We had the good fortune of connecting with Trey Willis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Trey, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Something that really helps me a lot is writing down my goals. What is important to me? Where do I want to be in 20 years? Where do I need to be in 10 years to be on track? 5 years? Etc… What am I doing today that is getting me one step closer to my goals? I try to have a long term perspective and I’m always 20 or 30 years into the future in my head. This one thing alone has probably helped me more than anything in terms of my focus and drive. Another thing that has been massive for me is how I start my day. I need to set the tone right away. I am definitely not a morning person, so I’m already pretty grumpy on a good day. In the past, the first thing I would do when I woke up is look at my phone. If I pick up my phone and see a text that irks me, see the stock or crypto market crashing, see something on the news that gets me riled up, my whole day is usually thrown off. I don’t look at my phone when I wake up now. I get some coffee and get quiet with God. It really sets the tone for me and helps me navigate through stressful moments. This is by far the most important thing I do in my life in general. It really helps me stay grounded.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started The Talent House back in 2013. We offer private music lessons for a variety of instruments- guitar, piano, drums, violin, voice, percussion, saxophone, etc. We also have a recording studio where we record & produce music with the students and/or staff, something I am personally very passionate about. Something I have always focussed on from the very beginning was quality. I have always said that I would rather have a waiting list of people trying to get in, than to just hire anyone just to get the customers in the door. I have very high standards and have managed to recruit a phenomenal staff, and I think that is probably a big reason The Talent House took off so fast. Something I’m really excited about right now is the fruits of our labors are really starting to show. The Talent House is 7 years old this year, and a lot of our students are doing very well in Region/All-State auditions. We also have such a diverse group- some of our students are incredible classical musicians, some are oozing with creativity, and some just love to rock. I’ve personally started working with a few of our students who are writing music, and that has been a lot of fun for me. Out of everything I do musically, being creative in the studio is by far my favorite thing to do. I’ve loved recording and producing songs with them, and I’m excited to see where this portion of The Talent House goes in the future. I honestly didn’t know anything about running a business when we first opened. I just knew I loved music, I loved people, and I loved teaching. I surrounded myself with really smart people, asked a lot of questions, and learned by trial & error. I also tried to start delegating things out that I knew were not my strengths. I think what has helped the business grow so much is my incredible staff, always taking good care of customers, and attention to detail.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The first place I would take a non-Houstonian would definitely have to be a good Tex-Mex place! Lupe Tortilla, Pappasitos, and El Tiempo are a few of my faves. Or maybe just some good, greasy, cheap street tacos. I would have to take them to hear some live music, too. My top choice would be Cezanne. That is in my opinion, the best jazz club in town. They have some amazing players coming through, and the crowd actually goes to listen to the music. The old location had a REALLY cool vibe. They recently moved locations, but I haven’t been to the new spot yet. It’s been so long since I’ve been out that I’m having a hard time thinking of a lot of options. I am being a terrible host right now, and would probably subject them to netflix and youtube videos at home, lol. We could definitely hit up some cool spots in the Heights, where all the cool kids hang.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have to give a shoutout to my parents. They had me at a very young age and didn’t have a lot, but worked their butts off to get to where they are today. They taught me and showed me the value in hard work and dedication.
photo of me not smiling (haha!) by Colton Gatlin photos with me in a hat and/or sunglasses by Colton Gatlin all other photos by Ellen Olive