“The platinum record it’s cool. It’s something that most people will never see, but when you change a life, a platinum record can’t measure up to that.” -Tredell Rener
JEANERETTE, La. (KLFY) — A platinum record is just one of Jeanerette High School’s band director’s crowning achievements. For the last two years, Tredell Rener has been back in his hometown teaching amateurs to create a career. One like his which just brought him a platinum record in May of this year.
“The music industry is cool. I love it to death, but there’s a bigger mission here,” Tredell Rener explained.
For almost 30 years, his alter ego, Big Tray, has rapped and produced tracks in the music industry. Before the end of this school year, he received his highest recognition, a platinum record for the work he orchestrated on the album title single “Through the Storm” by Baton Rouge rapper YoungBoy, Never Broke Again.
But Rener says reaching one million copies sold is not what changed his life. That came in 2019 when his mother called about an opening at Jeanerette High and said that he had to fill it.
“I was going to work for a record label in California. The last thing I wanted to do was come back home,” Rener admitted.
Soured on his hometown by the death of his brother who bankrolled and gave opportunities to Tredell at the start of his career, Mr. Rener initially wrote off his mother’s plea, but that night he had a dream and with it a change of heart.
Rener recalled, “4’o’clock in the morning, something woke me up and say, ‘Send my resume to Jeanerette. Do my will, and I’ll do my work.”
Within hours Jeanerette High principal scheduled an interview and hired him. Rener let record producing take a back seat, and his job as band director became his new legacy.
“He left everything. Like he had a big life. Like he had a huge career, and he came to Jeanerette, and he passed his career down to us,” shared Jeanerette High Senior Ty’Angel Westley who plays clarinet in the band.
Andre Sonnier, a freshman who takes music production lessons from Rener in a band practice room converted into a studio with Rener’s old equipment, added, “I’ve seen what he can do, and it made me motivated. Ya’ know because it makes me believe that I can do anything I put my mind to.”
Rener said he learned true success isn’t a platinum record but lifting others to heights they couldn’t achieve alone.”
“I’ve been in music all my life but never wanted to be a teacher, and here I am teaching and adamant about teaching, like serious about it. Wanting to see these kids do greater than I ever did,” Rener said. “The platinum record it’s cool. It’s something that most people will never see, but when you change a life, a platinum record can’t measure up to that.”
Mr. Rener’s next goal isn’t a diamond record, but to bring Jeanerette’s band back to the top. He’s planning a fundraiser soon to get their marching band back in uniforms.
You can watch the full interview with Tredell Rener in this KLFY Web Extra: