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Tah Mac One-to-One with Tah Mac

Tah MacWelcome to Tahland and the upbeat
  Brooklyn hip-hop dynamo who is well
  on his way to becoming a phenomenon
  on both sides of the Atlantic — Tah Mac
  took time out from his busy schedule
  to talk to MotorBar about his feel-good

TAH MAC IS RELAXING AT HIS HOTEL when I call. He is a natural, his voice infused with the attractive lilt of his culture. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, he began his career in the mid-90s as a co-producer, teaching himself how to programme drums on a song and accomplishing the art of finishing a record.

This effervescent and charismatic hip-hop maestro is becoming renowned for his sunny music. Oozing spirituality and charm and with a big personality, Tah Mac acknowledges that there are many problems in life today but he says he tries to be an upbeat person. If there is a dark day, he advises, just try to put some sunshine into your life.

And Tah Mac is just the person to do it. He creates first class hip-hop that radiates the feel-good factor to dispel the usual doom-and-gloom and violence-infused themes of the 21st Century. Take his new album, Welcome 2 Tahland — its compulsive tracks will have you singing away the blues. Tah says: "It's a global sound — aimed to appeal to everyone and a theatre of the mind. It is about love, life and reality. Today's society struggles and I hope it makes everybody feel good — we have to pull together as a world."

With impressive credentials, Tah must have been born with a hip-hop happy style. Proving his gift and laying the foundations for his production experience at the age of 15, he was working with a team of well-known hip-hop artistes.

It was in those days that he conceived his own signature sound and created an unstoppable force that has earned him his place in the music industry. Inspired by the events and people in his life, Tah Mac says: "Look for the positive. If you try to make the best of what you have and wake up with a smile on your face it will help you face the world — no matter what happens.

"My mother and my staff," he adds, "are also up-beat. No matter what situation you are in, you should live your life to the full." And talking of life, just how old is this charismatic and gifted artiste? He laughs and will not be drawn. "I am," he insists, "a hardworking young man. That's it."

Tah MacHaving grown up listening to hip-hop legends Run DMC, Big Daddy Kane, Tribe Called Quest, Nice And Smooth, and Eric B & Rakim, it was inevitable Tah would be influenced by these great artistes. "My influences are many," he says. "Including Pink Floyd, Isaac Hayes, Sting, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Tina Turner."

While at High School, Tah's parents insisted that he should work hard. His father is retired from the US military and had high standards. But such was Tah's love and instinctive talent for music that he quit college to concentrate on his passion — aiming to carve for himself a place in musical history. His older peers were hip-hop stars who taught him how to make a professional record and helped him on the path to his chosen career.

Tah rose to the challenges of entering the music world as a new producer. When he found himself stuck in the middle of mastering a sound in music-making or orchestrating the written content behind what made the music sound so great he was spurred on to compose and write music while continuing as a producer — little knowing that he would one day be writing music for himself.

Known at that time for producing and co-writing for a number of other artistes, Tah continued to build his producer discography and soon learned to separate himself from the musical environment in which he was raised. Tah took a great deal of risks while moving his project to uncharted waters and from a few years laying his groundwork as a producer in Atlanta, Georgia, he moved his production unit to the UK and London.

Tah Mac's expectations of Europe served to further his knowledge and to re-define his musical profile. He wanted to accomplish something that very few American producers do — to lay a foundation overseas. And through this Tah understood how to embrace the global sound he is so proud of.

It is a sound that has the ability to cross various demographics to introduce his musical journey to the entire world as a new sound in global music. He sees music as a universal language with which to communicate with people. "There are so many races and creeds in the world," he says, "and I want my music to appeal to everyone, whatever their age or their culture — 80-year-olds as much as 8-year-olds. My grandmother likes my music. It is upbeat, up tempo and it is aimed at everyone, everywhere."

Family, friends and stability are all important to Tah. He has the backing of his parents and says that his mother is his best friend. "I call her regularly," he tells me. "It is important to maintain a good relationship with your parents. You can learn from them."

In just as little as five years of travel back and forth to England, Tah Mac produced music for an array of signed and unsigned talent in the UK, some of whom have become mega stars today. It was London where he has developed his individuality and learned to cross cultivate different genres of music to find his unique voice — in the process, testing the waters of his artistry.

Tah MacAfter producing a few Number One, charted records with recognition to the talent rather than to the mechanics behind the record, he felt a need to exceed his 'label' as a producer and writer. After this realisation, Tah followed his heart and created a way to make more of an impact with his message.

In this, he invented something more personal for the world. Tah Mac designed a brand new project and this time, he is the star of the story. His intention as a new artiste is to carry a musical legacy, which he feels adopted him as a youth. And now, he's ready to share his talent and his magic with the world.

He loves what he does. Offers for film work have not tempted him. He says he wants only to be himself. "It's a pity," he says, "that some superstars and also some of those who have not made it that far are not in a happy place once the lights go off."

While having a lot of fun with music, Tah says it was initially frustrating because people were not understanding his music. "But once I had got it out there it was a build-up to get everyone to understand. You have to find your own way in life," he says, "and it feels good that people are now relating to my music."

Tah's family came to the US from the West Indies to live the American Dream. He says he is strongly motivated and a go-getter. He feels lucky to be able to provide for the people around him but says that for some people money is the magnet. For Tah it is all about enjoying life and sharing what he has with those around him.

"As long as you never forget how to put a smile on your face," he says, "it doesn't matter if you have five dollars or a hundred thousand dollars."

Tah finds producing and co-writing with other artistes fascinating and has enjoyed every one of his projects. One of his biggest accomplishments was jamming with Aretha Franklin, although he says he was too young to really understand the enormity of that. He also enjoyed working with Leona Lewis and he says he knew she was going to be big. "Oh, yes — and Anthony Roach of the Charlatans," he says proudly. "He is innovative and it was amazing that Tah Mac, a young man from Brooklyn, was working with him."

England is now Tah's second home. He says he loves the food, the people and the simple life. He has a great appreciation of seeing The Union Flag flying with the US flag. "The two superpowers of the world," he comments.

Although his love of music is a force that drives him, Tah winds down by reading novels — especially theatrical and best-sellers. He recently read the Benjamin Button book and now he can't wait to see the film. He says is proud and lucky to be constantly working. "I like to keep my mind active and I am very heavily into current events," he tells me. "I tune in to Sky News whenever I am in the UK." How else does he relax?

"With the two ladies in my life — my little princesses," he says, referring to Victory, his Long-Coated Chihuahua and his cat, Precious. He misses them when he is on tour and can't wait to bring Victory over to the UK when he returns. He enjoys the quality time they have when they go for her early morning walk.

So where to now, musically and adventurously? Where else would he like to explore? "I'd like to visit Australia and Iceland — places like that where few of my music peers have been. I'd also love to work with Bjork, Bono, U2 and The Kaiser Chiefs. Anything and everything in music — there is," he says, "no unheard of collaboration."

With such esteemed names, who in the world would Tah like to be listening to his music as we speak? "I'm happy you've listened to my music and enjoyed it," he says. "And I'd like to think that once we've put the phone down, Maggie is listening to my music..."

And I did — Tahland is a very special place. — Maggie Woods, MotorBar

Check out MotorBar's Tah Mac music reviews.

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