Between the Liner Notes
The Soul Inspiration Behind Trin-i-tee 5:7
By Kimberly Ann Lilly
With an over five-year gap between their last and most recent album, Trin-i-tee 5:7 is back.
Their new project, T57, has 12 tracks that are “wrapped in musical elements of R&B, soul, hip hop and gospel.” Desiring to reach the hearts of people all over the world, music by Trin-i-tee 5:7 is not only for the “churched,” but more so for the “un-churched.”
The ladies of Trin-i-tee 5:7 (Adrian Anderson, Angel Taylor and Chanelle Haynes) share insight on being under new management, their experience with Hurricane Katrina and more.
How does it feel being nominated for a Grammy?
Adrian: It is exciting! It is also a confirmation after 10 years in the industry. As a group, it’s our 10-year anniversary, and it is quite the reward — especially with the new project, T57. Each day we’re enjoying being a nominee and not trying to rush through, but really take it in and have a sense of accomplishment and respect from our peers and appreciation from all the music lovers out there.
In a group, how do you make sure that each one of you is satisfied with the finished product?
Chanelle: It’s definitely not easy, because we all have different standards. They’re all high, but each girl kind of focuses in on something different. We do make sure that at the end of the day each girl is comfortable with hearing her voice back, because it’s documented. It’s going to be on record for the rest of our lives. So, we take our time, go slow and make sure that we don’t put out something that’s premature, but [a record that] reflects who we really are today.
The group is now managed by Mathew Knowles, the father of Beyonce. How was the group introduced to Mr. Knowles, and how and why was it decided that he would be your manager?
Adrian: Mathew Knowles saw us in concert. We knew we wanted a global manager with a global vision. We prayed for that and had Mathew in mind in that prayer. After the concert, Mathew came back stage and said, “That was wonderful!” That led to him contacting our manager and our former record label, and in a matter of weeks Mathew had flown us out to Music World and let us know that he wanted to manage us. It was a blessing how it went about. We know that everyone was looking for Mathew Knowles, but Mathew Knowles was looking for us.
What do you all think of the general assumption within the body of Christ that Christian artists who are signed to secular labels are seeking to make more money, due to the label’s credibility, instead of seeking to reach more souls?
Chanelle: I think it’s unfortunate that a person would think that. It’s evident that people are not very familiar with the overall music industry, because even the most independent Gospel labels are owned by major companies that are 'secular-owned' companies. So, the dollars that are generated, everything is consolidating. There is no Gospel label or management that is independent of mainstream dollars. So, in our case it may seem more obvious, but surely that is the case in all of these record labels and the artists that they work with. Also, this does not change our business choices. It does not have anything to do with our spirituality; that’s separate and apart. If anything, God brings all those worlds together so that our music can penetrate the entire world. If we don’t have a company with muscle, power and influence, then that limits us as well. So for Trin-i-tee 5:7, we go for the muscle. We go for the power. We go for the mass appeal, and that’s what we got. Through that God allows us to reach more people and to work with someone who has a global mentality that complements our own vision for ourselves, and we are able to effectively influence the world with our message.
A song on the album that I noticed is the song “Like You.” I read that this song was written by Solange Knowles. With the life style that Solange portrays on television and the Internet, do you think it’s possible that young female fans who purchase the album—who are familiar with Solange—could be influenced to think it’s OK with God if they live a lifestyle that parallels hers?
Chanelle: If you take any image on the Internet or anybody who just lives down the street from you, and you see some of the personal choices that they have made, and they don’t reflect ideally the choices that you know God has for you to make, then you are responsible—you are accountable. It’s not Solange’s responsibility to lead anyone to anything. We are responsible as women to behave appropriately and to live our lives according to God. The truth is, she’s a person who makes decisions and choices like anybody else; some of them are ideal, and some of them are not, but at the end of the day God chooses who He wants to use, when He wants to use them. It doesn’t mean that I approve of a person’s bad behavior. But, at the same time it’s not my place, or anybody else's to be judgmental.
Angel and Chanelle, the two of you were affected by the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. Can you tell me a little of what that experience was like for you?
Chanelle: My family lost everything in the storm. This experience was traumatic; however, it allowed me and my family to be drawn closer together and also even closer to God. Even better, it has caused some of the best songs in my career to be written, and that definitely is displayed on this album. During the most difficult time in your life, God will look inside of you and pull out the most beautiful things that He wants you to share with the rest of the world. That’s my testimony.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Trin-i-tee 5:7 formed the “Trin-i-tee 5:7 Ambassador of Hope and Triumph Campaign.” The group has taken the campaign to New Orleans, offering help to those affected by the hurricane. They have also visited Mississippi. In 2008, Trin-i-tee 5:7 will take the campaign to Sacramento and Los Angeles, California, and Houston, Texas.
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