eeC82A5362v eeC82A5362v

Interview: Tank Talks Music, Matters of the Heart and Being 'Stronger'

Tank Vixen Chat

Tank needs no introduction. The R&B singer we first saw over ten years ago rocking baby blue sweats and a white bandana, is back tougher than ever with his theme-following sixth studio album, Stronger. This is apparent in his latest single “You’re My Star,” which oozes a Michael Jackson flavor with its funky melody and danceable beat.

“This music is more retro, more of the authentic sound that I kind of fell in love with," he said. "You know, the kind of music that designed me as an artist, singer, songwriter and producer. For the most part, I’m really good at just doing good music. The trendy stuff, I mean I can do that I guess, but for this album I wanted to connect with my space in life.” We were also surprised to find out a few more interesting tidbits about the hunky crooner, like being big into dancing at one point in his life (which we clearly notice in the “You’re My Star” video). He impressed us with quite a few moves. Who knew?

Tank got candid with us around the Vixen headquarters about the inspiration behind the tracks on his new album, his new fitness movement “Stronger U” and unreciprocated love. Grab some popcorn and read up on this rhythm 'n' blues veteran’s rocky journey with relationships and being in an ever-changing music industry as he breaks down some of our favorite songs on the album.

All Photo Credits: Stacy-Ann Ellis

eeC82A5362v

Vibe Vixen: “You’re My Star” is a very feel-good and happy track. Is there someone special in your life that inspired this song?
Tank: No one inspired the song. When I was making the song, I really just wanted to make something for everybody who is happy or in love. I also wanted to inspire people to be happy or in love. The fact that I am happy or not in love helps (laughs). The song does have some authenticity and it was designed for that moment; those things that we don’t have any more you know what I mean? We don’t have those “happy in love” songs where we are celebrating or appreciating it for what it is, so I wanted to go back to that.

Is this the new Tank or will you be making more of that classic R&B we're already accustomed to?
I would say that this song is a version of Tank. It’s something that people haven’t heard from me a lot and it’s showing people the diversity of me. I can do a lot of things and this is one of those things.

“Nobody Better” discusses of someone who claims that there no woman in his life better than her. What makes a woman number one in yours?
I guess her being my one (laughs). First of all, let’s start with my daughters.

How many do you have?
I have three daughters. If you’re my daughter, you are definitely number one off top, you feel me? However, I love a spiritual woman, a woman who is somewhat health conscious and someone who can help my house [become] a home. As it pertains to a career, as it pertains to money and all this other stuff, those things are already in place so I want somebody who is able to care for the spirit, care for the heart, care for the mind and take the stresses of the world away. In other words, help alleviate the stress and get it off your shoulders. That is somebody who could be number one.

“Dance with Me” has a disco feel that is reminiscent of 70s dance songs. Are you a party guy or the laid-back type?
I like to have fun. I like to get out there and move my feet and clap my hands. This is a good moment because it’s not like I’m about to be a Chris Brown but we out there just having a good time, two-stepping and that type of thing. Everybody can relate to that and everybody can have a good time doing that.

eeC82A5340v

Were you a party person when you were younger?
Absolutely. I used to dance when I was in middle and high school. I used to get it.

What kind of dances?
That old-school stuff like the running man. All the cool dances we got now, like crumping, nae-nae, and all that other stuff is a different style. Not that I can’t do any because I can definitely rock some of those as well. I like that the new generation is taking it back to a time when dancing was a lot more fun.

What’s something that you feel like you’ve got to have in a female like you reference in your track “Gotta Have it”?
It’s basically a take on the relationship. When you are interacting with someone that you’re very into, you can’t get enough of it. When you’re not there you want them there, when they’re not on the phone you want to call. It’s that feeling where you’ve gotta have her and this song speaks on the effects of having her and why I always want her.

“Missing You” talks about missing a woman who is no longer in a guy’s life. What’s a lesson you’ve learned from heartbreak?
I learned that it’s not something that you want to hide from. It’s not something that you don’t want to make yourself available to. You’ll only truly be heartbroken if you give your heart, give away lov, and you truly put yourself in a position to lose something. Far too many times we don’t, and this makes it so easy to walk away from things because our heart is not all the way in it. I’ve learned from heartbreak that it is bad but it’s not that bad. It’s a part of life so you grow and you learn from every heartbreak that you experience.

