10 Questions with ... George Tandy, Jr.
June 24, 2014
1) So what started you in the direction of being a musician?
I come from a family of musicians and music lovers, so music has always been around me. I gravitated towards creating music for two reasons as a child. The first was because I was just fascinated with rhythm and melody. I was amazed at how I could recognize emotion and musical patterns, as reflections of each other. It was like my own personal journal. Secondly, I wanted to be like my Dad. He is a keyboardist. I would listen to his music and feel the passion. I figured that if I could further develop my passion for music, I'd be able to create a relationship with him around something that we both love. And, it worked!
2) How has your family shaped your thoughts towards music education?
I was placed in band in middle school. I played clarinet and a variety of other instruments. The training I received in that situation is the foundation of my musical understanding. So, I value it very much. My parents teach music as well and we often have discussions about the positive affects of music education on the brains of children. I still have a lot to learn. We are all still learning, so it's fun and keeps us united.
3) It's rare an artist has huge success with a first single, but you did with "March," how has the experience been?
Amazing! Humbling! Life Changing! There are so many aspects of a strategy that have to be aligned for an artist, particularly a new artist, to jump in the game and create such a big splash. Fortunately, I have an incredible team around me at RedStar Entertainment, which understands the importance of perseverance, creating the right relationships and having a vision. Plus my fans, on Facebook/GeorgeTandyJr, @TeamTandy on Twitter and Instagram, are incredibly supportive and motivated!
4) What are your immediate goals musically and what are the plans for a next single?
We plan to release another single within a week or two titled, "Jaded" and my debut album entitled "The Foundation," will be available globally on July 29th through RedStar/Republic. I am performing at Essence Festival on July 6th in the Super Lounge, which kicks off my Summer tour across the country, hitting about 20 cities, all in July. #Excited
5) You've given us a glimpse of how you got started, what's your advice for musicians who have hopes of making music a career?
Well, because of my family, I was fortunate to have been given opportunities to see the industry from multiple perspectives. I was a roadie. I was hip-hop dancer. I produced and wrote for my siblings group. I frequented poetry spots and open mics. I was booking my own shows all while working at Starbucks. At some point, I attracted the attention of my business partners at RedStar Entertainment and we've been moving forward ever since. I encourage those aspiring to do music professionally, to make sure it's for the love of music primarily. Also, be willing to learn how to do everything on your own and welcome constructive criticism from those with more experience. Be humble, treating everyone with kindness and professionalism. Value your work and remember that it is a business. Goals must be set and the work must be done.
6) What frustrates you the most about the music industry?
I am most concerned about the lack of policies and laws with regards to minors, child labor, parental consent and so forth. I am aware of young people that have been taken advantage of in the music industry, in ways that wouldn't be so easy in the film industry.
7) What are your thoughts on Hip-Hop and how its evolution has affected society?
The Hip-Hop culture changed the world in many positive ways. Emceeing, break dancing, DJ'ing, graffiti ... All these things developed as a way for young people to express themselves and have a voice. It has provided job opportunities and impacted the economic, fashion, marketing, business landscape of the world in astounding ways. At the same time, there has been an imbalance created as the more socially conscious and responsible hip-hop music and messages are not promoted or supported like they should be. All forms of expression have there appropriate time and place. I just hope there can be more of a balance one day, so that the messages pushed to our kids can be more well-rounded and realistic.
8) What are your top 5 favorite songs of all time and give me a reason why each is a favorite.
The first one will never change. The rest are always changing.
- "Man in the Mirror" - It is humbling and empowering
- "My Funny Valentine" - It is the most charming, insulting song I've ever heard. Ha ha!
- "Nicholas" George Tandy, Sr. - I love the solos.
- "Wilhelm Scream" James Blake - It is abstract, futuristic and nuanced.
- "Fight For You" Mali Music - It is just brilliantly written, performed and produced to me. Very inspiring.
9) You are about to do you own tour for the first time ever, can you tell us about your preparation for this undertaking?
Today is actually my first day of band rehearsal for the tour. I am just going to create the best presentation I can with my incredible musicians and Team. Keep my sleep, exercise, and food regulated, and most of all, go out here and have some fun with TeamTandy. Create some memorable moments!
10) Writing lyrics for a song seems very personal, what is your process? Also, what is your process for putting the lyrics and the music together?
It varies. Sometimes I'm triggered by an emotion, a melody, a word, and a story. I usually sit and wrap my mind in some music and just wait for lyrics, or a feeling to come to me. I never really know what is going to happen. I just know that I'm committed to letting it happen.
Who are the people who have influenced you and how?
My parents and grandparents primarily. They taught me how to treat people right. They taught me how to work hard, work smart and maintain faith in myself no matter what.
What's a favorite childhood memory?
My mom was an incredible entertainer. I would have to say watching my mom sing on stage and engage her audiences, is a favorite childhood memory for me.
If you were granted three wishes, what would they be and why?
I'd wish for everyone to see each other as equals, so we could really work through some of the unnecessary conflicts in the world and focus more of our energy on creating, rather than damage control.
I think that one wish would suffice.