Behold the pioneer of West Coast house music.
Born Sheldon Young and hailing from South Central LA the young Channel Tres has found that music has saved his life. Flipping between the church pews and the streets really threw Tres for a loop. The identity crisis was averted when his church pastor gave him the tools he needed to define the rest of his life. After dropping out of high school to care for his grandmother who eventually passed, Tres soon found himself in a place where he didn’t want to be. Welfare and homelessness were soon plaguing him. Even though he knew music was his ticket out, he was constantly facing discouragement when he told people he wanted to pursue a career in music.
“People used to make fun of me in L.A. and laugh at me or people would be looking at me weird,” he says. “But I felt in my heart that that’s what I’m supposed to do,” according to his interview with the Fader.
He bet on Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma and soon found himself in the middle of the country. The shock of the flatlands in a place like Tulsa can be a lot for someone who has never really lived outside of Los Angeles. Lucky for him he had the sick beats of Toro y Moi and Drake to keep him moving forward.
Having sized up his skills he eventually dropped his first EP titled “Black Moses.” Christian themes still swirl around and motivate him. His label Godmode, which has produced artists like Yaeji and Shamir into indie dance darlings, helps keep him going. Tres refers to the holy trinity (father, son, and holy spirit) a lot and he is mindful of the number 333, which appears to him as a sign of comfort, good luck, and reassurance. He knows that God is on his side and has probably seen him in the likes of Elton John when he announced that Channel Tres was his new favorite artist. Tres originally wanted to be a social worker and help serve his community in Los Angeles. Yet he knew that there was a different way he could leave an impact. His music now plays through the streets of Compton and beyond. He is keen to make sure that his visuals include his community, especially for his brother who although incarcerated, still gets to see his home from afar now thanks to Tres.
Before the world shut down the live events industry he had been touring for years alongside artists like Vince Staples and Robyn. He has worked with his friends August 08 from 88rising, JPEGMAFIA, Robyn, Tyler, The Creator, Tinashe, and more. The latter two hold a feature on his latest EP “i can’t go outside” was crafted with the help of James Blake at the start of the pandemic shutdown. The ideals of isolation were looming and Tres needed a way to express his feelings. Elements of jazz heighten the already genre layered house beats and take you to a place you have never really been to inside your headphones. His goal was to create a feeling with his music rather than fit himself into anyone’s expectations. The idea of genre has always been a way for people to size down and simplify music but in reality it can be a heavy burden that artists shouldn’t have to adopt. There are no expectations with Channel Tres’ music. He just wants to make something he enjoys. In return we can enjoy that same delicious music alongside him. I hope in the future he continues to be inspired by all that good shit out there. In the meantime he poses in designer threads for high fashion publications and stays living that rock star lifestyle despite the disruption.