On July 10, 2017, EarHustle411 had the most awesome and distinct pleasure to be in the presence of a musical duo that has mad it their life’s mission to bring the love of classic and homestyle music back to the industry.
The phenomenal duo The War & Treaty which is comprised of Michael Trotter and Tanya (Blount) Trotter made a trip to the Windy City and brought the “revival” with them to Martyrs on Chicago’s north side.
If many of you remember, Tanya Blount made her debut to the entertainment industry along side a then newcomer Lauryn Hill in the blockbuster hit Sister Act 2. Fans of the film would get a first hand glimpse of Tanya’s vocal ability. She would then go on to release her first solo project “Natural Thing” and the rest as they say is herstory.
As we know life has its way of moving things around in our lives and Tanya’s life would be no different. After a nice break from the industry she met the love of her life Michael Trotter whose life has an amazing beginnings which you’ll read about later in the interview. However, these two would meet and as the Creator of all things would have it, brought them together to form what would be the most amazing, phenomenal and enriched musically enclosed husband and wife duos since Ike and Tina Turner.
EarHustle411 family please allow us to introduce to you The War & Treaty:
The War & Treaty: WOW!! THANK YOU for that awesome introduction, we are extremely humbled and grateful.
EarHustle411: No problem at all, after the amazing show we just witnessed, we could have sung your praises all day!! We are so excited to sit down with the two of you and we appreciate you taking the time out for a brief chitchat, so let’s get right down to it..shall we?
The War & Treaty: Yes!! We shall. (laughs)
EarHustle411: Since Ike and Tina Turner, Captain and Tenille, Sonny and Cher and Ashford & Simpson It’s very rare to see a husband and wife duo, What made you all decide to collaborate and form this unique Blend?
The War & Treaty: First of all, to be mentioned in the likes of those amazing artists is bone chilling. I guess we just fit the criteria, being married and able to sing. What we were most concerned with, was if we were up to the task of upholding the responsibility that comes with being mentioned in the same breath as those great legends. Once we searched our characters, our marriage, and our own personal goals, it was without a shadow of a doubt, we definitely belonged and doing this together would be an incredible journey.
EH411: The name of your group “War & Treaty” is very interesting, can you tell us how you came up with the name and is there and special significance?
TW&T: Funny story, we actually had four different names for our group, before this one, The War and Treaty. We came up with the name from arguing about changing it four times. Michael started getting frustrated with my frustration, I had to settle him down by saying, “this isn’t a war, it’s more like a treaty time…” That was when he caught the aha moment. Hence the name, The War and Treaty.
EH411: Your journey into the music industry is very touching, please tell our listeners about how you transformed into an artist.
TW&T: In 2004, I went to Iraq and after the death of my first battle buddy, I decided to write a song for his memorial. Little did I know, that moment would change the entire scope of my military career, as well as my life. I would be taken off the front lines to write songs and sing for the memorials of fallen soliders because my commander saw my service to our country as more than just picking up a rifle. He saw that my songwriting had the ability to raise the morale of troops. Therefore, my songwriting career began with the soliders.
EH411: Michael, how many instruments do you play and which of those would you say if your most favorite?
TW&T: I play one instrument, the piano – so that’s definitely my favorite instrument, but I often wish I could play the guitar.
EH411: Can you tell us about your experience with your debut on the Sister Act 2 movie and how it felt to work with Whoopi Goldberg and new comer Lauren Hill?
TW&T: Working with Whoopi was mind-blowing, not because of her celebrity, but because of her awareness of how to treat people. She was very loving, warm, and giving. Lauryn was like a little sister, we were just two kids auditioning for a film, we didn’t know it would end up being a pop culture phenomenon.
But the greater is story here is just how many people I was able to learn from on set, including the legendary James Colburn. I also had the awesome opportunity to work with Mark Shaiman. I look at how the mentorship has carried on throughout the years, with artists like Cathy Najimy and Wendy Makkena. Being a fan of broadway, I almost completely lost it when I met Sheryl Lee Ralph. If you are a fan of the original Dream Girls, you understand why.
EH411: What were your thoughts and concept for your debut album “A Natural Thing” and the chart topping hit “Through The Rain”?
TW&T: Being a fan of Jennifer Holliday and Whitney Houston, I wanted to do an album that I felt like if they heard, they would be proud of.
The concept was to keep it as authentic and natural as possible. Pure and plain. In my album cover photo, I didn’t have on earrings, my hair was slicked back. It was about raw talent, my voice.
EH411: Your fashion style is of a vintage nature. What was the thought process and concept behind using this style for The War & Treaty and tell us more about the online vintage store?
TW&T: I think it went with the music. The music is preserves our history. My body frame is reminiscent of woman in that era, so it was a natural progression.
I received a lot of messages and comments from fans, young women ages 18-25, who were not used to seeing women dressed that way, and they wanted to dress that way too. So I just started selling the clothes, it wasn’t something that was planned.
EH411: Tell is where the group tour is headed next and what’s coming down the pipeline musically for you.
TW&T: The main show is at Rockwood Music Hall, the date is undetermined at the current moment. We’ll also be at Gypsy Sally’s on August 18. Then, we have 25 more cities to go before we stop in October.
Musically, the EP will be released on July 21 and then the full album in February 2018. After that, we will be back for more touring.
EH411: Considering that the both of you are parents prior to and since your coming together. How are the children relishing in the fact that their parents are celebrities, do they think it’s cool or are they just like they’re just my mom and dad? Is there any indication of their being interested in being an artist or doing anything in the entertainment industry?
TW&T: They think its cool. One daughter says yes, she’s a singer so she wants to be a singer. The other daughter says no, she isn’t interested in doing anything in the entertainment industry.
EarHustle411 is so appreciative of The War & Treaty for sharing a little bit of their lives with us and we cannot wait to hear and see what comes out next for this fantastic group