Q&A Feature: Random Tanner

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Random Tanner is a hip-hop artist who has held his own while representing Clinton, Iowa since the beginning of his career. He has been heard on various radio stations, including Eminem’s Sirius XM station, Shade 45. His resume speaks for itself.

Now, I had an amazing opportunity to sit down with this musician who’s re-emergence exploded in 2018. We talked about his presence in the hip-hop community, the changes with his current brand, who he would love to collaborate with, as well as, future plans and goals going into 2019 as Random Tanner.

Back in 2014, when we first met, you were going by the stage name of Skeez. Even though you built a successful platform through that name, you decided to change your branding to the name of Random Tanner in 2017. What influenced that change?

Random Tanner: Plenty of things influenced the change and transition from Skeez to Random Tanner. One, being that I was tired of the word “Skeez” being so unrelatable to who I was as an artist. Another huge reason was wanting to be more marketable and searchable. By that, I mean that when you google search “Skeez” I was a tiny fish in a huge sea.

When you search “Random Tanner” I am the only thing that pops up so it just made so much more sense. I think people have really taken to the name change well, especially the entire new fan base I’ve gained over the past year & a half. I’m honestly not sure the majority of my supporters even know I was anyone besides Random Tanner.

What’s the story of how did the new name come about?

RT: I linked up with a long-time music friend, DJ K Yung, and we decided to ink a management deal. She helped me make the decision as did my family and a few other close music friends. It actually took a while for me to pull the trigger but when I did, I had an amazing response from my followers so it made it a lot easier.

What is the difference between the persona Skeez and the new persona of Random Tanner?

RT: I don’t think I’ve really changed because of the name change. I think when I was finally ready to change the name, I decided that I was going to go all-in with it which has really been an enormous change, if that makes sense.

This process has always been a growing experience and I invested way more time, energy and money into the new brand, Random Tanner. I have an officially merchandise line. I am always trying to be innovative and creative when it comes to pushing my name. To me, Random Tanner is a direct reflection of who I’ve always wanted to be as an artist.

Along with the name change, the message in your music has shifted. What’s allowed you to be more open and vulnerable in your music? What sparks or influences the topics and passion you have put into your art recently? Has that influence or spark changed from the past material under Skeez?

RT: I don’t think the message has really shifted in my music. I think my outlook on life has matured though. I’ve always talked about things that are important to me, but finally connecting with the right producers, engineers, and support system has been a major influence on the quality of music and image that you’ve been hearing and seeing lately.

Looking back into this year, you’ve released five singles so far, “Clockin’ In”, “Go Away”, “Back When We Were Kids”, “M-80”, & “Here For You.” Which of these singles were your favorite to produce?

RT: My favorite song that I’ve put together out of all of these is probably “Here For You” with “Back When We Were Kids” being a very close runner-up. They both feature Alex Fischbach but “Here For You” has singing from me in it along with a proposal in the music video to my fiancé!

A pause in the interview to share the song “Here For You” and beautiful music video! A huge congratulations to RT & Liz! Such a beautiful proposal! 🙂

 

Now back to the interview… 

Which of the new singles are your favorite to perform live?

RT: This answer always depends on the crowd that I’m performing for. My most consistent song out of all of these to perform has been “Clockin’ In”, because it’s the first single I dropped. I really love performing “M-80” as well though.

22279834_1377604232352508_6091974729446975936_nDo you still perform songs from the Skeez era? If so, what are your favorites to perform?

RT: This question is funny, because my DJ, DJ Smokey, was just trying to tell me that I should perform one of my “Skeez” songs, because it gets crowds super hype. While I do agree, I told him that it feels like a step in the wrong direction to perform music that isn’t available anywhere for people to stream, download, or buy. Plus I wanted to completely “shed” everything Skeez when I transitioned.

Over the past decade as a recording artist, what is the most (bad or good) you have gotten out of the experiences?

