Justin Barnett a.k.a TK MAC is more than your average artist. Some artists go to sleep at night, but TK MAC had been born of the nightlife. He doesn’t sleep, he only perfects his craft as an artist coming from the DJing world. He has spent time as a songwriter, producer, DJ, and engineer. It was great to have him talk with QG and break down the methods to his grind on his newly released song Work It More.
What got you into music?
My parents got me into music before I was born. My mom would say that I would kick in her stomach when my dad would play the piano. At two I started learning classical piano and violin. I ended up studying that through high school and I’ve always been in music. My grandmother was a huge collector of music, she had all these vinyl records, and was involved with the East Coast Jazz Association. So, yeah music has always been around my family.
How do you write your songs?
Usually, it’s an occurrence. Either something that happens in my life, something that I see, or something that happens to someone close to me. I always had that ability to hone in on an experience. The process has always come so easily and naturally.
What was your inspiration for writing the song Work It More?
Having been a DJ for a long time, I just started to notice that overall in music there wasn’t any club music showing too much love to women from guy’s perspective. There aren’t many songs that are “big upping” women. Whether it be successful women, boss women, or just women that are doing their thing. There are songs that comment about women’s bodies, their style, or how much money they have. To me, there aren’t songs that are really addressing the positive aspects of women. I wanted to create that something that can be played in the club
Is there anyone you’ll want to do a feature with in the future?
I would love to work with J. Cole, Kendrick, H.E.R, SZA, and Khalid. Any new R&B artist, I’d love to work with.
Can you name any women role models?
Michelle Obama is a fairly big female role model. I just read her book, which I thought was pretty remarkable, there are a lot of strong women. Billie Eilish can be considered a role model. She‘s young, she’s very positive, she’s doing a lot for young people. She has a massive following as well, so her outreach is massive. She has millions of followers on Instagram for example and I bet there are loads of people who download instagram stories of hers. There’s a wide range for very strong, independent, prominent, powerful women that are just doing their thing.
Where does your song fit in an era where City Girls and Cardi B are a mindset?
My song relates to them as well. My song shouts out all women as I didn’t want it to be exclusive. I wanted it to be inclusive of any women that are doing what they have to do be successful. Women who work hard, provide, feel powerful and sexy. This song is to let women know there are guys out here who have their back. Whether that be shape, size, or skin color. It doesn’t really matter what you look like. I wanted it to encompass the beauty of what it’s like to be a powerful woman from a guy’s point of view.
How do you implement being a DJ into your music?
Overall, being a DJ really helped hone my skills of how to include things to capture people. As a DJ, you’re trained to find things that DJs call “ear candy.” It’s something that people hold on to. I call it the moment you cut it out and people know their words and in those moments; when you can find and create those moments. You’re able to make songs that resonate with your audience better. I try to find moments whether it be from a vocal sample, drum patterns, or melody.
Out of all the songs you could chose why drop Work It More as a debut?
I wanted or rather needed something where people can draw the correlation of me being a former DJ. I wanted something where I can go into a club and promote or spin my flow. Then again, I also wanted to introduce this next phase and this next iteration of my art. I thought Work it More was the perfect transition. It’s the perfect club song, rather than putting out something r&b’ish or something you stay catch at my live show *hint*. I figured this will be perfect segway into my next phase.
What would you say is a song we should be looking forward to?
All of em! Every song I put out! Are there songs more personal or are there songs I want to see people have a public reaction to? Yes with this specific project called A Hollywood Love Story it takes you through the difficult points of a relationship. The honeymoon phase, uncertainty, move in together, breaking up, fighting. Whatever it is, there the points hopefully the audience can relate to. I want the audience to say “I remember that little black dress and how it made me feel” and there is a song called Little Black Dress. I tried to touch on those little scenes for this project.
Are there any projects we should be looking forward to in the future?
I’m still a songwriter and producer. I’m working closely with an artist Zak Downtown. Who has a debut album or rather project coming out, but outside of that I’m focused on “A Hollywood Love Story.” My next show is on July 7th, in New York at The Bowery Electric and be on the lookout for “A Hollywood Love Story.”
If you’re making excuses on going out to see or hearing TK MAC’s work. Maybe this will give you a little motivation to Work it More.