Let’s hop right into this latest single, “Smoke“ — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition?
My boys, DJ SupaJames and DJ Albert Ramirez, are a production team called Projekt X Music. They do mostly dance, house, club music, and we wanted to try some new shit. They sent me some beats, and I picked this one. Come to find out they added it by mistake. Lol!
Of course “Smoke” comes courtesy of your still forthcoming – not to mention long overdue – next solo outing — What all can you reveal and / or divulge about upcoming said body of work?
It’s a mess! Lol. I started writing in one direction, and ended up somewhere else. I’m trying to decide if I add everything and make it one big project, or do I drop it in multiple parts or is it multiple albums? Today, I have no clue but that I’ll be dropping it in ‘23.
How then does this new material(s) either differ and / or compare to previous TQ entries?
Part of it is a lot like my old music. Part of it is more traditional ‘90’s type R&B. We’ve been through so much over the last couple of years, that I’m trying to decide if I want to dwell on it or escape it. Give my folks what they want to hear, or what they need to hear? Should I continue to report from our present condition, or should I just focus on what we need more than anything, which is love…we’ll see!
As a songwriter, when you sit down to pen your lyrics where do you draw your inspiration from?
Normally, my own life experience. As you get older, that experience changes though…I think I stretch a bit more now with the concepts.
Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Terrance Quaites?
I could always sing. That was nothing really. It was the writing part that hooked me. When I found out that the people who sang the songs didn’t necessarily have to write them, I became really interested in doing this for a living. I found that out at an internship at A&M Records when I was 15, and it’s been on ever since.
Now you’re a native of Compton, CA, correct? So growing up in ‘Hub City,’ who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
Naturally, N.W.A… When you see your city repped to that level on TV, you can’t help but be influenced. But I come from southern parents who had a record collection outta this world. You weren’t listening to no Eazy-E in my mom’s house. It was Marvin, Stevie, Curtis, Aretha, etcetera. I think my music lies somewhere within that spectrum.
In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?
Reality R&B. I believe in the melody and musicianship of R&B music. The voices and how they use them as instruments…that’s where the soul comes from. I also believe in the lyricism of real Hip Hop. It’s based on the reality of the neighborhood. I grew up in one of those places, and experienced the same things that Eazy and Cube and Ren rapped about. I just wanted to sing it instead of rapping it ‘cause I was wack as a rapper. Didn’t have the voice for it. Lol!
Switching gears here…
What do you feel has been and will continue to be the key to your longevity?
My relationship with the people on earth who love TQ. It’s a niche, man. We have some real history. I remember when they graduated, got married, had kids, got divorced, lost family members, first homes, health issues, kids’ graduations, etcetera. This is the testament of this career…these people have rocked with me through thick and thin. I put out records that they love, and they tell me. I put out records that they hate, and they tell me. I love them. My family and I are forever indebted to them.
What do you want people to get from your music?
I think it soothes them. They tell me it’s an escape. I couldn’t ask for more than that.
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of R&B?
Nope! I think it’s watery. I think artists have to walk a line. They have to do what the radio will play, and recently it’s been a certain thing that I wouldn’t consider real R&B. I will say that I’m starting to see a resurgence of real soul singers and musicians. Hopefully it becomes the norm again. Real music is timeless. It always comes back when people get tired of the bullshit.
Do you have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
Yep! https://FranchiseSportsMedia.com is my company. I will always do music. I live to write songs. But my dream as a child was to be a football player. I started a sports media company in 2019 with my friends, and we cover all the Las Vegas Sports teams and events. We are a registered and credentialed news media outlet in Las Vegas, and I’m on the sidelines with the Raiders, Aces, UNLV and others with a camera and a big lens shooting the action. I’m blessed to do the two things I like to do most, and make a living doing them. Praise God…may I be the best steward I can be.
To date, what has been your greatest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?
Man…I really loved being on the Up in Smoke Tour, opening up for the cats that influenced me to start making music. That was the full circle moment for me.
What’s an average day like for you?
Pray, meditate, work out, handle my sports responsibilities and hit the lab. Couple of Roblox sessions with my daughter. Lol!
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…
Like a friend. I’m one of them. I think we have a relationship not like many artist to fans…I meet them. I hang out and drink with them. I’ve popped up at their cribs. We are really tight.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?
Being able to create something, and put it out there for the world to see within hours or days…that’s powerful! But there’s definitely a gatekeeper thing that spoils the experience a bit. I’ve found ways around it sometimes. Sometimes I haven’t.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Man, I don’t know if my footsteps exist anymore…but one thing will always hold true. If you can read, you need to read your contract. If it doesn’t look right, don’t sign it.
“Westside” is a bonafide R&B classic — How did this particular composition come about? Who came up with its concept? And, please describe for me the overall studio vibe on that fateful day?
Thanks! Completely organic. I’d never met the producers. Never heard the beat. I just knew I was headed to the studio to work with some of Pac’s producers. Okay, fine with me. I got there, I met Mike Mosley, Rick Rock and Femi Ojetunde. Mike started playing me beats, but Rick and Femi went into the live room and started messing around. Femi jumped on a Baby Grand, and started playing the riff for “Westside.” Rick filled him on the drums. I was listening to Mike play beats that they’d finished for me, but that thing the Rick and Femi were messing around with gave me chills…I asked Mike, “Man, can I write to that?” He didn’t get it, but he told them to keep playing…I wrote for 15 minutes while they just played. I went in the booth, and started singing what I wrote. That was all she wrote!
Lastly, what’s next for you, TQ?
I have more music to put out…including something special for next November, which is the 25 year anniversary of the release of my first album. I also believe that I can build the next ESPN…so I’m gonna try and do that, too! We shall see. I have God in my corner. Always have. That’s shown me proof that anything is possible.
Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention?
Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
For anyone that has supported my music over this journey, I wanna thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
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