Your next song is titled “Same Way.” What are some things that you’ve done in your career in the past that you wouldn’t do the same way?
I wouldn’t have taken things so personally in the beginning of my career. I was mad about a lot of things and it’s because I just didn’t understand that everybody isn’t like me. Everybody doesn’t appreciate it or value it. For some people it’s just business and whatever they have to do to get a dollar, they’ll do it. I was raised with a few more morals so money wasn’t always my motivation and it’s hard for me to look at things like that. I just love to do what I do and I thought that everybody was doing this for the love but that’s just not the case. If I could go back I would be a little less personal, a little less loving to those who didn’t deserve it, and I would’ve been more about my business.

“Hope This Makes You Love Me” hits home for a lot of us. Have you ever loved someone but the feelings weren’t reciprocated?
Yeah, of course, that is where the song comes from. It’s an honest feeling. You love somebody and shoot, let’s go to the point where you’re on the verge of losing it; you’re fighting hard to keep it and maybe that person has already moved on. They’ve already decided in their hearts that this part is over but for you it’s not. So you go through all these different dynamics of trying to find ways to rekindle that and bring that back to life in hopes that somebody will love you the same way that you love them. It’s something that we all go through and unconsciously we find ourselves out there saying “What am I doing?” It’s for love, though, so that’s not a bad thing.

eeC82A5366v

You started a “Stronger U” movement in conjunction with the album. Tell us more about that and how Vixens can get involved.

“Stronger U” is spiritual encouragement, mental encouragement and all of the above. It’s also free so join and enjoy yourself. We’ve got t-shirts, events and prizes, so follow me on my social media accounts like Twitter and Instagram for info.

Does having daughters effect you, being that you are a considered sex symbol?
Definitely. I mean you want to have some accountability to your children. You have to be mindful of the example that you’re setting for them and have something for them to look up to when it comes to looking for a boyfriend or a husband you know? You want to set those standards within your own household.

Speaking of having daughters, I’m sure they listen to a lot of the R&B out right now like your Chris Browns and August Alsinas.
Kind of, but not really.

Why is that?
We kind of do our best to try to censor some of these things because music is programming. Kids get it into their system and they begin to act it out. So I try to monitor what they listen to.

How do you manage after being in the industry for so long to say relevant when there are so many R&B artists that are not talking about the same things that they were ten years ago?
I don’t know, maybe it’s because I don’t sing about the same things that everyone else is right now. The thing that I do, you can only get from me. I hear what’s out and I make sure sonically I’m in the right place, lyrically and vocally. I also keep my ear to what’s coming in the future and that’s it because you’ve got to compete. You have to fight for it and thankfully I’m still in a space where I can be the best and can’t anyone beat me.

Do you listen to any new artists?
Oh yeah, you’ve got to. If you want to be competitive you’ve got to have your ears to the streets and you have to know what they’re doing. Then you have to figure out whether you want to do it better or different, so I stay connected.

What’s currently rotating on your daily playlist or what does your iPod sound like right now?
You wouldn’t believe my iPod. I listen to Rick Ross, Jeezy and all the trap music. I got the Trigga on play too. My playlist has no bearing on the music that I actually make but like I said, I just like to keep my ear to the streets and be abreast of what’s going on. I also like to turn up when need be so I gotta be prepared. I have to rehearse my turn up on a daily!

Any last words?
Thank you for having me.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

Continue Reading
Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
Getty Images

BET To Unveil Edible Billboard For 'Being Mary Jane' Wedding Finale

As Being Mary Jane comes to an end, BET is willing to offer fans a taste of what's to come in the series finale.

The network has enlisted the help of Ayesha Curry, celebrity cook and cookbook author, to create an edible billboard that also doubles as a wedding cake. The sweet treat will commemorate Mary Jane's (played by Gabrielle Union) nuptials in the two-hour series finale.

On April 20 from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal in New York, fans will be presented with the edible billboard. At the intersection of Ashland Place and Hanson Place, the closer Being Mary Jane enthusiasts get to the billboard the quicker they'll notice that the four-tiered wedding cake is created from individual boxes, each containing a slice of Curry's prized wedding cake.

All fans have to do is pull a box from the billboard, snap a picture for the 'Gram, take a bite and enjoy. Although lovers of the show won't be able to celebrate with Mary Jane herself, biting into a slice of her wedding cake, for free, is the next best thing.

Don't forget to tune into the series finale of Being Mary Jane on Tues. (April 23) at 8/7 c.

Also, check out what's to come on the series of Being Mary Jane below.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

Continue Reading
The North Face

Ella Mai On The North Face's 'Explore Mode' Campaign, New Music And Living In The Moment

Ella Mai is in her own age of exploration. Her eponymous debut album scored her a platinum plaque with her breakout hit, "Boo'd Up" earning her a Grammy for Best R&B Song. But the accolades aren't driving her creative path. The arc in her compass is all about the places she's traveled, the people she's met and the lessons learned along the way.