RT: Being a musician, especially a hip-hop artist, is one giant roller coaster of emotions, successes, failures and all of the above times 100. I have lost friends, gained friends, seen things that no one else will get to see, experience the times of my life and more. There are definitely bad memories, but in no way, shape, or form do they outweigh the good memories. Every single part of this journey has been worth it to me and that’s one of the main things that keeps me going.

You have an astounding resume when it comes to live performances with some heavy hitters in the hip-hop industry. Which of the artists you’ve performed with was your favorite over the years? Who would you want to perform with again in the future?

RT: I have two artists who were my favorite to perform with. Machine Gun Kelly and Tech N9ne are hands down the best two shows to be a part of. I’ve opened for MGK four times and Tech N9ne three times and the crowds that show up to those concerts are beyond supportive of the music, including the openers. The biggest deal to me is rocking for a crowd who actually is there to possibly become a fan of you. I would want to perform with both of them as many times as possible in the future until I can start headlining shows that bring in 1,000+ people on my own!

20664050_1327853897327542_5294092834511762917_nWho have you not yet collaborated with musically, that you’d love to work with? Should we expect more collaborations with you & Jon Young in the near future?

RT: I’d love to collaborate with Tech N9ne, Rittz, Twista, NF, Witt Lowry, Kevin Gates & so many more. Honestly, I’d collaborate with any big name if it fits my message and makes sense for both of us. Yes, actually I have a song on my upcoming album with Jon Young called “Never Be” and it’s exactly what our fans would want to hear from us together.

Should we expect an album in the coming year? What else should we expect in 2019 for Random Tanner?

RT: Yes, I will be dropping my “debut” Random Tanner album this year entitled “Fast Forward” which will feature all of my recently released songs plus more. 2019 is going to be filled with all kinds of things that I’ve never accomplished as an artist. A lot more traveling, touring, festivals, strategies and hard work! I honestly can’t wait for whats to come!

Do you want to expand beyond music with your brand in the future?

RT: I don’t think I’d really be all the way in with my brand if it didn’t involve music. Music has been so good to me over the years and has morphed me into who I am as a person that I’d feel guilty trying to force the brand on people if I decided to stop music. If that time does come, where I call it quits, it will be at a point of self-appreciation. A point where I can say I did every single thing that I wanted to and I am truly happy with everything I did with it. At this point, I don’t regret any part of it. With all of that being said, I want to say thank you to everyone who has ever supported me and to everyone who has yet to find out that I exist, thank you in advance!

Q&A Feature: Mike E. Winfield

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Photo Courtesy of http://www.mikewinfield.com

This comedian has been on the Arsenio Hall Show, NBC’s The Office, and even got his debut on The Late Show with David Letterman. He’s now breaking barriers now by teaming up with one of the top country stars, Brad Paisley, on a Netflix special, Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo, currently streaming, as well as, having a new film project called PIMP with the rapper and actor, DMX.

However, what is Mike E. Winfield about? Who is he really? What gets him going on his craft? I recently had the privilege to take a minute with Mike E. to ask some of these questions and more. Let’s see who he is behind his jokes and art. But before we do that, check out his newest trailer for his most recent comedy special, My Side of the Story.

Thank you for taken some time to answer some questions, Mike. Let’s get right to it now. In your own words, who is Mike E. Winfield?

MIKE E WINFIELD: I’m just a guy who started from the bottom. Now I’m here.

Is there a certain event or experience in life that influenced you to go the comedy and/or acting route? Could you take a moment and share your story?

MEW: Through the course of my life, I’ve always considered myself a funny person. The reason I decided I should share it with the world is, because of all the moments I spent with some of my closet friends. We spent a number of nights going to clubs, hanging out at parties, laughing and joking, and creating quality efforts to make each other laugh. After a while it becomes a skill. The combination of that and my college speech class equipped me with the tools to take it to the stage.

Do you consider comedy a form of art, or just strictly entertainment?

