Tarriona ‘Tank’ Ball has the perfect blend of lyrical genius and poetic punch

Tarriona 'Tank' Ball has the perfect blend of lyrical genius and poetic punch
Photo credit: Gus Bennett Jr.

Tarriona Ball has arguably one most the most soulful voices to grace the music industry in the last decade. She began garnering attention as an outspoken slam poet in her adolescent years, but most recognize her now as Tank of New Orleans-based funk-soul musical group Tank and the Bangas.

The group formed at a local open mic show in 2011 at Liberation Lounge. “I used to go there every Monday night,” she recalled. Little did she know their friendship would extend beyond the stages for years to come.

The group recently won NPR’s 2017 Tiny Desk Contest series after beating out over 6,000 submissions. Since then, Tank’s funky vocals have swept the country creating quite the loyal following.

“We have more fans than before and the shows out of town are now being sold out,” she says.

As the daughter of a disc jockey, music was practically a birthright for the 26-year-old. Tank’s father died years ago but she keeps his dream alive through her musical journey.

“He was a great disc jockey and gave tours around the French Quarter. He was in every talent competition that was available while he was in school. I heard about all those things and that’s how he influenced me spiritually,” says Tank.

For much of her childhood, Tank was influenced by the religious hymns sung by her church choir blended with her love for Disney soundtracks from classics like Bambi and Pocahontas, which explains her heavily animated performances on popular records like “Rollercoasters” and “Quick” where she brings a bubbly twist to a bleak story centering on a prostitute.

“The video is women owning their bodies and doing whatever they want with it,” she says. Tank believes in the power of feminism and women’s rights and says, “If you believe in the core of equal jobs and equal pay then you are, in fact, a feminist,” she adds.

Tank and the Bangas are currently on the road touring and are set to release new music this fall.

“It might magically drop from the sky like a unicorn,” she says.

Well, we sure hope that happens before then!

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