Trenyce

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Trenyce
A dark-skinned woman wearing heavy make-up is smiling towards the camera. She is touching her large, black hair, and is wearing a furry, whte top.
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) Singer, actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2002–present

Lashundra Trenyce Cobbins (/trʌnis/; born March 31, 1980)[1] 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 left 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 former 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'.

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.

Biography[edit]

1980–2002: Early life[edit]

Lashundra Trenyce Cobbins was born in Memphis, Tennessee.[1][2] Her father, Jesse, worked for St. Joe Company, and her mother, Linda, worked at FedEx.[1][3] 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. Trenyce has written that her interest in music started after performing a solo in a musical production celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.[1] In his book Music in Youth Culture: A Lacanian Approach, Jan Jagodzinski argued that Trenyce's decision to promote herself through her middle name was an attempt to garner "an American appeal"; he commented that Trenyce's birth name Lashundra Cobbin is "an impossible 'pop' signifier".[4] Trenyce grew up in the northern Memphis area, where she attended Central High School.[1][2] During high school, Trenyce performed in in various talent shows and pageants,[2][3] In 1996, she won first place in a singing competition at the national NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics in Atlanta.[3]

At the age of nineteen, Trenyce was arrested for theft at work. A Shelby County, Tennessee, criminal court judge, permitted her to participate in a pre-trial diversion program that expunged the felony charges from her record.[5][6] She has denied the theft and claimed that it was a co-worker who stole the items from her workplace.[1]

Trenyce attended the University of Memphis on a full music scholarship.[2] While in college, she joined the University Singers ensemble choir and its band Sound Fuzion, which toured throughout Tennessee.[3][7] The website of Sound Fuzion described Trenyce's as a "powerhouse voice".[8] After completing three years of the school's nursing program, Trenyce left the University of Memphis to pursue music full-time. During this time, she performed in such venues as Rhythms Night Club, Precious Cargo, and Isaac Hayes' Restaurant.[2]

2002–03: American Idol[edit]

In October 2002, Trenyce auditioned for the second season of the reality television series American Idol.[2] The judges chose her to become one of the top 32 semi-finalists, and judge Paula Abdul chose her as a "wildcard selection" to proceed forward as one of the twelve finalists.[2][9] 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 some former contestants. He clarified that Trenyce informed the producers of her criminal history from the outset, and it would not impact her participation.[10]

Trenyce placed fifth during the season finals.[2] Jim Cantiello of MTV News connected the disclosure of Trenyce's mug shot and felony theft charges to her elimination, writing: "America ends up doing the show's dirty work by voting her off".[11] Entertainment Weekly also commented that the news relating to Trenyce's criminal record reduced her appeal with voters.[12] Several media commentators suggested that racism may have played a role in Trenyce's elimination, as she was one of only two dark-skinned finalists during the season (the other was Ruben Studdard).[13][14]

In 2016, following the news of the show's eventual 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.[15] Entertainment Weekly found her to be one of the show's most underrated contestants and called her a "polished performer with enough sass to eschew her surname".[12] Vulture.com's Maura Johnston provided a mixed response to Trenyce's time on the show. While she criticized Trenyce for being "[a] little yell-y, a little pitch-y, a little guarded", Johnston praised her voice and song choices and said that Trenyce set "a precedent for the divas who followed" in future American Idol seasons.[16]

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
Top 5 1960s
Neil Sedaka
"Proud Mary
"Love Will Keep Us Together"
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Captain & Tennille
2
7
Eliminated
  • ^Note 1 Due to Corey Clark's disqualification, no one was eliminated based on public votes.

Following her elimination, Trenyce made appearances on television shows, including 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, featured as one of Memphis' 30 Most Beautiful People in Elite Magazine's June 2003 issue, and appeared on a cover of "God Bless the USA" along with the other American Idol Season 2 finalists.[17][18] Trenyce participated in a three-month concert tour with the other season 2 finalists, performing Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" and Houston's "I Have Nothing".[2] Her 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".[17] In an interview with Lime Music, Trenyce said that she was offered a record deal around this time, but rejected it because she found the terms unsatisfactory. At this time, Trenyce's mother was her manager.[19]

2004–09: Transition to musical theatre[edit]

A dark-skinned woman with long black hair is looking in the direction of the camera. She is in front of a man in a suit.
Trenyce attending the 2008 NAACP Theatre Awards

