Singer, Songwriter and Producer Tank has been in the music game for over 20 years. As a songwriter, he's written songs for Aaliyah, Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, Pitbull and more. As a singer, he's currently on tour while awaiting the release of his 8th solo album entitled Savage which is set to drop on September 29th. So when I found out he was hitting Cleveland, I had to snag an interview with him and since he's so popular on my social media accounts I decided to let the fans ask the questions.
Samantha and Ashley both asked: Do you have any upcoming collaborations, new movie roles and would you consider doing a Tyler Perry play and/or film?
Tank: We're auditioning and doing all of this cool stuff so alot of times when something sticks, that's when it happens. We're also in the process of kind of creating our own content for TV and film so that's happening as well. In terms of Tyler Perry, of course I mean c'mon now. Who wouldn't want to work with Tyler Perry? [laughs] He's cooking on so many different levels man, to be involved with a guy like that would be just amazing. He and I have sat and talked about some things for the future so something like that could be foreshadowing and something dope could really come from that.
Lytwanna asked: How do you keep your sound so fresh and stay relevant with the introduction of new artists in the industry?
Tank: You have to stay in it. Me and my lady always get into it because she's like, "Why you always going to the club?" and I'm like "cause that's where it's at." I gotta be IN it. I gotta know what the new song is that everyone's going crazy over and I gotta know what the fashion's like. In order to be current and to even drive the current you gotta be in the water. You can't be standing on the sand and watching everybody surf and think that you're gonna understand the wave. You gotta be apart of it and be in it. I think me kinda staying in that space and staying connected to the young artists as well as the older artists, it gives me an advantage. It keeps me fresh and it keeps me in the space where people are always feeling like I'm just coming out for the first time.
James wants to know: How much of your public persona is the real Tank and how much is for the industry (he said he's seen a few interviews and your cockiness was off the charts)?
Tank: No, I didn't have to create a character in order to be myself in the industry. That was the beauty .. the silver lining in my career. I made it with a record about myself. I made it a record that was word for word everything that happened in a real situation. Once I saw that, I said, "Oh, I just have to write my life huh?" and they were like, "yeah, if you want to" and I was like "ok". So I think when you say the cockiness or the confidence; it comes with success, it comes with being sure of what you're doing and who you are and it being validated by it actually working. So in 17-20 years later, I have a clear understanding and I'm very sure of what I do and what I do well. It's just me and everything has its natural evolution, it's natural growth process. I'm just living life for the past 20 years and this is who I am.
Derrick wants to know: What was it like working with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony?
Tank: It was a dream come true. Ever since 1997 and that Budweiser Superfest that we headlined; my first r&b/hip-hop tour experience ever in life. They were the guys. I got to watch them every night and backstage with them, seeing it all unfold and happen. Back then I said to myself, one day I'm going to do a song with these guys [Bone Thugs-N-Harmony] and imma be in such a cool place their gonna be like, "man, let's do a song with Tank". Even though it is 20 years later, it still feels like this is when it was supposed to happen, this is the right time, this is the moment that I prayed for. I really reflected and thanked God for it because those prayers were heard, He answered and delivered. I told Bone, I don't take this moment for granted and I don't. Like this isn't just a feature or a collaboration; this is prayers being answered. So I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
From the OH: Savage is your 8th solo record? How does Savage compare with Sex Love & Pain II?
Tank: Savage actually picks up where Sex Love and Pain II left off. It actually picks up where She With the Sh*t, I Love Ya, and F**kin Wit Me left off. It's like here's a complete body of work with those moments. It's the aggressive fight for position that I feel my style of r&b needs in order to be current, in order to be alive, in order to be heard. It's gotta be packaged up in a way that yanno the kids can listen and still be inspired but not feel like they're completely taken out of their element or completely taken off of the wave they are already on. So we're kinda taking my style of r&b and meeting everyone where they are right now .. and it's kinda working [laughs].
From the OH: This year for your Savage Tour; you've been reaching out and giving independent artists an opportunity to open up for you in every city. What made you decide to go that route?
Tank: They call me the General of R&B and alot of people have started calling me the King of R&B which I'm just like .. ok whatever with the titles but I just feel like if I'm going to be in a space where I'm going to be somewhat responsible for keeping our style of r&b alive then I have to empower the next generation of r&b artists. I have to give room and shine the spotlight on what's to come in r&b. The young kids grinding in their city, the young kids grinding in their neighborhoods, the young kids grinding in their schools trying to figure out when they are going to get their shot to be the next r&b singer, songwriter, artist, or producer. It's not everybody's job or everybody's position to do that but I feel like it's mine though. So with this tour, it was a perfect opportunity to say "here's your moment". Even the people that don't get an opportunity to be on the stage, the fact that they are part of this moment they are getting the opportunity to be seen by a whole lot of people and be recognized. People in their areas are reaching out and supporting these local acts. The thing that you'd be surprised about is, it's not just the artists themselves reaching out to me for these opening slots, it's people around them. You'll have one local r&b act that will have like fifty people reach out to me like "you gotta use this guy, he's dope, he's awesome, he's r&b and he's earned it". That's the fire we wanted to ignite. We wanted to get people excited about their r&b, about the r&b that belongs to them and giving it an opportunity to be seen on that Savage Tour stage. I just think people deserve that opportunity for r&b. I was just an opportunity away, that's the difference between my career and somebody that's not where I am. Ginuwine gave me that opportunity, Aaliyah gave me that opportunity and it's only right that I give that back.
Savage Tour Dates
September 5th - Nashville, TN @ City Winery
September 6th - Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre
September 9th - New York, NY @ BB Kings
September 10th - Boston, MA @ House of Blues
September 12th - Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room
September 13th - Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
September 17th - Mobile, AL @ Soul Kitchen
September 19th - Augusta, GA @ Sky City
September 21st - Birmingham, AL @ Work Play
September 22nd - Jackson, MS @ The Hideaway
September 23rd - Little Rock, AR @ Metroplex
September 24th - Memphis, TN @ New Daisy Theatre
September 26th - Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart's
September 27th - Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater