Tammi Mac is the better half of the three-time NAACP Award-winning afternoon radio duo “Mac & Amiche” on Stevie Wonder’s Los Angeles-based 102.3 KJLH. Mac produces and stars in a one-woman show, “Bag Lady,” which is the winner of three NAACP theatre awards – “Best One Person Show”, “Best Playwright” and “Best Producer.”
You can also find her on TammiMacTV on YouTube where she produces two series, “Bag Lady” and “High Estrogen.” Collectively, they were nominated for 15 LA WebFest Awards. She won nine, which included “Best Writer”, “Best Director”, “Best Dramatic Series” and “Best Overall Series.”
Mac is the producer behind the viral “Empire: Re-Cap in Dat Azz,” a popular parody of FOX’s “Empire.” She’s voiced commercials for Centrum, Walmart and State Farm, among others.
Read what she has to say.
How did Stevie Wonder discover you?
I had been working at his radio station for about a year part-time doing fill-ins and nights after being fired from 95.7 Jamz in Birmingham doing mornings with Rickey Smiley. Stevie listened to my night show and my ratings were doing well and he wanted to use my personality in a day shift. So he partnered me with a guy named Don Amiche and created the “Mac and Amiche Show.” We had no idea what or why he put us together as a team, but eight years later we are the number one urban afternoon show in Los Angeles. So Stevie Wonder saw what no one else could see in the “Mac & Amiche Show.”
How did you get into radio?
I’m born and raised in Houston. Texas Southern University’s radio station KTSU had a show called Kids Jamm. They allowed kids to come program the station for an hour. Hip Hop was taking off. We were playing it and ratings started looking good. The show went from one hour to half a day. I loved it. Having worked at KTSU and KMJQ in Houston, it was easy to get work once I arrived at college in Greensboro, North Carolina. I worked at WQMG throughout college. After college, I moved to Birmingham to do the morning show with Rickey Smiley. It was the most fun I have ever had on radio working with Rickey. He wasn’t the superstar he is now, but he was definitely still funny and taught me how to be quick-witted on-air.
What makes you a unique radio personality?
Bringing you to the table for any job makes a person unique. I am an actress. I bring theatrics, different voices, I write scripts, jingles, raps and create content that keeps people engaged in the “Mac & Amiche Show.” I also bring a very poignant woman’s perspective. A lot of female personalities who share the mic with men, don’t get to speak their mind or have an opinion. Don Amiche and I go toe to toe often on-air and it creates a very different radio show than most.
Do you think there are widely held misconceptions about what you do? What are they and how do you dispel them?
Most people think DJs pick the songs that are played on the radio. We don’t. That’s old radio. So, just know the on-air personality cannot play yo song. Joking. Not joking.
How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
You keep reinventing yourself. I do television voice-overs. I do stage plays, movies and TV shows. I write web series and have produced my own award-winning one-woman show. You have to keep doing what you love. And keep up with what’s happening. Don’t get caught in the “We used to do it like that” or “Back in my day.” You have to be willing to evolve.
How do you balance your acting and radio career?
A very supportive boss. It’s great working for a Black-owned radio station because Stevie believes in allowing growth and encouraging your aspirations. Also, I incorporate my radio endeavors into my acting endeavors. I give both my all and share them equally with each other.
What advice do you give anyone interested in a broadcasting or acting career?
Don’t follow anyone’s advice. Everyone’s journey is different. Oprah didn’t get there like Barbara Walters. Kobe didn’t get there like Jordan. Obama didn’t get there like Trump. Do you. Advice is based on a person’s individual and limited experience. Consider the source and follow the path that leads you, not someone else – your own.
Who are your radio and acting mentors?
Vanessa Bell Calloway stood me on her shoulders when I first arrived in Hollywood. I did my first L.A. stage production with her and she has held me down and been on my team ever since. Also, Loretta Devine, we are both Houstonians, so we have such a fun relationship. Watching both of them work is like a master class. They both have my back.
Jackson Brown is my radio mentor. I met him in Greensboro, North Carolina and watching him be a part of the community and including the listeners and being with the people who listen helps me understand how not to take your audience for granted and how actually touching them can grow your fan base. I talk to every listener on the request lines and at appearances. I don’t just serve the community. I am the community. Jackson Brown taught me that. He was my program director in Greensboro, but also held down number one shows in Memphis and programmed the No. 1 shows in Lafayette, Louisiana.
How do you measure your success?
I never measure my success to what I live. I do write out goals at the beginning of each year and each step I will do to accomplish them along the way. I have knocked out a lot of goals in life. When you live, you scratch so much off of your list that you don’t even realize it.
How did you end up touring with your one woman show “Bag Lady”?
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation partnered with my non-profit TAM Talks for the encore presentation in Los Angeles. The show is about the baggage that women carry from relationship to relationship. It also deals with healing and forgiving ourselves for past transgressions. It’s a powerful message filled with real stories of women who love the drug dealer, groupies and all around ratchetness. The stories all belong to me and some of my best friends.
How and why did you come up with your one woman show “Bag Lady”?
My best friend, Michelle, and I were taking a flight to L.A. and making a list of all the men that ever did us wrong. We started laughing, then started crying. We wondered why did we let so many of these men into our lives? We must have been the problem, not the man. The conversation on that flight created “Bag Lady.”
Please describe your personal brand.
My brand is women’s empowerment, fun and laughter.
What keeps you inspired?
God. Knowing that there is a God inspires me.
What scriptures are you leaning towards?
“All things work together for the good, for those who diligently seek the Lord.” That scripture lets you know that even when time are challenging, it’s still working for the good. How amazing is that? Even the bad times are working for the good.
How do you stay connected with fans?
You hang out with them. You tweet. You go where they are. You talk to them. You listen to them. You Instagram, Snapchat. You give them shout-outs. Have fun with them. Joke with them. Treat them like friends and not fans.
What’s on your playlist?
Daniel Caesar and H.E.R.’s “Best Part”, Rhianna’s “Wild Thoughts”, Michael Jackson’s “Lady in my Life”, Prince’s “If I Were Your Girlfriend”, Isley Brothers’ “Whose That Lady.”
What does it mean to be iconic? In your estimation, who has achieved that status?
Teachers. No one person in the world could contribute to more lives and be as impactful and influence and pull out the best in a person and help a person discover their gifts like a really great teacher. My grandmother, mother and uncle are all teachers. My inspirations are teachers.
What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?
I ask myself daily, “Would you rather be you today or yesterday?;” “Would you rather be you today or you last year?;” “Would you rather be you today or you five years ago?”
My answer is often – me today. Then I say to myself, “Enjoy you. Today. Have fun with you. Today. Be you. Today.” It often makes me smile and some days chuckle. I’m laughing now, because I am enjoying being me at this very moment [preparing for this] article on – me. This is so exciting. I read the magazine all the time and have always wanted to be featured in it and today it has happened. So yeah, I would rather be me right now, today, than me yesterday. When I was not doing a rolling out interview.