As the Grammy awards are just weeks away, we are excited for the first African-American R&B and Country music husband-and-wife duo, ‘The War and Treaty’. They have been nominated for two 2024 Grammys, including Best New Artist and Best American Roots Song.
‘The War and Treaty’ have been blazing stages across the globe including North America, Europe, and Australia, while headlining their shows and opening for a diverse group of living legends including Al Green, John Legend, and more.
Based in Nashville, the heart of Country music, ‘The War and Treaty’ has roots firmly anchored in R&B, and a unique blend of downhome country music into their sound, quickly made them one of today’s hottest artists with their hands squarely on the pulse of today’s music.
ThisIsRnB interviewed the duo about current projects, Grammy nominations, the intertwining of R&B and country music, and so much more. The full conversation can be found below.
TRNB (ThisIsRnB): First off, Congratulations on all your major successes including your two 2024 Grammys nominations. How does that make you feel knowing you’ve been nominated?
TT (Tanya Trotter): Over the moon excited to be nominated this year. We’ve been working extremely hard and this nomination says a lot to us.
For people who may not be familiar with you, please let us know where the husband-and-wife duo hail from and, how you got started in the music industry.
TT: I’m from Washington DC. I got started in the music industry in the 90s. My first album Natural Thang earned me a nomination at the Soul Train Music Awards but most will remember me from Sister Act 2 singing His Eyes Is On The Sparrow with Ms. Lauryn Hill.
MTJ (Michael Trotter Jr.): I’m from Cleveland, OH. I got started in the military. I was serving our country in the USA Army and got deployed to Iraq. It was in Iraq I taught myself to play the piano and write songs about the fallen soldiers or better known to me as my battle buddies. From there in 2007 I would leave the military in hopes of securing a life absent of war. I’d find myself homeless and jobless just wandering around trying to figure it out. In 2010 I met Tanya at a love festival and the rest was history.
What’s the significance of the name War & Treaty, and who came up with the name?
TT: Our name The War And Treaty represents the physical balance of our journey. Michael served and is a war veteran.
MTJ: Tanya fought her own version of war. The war over her soul and WON! By the time she met me she was ready to heal somebody else and that’s the truth.
TT: In life we have a constant tug of war. But in the end love triumphs. We had several names before that. We kept feeling like we needed a name that meant more. After arguing about changing the name for the 7th time, I was like “Michael this isn’t the war so let’s come to some sort of treaty about this”. He said well we just did and that’s the name The War And Treaty
Were you fully committed to the Country music genre initially, or was the plan to always integrate the infusion of R&B?
TT: The goal was to do music that was honest and true to who we are and what we are going through.
MTJ: Country music gravitated to us because of our spirits. Americana is our home base. We are the response to the what if Ike and Tina didn’t have the negative side of their story. We are their children.
Let’s talk about your major label debut album “Lover’s Game’ which debuted in March 2023 via Mercury Nashville/UMG. What’s the meaning behind the title, and can you expand on the overall theme for the album?
MTJ: Lovers Game is another example of us just being honest. We play a lot of games in the quest to find love. The overall scope of this project was to say enough with the games. I’m here, you’re here. If you have a heart then we can do some things.
You’ve been busy with special appearances over the past few months beginning with a ‘Christmas at Graceland TV performance singing Elvis’ “If I Can Dream” on NBC; a ‘Thanksgiving 2023 performance of The National Anthem at the Packers v. Lions game’, performances on ‘Good Morning America’, ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ (in March); ‘Jennifer Hudson Show’ and others. Wow, that’s a lot. How do you manage to keep up with such a hectic schedule, your marriage, and raising four children?
TT: It’s been a blessing to see family stepping up in major ways for us this year. Michael’s parents and his sister and her husband and their 5 kids all moved in with us last year. So, it makes it easier to leave our son Legend when we have to travel. Emotionally we’ve been taking the time to deal with how we feel. My mom passed nine years ago and it feels like it was yesterday. But I don’t shy away from expressing my sadness of missing her physically. My dad, sister, brother, and cousins all constantly ask if we are getting rest or if we are eating and exercising regularly and that feels good to know they care. Our 19-year-old daughter Courtney works for our company so it’s cool to see her blossoming into someone who will take it over one day. So life is great.
By the way, you guys did a phenomenal job with the now-viral powerhouse vocal dedication the the legend, Ms. Patti LaBelle on the recent CMT performance. How did that come about, and did you get to meet the legend Ms. LaBelle? What was her reaction to the performance?
MTJ: So Tanya met Ms. LaBelle when they both performed a tribute to Diana Ross back in the 90s alongside the late Gerald Levert and Eddie Levert. Fast Forward to 2023, Leslie Fram from CMT originally asked us to tribute Tanya Tucker, but there was no way we were gonna let that moment pass without us having the chance to tell our living legend how much we love her.
TT: I owe so much to her. I love her for real. She really enjoyed our dedication.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the music industry, who would that be, and why? What would that collaboration look like?
MTJ & TT: SAMARA JOY!!! Class that’s all we gotta say about that. And Jon Baptiste
Are there other genres you’re looking to fuse with?
MTJ: We are music and music is us. Wherever the music takes us we will follow.
What are some of the things you credit your success to?
TT: Our success is credited to the three Fs: Faith, Family, and Fans we thank you.
So what’s next for The War and Treaty? TV, Film, Theatre?
MTJ & TT: As far as what’s next…all of it! Everything is next. Lol. In the immediate, we’re releasing our sophomore major label album this year and are heading out on tour with Chris Stapleton and Zach Bryan.
For more on ‘The War and Treaty’ click here to keep up with them on Instagram, and be sure to keep them on your music radar.