In the quaint seaside town of Penzance, England, teachers would admonish young Treana Morris for staring out the classroom window and daydreaming about going to the United States and becoming a pop star.
In 1992, at age 16, she almost made it.
As part of the dance duo TAG, with partner Gareth Young, Morris sang her way onto the U.S. charts with “The Way I Feel,” peaking at No. 63, from their Scotti Brothers debut album “Contagious.”
TAG faded, but Morris and Young continued their collaboration, with Young taking on more production work and co-writing. Morris, while hanging on to her R&B influences, began to delve into pop and acoustic rock.
She became, quite simply, Treana, and she’s pursuing U.S. success again.
Treana bares it all on her solo debut album, “Naked,” released April 28 on Backyard/All American. Young-produced tracks such as “I Know Better,” “I Wanna Be So Bad (Landslide)” and the lead-off single, “Naked On You,” display the maturity of a singer-songwriter who has lived up to her early promise.
“When you’re that young, you don’t understand,” Treana said of TAG. “You’re naive and you have no fear. You just do it. You have confidence when you’re young. You lose it as you get older. I remember doing things at 10 years old that I would never dream of doing now. I used to stand up in the classroom and sing and be a complete prat. But I could never do that now.”
Now 23, Treana isn’t afraid to touch on deeply personal subjects, as in “Naked On You,” about venting pent-up feelings after a relationship goes sour. She admits the lyrics and its title may be misinterpreted.
“Everyone thinks it’s literal, but it’s not,” she said. “It was written like that, it was the first song that I had written that was blatant and obvious, but it’s honest. It’s not meant to be rude or offend anybody. It’s just the way I was feeling at the time.”
The accompanying video will be serviced to MTV and VH1 this month. Treana is hoping for the best.
“I don’t know how it’ll do,” she said. “A lot of pieces have to come together. I didn’t realize how much is involved in breaking a record. I really didn’t. The more time I spend involved in the industry, I realize it depends on so many different things.
“When we were in TAG, I had no idea about the business side of it or the industry. Now I ask more questions. I want to know, and everybody’s working really hard. There are a lot of people behind the scenes who do an awful lot to help.”
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