Trey Simon knows how to deliver the ultimate ray of hope in the darkest hour.
The soulful Rochester singer-songwriter sheds sonic messages of optimism and growth on his passionate new single, “When the Lights Turn On,” which dropped earlier today.
The brilliant single opens with emotionally intense guitars while pounding drums echo a nervous heartbeat and reflect an initial hesitation about a new road ahead. It’s reminiscent of mid-80s pop-rock with Phil Collins-inspired lyrics and Michael McDonald-esque vocals.
“For me, it’s a reflection song. It’s realizing that I have so much to give, and I have so much to love for somebody. Overall, it’s about waking up and realizing you’re not where you want to be yet,” Simon said. “I think that song was birthed out of places like, ‘Dang, I just want to be better than what I am right now, and I want to be better for that person I meet down the road.’”
The single also eloquently showcases “the dirt” Simon personally experiences as an artist and individual overcoming internal challenges while heading down a new spiritual path. For listeners, it’s fighting chance to escape their fears and use Simon’s new single as an emotional shield against uncertainty.
“I think the greatest thing about being an artist is really putting it on display because it’s a healing process for you, but in the same time, you can really help people in giving them the courage to go after the things they have going on, too,” Simon said.
Simon started crafting his latest single on stage a few years ago and later transformed it into a recordable version, thanks to a friend’s encouragement. He teamed up with Rochester producer and musician Josh Colyer to record “When the Lights Turn On” at Kensington Church’s studio in Troy.
“It was a changeup from the music I’ve recorded in the past, and it’s a little bit more of a rock direction since my stuff has been a little bit more of an R&B, sultry vibe. I was really ready to showcase more of myself musically, too,” he said.
“I’ve got so much that inspires me, and I feel like there are different parts of me. I’ve only been showcasing one side of what I really do, and I’m ready to give a clearer vision of who I am as an artist and who I am as a person.”
Simon will drop a new video for his latest single Oct. 9 and allow the track to speak for itself visually. Filmed by a Chicago-based director, the video features Simon sitting on a stool in a large room giving a powerful performance of his latest single.
“We ended up getting a whole crew to come out, and we got all the lighting and everything,” Simon said. “It was my first big budget video with five crew members, and we used a film studio to cut it all in Troy. We were able to finish the whole thing in a day.”
‘Walk My Way’ and ‘The Impossible’
Throughout 2019, Simon has released three singles since last year’s “The Acoustic Introduction of Trey Simon” EP, which featured a simple, stripped-down sound filled with upbeat pop songs and romantic, soulful tunes. His other notable singles include “Walk My Way” and “The Impossible.”
For “Walk My Way,” Simon worked with Colyer to create a slow groove R&B-pop track featuring Detroit hip hop artist Vinchi. The flirty track beautifully captures the caught-off-guard moment when you notice an attractive passerby.
“I love hip hop, I love rock music, and I love down-to-the-root, singer-songwriter folk-type stuff. I also love R&B and soul music,” he said. “I’m very much this weird, awkward cornucopia of all this. I just want to pull in all the elements that have inspired me as a person and as a musician.”
Another introspective acoustic synth-driven track, “The Impossible,” hits much closer to home for Simon, whose parents divorced when he was 14. It serves as an uplifting anthem for couples struggling to make their marriages work and families trying to stay together.
“For some reason, when they split, I just took so much responsibility for it. I just put it on myself, and I never really understood why, even to this day I don’t really get it. It was always a prayer, and it was right about that time where I was really getting into writing my own songs and developing a passion for it,” Simon said.
“And my prayer was, ‘God, Help me write a song that can keep a marriage together. Help me write a song that can spark something fresh for people and can be an anchor for a relationship to pass the test of time.’”
Simon also released a video for “The Impossible,” which was directed by Sam Ridgell and features an intimate live performance with Andrew Hill on keys and Dagan Amaris on background vocals at Oakland Church in Rochester.
Next Single and Live Shows
As for his next single, Simon will release “Head Above Water,” a heartfelt ode to his sister about overcoming personal and familial struggles over the years. He teamed up with Colyer again to record the single at Kensington Church’s studio.
Outside of releasing singles, Simon has been performing regularly throughout metro Detroit as well as New York City and Nashville. He’s also planning to perform more throughout Michigan and the Midwest, including Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
“I’m working on doing a string of Sofar shows in the spring. I got in with the Sofar guys in Detroit, and they put on the coolest shows in the coolest locations,” he said. “I want to get up into Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Traverse City, and I’m booked to play in Rensselaer, Indiana at the Embers Venue in November. Then, I’m going to be doing some stuff in Chicago, Cleveland, Akron and Columbus.”