Born in Louisiana in 1970 and raised in Baton Rouge, Troy first started singing in the Starhill Baptist Church choir at the age of five. Already he was an orphan of sorts. His father died in a tragic car accident when Troy was three; his mother was clinically depressed and living in an institution during most of his childhood. His paternal grandparents Edna Mae, a respected gospel singer, and Henry, raised Troy. They were the first to recognize his musical talent. Edna Mae sent him to school to learn to play the several instruments, including the sousaphone and the guitar, but balked when she heard him play the blues, a genre she still thought of as “the devil’s music.”
It wasn’t long before Troy was sneaking out of the house at night to hang with the late harmonica master Raful Neal, who had famously played with Buddy Guy in the blues band The Clouds, and jam at local clubs like Tabby’s Blues Box, Byron’s and Soweto’s. Customers were so taken with his youthful appearance the nicknamed him “baby face.” He may have been young, but he’s always claimed to have an “old soul.” In fact, he says with a smile that he’s really 84. Troy was a huge Prince fan in high school. He dressed like the Purple One in high school, even thought of himself as a Southern version of the Minnesota superstar. He attacked songs with an aggressive style that earned him another moniker—Troy Turner, guitar burner.