Trai Byers Covers Bleu Magazine
The Lord is my shepherd…he know what I want! (Bernie Mac voice)
Trai Byers is gracing the latest issue of Bleu Magazine looking absolutely Man Crush Monday-worthy.
Earlier this month, the “Empire” star had to shut down rumors that he was unhappy on the show and wanted out.
Inside his cover story, Trai opens up about playing the role of Andre Lyon and he also reveals why he hasn’t watched season 2 of the show.
We were presented initially with a very interesting character who didn’t sing, was the underdog, but intelligent and not really conniving outside of the way he had to be for the music industry. Certain things -desperation, being usurped from what he felt was his birthright – illuminated the darkness in him as a means of getting what he needed. That’s not me!
To answer your question: I don’t think I’m anything like Andre. With the spirituality thing, that was something that the writers brought to me as a sort of redemption for him. The spirituality was a part of his coming into his own. The biggest difference between Andre and I is that I am deep into religion and he’s at the beginning of understanding how that applies to his life. At times, playing Andre is a hard journey, but very fulfilling to show a man who’s trying to be a star despite the fact that he’s not a singer, or that no one is rooting for him.
What I think about the second season: as artists in general, we need to keep the bar up. We have a room full of very talented people and we didn’t expect the show to be as massive as it was. Trying to find the formula again has proven to be difficult because now we are caught between “well we must have been doing something right and what do the people want” The people didn’t know what we were writing when we showed them the pilot. All they could do is watch and all we could do is be true to ourselves. Not knowing how they would react which made us ballsier and gutsier and more intent on telling the truth of everybody rather than zooming on what we thought they wanted. I think that we’re learning our lesson.
I don’t watch this season. For me, as an actor, what I value most is not the finished product, it is the process. I love working through the scenes with my fellow actors, trying new things and making new discoveries each take.
There is never more truth to the characters than in that present moment. These are the most exhilarating times for me, because I get to learn. These moments, I feel make me a better actor. I never want to stop learning. I hold these moments as sacred to me, the edit chooses what’s best for the show. I like to remember it all. So I excuse myself from the finished product.
The hardest thing about Empire, for me, is going to those deep dark places repeatedly. I remember doing the boardroom scene in season 1, we literally did it over and over from different angles. You can’t lose the pace, the intention, the urgency, the meaning. I felt like I had to catch lightning in a bottle 20 times in a row. It’s fulfilling, but exhausting. Andre has a lot of those heavy, emotional moments – poor guy. As an actor, it is very cathartic to expel high energy to capture Andre’s torment, but sometimes it can also be difficult.
Trai Byers wouldn’t give any scoop on his engagement to his co-star Grace Gealey, but he did say he was very happy.
I find myself very happy right now. Incredibly happy. God has blessed me immensely with some highs and some lows, some growing pains. It’s about educating me as to what it is that gives Him glory. It’s been a little about his Glory versus my understanding of the world I’m in, kinda like Andre with music and spirituality. I feel inspired to be an agent of love. To tell you, that I’m elevated on an elevator because it’s true. I’m a guy who likes to look you into the future to see where I’ll be so I can work to get there. Brother, I’m fine with today.