"To be honest, personally, exploration is like growth. I feel like if you don't explore new things, whether it's going outside, meeting people or trying new food, you won't ever grow because you're just stuck in your little comfort zone which can be super scary to come out of," she tells VIBE at The North Face's Explore Mode event in New York on Monday (April 15). The singer is one of three women (including model-activist Gabrielle Richardson and chef Angela Dimayuga) who teamed up with the brand to share a message of enjoying the outside world without digital confinement and the global initiative to make Earth Day a national holiday.

The London native's urge to explore came in handy over the weekend when she performed in the brisk desert of Coachella. Inspired by artists like Rihanna and Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mai helped fans enjoy the hazy sunset as she performed hits like "Trip" and her latest No. 1 song, "Shot Clock."

"It's such a good feeling, especially when it comes to radio," she shared about her track reaching No. 1 on the airplay chart. "I wasn't even sure if people listened to the radio because people have so much access to streaming platforms, but obviously having all three of my singles from my debut album, go number one on urban radio is incredible."

That energy was brought to the Coachella stage with the festival being her biggest artistic exploration so far.

"My favorite part of the performance would have to be when I performed "Naked" and because it was dark, and I performed when the sun went down, I couldn't see how far the crowd actually went back. But during "Naked," it was such an intimate moment I asked everyone to put their lights up (phones) and when I saw how far it went back I was like, "Woah." That moment sealed it for me."

"Even there were two people in the audience, I still would've done my best," she added. "But just to see the crowd be so engaged, even if they didn't know the music, was a really good feeling. I had so much fun."

As the festival energy in Indio, Calif. continued to thrive, another rested on the streets of Los Angeles following the loss of Nipsey Hussle. With the singer having ties to those close to the rapper like DJ Mustard, she says the shift in the city was hard to ignore.

"As weird as it sounds, you felt it," she said. "Even in the weather, it was super hot and then everyone got the news and it started raining. Just a weird energy shift." As a new L.A. resident, the singer says Nipsey's influence cannot be denied.

"I feel like the energy shift went both ways; everyone was really sad, grieving and mourning but everyone feels more inspired by what he was doing that they want to go out and do something and change in their community. It's still a very touchy subject in L.A., especially the people that I'm around since they were very close to him. I think everyone is super inspired to do better and try to be more like him, which is great to see. YG's whole set at Coachella was dedicated to him, I know Khalid had a dedication to Mac Miller. Everyone is super aware of what Nipsey was trying to do and how he wanted to change the world."

Engaging in The North Face's mission to explore seemed to be in the cards for Mai. Like many of us, Mai was familiar with the brand's effective coolness factor. "I remember running home and telling my mom that I needed a Jester Backpack because my cousin had one as well, and it's similar to the other stories, I wanted to be like my older cousin (laughs) so my mom ended up getting me one." But there's also the incentive to showcase the importance of stepping away from the phone screens and into leafy green forests.

"I'm such a live-in-the-moment person," she says of her lack of identity on social media. While she might share a thought or two on social media, Mai is interested in appreciating the world around her. "I feel like everyone is so consumed about documenting the day, you don't really get to live the day. You just watch it back but I like to have the memories in my head. Of course, sometimes, I'll take out my phone but I try to live in the moment as much as possible."

Part of that mission is ensuring Earth Day is celebrated the right way. With the support of Mai, Richardson, and Dimayuga, The North Face officially launched a petition to make Earth Day a national holiday.

“The North Face is no stranger to exploration and this Earth Day we are proud to join our partners and fellow explorers in a global effort to make Earth Day a national holiday,” said Global General Manager of Lifestyle at The North Face, Tim Bantle. “We believe that when people take time to appreciate the Earth, they feel more connected to it and are more likely to protect it. Explore Mode urges us to unplug from our digital lives to connect in real life to the world, each other, and ourselves in the effort to move the world forward.”

Mai hasn't hit her all of her exploration goals just yet. "I really want to go to Indonesia or Bali," she said. "That's one of my Bucket List places I really, really, really wanna go." For her essentials, the singer knows she has to bring along a windbreaker set and of course, a jester backpack. "I think the backpack is the most important thing."

In addition to a few trips around the globe, one destination includes the studio for new music. While she hasn't had time to lock down a moment to record, the inspiration is sizzling.

"When I work in the studio, I like to be like there for a good amount of time," she explains. "I like to block off two to three weeks at a time, I don't like to go to different studios and different places, it's just a comfort thing but I'm very excited to get back cause I have a lot of talk about. I've seen so many different places and met so many new people and a lot that I didn't get to experience last year."

Learn more about The North Face's petition for Earth Day here.

Continue Reading

Top Stories