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

Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
KMazur/WireImage

Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

Continue Reading
Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

Continue Reading
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

Continue Reading

Top Stories