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Trenyce at a London photoshoot in 2012
Background information
Birth name Lashundra Trenyce Cobbins
Born (1980-03-31) March 31, 1980 (age 36)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Occupation(s) Actress, singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2002–present

Lashundra Trenyce Cobbins (/trʌnis/;[1] born March 31, 1980), is an American singer and actress. She rose to fame in 2003 after placing fifth in the second season of American Idol.

Early life[edit]

Trenyce was born in Memphis, Tennessee to Jesse and Linda Cobbins.[2] Her father worked for St. Joe Company, and her mother worked for FedEx. As a child, Trenyce expressed a preference for her middle name as she felt it was more "unique and stood out more" and better fit her ambitions as a performer. According to Trenyce, her earliest memory of singing was performing a solo in a Martin Luther King, Jr. production.[1] Trencye described being attracted to music at a young age, such as singing jingles from television and radio at the age of two.[2] Linda never pressured her into a career in it, as she was uncertain if her daughter was fully committed to it.[1] Trenyce recalled that she was thirteen when her mother recognized she was serious about pursuing a career in music and decided to support her.[1]

From elementary school to high school, Trenyce participated in local talent shows and school pageants.[2] During high school, she joined the all-state choir and began acting, choreographing dances, and designing costumes. She modeled her voice and image after Whitney Houston, earning herself the nick-name "Little Whitney" from her peers. In her senior year, Trenyce's music teacher submitted her recording to the NAACP ACT-SO, a competition designed to promote academic achieve in African American high school students. Trenyce participated in the finals in Atlanta, where she received Babyface's business card and performed for Jennifer Holliday,[1] and won first place.[2] At the age of nineteen, Trenyce was arrested on felony theft charges. At the request of a Shelby County criminal court judge, she completed a pre-trial diversion program that expunged the charges from her record.[3] She later described the arrest as resulting from a miscommunication in which she confronted a co-worker about stealing from work. Trenyce said she hopes the experience could serve a teaching tool for teens, saying: "Everybody has a past, but it's not about that. It's about what you do with your life after you've been given a second chance."[1]

After graduating from Central High School, Trenyce attended the University of Memphis on a music scholarship. While in college, she severed professional ties with Linda, who had previously guided her career, in favor of hiring a professional agent. This decision negatively impacted Trenyce's relationship with her mother.[1] Trenyce joined the university's ensemble choir University Singers and its band Sound Fuzion, which toured throughout Tennessee.[2] Through the encouragement of her mother, she pursued a major in biology in order to become a "bone specialist" as a "backup plan" to singing. After completing three years of the school's nursing program, Trenyce decided to leave school to devote herself completely to music. Linda supported Trenyce's decision, but told her that she should return to the nursing program if she did not succeed in music after a year. Trenyce began writing and recording songs while arranging meetings with professionals in the music industry and teaching herself the technical aspects of singing and recording.[1]


2002–03: American Idol[edit]

While on a break from school, Trenyce learned that "American Idol" would be holding auditions in Nashville, Tennessee in October 2002. Trenyce camped out for 3 days and nights, almost losing her voice in the process, but auditioned first for producers and executive producers. She was chosen by celebrity judges, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Simon Cowell to audition in California against the top 250 contestants chosen from the nationwide search. Trenyce made it through that round to the top 32. She did not go through to the top 12 after her performance in her round of eight, but was given a slot in the wildcard show. With her version of "Let's Stay Together"—which was eventually featured on the season's compilation album—she was chosen by Abdul to take one of the four remaining berths in the Top 12. Trenyce eventually placed fifth.

While on the show, Trenyce received criticism when her arrest was disclosed to the public. Producer Nigel Lythgoe considered it to be a minor offence, one which she had been honest about, and therefore not one which would warrant any concern regarding her participation on the show.[4]

During the months of June and August 2003, Trenyce performed on the American Idol II Live Concert Tour with fellow finalists, singing Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" and Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing". The American Idol tour outsold the Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera joint tour, and covered a total of 41 cities in 55 days.

American Idol Season 2 performances and results
Week # Theme Song choice Original artist Order # Result
Top 30 Semifinal/Group 1 "Love Sneaking Up on You" Bonnie Raitt 4 Eliminated
Wild card "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
Top 5 1960s
Neil Sedaka
"Proud Mary
"Love Will Keep Us Together"
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Captain & Tennille
  • ^Note 1 Due to Corey Clark's disqualification, the Top 9 performances became Top 8 when no one was eliminated.

2004–present: Success with theatre[edit]

Following American Idol, Trenyce has appeared on national television on CNN, 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, TRL. She has been featured in Memphis periodicals such as Grace Magazine, Proud Magazine, Party Source and was named one of Memphis' 30 Most Beautiful People in Elite Magazine's special June 2003 issue. She has been featured in Mid South's newspapers, such as The Commercial Appeal, The Silver Star News, and the TriState Defender. Recently, Trenyce was honored by both the Mayor of Shelby County and the Mayor of the City of Memphis and given a certificate of achievement as well as a key to the city.

Trenyce became involved in theatre when she was offered a role in a play Not a Day Goes By which toured in 2004.[5] She also landed roles in The Vagina Monologues, Soul Kittens Cabaret, Mama’s Sweet Potato Pie and Invisible Life. In the summer of 2006, Trenyce starred as Deena in an Indianapolis production of Dreamgirls, produced by Bill Myers. This unique production was a joint venture that celebrated the cultural diversity of Indianapolis and was presented in two historic landmark venues; the Madame Walker Theatre and the Scottish Rite. This production received critical acclaim as "the best show Indianapolis has ever seen!"

In 2007, Trenyce played the role of Portia in the David E. Talbert stageplay, Love in the Nick of Tyme also starring Morris Chestnut, Ellia English, and R&B crooner, Avant.[6] A DVD was released, and the show has also been aired on BET.

Between July 22 and August 2, 2008 Trenyce and former Idol contestants Julia DeMato, RJ Helton, Frenchie Davis, and Rickey Smith performed at the Razz Room in San Francisco. Vonzell Solomon, Constantine Maroulis, and David Hernandez also appeared in the Razz Room from August 5–16.

Trenyce was cast in the 30th anniversary revival tour of Ain't Misbehavin' starring Ruben Studdard and Frenchie Davis that ran 2008-09,[7] the cast album of which was nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award.[8]

In 2010, Trenyce joined The West End Company's musical Thriller Live, a Michael Jackson tribute show in London's Lyric Theater as well as a tour in Europe.[9] She was cast in the role of Coach Podell in Kick-Ass 2. She said that playing a cheerleading coach took her back to the days of being a pom pom girl in junior high school. "They were looking for a middle aged white woman similar to Sue Sylvester from Glee, so I wasn't expecting to actually book the role" she stated in the Hollywood Reporter.[10]

Trenyce starred as Portia in David E. Talbert's "Love in the Nick of Tyme."[citation needed]


  • Not a Day Goes By (2004)[5]
  • The Vagina Monologues
  • Soul Kittens Cabaret (2005)
  • Mama’s Sweet Potato Pie
  • Dreamgirls (2006, regional) as Deena Jones[11]
  • Invisible Life (2007)
  • Love in the Nick of Tyme (2007, national tour) as Portia[6]
  • Ain't Misbehavin (2008, national tour) as Charlaine[8]
  • Ballroom with a Twist (2009, national tour)[12]
  • Thriller – Live (2010-2013, London West End, European tour)[9]