Interview with RnB star Tank: ‘It’s okay to change as long as we respect the past and where that music has come from’
“I’m a wordsmith, I study words for a living,” Tank said so modestly. He is more than just a singer, he is an artist and I use the word ‘artist’ in the strictest sense. His skills and musical ability have seen him pair up with some of RnB finest to form; TGT (Tyrese, Ginuwine & Tank).
On his own, his music encapsulates strong rhythms, smooth vocals and precision in the word choice of every song. As a group, their music, like Tank rightly says, has done more than just reignite the spark in good RnB music. There are no boundaries when it comes to good RnB as long as the value of RnB remains the same. For Tank, music is something he has always wanted to do, something that shook his spirit; he goes on to talk to me about his sound, TGT and the state of RnB in the modern day.
What does music mean to you?
Music is my connection to this world; it’s my purpose for being here. It is my ultimate means of communication and if lives will be changed based on the things that I do in this world, it would be because of music.
Sex, Love & Pain is one of my favourite albums; what was your inspiration behind the album and for songs such as Please Don’t Go
Please Don’t Go was probably my inspiration for the album and being in enough of those situations and actually just writing a song about it. I had that song sitting for about three years and I played it for a lot of people. There were a lot of artists that passed on it and said “Ahh it’s a cool song”, so they started to make me feel as though it was just a cool song. So at the end of my recording process for Sex, Love and Pain I had a couple songs that I wanted to do, I had some studio time and I thought since I had nothing else better to do let me just sing these two songs and Please Don’t Go was one of the songs. I had sent all these songs in that I thought was just super great, everything you hear on Sex, Love & Pain I was like ‘I got it’ [laughs] so I sent Please Don’t go in and I got a call from one of my guys Big Flyn and he was like, “You did it! You just did it, Please Don’t Go is a smash, we are going crazy over here” and 15 weeks later it was number one. I had no idea that those songs were what they were.
The Kings of RnB hit London at Indigo O2 how did it come about? And is there anyone else who you think should have made the line-up for the show?
This is my first time performing with these guys; they have been doing the overseas markets individually and together for quite some time. I was really just thrown in the mix a few months ago. Ginuwine and Tyrese all should have been a part of it, if there is a King of RnB event, then we should be headlining it – it is what it is. But you know, they called me and asked would I like headlining with Joe and I said yes – Joe is my guy. So it was easy. The show has been amazing.
How did TGT meet? And what made you all realise that you had to work together?
You know what’s crazy. Well me and Ginuwine we were on tour, and every time he sings Pony, I sing background; it’s an automatic default setting for me when that song comes on. I’m Tank and I’ll still sing background for Ginuwine. [Laughs] So we were just toying around with the idea of being in a group since every night I would just back him up and sing with him and we were like we should really do it. The only other person it made sense to be I a group with us was Tyrese because were all friends. And so when you’re building something like that and you’re trying to accomplish what we are trying to accomplish, you need a great foundation, because it is already difficult trying to bring three men together, but now were trying to bring three movements, three different sets of business managers, managers, record companies, contracts. It’s madness and so we needed to have a foundation which we could all fall back on if all goes bad we could all come together in the room as friends and say, ‘This isn’t right’ and we could have those conversations and it would not be personal, it would just be us as friends and as brothers talking. So the fact that we had that, if we didn’t have that, we would have never have made it to the point where we could drop an album. I can tell you that for sure – ever.
What would you say your vision is for the group?
We had our own vision, our own desire for it but I think it has taken a shape of its own. And we want it to really ignite the spark in good RnB music and this is really what we wanted to do, we wanted to have fun doing it. But I think what has happened is that the music, our movement, has done more than just reignite the spark in just music even the people that want to do that type of music, even the people that have abandoned and felt like it wasn’t worth a whole lot, now you have our peers saying thank you to us. And now you have the kids who wanted to do RnB but just weren’t sure, saying they are going to sing and they are going to be talented and were going to use our gifts and it’s going to be okay and acceptable.
What are your thoughts on the genre of RnB in the time we are living in now, do you think that is has changed?
Yes it has changed. I think that it has evolved. But when I started doing RnB it was different from what my parents listened to and they would tell me “You’re not doing real RnB” and probably the people who came before me, someone told them “You’re not doing real RnB” [laughs] evolution is everything, but I think it’s about maintaining the true sentiment of what RnB is and that’s just the heartfelt moments, those real life situations that you put into music and on paper and deliver them as such. As long as we maintain that value, it’s okay to have evolution, its okay to change as long as we respect the past and where that music has come from.
What artists are you listening to right now
I’m listening to Drake and I bought the Justin Timberlake album.
Finally can you finish these sentences…
The world needs: Love
The person I want to be most proud of me is: My daughters
I’m willing to forgive: Everyone
Music is: My life
I want my legacy to be: Hard work and dedication
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