The 116 Life Ep. 36 – “The Fruit of Faithfulness with Torey D’Shaun”
We are thrilled to share with you an inspiring journey of transformation, faith, and music. Reach Records, SVP of A & R, Ace Harris recently had the pleasure of welcoming the newest member of Indie Tribe, Torey D’Shaun, an artist from East Saint Louis to The 116 Life. Torey’s story is one of resilience, faith, and the power of music.
Growing Up in East Saint Louis
Torey D’Shaun hails from East Saint Louis, a city with a population of around 25,000 people and no suburbs. Growing up in a city where there is no escape from the hardships and violence was challenging. Torey witnessed a lot of shootings, drug dealing, and family members struggling with addiction. Despite these difficult circumstances, Torey emphasizes that he was raised in church and was not involved in gang activities. He credits his mother for keeping him grounded and his father, who was present in his life, for checking in on him and supporting him financially.
The Influence of a Father
Torey’s relationship with his father played a significant role in his upbringing. As a child, Torey didn’t have much interaction with his father, but whenever he did, he was happy and excited. However, as he grew older, he started to feel bitter about his father’s absence and the responsibilities he missed out on. Unfortunately, Torey’s father passed away when he was 12, and he still doesn’t know the full story behind his death.
Torey’s Faith Journey
Church was always a part of Torey’s life, but it was more of a cultural aspect rather than a personal conviction. However, when Torey was 16, his teacher, Mr. Tate, introduced him to Christian hip-hop artists like Jackie Hill Perry and Lecrae. This exposure sparked something in Torey, and he began to question his own faith. A pivotal moment for Torey was when he watched a video about the narrow path to salvation. It made him realize that he had been associating with Christianity without truly knowing God. Overwhelmed with conviction, Torey cried out to God, confessing his sins and surrendering his life to Him. This marked the beginning of his genuine faith journey.
The Power of Discipleship
Torey’s transformation also impacted his relationship with his friend, Tate. He recalls a moment at a dance where he realized he had been saved and went over to Tate, who had always been supportive of him. Tate, without even knowing about Torey’s salvation, smiled at him. This moment underscores the importance of discipleship and how sometimes we may not see the immediate results of our work. It is God who does the work of transformation in people’s lives, and we are simply vessels for sharing the gospel.
A Journey into Music
Torey’s love for music started at a young age. He recalls making his first song at the age of six with his cousins and feeling inspired when his cousin Shani received praise for her rapping skills. Music was always a part of his family, and his big brother was a major influence on him. Tori started serving at a church and eventually began rapping after being mentored by someone named Paul Fernandez. He was encouraged to go back to his hometown of East Saint Louis to do ministry there. Torey’s music started gaining attention around 2018, and he cites Kanye, Kendrick, and Andre 3000 as some of his biggest influences, along with local artists from Saint Louis.
A Unique Style and a New Direction
Torey D’Shaun‘s unique style of preaching and teaching is influenced by old southern people who speak in long, humorous sentences. He believes that he has been gifted by God with the ability to make people laugh and engage with his message. He also talks about the importance of relatability in his music, where he combines faith, gospel, and scriptures with comedy and charisma. He aims to create lines that can be turned into Instagram captions and resonate with everyday listeners. Torey emphasizes the need for thoughtfulness and depth in hip hop, which he feels is lacking in the current music landscape that promotes drug use and mindless entertainment.
Gratitude and Future Plans
As Torey reflects in their conversation, he feels immense gratitude to everyone who has supported him, even those who may not know him personally. He thanked those who have listened to his songs and acknowledge the support he received from Reach Records, particularly for including his music on their summer playlist and giving him the opportunity to collaborate with a prominent artist named Trip Lee. He also gives a shoutout to another artist named Lecrae who reached out to him and brought him to a certain location.
He was excited to share that he plans to release an album in the first half of next year, which he believes will be a transformative experience for himself and others. Additionally, he mentions his desire to open a creative space and encourage everyone to remember that the ultimate mission is to make disciples, regardless of their chosen field.
Thank you for joining us on this journey, and remember, God cares about what happens behind the scenes just as much, if not more, than what happens on the stage. Until next time, God bless.
Growing up in East Saint Louis [00:05:19] Torey D’Shaun talks about the challenges of growing up in East Saint Louis, including shootings, drug dealing, and a lack of job opportunities.
The history of East Saint Louis [00:03:21] Torey discusses the origins of East Saint Louis and how it was affected by race riots and the migration of businesses.
Family dynamics and upbringing [00:08:01] Torey talks about being raised in church by his mother, while his father had a different lifestyle. He also mentions his limited relationship with his father.
The impact of a father’s absence [00:10:12] Discussion on the guest’s relationship with his father, the influence of his absence, and the changing emotions towards him as he grew older.
The role of church in the guest’s life [00:11:38] Exploration of the guest’s upbringing in a church-going community and how it shaped his understanding of God and spirituality.
The transformative moment of faith [00:13:11] The guest recounts the moment when he experienced a spiritual awakening, leading to a deeper commitment to his faith and a change in his behavior and priorities.
Tate’s Influence [00:19:46] The speaker talks about how his friend Tate’s presence and support during a dance made him realize the change in his life after getting saved.
Sharing Faith with Tate [00:20:49] Torey shares his Christian faith with Tate and discusses his new passion for rapping.
Starting Music Career [00:23:34] Torey recounts how he started making music at a young age and how his uncle and family influenced his musical journey.
The journey of serving at the church [00:29:36] Our guest talks about their experience serving at the church and how it led to their involvement in rapping and ministry.
Recognition and growth in the music industry [00:30:22] Our guest discusses how their music started gaining attention and recognition, with their projects being played on radio and blogs.
Influences and creative process [00:32:42] Our guest talks about their musical influences, including Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar, and how they draw inspiration from different sources to create their unique style of music.
The gift of preaching and teaching [00:38:56] Discussion about Torey D’Shauns natural ability to preach and teach through his music.
The evolution of hip hop and Christian hip hop [00:39:55] Exploration of the shift in hip hop towards shorter, Instagram-friendly lines and the importance of thoughtfulness and creativity in Christian hip hop.
Joining Indie Tribe and surrendering to God’s plan [00:44:02] Torey D’Shaun’s journey to becoming an official member of Indie Tribe and the importance of surrendering to God’s plan for his career.
Gratitude for Support and Plans for Album Release [00:49:09] Torey expresses gratitude for the support received and plans to release an album in the first half of next year.
Opening a Creative Space and Encouragement [00:49:43] Our guest shares the intention to open a creative space and encourages others to fulfill the ultimate mission of making disciples.
God’s Focus on Behind the Scenes [00:50:48] Reflection on the importance of not forgetting that God cares about what happens behind the scenes, not just the stage and external factors.
Related Radio Show: 116 Life