- Judson Independent School District
Wagner Alumni Tré Nation paving his way through the music industry
From professional athletes to authors, politicians and community leaders, the district’s classrooms have been home to many student success stories.
Tré Nation, alumni of Wagner High School, is one of those success stories.
“It’s absolutely surreal,” Nation said. “It feels like a fairy tale and I’m just riding it, trying to be present.”
He is the lead singer of Ghost Hounds, a blues rock band that recently opened up for The Rolling Stones in Europe. They played in Amsterdam on June 13, Bern on June 17, and Milan on June 21. According to the press release, they “deliver a stellar live performance, playing an array of songs.”
Even with his success, it’s clear that Nation hasn’t forgotten where he came from. He is a true product of San Antonio’s Northeast side, having attended numerous Judson ISD schools.
“I went to Woodlake Hills Middle School and stayed in that area. I went to Judson and [graduated from] Wagner. And I ended up going to UTSA,” Nation said.
Although he wasn’t aware of it then, he was planting the seeds of his future in music when he was here.
“I grew up in the church and started writing and performing my own gospel music when I was 13,” Nation said. “I was writing my own music and performing around the city and state. And in my senior year, I started my own record label. My friend and I had three artists and put on shows at churches.”
When he was 23, he joined an alternative rock band called Attica, which doubled as a Maroon 5 cover band.
“All of it seemed like a natural thing,” Nation said. “I believe that everyone creates their own reality and this was just me doing it for myself.”
Although very successful in his career, he still feels there is so much more to do.
“There’s nowhere to actually ‘make it.’ Because the ultimate happiness doesn’t come from success or outside stimulus, it really is just internal and you can drop into it at any time, that’s making it. Everything everyone does is about making yourself feel good and enjoy what you’re doing.”
Now, he is a part of Ghost Hounds, a “rock ‘n’ roll band with a bluesy bent that’s fiery enough for your vinyl collection and fresh enough to light up any 21st-century festival.” The group is made up of Nation on vocals, Johnny Baab on guitar, Thomas Tull on guitar, Bennett Miller on bass, Blaise Lanzetta on drums, and Joe Munroe on keys. They released their full-length debut, Roses Are Black in 2019. Their single, “Bad News” appeared in the blockbuster adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog. Throughout the year, they opened for Bob Seger on his final tour and the Rolling Stones at FedEx Field in Washington D.C.
On May 13, 2022, the band released their new blues album, You Broke Me featuring originals such as, "Baby We’re Through,” as well as electric covers like “Smokestack Lightning.” The group opened up for Garth Brooks in Cincinnati a day later and had the opportunity to play at the inaugural Maple House Music + Arts Festival in Pittsburgh, PA on May 21st, 2022.
There’s no doubt Nation has been successful.
But when asked about which teacher influenced his life the most, his face lit up when he talked about Ms. Stefanie Morris, his 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Woodlake, Ms. Angelia Pennington, and Ms. Ilene Arbetter, his Spanish teacher at Judson High School.
“There was a club at Judson about inclusion. The teacher that introduced me to that was Ilene Arbetter. I was 16 and feeling so conflicted about my sexuality because I grew up in church. That club saved my life. She would wake up to take me to school [to make sure I stayed in school.] She would sing ‘Que Sera sera.’ She’s an amazing woman,” Nation said.
Tré Nation is a perfect example of the success stories that will come after many Judson ISD students leave our classrooms. The seeds are planted along the way. Because from Woodlake to Wagner, to Pittsburg and Amsterdam, Nation is proving that with hard work and dedication to what you love, once you graduate from Judson ISD, the sky is the limit.
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