Trinere on Freestyle Music's Popularity: "Gloria Estefan Used to Open for Me"
Even 25 years later, echoes of Miami freestyle's powerful influence can still be heard on the radio, in the clubs, and in the electronic dance music that's dominating today's music industry.
During the mid '80s and early '90s, freestyle boomed from Miami's wildly creative and prolific scene. But thanks to the timeless skill of producers like Pretty Tony Butler, songwriters like Garfield Baker, and singers like Trinere, our local bass music is still making asses clap like 808s, from São Paulo to the San Fernando Valley.
The truth is freestyle will never die. So ahead of a free concert at Magic City Casino on January 11, we here at Crossfade caught up with Trinere to talk about her music, strippers, Gloria Estefan, lawyers, and twerking.
Crossfade: Talk about the early days of freestyle.
Trinere: The early days? You didn't know it was the early days of freestyle. We just did music. Pretty Tony did music that he was feeling. I was feeling. Coming up in Miami with all the percussion sounds and multicultural sounds, he just kind of mixed his own black thing with Latin, and different percussions. We didn't set out to do freestyle. It's just music that makes you dance and gets you grooving in the club. I told Tony, "If it doesn't make me dance, I don't want it."
There were writers like Garfield Baker putting together lyrics for everybody. What was the studio like?
We were like a family, just having a good time all night. The writers looked at my life and all the different relationship issues women go through and wrote about it, like, "Why you hesitating, how long must I keep waiting, why you treat me so bad?" Every woman can relate to that. They wrote about my life, my relationships, my memories. Sometimes, I had to be like, "Whoa, I'm not ready for that to be out there." It was real life.
Well, me and Tony had a son together, Brandon Christopher. He goes by Miami Marci. He's in the music business too as a producer, engineer, following in his father's footsteps.
What was your first hit?
"All Night." It wasn't the first song we thought we would put out, but we played all my tracks for a bunch of different DJs and asked for their feedback about which one the people of Miami would most relate to, and they chose "All Night." I remember DJ Laz, Bo Griffin, Cox on the radio, and Power96 used to really push our music.
What was it like as an independent?
That's all there was. The independent labels had to make it happen. Tony got our own records printed up and went to the radio station himself and pushed the records. I would be with him when he would press them, make the labels, put the plastic on them. I would help him package everything. It was hard work. And it was harder for us because we had to make the people listen. We didn't have the money for promotions. We had to hustle to make it happen.
How old were you then?
I was 19 years old. I was just about 18 years old when I met Tony. It was a whole new life. We put out a song and it was on the radio. Fast. And then the clubs started calling. I didn't even have a show yet. I only had one song. But I went and performed and sometimes I would sing it three times in one night.