Tank, the multi talented US R&B singer, songwriter and producer recently hit UK soil for the Kings Of R&B tour.
Having performed alongside fellow slow jam hit makers Joe, 112 and Jagged Edge for the sold out London date, I caught up with the power vocalist and talked about his inspiration, his un-conventional R&B name and how he is always working to out-do his own success.First of all congratulations on your collaboration project with Tyrese and Ginuwine,TGT: 3 Kings becoming the #1 R&B album in the U.S!Thank you, we fought for it, and we got it!Your stage name Tank is not associated with Love, Sex or Relationships how did that come about? It was a nickname as a baby, I used to run around and try to fight everybody!
It started out as Tankhead and they just shortened it to Tank.
I honestly didn't think I would come out as an artist as Tank, I thought my name; Durrell would be the artist name, but then the label was like "No! we like Tank"!Who inspired you?My cousin actually inspired me. He went to Birklee College of Music. When I was a little kid I used to watch him play all the instruments. I'd be the kid in the background and look at him in awe! I'd sneak over to his house and try and play his drums, he'd always kick me off and wouldn't let me play his drums so it all started with him!
Another thing that inspired me was the cartoon Charlie Brown's Christmas. It has the coldest jazz arrangement I've ever heard! I was mesmerized. I'd try to play what I heard, I couldn't come close to it, that hunger is what kind of fueled me wanting to be a musician.You've written songs for a whole list of R&B stars including Chris Brown; does your writing style differ when it's for another singer?I tailor make everything. I'm not trying to create clones. For me it's about making you better at what you do.
A lot of times with artists, before we even do music we'll just hang out for a couple days going to the clubs, grab some drinks and gain an understanding of each other so that the life connects with the music.
It's not just me writing songs at you, it's me writing songs for you.
Who else is on your list of artists you'd like to write for?I think it would be fun if maybe me and Josh Groban or me and Lalah Hathaway (worked together).
I say Josh Groban because his vocals is just soul stirring. For us to come together with something where, for him would be less classical, for me would be less urban but at the same time we'd find that spiritual connection.With your experience in song writing, what elements do you feel makes for a classic slow jam tune?To me it's always going to be about the sentimental value of that record.
A classic song is any song that anybody can take from wherever they heard it from, play it now and it still have that same value, that same feeling and that same meaning it did when you first heard it.
When I wrote my song 'Maybe I Deserve.' I had no idea what I was writing. It took me 6 years to really hear my own song, like really hear it! I was on stage one day singing the song and I was like "oh, I get it! This is why they like this song"!
So making classic music has to stand the test of time. There has to be a spiritual connection.
Now with 5 albums behind you, a mixtape plus the TGT project, its safe to say you're a workaholic...
Yes, clear to say that! I'm always in competition with myself. I don't watch other people to get better; I just try and be a better me. When I hear my older albums, I'll say that was really bad! That really was not good! I should have done that a whole lot better. Even with my latest album 'This Is How I Feel' and I'll say I can do better than that!
That's what drives me to go to the studio the next day to out-do that!
I want to be a better Tank.Follow Tank on twitter @therealtankVisit his website for tour info therealtank.comTank Ft Chris Brown - 'Shots Fired' is out now on iTunes.Download the #1 R&B album TGT:3 Kings from iTunes.