Tray Haggerty is here to take this rap game by storm, putting in the time and effort needed to make it to the top. Hailing from Dallas but finding his way to Los Angeles two years ago, the “2 Sides” recording artist finds his new footing on the West Coast. Having made music for over a decade, the 25-year-old’s ultimate goal is to get signed to a major label. Read more..
When it comes to the South, Tray wants to put on for all the people who didn’t come from the streets, but still went through their own struggles. Most recently, he got Bay Area legend Iamsu on the remix to “2 Sides,” one of his proudest accomplishments to date.
For those who don’t know, who is Tray Haggerty?
Tray Haggerty is a singer, songwriter, rapper, a legend in the making.
How would you describe your sound?
I usually let the people describe it. If I had to, I’d say melodic tasteful music.
Being from Dallas, how does that play into your life and career?
Dallas is the trenches. Especially for the music, there’s not that much music culture out there. The last rapper who made it now is Yella Beezy. But the rappers before him, it hasn’t really been too many. I’m trying to put on for the city and bring as many opportunities back as I can. Dallas is a beautiful place to live, the people are beautiful. Southern Hospitality, probably one of the best places in the world to live.
You came to LA two years ago. How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It depends on what your goals are. I already had it set in my head since I was 12 or 13 that I was gonna move to LA, specifically because there’s not many resources in Dallas. I knew if I had to do this by myself, I’d have to move to an area with resources. Dallas is a desert and you’re trying to go fishing. [laughs] LA is an ocean and if you’re trying to bring a lot of fish, you gotta come to the ocean. Even though you might find fish in the desert, just laying there somehow, but you want a lot of fish in your ocean.
What’s your favorite parts about the West Coast?
The culture, I fuck with the culture heavy. Even the song I just dropped, “2 Sides” really explains me being from the South but having a West Coast vibe. Just the energy, the music, the rhythm, everything that the West Coast has to offer. Growing up, I didn’t hear as much. I was influenced by a lot of Southern artists. Moving out here and seeing a different culture, hearing a different sound, I embraced it and brought it in. Used different parts of that and involved them in my music.
You just unleashed the visual for “2 Sides.” Bring us back to the studio session for that record.
I was at my homie Casper’s crib, he already had a beat made. The way Casper’s crib is set up, if you walk out the balcony, you could see the palm trees, the Hollywood sign, everything. I’m like “bro, I’m really a down South dude with a West Coast vibe.” That was the whole thing I was telling him, “I’m really from the South but I really got a West Coast vibe.” Like damn, lemme put that into a song. I started writing the lyrics, and that became the hook. From there I started explaining what it is to live in the South and what I’ve experienced in LA. How I integrated.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
I started recording music at 12, I’m 25 now. I put out a song when I was 13, but I don’t know what happened to it. [chuckles] I put it on Youtube or something. But I didn’t really put out my first song till 2016, 3 years ago. Just seeing the reactions once I put out my first song, really like “okay this is for real. This is it.” Even if it was one person going “I love it,” wow. I touched one person by making one song. Of course my goal is to touch the mass population, but starting off seeing that one person touched, I’m like “okay, I gotta keep doing this.”
What was the inspiration behind your name?
Trey is my nickname, but Haggerty is my last name. I’ve always been called Trey my whole life. When I first started out, I’m like “lemme get a cool name.” But I felt having Trey Haggerty and having that legacy for my kids or my kids’ kids is very important. Fuck it, I’ma keep my real name. I don’t gotta change it. This is me in music and this is me in life.
Talk about the independent grind.
Grind is the key word. [flutters lips] It gets hard at times. Especially me coming from where I’m from, signing a major deal was always the goal for me. When you start doing it yourself, sometimes you wanna quit. You’re like “fuck I cant pay for this, I can’t pay for that. I can’t do this,” it’s hard. But then you look back and see how much progress, how far you’ve come over the years, you see an upper trend. That part of it is so rewarding at the end. Even though my goal’s to sign a major deal, seeing that I’ve done this by myself, it’s gonna feel so much better. This process is important. I’m enjoying the process, enjoying the ups and downs. A lot of downs. [chuckles]
What are some of the downs?
