Published Sep 05, 2019Apart, producer Truss and singer-songwriter (and sometimes rapper) pHoenix Pagliacci are known entities in the music scene. Together, on their new album as the duo known as TRP.P, it's all about the flex.
Pronounced "trippy," the duo function as a partnership on both a personal and professional plane. It's a super team-up that works on several levels, and a (Greater) Toronto thing: Truss hails from Brampton, while Pagliacci spent time in Scarborough.
Producer Truss, just off a self-imposed hiatus, wanted to recharge their creative muscles; Pagliacci, most recently part of the successful rap group the Sorority, was looking to spread her R&B wings a bit more. TRP.P was born.
As Truss puts it, it was about wanting to get back into the swing of things — literally: "We were starting to have more recording sessions together. I also wanted Pagliacci to flex her writing muscle and to get us back creating a little more."
Out of those recording sessions came some strong songs that they were feeling and wanted to explore even further, Truss adds. The nine-track album, 2TRP.P, ambitiously leads with its soul, incorporating various elements including gospel, dancehall, hip-hop and R&B.
"We wanted to try different things, including a lot more collaboration with other artists, because sometimes people think as a group or as a duo that you have all the parts there — but sometimes we want to outsource! And it's about trying new things; I was taking the reins on some of the writing, while Pagliacci was getting more involved in some of the production."
While her days as part of the Sorority have come to an end for now, it was a purely amicable departure, one that was more about wanting to explore the more soulful aspects of her musical range, explains Pagliacci.
"On this project I am predominantly singing. I started out as a singer and delved into the hip-hop world and it accepted me, so I was very fortunate. But I've always felt like I could say so much more through song. I could emote a lot better when I'm not confined to a number of bars or a rhythmic pattern, so singing really affords me the opportunity to be more direct with my emotions or connect better with the audience," she says.
"So on this project, in that sense, I would say that there's a lot of freestyling. There's a lot of leaving it to the delivery of what is being said. That's always been something that I love to do. Just, you know, you could have the most simplistic message but how you deliver it is what's so impactful. I'm really excited to share what I have done with Truss's production is on this album."
She still has much love for her former Sorority fam even though she's swinging more into soul.
"The Sorority was a very fortunate opportunity and came up at a time when I had given up on music," says Pagliacci. It was a time where creatively, emotionally and financially, she was feeling that music wasn't fully loving her back and she was considering getting a 9 to 5. But then she met three artists she refers to as "amazing" — Keysha Freshh, Haviah Mighty and Lex Leosis — who were all about their art.
"It so happened that it did take off, it did start to do well. We had a common goal and common message and we ran with that for a long time. But at that same time, I still wanted to make music as TRP.P," she says.
Being in two groups wasn't in the cards — especially considering she was experiencing some health and personal issues at the same time.
"I had to make a really hard decision — and that was to step back and work with Truss. It's all love, they're still doing it and I wish them nothing but the best."
That was then, though; TRP.P is now.
Collaborating with each other, she says, was both challenging and a breeze.
"Each song kind of has its own origin story. Sometimes it'll be Truss doing his thing and then I'll hear something and it's like, 'Run that back!'"
"Yup," Truss nods in agreement. "For this album, I'd say the inspiration was really more of a challenge where I didn't want to sample, and wanted it to all be original. I was coming up with a lot of different chord progressions and melodies."
Pagliacci adds that she would sometimes "come up with a melody in my head," then "struggle to somehow bring that melody out of my head to a track, [but] Truss worked with me to kind of pull that out. That's pretty much how this album came together: the combination of me intruding, Truss inviting us working together to kind of shape those songs."
"We just really wanted [2TRP.P] to be like, an experience from start to finish," Truss says, "where it just kind of carries you through."
2TRP.P is out September 6 courtesy of Pirates Blend.