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What do LaGrange College, John Mayer, Jesus Culture and Green Day all have in common? They’ve all had a big influence on senior Trey Duffey’s music.
While most college students would prefer a much-needed break from school in the summer, Trey Duffey ’12 asked the head of the LaGrange College Music Department for keys to the building and music studio.
“I’m trying to get myself out there, and part of that has been getting on YouTube,” says Trey, a senior, whose music can be viewed at youtube.com/treyduffey. “When you see me on YouTube, you’ll see this studio in the background. I came up here for hours and hours this summer to practice and record.”
Music has been an integral part of Trey’s life since he was about 15, though he even remembers at age 8 picking up the harmonies of traditional hymns while sitting in his parents’ church. At 15, he and fellow church youth group members had their first gig playing contemporary Christian songs.
“We’d play cover songs from the radio, from camp,” he says. “We probably weren’t very good. … But (contemporary Christian) music has always been very real to me. When I hear it, I can identify with it. It’s comfortable for me.
“My faith is based largely due to music because what drew me into church was music,” Trey says. “It’s part of who I am and where I’ve come from.”
His band had several musicians when it began when Trey was in his early teens, but it’s now down to three.
“Three of us are still with it; we still have that passion and drive to make music,” he says. “We’ve been together for so long that we can anticipate what the others are going to do.”
Even though he always has been immersed in music, Trey didn’t consider pursuing it academically until he spent a year away from his hometown of LaGrange, enrolled in LaGrange College upon returning, and sat down with Lee Johnson, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Music.
“(Since then) the faculty has helped me recognize my strengths and weaknesses,” he says. “They’ve done an awesome job helping me realize where I fit in and what would be a good career path.”
Trey is heading to Nashville, Tenn., in January to serve as an intern at Dark Horse Recording, which has earned a prominent spot in the music industry as one of the most successful recording destinations in the world. He is considering graduate school in the Nashville area.
Artist John Mayer has been Trey’s biggest musical influence, and the Savannah-based Christian acoustic group Need To Breathe has had a big impact lyrics he’s written. His YouTube covers include music by Green Day, Tracy Chapman, Coldplay, Jesus Culture and the Zac Brown Band, and he also has an original work or two.
Trey says the feedback and support of his professors and fellow music students have made all the difference in his pursuit of a music degree and his development as an artist.
“Without LaGrange College, there’s no way I could have gotten to half of where I am now,” he says. “It’s great being in the theory lab, having private lessons, having people I can ask, ‘How did I go wrong?’ This is not a huge place. When you have a question, there’s somebody you can go to and say, ‘How can I fix this?’”
He says the community of students pursing the same goals in the Music Department has been just as important to him as his professors’ guidance.
“When you’re at home playing, you’re only getting out of it what you put into it,” Trey says. “You’re not getting out of it what other people have to offer.”
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