23-year-old WAAPA graduate Trent-Jean is Perth’s newest pop commodity, and his anticipated debut single Manchester by the Sea is proof of dedication for the Perth-based songwriter, with the track taking the multi-instrumentalist three years to meticulously write and perfect.
The single’s long production process has given the WAAPA graduate the opportunity to work with producers behind Oz pop chart-toppers Sheppard and psychedelic masters Tame Impala and incorporate personal influences like Arctic Monkeys, James Brown and Jamiroquai to create a unique blend of past and present.
‘[We ran] everything through analogue gear, that gear that you know, Hendrix and Zeppelin ran their music through’, Trent-Jean says, talking about his time recording at Fremantle’s Poons Head Studios with producer Rob Grant (famous for Tame Impala’s Currents).
‘We actually did it to tape as well… There’s this warmth and gooiness to it. When you run it through analogue, you get that audio bacteria of the machinery just corroding over the years and you can hear the imperfection in this sound, and that’s what I love. As imperfect humans, we can relate easier to something that is sonically imperfect’.
But the famed studio owner wasn’t the only high-profile producer to put their faith in Trent-Jean; while writing, the young artist also found himself under the tutelage of an ARIA award-winner.
‘I went to Brisbane to work with a producer called Stuart Stuart; he did Sheppard’s hit Geronimo and writing for some local artists over there’, he says. ‘So, I stayed a month with him just living in his granny flat learning songwriting’.
From an early age, Trent-Jean knew music was what he wanted to do, dropping out of high school at the end of year 11 to join WAAPA’s artist program as the inaugural class’ youngest entrant.
‘It gets you to kind of lift your game a bit – I became a better musician from it; I learnt how to work with other musicians, and it was a great experience.’
‘University as a whole, you go through your trials and tribulations, with different circles in growing up… You feel that friction and the collide of different personalities and I feel like that’s very pivotal in growth and maturing as a person’.
On top of the single’s release at the beginning of May, the singer-songwriter has plans to launch a video project promoting the song called #WhyWontYouDanceWithMe, featuring fifteen diverse dancers. These include an Auslan interpreter, Ugandan community dancers and former Telethon child Taylor Taseff, to name but a few.
With a well-received debut now under his belt, Trent-Jean has plenty to release in the near future, albeit this time with a quicker release.
‘The album’s complete, I’m producing the follow-up single and that should be out at the end of next month. Then I’ve got an EP coming out at the end of the year and the album’s coming out next year’, he says.
‘I can’t wait for you to hear it. I’m really proud of the project’.
You can listen to Manchester by the Sea below and on all good streaming platforms.