Senior Tré Rice ’21 recently self-produced his first official song, “Smooth Jon“. The song was created in collaboration with Carlos Cortez Alexander Jr. (LEVELZ) and Kevin Oliver Jr. Co-writer Alexander audio engineered the track and sang the chorus, with Oliver on saxophone and featuring Rice on jazz piano.
“Being able to meet and work with [Carlos Cortez Alexander Jr.] has been a wonderful experience, and I am excited for his growth and his ascension,” Rice said on the collaboration. “Kevin Oliver Jr. is an outstanding jazz saxophonist, artist, and comedian from Atlanta, and he is currently attending The Juilliard School. He is about to take over the jazz world!”
On the making of the song, Rice said, “‘Smooth Jon’ is simply what it says: smooth. The goal of this track was to share the underlying thoughts in my head that I have not shared with others. Also, it was fun to incorporate different jazz elements and combine that with the trap sound of today’s generation.”
Quincy Jones, Duke Ellington, Drake, and Robert Glasper were the biggest inspirations for the development of Smooth Jon.
“What sets these men apart from others in the music industry is their commitment to their specific sound and refusal to conform to societal trends in music. My entire life, I have tried my best to conform and live according to trends and be like those that surround me, and it has never worked. It was not until recently that I realized that it never worked because I was not made to fit in. I will never accomplish my goals by fitting in, and the things I have to offer are enough.”
I want my music to empower others to tap into themselves and discover how special they are.
The senior claims that “Smooth Jon” would not have been created without the help of the Oglethorpe community.
“This community has taught me so much about the world and myself. I am thankful for those that have supported me, and I wish that there were room and time to mention everybody who has helped me. Thanks go to my family for always being here for me even when I was not here for myself.”
“Big shoutout to Dr. Brent Runnels for teaching me how all genres share a relationship, and for helping me to refine my skills as a pianist,” the student said about his Jazzy Petrels Ensemble Director. “Runnels has been fundamental to my success at Oglethorpe and my personal growth.”
My growth in maturity and awareness of myself has enabled my lyricism and ability to tell true stories that are important to who I am.
The aspiring musician pursued the Individually Planned Major (IPM) pathway offered at Oglethorpe, and he is seeking a degree in Music and Business in a Technological Era.
“When I was coming to Oglethorpe, I was not sure what I wanted to do, but I was very passionate about equality and making this country safer for people that look like me. Therefore, I initially set out to major in Politics, but I quickly realized this was not making me happy. My passion my entire life has been music, but my fear of not being able to build a career around that passion steered me away from pursuing a degree in music.”
His decision to create an IPM was supported and encouraged by his family and Dr. Runnels, says Rice.
“They both have empowered me to chase my aspirations and not act in fear of failure. This has been one of the best and most groundbreaking decisions, and I am blessed to be surrounded by people that want the best for me and can help me grow.”
Asked about his future plans, Rice said, “Post-graduation, I will not limit myself. I am a composer, pianist, recording artist, songwriter, producer, and lyricist, and anything that falls into those lines of work would be wonderful to be a part of. 2021 will be a year of releases and collaborations, and I will be taking my artistry to the next step.”