By Kasey Dallman, AKOM Editor
Tony-Representing Everything Positive (T-REP) the Young Prayzr is an amazing 14-yr-old. Not only is he building up a strong music and acting career, but he is also CEO of his own business and has his own ministry. In only four short years, T-REP has become an award-winning national recording artist, actor, TV show host, model, and much more! Let’s look into his journey.
AK: I understand that T-REP stands for Tony – Representing Everything Positive. How did you come up with your name? Is positive thinking something you value greatly?
TR: Well, my full stage name is T-REP The Young Prayzr. When I first started with my music I just went by Young Prayzr. I came up with that name because I’m young, I like to pray and I like to praise God. I began receiving a lot of requests to perform at schools and other venues but some of them didn’t want to possibly offend people who had various beliefs by the spiritual sounding name. So I decided to add a more versatile name that EVERYONE could relate to so that my music wouldn’t be limited and would reach more people. So I came up with T-REP (which stands for Tony – Representing Everything Positive). My name is Tony and since I’d made a commitment to myself, my mom and to the world that I would do everything in my power to stay positive, be a leader and a role model, and to represent positive issues and decisions, I came up with “Representing Everything Positive”. I do value being positive a lot because there are so much negative things that kids my age are getting involved in that I never want to mess my life up by ruining any chances of growing up to be a successful and influential person.
AK: You’ve done so much already in the acting and music industry. What was your most meaningful experience and why?
TR: Wow! How can I choose when so many great things have happened since I began. It was awesome being selected to be a part of the musical soundtrack “Becoming Barack – Evolution Of A Leader”. My hit single “Hittin’ Dem Streets” was a featured song for the documentary’s soundtrack which highlights President Barack Obama’s journey to the White House. It was also really cool when I was on a Cartoon Network’s TV Show about 10 different times and I met really great stars like Nick Cannon, Jessie McCartney, and some others. Meeting Ruben Studdard after winning his talent competition was awesome too. I was also a freelance writer for Dr. James Dobson’s Focus On The Family “Clubhouse Magazine” for 2 years. I remember so many more but I’ll end it with the time when I was selected to be featured as an “Amazing Kid” on the Donnie McClurkin Show. These experiences allowed me to meet some really awesome people that I normally might not have ever met.
AK: I understand that you are receiving the King Center Scholarship. Please explain the scholarship and why it means so much to you.
TR: Yes, that was an awesome honor. Last summer I was chosen to receive a full scholarship to attend The Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Nonviolence Training Program at the King Center. I am now certified by The King Center and Emory University to train my fellow middle and high school peers in Dr. King’s philosophy and strategies for nonviolence while applying his principles and techniques of nonviolent conflict reconciliation and social change. I’ve also been asked to be a youth ambassador to attend an upcoming trip to Africa with the King Center.
AK: Do you have any mentors that have helped or inspire you?
TR: Yes, I do. I’ve been blessed to have several mentors who have kept me on the right track. My pastor has been one of my greatest mentors. He inspired me to take authority of my life, to not just sit down and do nothing with my life, but to do something distinctive and positive to make a difference and to reach my generation. That’s part of what gave me the vision to begin my music career when I was nine years old. As a matter of fact, the lyrics in my first hit song “Hittin’ Dem Streets” says that I am taking authority and making a difference. There have also been many humble and talented producers and artists who have taught me and encouraged me to always do my best. Plus, I can’t forget my grandma, who is my biggest fan and supporter.
AK: What are your future plans? Both personal and professional?
TR: Well, personally I plan to do my part in helping to make a difference in the world, by continuing to show that you can be successful by being positive and not compromising your integrity to reach success or to fit in. I also want to get as physically fit as possible, maybe even become a body builder. I used to be a kinda chubby kid and now that I’m 14, I’ve worked hard at exercising and trying to eat right to lose weight and get in shape. I don’t want to ever be chubby again and I would love to inspire other kids to get fit too. The child obesity rate is really high. Professionally I plan to graduate from high school being a straight A student, with a high GPA so that I can attend one of the top colleges in the country. I plan to become a successful actor, performer and recording artist and have my very own record label & artist management company. My company would sign only young, talented actors and artists, probably under the age of 21, to help them to have successful careers, follow their dreams and use their talents in a positive way. I also want to get a college degree to become an entertainment and sports attorney. I’ve learned a lot in this industry so far and I want to tie what I’ve learned into a career to help athletes and entertainers to make good legal decisions and career moves.
