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Trey Songz is a Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter known for hits like "Can't Help but Wait."
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"When he finally saw it, he ran up and down the stairs like a little kid, because we had never had a house," his mother once recalled. "It's funny, but the only man in my life who has actually done what he said he was gonna do is the one I raised."
In 2007, Songz released his second album, Trey Day, which peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard charts. The album featured Songz's first hit single, "Can't Help But Wait,
" which reached No. 11 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance. Then in 2009, hoping to achieve more crossover appeal and national recognition with his third album, Ready, Songz completely reinvented his image and sound. He worked out intensively (developing the chiseled abs and muscular frame he flaunts, shirtless, on the album cover), chopped off his braids, and traded his baggy jeans and sneakers for tailored pants and button-down shirts. Songz also retooled his musical style, ditching the soulful love ballads that marked his early albums in favor of hyper-sexualized, club-ready hip-hop tracks. The makeover proved an enormous success. Ready reached No. 3 on the Billboard album charts and flooded radio airwaves with a whopping six hit singles: "I Need a Girl," "Successful," "LOL Smiley Face," "I Invented Sex," "Say Aah" and "Neighbors Know My Name."
Songz willingly admits that on Ready, he sacrificed originality for commercial success. "The public likes generic more than they like to admit," he says, "so that's what I gave them—I gave them sexual singles and they ate it up." Nevertheless, the album has racked up awards as well as record sales, garnering a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album and winning the 2010 BET Award for Best Male R&B Artist.
Songz acknowledges the pitfalls of fame. "Success can be a dangerous drug," he says. "It definitely changes people, and it can take you to another world, if you allow it to." To combat fame's potential ill effects, Songz gives back to his community and his family. He founded the Songz For Peace Foundation to help curb youth violence by spreading a positive message to young people. He also hopes to have children of his own and to be for them the positive male role model that he never had growing up. "I never really had male influences in my life," he says. "Steady, male influences. And that's what I wanna be for my family. As a musician, I definitely will attain everything that I set out to. I work very hard. But more important to me is that my family is taken care of. I can't wait [to have my own family]. But I got a lot of stuff to do before that."
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