Patience. It’s hard to stay patient. Social media helps you see a lot of stuff going on around you and a lot of people — I’m not gonna say it’s a facade, but maybe getting in other positions you’re like “damn, I coulda did that. Damn, I need to be here.” You see all these things and it puts pressure on you to do these things. Puts a time limit on it, so it’s super important to have that patience. I’m still trying to get used to that. Me looking back if you ask me what I’d be doing in 3 years, I would’ve thought I’d be famous by now. Still trying to have that patience is the hardest part.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
First, talent is important. Even though there’s a lot of different music out there that’s doing good, at the end of the day talent is what separates you from anybody else. I want them to know talent is important. I want everybody in Dallas to know you don’t have to be hood to make it. That’s the stigma for Dallas: you gotta toke guns, you gotta sell drugs just to make it out. I’m an example of that, I went to college. I have a degree (studied Industrial Engineering) just to show everybody you can be smart and still make it in the music industry. A lot of artists don’t talk about that. Some of them got degrees, some of them don’t.
Bro you don’t gotta to be who the internet wants you to be just to make it. You can actually be intelligent. You can be a businessman, still be talented and make it in music. You ain’t gotta be street, you ain’t gotta go and sell drugs. Also let them know that the South has a voice. Not too many artists other than Atlanta, but from Texas we got our own voice too.
How important is social media for your career?
Important, that’s what the world comes down to. I don’t like social media that much, just because you get lost in it. You kind of lose the humanity part in it, you lose yourself. You start worrying about numbers, worrying about how many people looking at this. Seeing other people and it fucks your head up. There was a time when this shit didn’t exist. As a person. my mind was much clearer when it didn’t exist. Now it’s “fuck I havent posted in two days, my numbers are going down. Fuck, I need to post every three days.” It’s stressful. It’s important, but it’s stupid. [chuckles]
Favorite person to follow on IG?
I don’t follow no celebrities, but one of my lil homies named Ashton. I grew up with his sister, he’s family. I grew up with him. He’s in a wheelchair, probably 13 years old. He makes videos of him rapping and turning up to music. I get so happy when I see him making a video. I call his sister like “yo Ashton just made a vide on Instagram.” Just so excited, I’ll be waiting for him to post a video.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Grind from 9am till 9 pm. Grind all day 12 hours, rest. Studio, researching marketing ideas, researching different pages on social media, different pages on Youtube, researching the business. Getting money, that’s the most important part. Gotta have income. Researching ideas outside of music, definitely trying to start my own business pretty soon. Work work work from 9am to 9pm, whether it’s studio, music, getting money. Whatever it is, just grinding all day. Then sleep.
3 things you need in the studio?
Engineer, my girl, and the producer. Even if it’s not my girl, any girl. Even if I have a girl’s point of view because if a girl don’t like a song, then the song don’t hit. If my girl’s there and she says no, I go to the next one. Fuck that. ‘Cause if she don’t like it, no one likes it. Dude follow girls and girls follow the music. I don’t like a lotta people in the studio. I don’t want nobody smoking, no homeboys. I want water, producer, and one girl.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
In 2017, this fan got my project tatted on him. Shout out to him, that was freaking amazing. He got my work, the stuff I put my heart into tatted on you? That means the world. He DMed me one day, “bro I got your project tattooed on me. I’ve been through so much, thank you.” It’s a song called “Love Yourself” I released in 2016.
What can we expect next?
Shows, might do a show at Peppermint Club soon. I’m planning a project release party. Last year, I threw my own event at its own place, packed it out. Probably try to do the same thing this year if possible. More music, a lot of music. Continuing to drop music, work with more brands. Last year, I did a whole campaign for Fanta the beverage company. Created a commercial and a song for them. Working with more brands is definitely one of my goals.