AK: What or who inspires you in your music career?
TR: Well, I would have to say that my biggest mentor has been my mother. From day one (when I was just 9 years old), she has been my manager, booking agent, publicist, webmaster, instructor, counselor, and still a great mother. She has encouraged me to always follow my dreams, to never quit, to work hard and to always do my best. She taught me how to write songs and how to perform onstage. But she also pushes me to make good grades at the same time. Without her and God (of course), I don’t believe I would have been able to reach the level that I have.
AK: You’ve done so much amazing community service work. What is the benefit for kids to get started in helping their communities?
TR: Mainly, the satisfaction in knowing that you are doing your part to help others who are less fortunate than you are and to inspire them in knowing that even though times may be hard right now that it will get better. Knowing that you can be humble enough to put others first, to do something special for someone and to make them happy and smile is a great feeling. For example, there are so many homeless kids in the world who don’t have a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear or a family to share holidays with that need to feel loved. By doing community service, we can help them; plus, when they see and hear from other kids, it’s inspiring to them.
AK: Music is such a humbling and enriching experience. What makes you love music so much? Do you think music is a personal experience or something to be shared?
TR: I’ve always loved music, even when I was a baby. My mom would listen to it when she was pregnant with me and when I was born she would always play it to put me to sleep. Music is the universal language. Everyone can relate to music. You can express so much with it and it demands attention. There’s so much information, opinions and feelings that you can get across to people of all races and nationalities around the entire world. Music makes me feel good and I like making people happy with mine.
AK: What advice do you give kids who are trying to reach their dreams?
TR: Well, like Nike says…JUST DO IT! Don’t wait. Start now. Whatever it is that you want to do, that’s for a good purpose, go for it. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from following your dreams. You have to believe in yourself, because if you don’t it’s hard for others to believe in you. When people try to hate on you or to discourage you from following your dreams (and some will), just shake them off. You only need to hang around people who believe in you. Associate yourself with people who have already seen success in the same thing that you’re dreaming about. Learn from them. Ask questions. That’s what role models are for. Just do it!
AK: You have so many accomplishments!!! Please list a few below.
- Ruben Studdard F.A.M.E. Teen Talent Competition WINNER (Best Rap Artist Award)
- 2-Time Atlanta Youth Entertainment Award WINNER (Best Male Hip Hop Artist Award & Artist On Deck Award)
- Atlanta Urban Media Makers Film Festival WINNER (Best Music Video of the Year Award )
- McDonald’s “The Gift” Youth Inspirational Talent Competition TOP 10 FINALIST
- Holy Hip Hop Music Awards HONOREE (The youngest honoree in the event’s history)
- Inferno Urban Music Awards WINNER (Best New Artist of the Year Award)
- Atlanta Gospel Choice Awards WINNER (Best Hip Hop Artist Award) (The youngest nominee & winner in the event’s 16-yr history)
- Featured on President Barack Obama’s musical soundtrack “Becoming Barack”
- Featured on Donnie McClurkin’s Amazing Kids Syndicated Radio Show
AK: Anything else you would like to add?
TR: First of all, I want to thank Amazing Kids! for blessing me with this great honor by featuring me as an Amazing Kid. I’m really impressed with the Amazing Kids! organization and proud to be a part. Also, I just wanted let the world know about some of the other things that I do. In addition to being an actor and recording artist/performer, I am also a model, youth speaker, voice over talent, a TV/tadio/event host, a worldwide news correspondent, and a DJ. I am an entrepreneur. CEO of DJ T-REPz Muzik Faktory Mobile DJ Company where I only spin clean, positive music. I have my own youth organization, called “Young Prayzr Ministries” and I am the CEO of “Yungsta Grind Entertainment International”.To book me you can call (770) 875-0244 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on GOOGLE, Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, etc.