*Tye Tribbet has been performing in the group Greater Anointment (G.A.) since 1996. The former Camden, New Jersey native is quite the musician. In fact his musical stylings are so polished that he is often accused of not being a gospel musician at all. His sound has been called Hip-Hop, Pop and everything in between.
“Growing up I definitely was not allowed to listen to secular music, but I was exposed to the culture,” Tribbet told our Lee Bailey. “You can’t help but hear it when you go to the mall. You can’t help when you’re exposed to it because of the culture. Each generation has their own sound, it’s just the sound of that culture. So, I can’t help but be a part of the culture I’m born in. Of course, I snuck out and listened to whatever I wanted to listen to, but the bulk of my musical influence is gospel. I listened to a lot of progressive gospel music and the people who got in trouble for doing it the way they were doing it back in the day.
“I believe we can only present it the way God gave it to us,” he continued. “I listened to the Yellow Jackets, which is a jazz group, Weather Report, which is another jazz group. I drowned myself in those two groups when I finally broke free. Chick Corea? All day! That’s me all day! I actually got exposed that in school. I was exposed to jazz in high school and my homework was these artists. I was like ‘Mom, I know you all are against it, but I have to do my homework.’ I just love the musicianship of it.”
Though Tye Tribbet’s first solo effort is titled “Fresh,” with Hip-Hop graffiti styled lettering on the cover, he takes some offense when his music is called Hip-Hop. (Scroll down to listen to the title track.)
“To me, when you look at Hip-Hop and look at my music I think it’s as different as night and day, but people listen to my presentation and they want to call it Hip-Hop,” said Tribbet. “See, I couldn’t sing so I was always like the hype man ‘Put you hands up! Yeah, yeah!’ So, that’s seen as Hip-Hop to people. I’m not rapping. The energy, the dancing and my presentation put me into the Hip-Hop category. I’ve never done Hip-Hop. I understand why they say it. However, it is not! It’s ‘progressive praise’ I guess! I don’t know what it is. I’m doing more singing so I guess people will be trying to put me into the R&B category now.”
Though Tribbet did appear to become slightly agitated at the idea of not truly being considered gospel, he told EURweb.com that he enjoys being hard to peg even if his label has a hard time with it.
“I don’t think it’s frustrating more than it’s confusing,” said Tribbett. “If you listen to R&B you can see it’s not that, if you listen to jazz you can see it’s not that, and if you listen to straight praise and worship you can tell it’s not that. But I think it has elements of all that in there and that’s what kind of frustrates my label. They’re like ‘Man, what is this? Man, we don’t know how to market this.’ I don’t know how to describe it either. Everyone of my CDs sounds like a mixtape. Like my pastor used to say: the Kingdom of God is not this or that, it’s this and that. You will find this and that in the Kingdom of God, and in my music.”
Though he is widely known as the lead man for the gospel group Greater Anointment (G.A.), he tells Lee Bailey that things have changed … but not really.
“I’m not with G.A. anymore, but I have my own group which includes some singers from group G.A. I’m not going out as Tye Tribbet and G.A. anymore. It’s just Tye Tribbet. I just dropped the ‘and G.A.'”, he informed us. “Solo, to me, is just somebody that’s up on stage by themselves with a couple of singers off to the side, in the back. That’s not me. I still have my group presentation. We’re still a group. Some people look as me being solo, but I can’t see myself on stage like Smokie Norful, by myself, on stage, with a piano. That’s just not me. I’ll always have my crew. It’s not the big ol’ MC Hammer-style 200 people anymore. It’s not that anymore, I had so many people on the stage with me at one time, but now it’s a scaled down version for a lot of different reasons.”
A “lot of different reasons?” Hmm, whatchoo talkin’ ’bout Wills?
“Last year I took a sabbatical. My pastor recommended that I take a sabbatical. I shut everything down because I had gotten out of pocket with God, with my wife, with my family and everything was just in disarray. I didn’t have a handle on anything, at all!”
Often times solutions, despite our best intentions, lead to other problems. Though his intentions were pure, pressing the reset button on his life caused yet another problem.
“To go back to the root, my mother and father had gotten a divorce right when I got married,” he explained. “I know these days the word divorce comes right after saying hello, but for me being raised like I was, it was just a big shock to me. My father had committed adultery and at the time I said that I would never do something like that. Then I made my mother my manager, and I put my family in G.A. I was setting up an accountability system to make sure that would never happen to me. Nobody on the outside could ever say Tye ever flirted with them or took it too far or touched them the wrong way. However, I fell to the same sin from the inside of my camp and destroyed my marriage.”
(For the specifics on Tribbett’s adultery, see our story here.)
To add insult to injury, his wife Shante Tribbett is in the group as well and likely knew the individual Tye committed adultery with. But once again Tye turned to his pastor for advice.
“I said ‘Ohmigoodness.’ I don’t know what’s about to become of me, I don’t know what’s about to become of the relationship with my children,” said Tribbet. “I’ve seen this before. I was having suicidal thoughts daily, taking the punk way out. So, I turned to my pastor and asked him to walk me through the process of restoration, walk my wife through the process of restoration. Long story short, we’re back together and stronger than ever. My family is restored and my career is in order now. I put a lot of things in perspective that were out of order.”
And the rest, as they say, is history. Recently Tye has been making his media rounds and has appeared on BET and in magazines and other news outlets. In talking with him Tye we find a man. Not a perfect man, but a man all the same who is trying to move on with his life.
“Fresh” is the name of his new CD and was released on October 19th. Get more info here: www.tyetribbett.com/.