Em­pire

TV Plus (South Africa) - - 17 FEBRUARY -

Trai By­ers may play the only non-singing son in the Lyon fam­ily on Em­pire (2015cur­rent) but the 32-year-old can ac­tu­ally belt out a tune. While you won’t see his Em­pire char­ac­ter An­dre sign­ing, Trai hit the right notes in 2015 when he sang mu­sic icon Ste­vie Won­der’s 1980 song Lately at an Em­pire press event.

Trai is the el­dest of six kids and his fam­ily moved around a lot due to his dad’s job in the US Air­force. From 1989 to 1991, the By­ers fam­ily lived in the Philip­pines and even had to be evac­u­ated in 1991 when vol­cano Mount Pi­natubo erupted. His strict mom wanted him to set an ex­am­ple for his sib­lings and in­sisted that he study for at least two years at a ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion. Trai loved learn­ing so much that he spent 10 years study­ing – two years at a small col­lege, three at the Univer­sity Of Kansas, two at The Amer­i­can Mu­si­cal And Dra­matic Academy, and a fi­nal three at Yale Univer­sity where he grad­u­ated in 2011 with a Masters in Fine Arts. He’s worked with Ter­rence Howard – who plays his Em­pire dad Lu­cious – be­fore. Sort of. Trai was a back­ground ex­tra in the 2011 drama film Boy­cott – Ter­rence had one of the lead roles. Trai is good friends with Em­pire co-stars Jussie Smol­lett (Ja­mal) and Ter­rence. Says Trai, “Jussie and I would go out and au­di­tion for some of the same stuff. Jussie and I are pretty tight. I keep my dis­tance a lit­tle bit for the craft though. It’s just a process.” Em­pire is also where Trai found his fu­ture wife. He and Grace Gealey (Anika) got en­gaged on 28 July 2015. Trai’s put his toned body to good use as a model. He signed with famed Wil­helmina Modelling Agency in Septem­ber 2015.

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