Trenyce's work in theatre has primarily focused on "various entertainment aspects of African-American interest".[20] In 2004, she made her theatre debut as Yancey in a North American tour of Not A Day Goes By, a play (with songs) adapted from the E. Lynn Harris' 2000 novel of the same name. The tour ran from January to May 2004.[21][22] Jet wrote that Trenyce "breathes life and voice into Yancey", and described her as one of the show's "rich vocal talents".[21] The Chicago Defender felt that Trenyce displayed a "theatrical perception as she interprets a character".[23] She later performed in the episodic play The Vagina Monologues.[24] In 2005, she played in two Nicci Gillbert's stage productions: Soul Kittens Cabaret and Mama's Sweet Potato Pie,[24][25] participating in a North American tour of the latter.[26] The same year, she made a cameo appearance in the comedy film Beauty Shop,[27] and performed on the BET reality television series College Hill.[28]

Trenyce played Deena Jones in an Indianapolis production of the musical Dreamgirls, which ran from June to July 2006.[29][30] NUVO wrote that Trenyce's "smooth voice creat[ed] a sound for The Dreams that could easily have taken the group to the top of the charts".[31] In the same year, she became the first former American Idol contestant to headline a show in Las Vegas with V: The Ultimtate Variety Show and Late Night Idol at the Sahara Hotel and Casino.[26] She hosted the shows for a total of nine months.[32]

In 2007, Trenyce played Portia in David E. Talbert's play Love in the Nick of Tyme.[30][33] This toured in North America to seventeen cities, starting in the Beacon Theatre in New York on January 16, 2007.[34] In 2010, a film of the production was released on DVD, along with its soundtrack.[35][36] The play was also broadcast on BET.[37] In the following year, she performed at the Razz Room in San Francisco between July 22 and August 2.[30] In 2008, Trenyce made her film debut as Unique in the LGBT independent romantic comedy movie Friends & Lovers: The Ski Trip 2.[38] In 2009, she contributed the title track to the soundtrack for the film Truth Hall.[39]

Trenyce played a role in the thirtieth anniversary revival tour of Ain't Misbehavin' after a recommendation from Ruben Studdard. She said that she developed a close attachment to Fats Waller's music.[20] As traditionally done with the show, the performers used their own names for their characters.[40] The cast album received a nomination for Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.[41]

2010–present: London and Macau[edit]

A dark-skinned woman with big and curly black hair is looking in the direction of the camera.
Trenyce in a 2012 photoshoot taken in London by Jouwell El Hadj

In 2010, Trenyce sang during the interludes and dance performances for Louis Van Amstel"s Ballroom with a Twist.[42] 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.[43] Later in 2010, Trenyce first starred in the Michael Jackson tribute concert revue Thriller – Live as the leading female vocalist during a European tour. She reprised her role when the show played at the Lyric Theatre in London's West End. She was the only female singer in the show, and the only American lead.[44] In the revue, she performed material from different periods in Jackson's career.[45] In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Trenyce said that the audience was initially hesitant to hear a woman interpret Jackson's music.[44] Theatreworld's Geoff Billingsley praised Trenyce's performance, writing that her voice sounded very similar to Jackson's unique sound, describing her as an improvement over the previous female lead Cleo Higgins.[46]

While in London, Trenyce also hosted the variety show The Box.[47] In 2012, she provided the vocals for Baff Akoto's short film Afterglow; the film follows a group of friends as they navigate jazz culture in London.[48] In a behind-the-scenes feature, Trenyce said that the casting call specified a preference for a dark-skinned American woman who could sing jazz and currently lived in London.[49]

She had a minor role in the 2013 superhero, comedy film Kick-Ass 2 as Hit-Girl's cheerleading coach.[50] In December 2013, she released three songs: "Fever", "In the End (Alright)", and "Where Do They Go?" on iTunes.[51][52][53]

In 2015, Trenyce hosted Taboo, a cabaret show designed by Franco Dragone, in Macau, China.[54][55] 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 they fit the cabaret's overall style. Macau.com praised Trenyce's stage presence and "the power of her voice and stature".[54] She was also featured in two remix extended plays as the guest artist on producer and DJ Guy Scheiman's single "Brazil You're Ready (Synethetic)" released separately in 2014 and 2015.[56][57] She collaborated with Scheiman again on his 2016 single "This Time".[58]

Credits[edit]

Theatre[edit]

Year Show Role Notes
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' Trenyce 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 Variety[clarification needed]; London
2015 Taboo Host Cabaret show; City of Dreams casino (Macau, China)

