Tank, one of R&B's hottest male vocalists, is back with a new solo project and Enstars was there to get all of the details on his new album, the latest on TGT, and how Michael Jackson played a major role in his new sound.
The world was introduced to Tank in 2001 with his single Maybe I Deserve. The heartfelt hit immediately won over thousands of female fans who needed to be reminded of their own worth. Now, after six successful albums, forming R&B supergroup TGT with Tyrese Gibson and Ginuwine, acting gigs, and writing hits for notable artists, including Chris Brown to Kelly Rowland, the 38-year-old vet is determined to bring love back to R&B with his new single, You're My Star.
Enstars sat down exclusively with him at the headquarters of his label Atlantic Records to discuss his anticipated solo return, and how Michael Jackson's death affected him and his music.
"I think that I am in a very upbeat, kinda happy space," Tank told Enstars reporter Gia Peppers. "I've been through the storm and the other side of that is the sunshine. I think that I've written a lot of my music either entering the storm or in the midst of it."
Tank's new music is noticeably more upbeat. In the past, his music was known to beg his lady to stay after he did something wrong, or making his lady stay in a different, physical manner. Now, his new music seems to be rooted in a more positive place of love. "At this particular point in my life, the sun is shining and I want my music to reflect that."
When creating his new single, You're My Star, Tank was determined to put a modern spin on a nostalgic sound. He pulled inspiration from one of the King of Pop's biggest songs, and put his own spin on it. "Michael Jackson is a given when it comes to recognizable tones as far as whether it's melody or musicality or whatever, so I grabbed this This Place Hotel baseline and I'm like... Oh, this could be nasty."
His team was able to get the sample cleared soon after he played around with the melody, "It was the greatest gift ever because I get to share moments with Michael Jackson. I get to make money with Michael Jackson."
Though he is proud of how his new project is paying homage to the icon, his untimely death in 2009 hit him hard. "It wasn't so much so of him passing, it was just the way of it. It was how it happened that was more disturbing," he revealed. "You can accept someone passing and going on.. But you talk about a guy that was getting ready to do a world tour. You know, rehearsing, in good health as far as we knew, you know what I mean. And then the next morning, it was what? It was that part of it that made it difficult for any of us to digest."
Jackson, whose record-breaking career spanned over 40 years, provided the music industry with much more than iconic dance moves and unforgettable music, he continuously pushed other artists to be better. His influence is directly responsible for the careers and success of hundreds of singers; from Justin Timberlake, to Bruno Mars, Jamie Foxx, Usher, to Tank. To him, living in a world without Michael is daunting. "Who's going to be the next Michael Jackson? What's going to happen from here, as it pertains to this style of music?"
Continuing to gather his thoughts, he added, "That entertainment value and all of these things that he gave us... Is that lost, is that gone? I think those questions still remain unanswered. Until then, we are still looking."
Though Tank never mentioned any comparison between himself and his idol, his new sound evokes feelings reminiscent of the first time audiences heard Rock With You. And that in itself is why Tank's new album Stronger is sure to be a success.
Part 2 of the interview will come tomorrow! Stay tuned to Enstars for more.
For now, listen to the discussion in Part 1.