MEW: Comedy is definitely art. I pride myself on being an artist first. My favorite thing is spending many days and nights in a room, with coffee, and creating content that I can take to the stage. It’s really only art to me. The entertainment aspect comes from those who decided to stand around me and enjoy it.

Which comedians and/or actors influence your work and/or performances?

MEW: I think influence is huge. I’m a fan of several comedians, but not one of them has influenced my work. My material is raw, unique, and not stolen. I don’t think I can say that one has influenced me. What I will say is, I’m influenced by the grind in hip-hop, and how many artists’ goals are to rise to the top. That fires me up!

When did you realize that comedy would be your career route? What were you doing before acting and comedy?

MEW: I used to work at a grocery store. I hated it. I worked in the self-checkout lane, so I would watch people steal all day. When I started comedy, it was hard to maintain the two. I had this co-worker who hated me. She thought she was the boss, but she wasn’t the real boss. She was one of the little people, but with a key. When I called in, this lady would check my social media to verify that I was really sick. If I wasn’t sick, she would tell the real boss that I actually had a show that night. It was impossible that I was suffering from pneumonia. I eventually decided it was time to pursue comedy full-time.

You did a comedy special with Brad Paisley last summer. What is the story behind this opportunity? How did you get involved? Was there some kind of audition for comedians for this special?

MEW: I actually got booked to work with Brad a year prior to the comedy special. I performed with him in Nashville, and took one of his songs called “I’m Gonna Miss Her” (the song was about him choosing to go fishing, instead of spending time with his lady), and I made a joke about how that exact same scenario would go down in my life. Let’s just say it went over well. He loved the joke! That is how I got the booking for the Comedy Rodeo special.

What was it like teaming up with one of country music’s top celebrities?

MEW: It’s fun to find out that a celebrity is just a real person behind the glitz and glamour. He’s just a down to earth kind of guy that loves what he does. That’s something I can really cling on to.

Did Reba ever find out what happened to her horses?

MEW: (Laughing). I need to follow up on that, and get back to you.

Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo is a Netflix Original currently streaming right now. Do you feel the expansion of the streaming services, and their ability to produce their own material, have opened more doors for artists/actors/etc. in general?

MEW: Absolutely, all it takes is a video to go viral and you’re famous. That’s the era we live in now. People have their phones accessible at all times. You don’t have to leave the house to support someone’s live show. All it takes is a watch and a like. I’m such a fan of streaming that I added that feature on my website for my newly released standup comedy special.

Currently you are touring around the States. Which cities have been your favorite to experience?

MEW: I’ve been touring a bunch and that question is so tough, because everywhere I go people show me so much love. I did a Facebook live video, and so many people tuned in; a fight started about which city loved me more. If I had to choose though, I’d say New York City. I’m a fan of so many great artists that came out from there. 

You have a new comedy special coming out soon. When and where it will be released for your fans?

MEW: It’s available now on MikeWinfield.com. It’s called My Side of the Story.

Can you tell us a bit about it?

MEW: It’s easily going to be the most world changing special in the 2000’s. It’s based off of my life experiences. I’m married to an older woman, and I give my take on how it is being with an older woman who treats you like a kid. To be honest, I’m actually surprised how fast it’s selling. It’s great to see so many people interested. I mean, I believed in it, but to see others believe in it, it’s an amazing feeling.

What is your long-term goals for your craft in the entertainment industry?

MEW: I just want to create more television, movies, and stand-up comedy.

Is there anybody in the industry you haven’t worked with yet that is on your list of people you would like to work with, whether it be a comedy segment or a film?

MEW: I want to play opposite of Wood Harris in a crime drama.

What’s next for Mike E. Winfield after your tour?

MEW: (Laughing) There’s no ‘after’ the tour.

Thank you for your time, Mike E. For comedy fans, please take a moment to head over to Mike’s web site and check out his most current comedy special now available for streaming!!! I hope he truly does follow-up with the Reba’s horse incident.