Filmography[edit]

Year Show Role Notes
2002–2003 American Idol (television) Herself (contestant) Season 2 (finalist)
2005 College Hill (television) Herself Performance
2007 Beauty Shop N/A Cameo appearance
2008 Friends & Lovers: The Ski Trip 2 Unique
2012 Afterglow Vocals Short film
2013 Kick-Ass 2 Coach Podell

Discography[edit]

Cast albums[edit]

Title Details
Ain't Misbehavin' (The 30th Anniversary Cast Recording)
Love in the Nick of Tyme
  • Release date: September 7, 2010
  • Label: 260 Degrees Entertainment
  • Formats: CD, digital download

Singles[edit]

Year Single Album
2013 "Fever" Non-album single
2013 "In the End ( Alright)" Non-album single
2013 "Where Do They Go?" Non-album single

Other songs[edit]

title Year Other artist(s) Album
"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"

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Trenyce". Memphis Downtowner. 2015. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Trenyce". BuddyTV. Archived from the original on October 21, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d "American Idol's Trenyce Celebrates Chicago Pride". ChicagoPride.com. June 21, 2004. Archived from the original on October 21, 2016. 
  4. ^ Jagodzinski (2005): p. 163-164
  5. ^ ""American Idol" Finalist's Sticky Fingers". The Smoking Gun. March 27, 2003. Archived from the original on October 21, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Not Trenyce, Too!". TV Guide. CBS Interactive Inc. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016. 
  7. ^ Myers, Smith, Josephson, & Myers (2011): p. 37
  8. ^ "Alumni Spotlight". Soundfuzionmemphis.com. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016. 
  9. ^ Sewel, Rhonda B. (February 28, 2003). "Coleman fails in bid to be 'Idol' wild card". The Blade. Block Communications. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016. 
  10. ^ Susman, Gary (March 28, 2003). "Here are the latest scandals from American Idol". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. 
  11. ^ Cantiello, Jim (February 19, 2008). "'American Idol' Video Timeline: Six Seasons of High Notes and Hot Messes". MTV News. Archived from the original on October 21, 2016. 
  12. ^ a b "Underrated American Idol contestants: Trenyce". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. March 3, 2006. Archived from the original on December 19, 2016. 
  13. ^ Smith (2013): p. 115; and Powers (2005): pp. 154–155
  14. ^ Ausiello, Michael (May 7, 2003). "'Idol Chatter with Trenyce". TV Guide. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Top 100 'American Idol' Live Performances of All Time". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. March 17, 2016. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016. 
  16. ^ Johnston, Maura (January 28, 2016). "Every American Idol Finalist, Ranked From Worst to Best". Vulture.com. Archived from the original on December 19, 2016. 
  17. ^ a b Phares, Heather (April 15, 2003). "AllMusic Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Archived from the original on October 21, 2016. 
  18. ^ "American Idol : God bless the U.S.A". CLEVNET Library Consortium. Archived from the original on October 21, 2016. 
  19. ^ Harris, Semper Azeez. "Trenyce Set to Thrill". Lime Music. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016. 
  20. ^ a b Jacobson, Brian (April 22, 2009). "Ain't Misbehavin's Trenyce Cobbins dishes on the show". Urban Milwaukee. Archived from the original on May 27, 2016. 
  21. ^ a b "E. Lynn Harris Dishes Up Hot Drama In Play 'Not A Day Goes By'". Jet. Ebony Media Corporation. April 5, 2004. Retrieved January 23, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Not A Day Goes By - The Play". Random House. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Trenyce; American Idol Top 5 finalist, stars in musical Not A Day Goes By". The Chicago Defender. Real Times. February 28, 2004. Archived from the original on November 20, 2016. (subscription required)
  24. ^ a b Reynolds, Donna (November 27, 2008). "Trenyce added to cast of 'Ain't Misbehavin". Syracuse.com. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Award-Winning Actor & Grammy-Nominated Singer of 90's R&B Group Brownstone honored in Atlanta". WXIA-TV. October 11, 2011. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. 
  26. ^ a b "Trenyce". BlackPlanet. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. 
  27. ^ "About Trenyce". The Idol Zone. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Riding 'Idol' To A New Career". Chicago Tribune. tronc. May 26, 2005. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. 
