Tank is a singer-songwriter who’s been making R&B hits for the past 12 years. With his fifth studio album, This Is How I Feel, dropping today, he sat down with theGrio to discuss his new sound and what is missing from R&B as a whole.
Ten years plus doing R&B is an accomplishment, what do you attribute to your success?
Hard work and dedication. I feel like I’m a little bit talented and I have a gift. Where I’m from, in the church and in the streets, when you do have a gift, putting in the work makes a difference.
How does your faith influence your music?
In this business sometimes you don’t see the end result, you know what I mean? It’s that faith that keeps you going. It’s that faith that makes you say ‘You know what? We didn’t go number 1 this time so we’re going to go try again’.
From your last album that came out in 2010 where are you at musically right now?
I’m everywhere. I’m definitely still R&B and that will never go anywhere. As far as tempo and sonically, things have gotten a little bit more aggressive. This album is one of those albums where I wanted to do what I wanted to do you know? If I was at the club the night before, I would take that energy and be like ‘let’s make a song like that’ and not worry what the radio would think because they already have a preconceived notion of what Tank would be. That was the mind set for this album.
You never wanted to be put in an R&B box?
Yeah, I think I’ve done enough records in that box that they’ll allow me one or two outside of it.
I think that’s reflective of your track list. I saw you reach out to T.I. and Busta Rhymes. What made you want to link up with these emcees?
I’ve had everything else success-wise, but we have not capitalized on the camaraderie that I do have with these top tier artists. I think my fans know that I am a standalone artist that’s capable of doing well on my own. So now it’s about turning that corner for those who don’t know that I do do good R&B. This is when you go grab a T.I. who’s killing the game or a Busta who destroyed that “Look At Me Now” verse with Chris Brown. Those associations help me turn certain corners.
What’s missing from R&B right now?
I don’t think anything is missing. It’s about being creative in how you deliver it to the people. You can do a quality R&B ballad all day but it’s only going to get played in certain places. It has a ceiling, you know what I’m saying? The format has changed on us. People are still making great R&B, but in order to push the line as far as mainstream is concerned, you got to mix it with some hip hop or some pop to get the listeners you want. My thing is to continue to do what I do quality wise but do something to kick in the door to where I’m able to draw these people in.
Follow Kyle Harvey on Twitter at @HarveyWins