HomeA Cappella Origins: An Interview With Troy Horne

Evan Feist's picture

Despite a laundry list of impressive performances and a resume chock full of accomplishments and appearances, Troy Horne is one of the most down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet. Which is a good thing, because his deep bass voice can be somewhat intimidating.  So what exactly has Troy done?  Where to start? He’s appeared on Star Search, starred in over a dozen musicals (most recently as Tom Collins in RENT on Broadway), and sang with the wildly popular House Jacks.  

Troy has also spent time traveling the world as a singer and songwriter, performing in places like Vienna’s City Hall and Universal Studios, Japan. Troy has written for artists such as Boomkat and Deborah Cox.  Also, he has appeared on multiple records as a lead and background singer.  His voice also can be heard on television and film soundtracks including, “All About You”, “America’s Next Top Model”, Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel, and “Weeds”.  Plus, countless jingles from Gillette to Pillsbury.  

Evan Feist:
Firstly, can you please tell us about your experience with the House Jacks?

Troy Horne: My experience with the House Jacks was absolutely the best experience you could ever have with any group anywhere!  I would say that the Jacks, as they are affectionately called, are real pros.  I mean, can you say zero to sixty?  Within my first year with the Jacks, I was touring Japan and Europe!  It was kind of like being drafted by the Steelers.  You are immediately part of the best team in the game.  So you better show up!  I think I held my own.  I think.

EF: With very little research, the Interweb shows that you are quite the Renaissance Man.  How do you manage to handle acting, singing, managing, writing, just to name a few?

TH: I think the best way to answer this question is to say you handle it in pieces. Every day you do a little. Every day you get a little better at the things you do. You don't try to do it all at once. That doesn't work. Believe me, I have tried. 

EF: You’ve done some incredible things in your life and continue to give back to your Coloradian community.  Would you mind telling us about some of the projects you’ve been involved in? (ie AuditionBetter and/or Short Film Camp for Kids)

TH: While I was doing RENT on Broadway, I decided that I wanted to show other actors and singers that you can do it too and make a great living doing what you love.  I will never forget it.  I was on stage singing "No Day But Today" in the life support scene and that little voice whispered, "Hey, so now what do you want to do with your life?”  And the answer came back, "Show other performers how to do this."  

So, I left the show and opened AuditionBetter Acting Studio online at www.auditionbetter.com. Like the plug? :-) No seriously. When I was a kid and wanted to be a performer, my folks would tell me, “Troy, just go out and sing a lot.  Someone will discover you."  Well as we all know, that is not how it works.  So, I wanted to make sure that the next person would have a resource to show them how to do it.  I hope that I can make it that much easier for the next generation of actors, the young and the blessed to have lived longer. I seem to be getting closer to the latter group. It's a nice group to be a part of. A little less guessing and a lot more experience. HA!

EF: How can we get involved in helping out in a similar way?

TH: I think the best thing that you can do is be a mentor to anyone who asks for your help.  They usually are not that far away.  The funny thing about helping others is that you end up helping yourself. I mean through teaching or mentoring, you end up remembering things.  Things that you sometimes find out that you should be doing in your own life. 

EF: In my internet scanning (stalking) I came across a note you wrote to Mr. Quincy Jones, on his website, saying that you were creating “a positive outlet for kids and adults who wanted to reach those goals and didn’t know how to”.  Did you ever get a response?

TH: Nah. You know, that is a funny story. I was one phone call away from meeting Mr. Jones when I lived in LA. I missed my friend’s phone call and the chance to meet Mr. Jones. The same thing happened with me and Tony Dungy.  I can't complain. I attached the message to prove it. Don't ask why I have it.  I guess I was in shock when I heard it. Life is GREAT!

EF: How can we get involved in such efforts?

TH: I think that the best thing that you can do is be a voice in your community.  I think that we often think of ways to take over the world and sometimes we forget that we have to start at home. So I would say find a middle school or a high school or a little cousin, sister or brother who is looking to do what you are doing and help them do it. John Mayer wrote, "I am bigger than my body gives me credit for." I think he is on to something.

EF: Can you tell us a bit about the Home Free Vocal Band?

TH: The Home Free guys are a really great group of guys.  Chris, Rob, Adam, and Matt are truly dedicated to what they do and if they keep it up they will be one of the groups that the a cappella world will look up to. They have a great work ethic and they are a lot of fun to be around and they are a blast to perform with. 

EF: How is/was the transition to Broadway?  Can you tell us a little bit about your preparation/rehearsals/any interesting stuff regarding RENT?

TH: Well, what happens on Broadway stays on Broadway. Nah, just kidding. I always wanted to say that and never had an opportunity to use it. Sorry, you are the lucky victim. Seriously though, ummmm, preparation for Broadway was more mental than anything.  I know it sounds funny but the only difference between people on Broadway and people not on Broadway is that people on Broadway believe that they are supposed to be there.  At this level we are all talented singers, ya know.  The rest is your mindset. 

EF: What are you up to these days?  Do you plan to release more albums?  Concerts?  A cappella-ness?  What can we expect (and anticipate) from Troy Horne in the (near) future?

TH: These days, I am up to working with my non-profit. Yet another dream of mine that won't wait. www.Onebug.org is my non-profit. It is a non-profit multimedia company that produces programming that exposes the world to people that they normally would not have a chance to be exposed to.  The mission is to eradicate fear and hate and to promote understanding through great media.  

Right now we are putting together a fund drive where we are asking people to donate one dollar a month to our oneness project. If one dollar a month is too much we are also looking for songs, plays, scripts, art etc. that promote oneness. The oneness project is going to then promote this art throughout the world and in turn promote oneness and peace.

I would really love it if people would help us spread the word about www.onebug.org. Join our Facebook group or follow us on Twitter, etc.  We are still growing, but I guarantee you this is a movement that you will want to say I was a part of in the beginning before it was popular. www.Onebug.org

Thanks for taking the time to interview me, Evan. I am truly honored.

About the author:
Evan Feist has been composing, arranging, teaching, and singing a cappella music and vocal percussion for over eight years and has his Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Composition and Arts Management from SUNY Purchase's Conservatory of Music and is working towards his Master' Degree in Music Education at Columbia University, Teacher's College.  He has created and managed many successful groups, such as the A Cappella Innovations’ honored Choral Pleasure, SUNY Purchase Soul Voices, and the Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK Honors Choir.  Evan is the founder and president of Oven Feast Productions, and the business manager of Stacks of Wax Records, currently based out of Jersville Studios. He dabbles in all things musical and plays the piano, drums, percussion, trumpet, shofar, bass, and guitar.  Evan is currently building a collegiate mixed a cappella group in NYC (open to ALL students in the area)

Other interviews: Sean Altman, http://www.casa.org/node/6256