Strength can often be found in the midst of struggle. It’s in those moments of hardship that we fully understand who we are and what we’re really capable of. Grammy Award-nominated R&B singer, songwriter, and producer Tank realized that in late 2012. While working on the TGT super group album, Three Kings, with Ginuwine and Tyrese, he simultaneously endured a string of revelatory personal shakeups.
“Those were some trying times from a relationship standpoint,” he admits. “We were finally getting TGT together, and I was going through it personally. Everything was happening all at once, and it was a lot to face. I went through this headache and heartbreak, but I emerged in a better place. That’s when music started coming to me. I was initially trying to hide everything behind this heavy and intense 808 vibe, and I leaned towards my strengths instead. I started playing piano and drums again as well as adding live instruments. In the past, I’ve only made music in the middle of a storm or on my way into one. This was the first time I made music under sunshine. I’ve been blessed to have a great story and testimony now.”
Tank came out on the other side with that “story”—his sixth full-length solo album, Stronger [Atlantic Records]. In between releasing Three Kings and touring, he spent the better part of 2013 building his latest body of work. Whether he was on a plane, in hotel rooms, or at home in Los Angeles, he completely submersed himself in the creative process. Tank also found an inspiring collaborator in the iconic Jerry “Wonder” Duplessis [The Fugees, Shakira, Miguel]. While in Jerry’s NYC studio one night, the pair simply clicked.
“He’s everything I thought he would be,” Tank goes on. “He’s a musician’s producer. He can take these musical elements and make them absolutely fly. We wanted to make something that felt retro and part of the future all at the same time. I needed that inspiration from him.”
With Jerry and other producers like Infinity in his corner, Tank got down to business and focused on something that’s been missing from the modern R&B landscape.
“I wanted to get back to making women feel good about the music again,” he proclaims. “I’m going to take care of people the right way with this album. It represents the good side of being in love.”
The lead single “You’re My Star,” which was produced by Tank himself, shines a bright light on that kind of affection. After a dreamy intro, an upbeat swing gives way to handclaps and horns as Tank delivers one of his most infectious hooks to date. Originally inspired by the bass line from Michael Jackson’s “This Place Hotel”, it’s a swaggering anthem punctuated by powerful falsetto and live instrumentation.
“I needed to say it the way a woman loves to hear it and how she probably hasn’t heard it in a long time,” he smiles. “This is dedicated to my star. Nobody talks like that anymore. Nobody’s poetic. Nobody’s romantic. I’ve got to reintroduce that style.”
Also on the album, “Dance With Me” immediately incites movement with its soulful singing and up-tempo bounce. Tank continues, “It’s about having fun again. You’re putting on some nice clothes, taking your woman out, and getting your two-step on! It’s that rhythm. Call the babysitter, and let’s have some fun tonight with no rules. Let’s dance and have a great time.”
That’s exactly what’s going to happen when he hits the road in support of Stronger, making high-profile stops on the main stage at the Essence Music Festival and more. “You’re going to feel it on stage,” he assures.
Tank makes music you can live with forever. His first two classics, 2001’s Force of Nature and 2002’s One Man, both achieved gold status, while his most recent solo outing This Is How I Feel landed in the Top 10 of the Billboard Top 200 upon its debut. He’s garnered an impressive four Grammy Award nominations and collaborated with everybody from Chris Brown and Drake to Omarion and Kelly Rowland. Moreover, he remains an accomplished songwriter in his own right, penning tunes for the likes of Jamie Foxx, Pitbull, Aaliyah, and more. He even contributed to the score of Dreamgirls, making a cameo in the film.
However, Tank’s music and spirit stand Stronger than ever now.
“I want to show people it’s okay to have fun again,” he concludes. “It’s okay to dance and run around. Cut loose. R&B is all about that. It’s music for all feelings and seasons. It’s there for you when you want to feel great. I hope everybody can make some fantastic memories to this album.”