*“I’ve been knowing Jamie for some time,” says the R&B star Tank. “It was around 2003, I think we were at a club somewhere when we met, and he just started screaming my name over the music. I was like ‘You’re Jamie Foxx!’ And he’s like ‘You’re Tank, I’m looking for you.’”
It turned out Jamie Foxx was one of his biggest fans, PEOPLE reports. “He had been listening to my first album Force of Nature. He had taken it to Africa with him when they filmed Ali and he was letting all of the people there listen to my album on his Walkman.”
The pair hit it off and started hanging out, just as Foxx was gearing up to play Ray Charles.
“It was crazy because we went to his house and it was before anybody really knew about the Ray Charles movie,” says Tank. “He was telling us about it, transformed into Ray Charles real quick and then went back to being Jamie Foxx. It was like the scariest thing I’d ever seen, I was like ‘Bro, you’re sick!’”
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The surprising new friendship began at a difficult time for Tank.
“I was considering not even doing music anymore,” explains the “Maybe I Deserve” singer. “I didn’t like the way the [music] game was going. Once you get into the business you start seeing how ugly and dirty it is.”
After getting into a huge legal battle with his record label “that lasted years,” the singer says he was ready to throw in the towel. “I was like ‘I’m going to be done with this’ after my One Man album didn’t do well. I told Jamie, ‘I’ma just go home, man, and go back to playing at church.’”
“We were sitting in Jamie’s kitchen and he said, ‘You can’t go back, you can’t stop.’ He said, ‘If you stop what am I going to do? Who’s going to inspire me?’”
Foxx opened up his home and his recording studio to Tank, who was in need of both. “He said, ‘I know it’s tough times for you right now but you can stay at my house and use my studio every day until you figure it out and find your way back,” recalls Tank. “And that’s just what I did.”
Now with eight albums under his belt and a new hit single “When We” on the radio, the newlywed and father of five says he can’t thank Foxx enough.
Years later, “He’s still that same guy that’ll give me the shirt off his back,” he says of Foxx, who served as a groomsman at Tank’s recent wedding to Zena Foster.