue Sylvester-type, and Trenyce initially wondered if she would get the part. During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Trenyce discussed plans to design headphones and release original music after forming a band. She previously shared her music through Soundcloud and YouTube. In a press release, Trenyce identified her music as disco-funk, and said that she influenced by Motown. She also expressed interest in working on reality television and movies. On December 2 and 9 of the same year, she released three songs - "Fever", "In the End ( Alright)", and "Where Do They Go?" on iTunes.
In 2015, Trenyce moved to Macau, China to host Taboo, a cabaret show designed by Franco Dragone. The show was staged in the casino City of Dreams; Trenyce was given creative control over the selection of musical genres and songs as long as it fits the cabaret's overall style. Macau.com praised Trenyce's stage presence, as well as "the power of her voice and stature". Australian singer Cassie McIvor replaced Trenyce as the host for the 2016 season of Taboo, called The Show of Secret Fantasies. Trenyce was featured as the guest artist on two remix extended plays of producer and DJ Guy Scheiman's single "Brazil You're Ready (Synethetic)" released separately in 2014 and 2015. She collaborated with Scheiman again on his 2016 single "This Time".
|2004||Not A Day Goes By||Yancey||North American tour
January 10, 2004 – May 6, 2004
|N/A||The Vagina Monologues||N/A|
|2005||Soul Kittens Cabaret||N/A|
|2006||Mama's Sweet Potato Pie||N/A||North American tour|
|2006||Dreamgirls||Deena Jones||Madame Walker Theatre Center; Scottish Rite Theater (Indianapolis)
June 22, 2004 – July 2, 2004
|2006||V: The Ulimtate Vareity Show||Host||Sahara Hotel and Casino (Las Vegas)|
|2006||Late Night Idol||Host||Sahara Hotel and Casino (Las Vegas)|
|2007||Love in the Nick of Tyme||Portia||North American tour|
|2009||Ain't Misbehavin'||N/A||North American tour|
|2010–2013||Thriller – Live||Charlaine||European tour; London West End (Lyric Theatre)|
|2010||Ballroom with a Twist||Vocals||North American tour|
|2012||The Box||Host||Theatre variety; London|
City of Dreams (Macau, China)
|2002–2003||American Idol||Herself (contestant)||Season 2 (finalist)|
|2008||Friends & Lovers: The Ski Trip 2||Unique|
|2013||Kick-Ass 2||Coach Podell|
|Ain't Misbehavin' (The 30th Anniversary Cast Recording)||N/A|
|Love in the Nick of Tyme||N/A|
|2013||"In the End ( Alright)"||Non-album single|
|2013||"Where Do They Go?"||Non-album single|
|"Truth Hall"||2009||None||Truth Hall|
|"Brazil You're Ready (Synethetic)"||2014||Guy Scheiman||Brazil You're Ready (Synethetic) [feat. Trenyce] [Part 1]|
|"This Time"||2016||Guy Scheiman||"This Time (feat. Trenyce) - Single"|
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