  29. ^ "Trenyce". Getty Images. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. 
  30. ^ a b c Myers, Smith, Josephson, & Myers (2011): p. 176
  31. ^ "'Dreamgirls' a hit". NUVO. Kevin McKinney. June 28, 2006. Archived from the original on November 20, 2016. 
  32. ^ "More Than Just A Pretty Face". 4realmagazine.com. Archived from the original on November 20, 2016. 
  33. ^ "Morris Chestnut Makes His Stage Debut in David E. Talbert's 'Love in The Nick of Tyme'". Jet. Ebony Media Corporation. April 9, 2007. Retrieved January 23, 2017. 
  34. ^ Gans, Andrew (January 16, 2007). "New Musical Love in the Nick of Tyme Opens Beacon Run Jan. 16". Playbill. TotalTheater. Archived from the original on November 20, 2016. 
  35. ^ "David E. Talbert's Love in the Nick of Tyme". Amazon.com. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Love in the Nick of Tyme (feat. Morris Chestnut, Avant, Trenyce Cobbins, Ellia English, Terry Dexter & Andrea Pitre)". iTunes. September 7, 2010. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. 
  37. ^ "BET Movie". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. 
  38. ^ Jamal, Maurice (Director) (July 13, 2008). Friends & Lovers: The Ski Trip 2 (Motion picture). Los Angeles, California: Earl Minfield OmniMedia. 
  39. ^ "Truth Hall [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". AllMusic. All Media Group. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. 
  40. ^ Franklin, Mark (January 29, 2010). "Trenyce Talks About 'Misbehavin' and Grammy Nod". Idol Chatter. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. 
  41. ^ Mansfield, Brian (January 31, 2010). "'West Side Story' beats 'Ain't Misbehavin' for Musical Show Grammy". USA Today. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. 
  42. ^ Rearick, Kristie (January 15, 2010). "Ballroom Blast: 'Dancing with the Stars' pros show off their moves on stage at DuPont Theatre". NJ.com. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. 
  43. ^ Saemann, Karyn (October 17, 2009). "Too many wrong moves in 'Ballroom with a Twist'". Madison.com. Archived from the original on November 20, 2016. 
  44. ^ a b Bronson, Fred (September 16, 2011). "'American Idol' Season 2 Alum Trenyce Thrills in West End Michael Jackson Tribute". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. 
  45. ^ Goggans, Louis (February 14, 2013). "Rock With Her". Memphis Flyer. Kenneth Neill. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. 
  46. ^ Billingsley, Geoff. "Thriller Live!". Theatrewold. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. 
  47. ^ "The Re-Emergence Of Trenyce: Her Debut Album and More". PRWeb. July 30, 2012. Archived from the original on November 20, 2016. 
  48. ^ "Afterglow". Tinredrum. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. 
  49. ^ "AfterGlow". World News Network. October 12, 2012. Archived from the original on November 20, 2016. 
  50. ^ Bronson, Fred (August 17, 2013). "'American Idol' Alum Trenyce Makes Movie Debut in 'Kick-Ass 2'". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. 
  51. ^ "Fever". iTunes. December 2, 2013. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. 
  52. ^ "In the End ( Alright)". iTunes. December 2, 2013. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. 
  53. ^ "Where Do They Go?". iTunes. December 9, 2013. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. 
  54. ^ a b "Trenyce Talks Taboo". Macau.com. Archived from the original on October 23, 2015. 
  55. ^ "The Taboo Everybody's Talking About". Macau Daily Times. January 15, 2015. Retrieved October 23, 2016. 
  56. ^ "Brazil You're Ready (Synthetic) [feat. Trenyce] [Part 1]". iTunes. November 14, 2014. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. 
  57. ^ "Brazil You're Ready (Synthetic), Pt. 2 [feat. Trenyce]". iTunes. January 16, 2015. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. 
  58. ^ "This Time (feat. Trenyce)". iTunes. January 16, 2015. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Myers, Jared; Smith, Jared; Josephson, Erik; Meyers, Chris (2011). Your All-Access Pass to American Idol. Springville: Bonneville Books. ISBN 978-1-59955-526-3. 
  • Powers, John (2005). Sore Winners: American Idols, Patriotic Shoppers, and Other Strange Species in George Bush's America. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 1-4000-7655-2. 
  • Jagodzinski, Jan (2005). Music in Youth Culture: A Lacanian Approach. New York: Springer. ISBN 978-1-4039-6531-8. 
  • Smith, Jon (2013). Finding Purple America: The South and the Future of American Cultural Studies. Athens: University of Georgia Press. ISBN 978-0-8203-3321-2. 

External links[edit]