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.