“Like protons and neutrons, life is about positives and negatives, little pluses and minuses. If you cover up the minuses, then the pluses don’t mean shit.”
For Terrance “TQ” Quaites, life these days seems to be all about pluses. His Clockwork/Epic single, “Westside”, continues to climb to the top of the charts. As TQ walks the fine line between R & B and gangsta rap, his eighteen-song solo debut album, “They Never Saw Me Coming”, speaks for itself. A new single, “Bye Bye Baby”, is to be released at the beginning of the year, followed by a tour. I recently had the opportunity to speak with TQ.
Did you leave the group Coming Of Age and then Atlantic Records due to the lack of creativity and influence you had over your own music?
Yes. It was basically the same reason for both situations.
What did you learn about the music business when you were interning at A&M Records?
I really got to learn the record company side of it. It kind of started the other way around then for most artists. I had with a head start because I worked at a record company before I tried to do anything as an artist. I learned all of the steps that are needed to put a record out.
You were only fifteen when you started your internship. How did you hook that up at such a young age?
My cousin was a friend of the person who was heading up the program, so I got in there and made it work for me.
Who inspired your style?
A lot of the old West Coast style groups such as Too-Short, Ice-T, Ice Cube, Easy E, as far as hip-hop goes. On the R & B side I liked the older acts such as Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder.
How do you think that your style has changed over the years?
I think that I’m finally able to just go and do what I wanted to do in the beginning. Before this point, all of the other material that I was turning out was material that other people wanted me to do. Now I’m doing it for myself.
What is the best part about being a musician?
So far I like performing mostly because I like to see people when they feel my music and me.
What would you like people to feel after they listen to the album?
I want them to listen to my record and be able to base their lives on it and take something from it. Maybe things didn’t happen to them the same way that they happened for me, but everyone’s life has it’s up and downs. When it comes down to it, I want them to know that life can get better.
Do you think some of the controversy surrounding some of your lyrics will help or hinder you?
I guess a little of both to tell you the truth. I mean that for a lot of reasons, mainstream America won’t be able to accept it. I think that those are foolish reasons, but that’s just the way it is.
What direction do you see yourself going musically and personally?
I don’t really know. I guess I’ll have to see what the future brings. I just take things one day at a time and most importantly just keep doing music. I feel that whatever God has for me to do, I am going to do it. I mean, I have certain ambitions for myself, but if that isn’t his will, then that isn’t what is going to happen. I’m just going to keep trying to lace them with the heat.
+ sam conjerti