Trey Lorenz, the hot young R&B crooner, recalls the time about two years ago when he got his big break by nearly dozing off late one night in a New York studio.
To keep from falling asleep while waiting for a buddy who was auditioning for Mariah Carey, Lorenz, then a college student and a struggling artist, started singing.
"I was doing anything to stay awake," says Lorenz, whose sleek, pop/R&B ballad single, "Someone to Hold," was recently in the pop Top 20.
"I was waiting for my friend because I was afraid to take the subway alone," the 23-year-old Florence, S.C., native says. "That was the first time Mariah heard me sing. She noticed that I had good range, but I was just trying to stay awake, not make an impression."
But Lorenz did impress Carey with his soulful vocals--and she remembered him a few months later when she needed a backup singer who could handle some very high notes.
After utilizing him on her recordings and in television appearances, Carey arranged for Lorenz to have an audition that led to a contract with Epic Records. Eventually, Carey co-produced most of the young singer's debut album, "Trey Lorenz." She also co-wrote two of the songs and sang backup on five, including the hit.
"Mariah and I like the same music--gospel and R&B," says Lorenz, a mile-a-minute conversationalist. "We're the kind of friends who can work together in the studio without fighting all the time. She's been like my guardian angel."
For Carey's highly successful early '92 "MTV Unplugged" appearance and album, Lorenz dueted with her on her hit remake of "I'll Be There," the Jackson 5 oldie.
To capitalize on the buzz created by the single and TV show, Epic released Lorenz's debut album in October, several months ahead of the scheduled date.
A recording career was Lorenz's plan ever since he was a youngster singing in church and listening to Motown oldies. His parents, though, had other ideas. They wanted him to get a college education. He went after both goals. Even while pursuing his singing career, he continued his education, graduating last year with a degree in advertising from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
"I can't imagine life without singing," Lorenz says. "But my parents were right. This is a fickle business. It's nice to know I can fall flat on my face and then bounce up into another career."