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Rising Star Tommy Tattz: “There are so many children out there that don’t have a true support system and don’t know who to reach out to or ask for help; I would love to start a non-profit organization for at risk youth to have a better education”

I would love to start a non-profit organization for at risk youth to have a better education. There are so many children out there that don’t have a true support system and don’t know who to reach out to or ask for help. This is something that I experienced growing up myself, and I know […]

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I would love to start a non-profit organization for at risk youth to have a better education. There are so many children out there that don’t have a true support system and don’t know who to reach out to or ask for help. This is something that I experienced growing up myself, and I know how important it is for kids to have resources and a support system in order to thrive in school and to have a secure foundation in their education for a successful life.


As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Tommy Tattz. Tommy is an Asian-American serial entrepreneur and one of the rising urban artists hailing from the East Coast of the US. A true embodiment of the American Hustle, he strives to make an impact on society through his Fat Lyfe brand and musical talent. No matter what goal he sets for himself, he knows that the power to succeed comes from loyalty, hard work, dedication and focus on a daily basis. Born in Lynn, Massachusetts to Asian immigrant parents, his family moved to Alexandria, Virginia which is also known as the DMV area in 1992. Similarly to many others raised in the country’s most urban metro areas, Tommy Tattz was conscious of the struggles he would face in becoming a statistic among the predominantly gang ruled environment. With rising crime rates and a decreased standard of living, there was little to indicate that an opportunity to improve his life would present itself, so he created his own. Tommy Tattz took it upon himself to impel a positive and flourishing life for himself, his family, friends and colleagues. Born Salenn Meas, his parents had moved to the US from Cambodia where they escaped the genocide in the 1980s before moving to New England. Being raised in the DMV area (District, Maryland, Virginia) Tommy Tattz has established this as his hometown. Throughout his adolescence and early 20s, he continued to chip away at every opportunity he created for himself to capitalize and propel forward; including owning and operating multiple small businesses that grew to become successful. One of his early businesses was his tattoo parlor with a recording studio attached to it. After he began recording his own music in 2013, he was in his shop with several of his rapper friends joking about potential stage names, when it came to him, Tommy Tattz and that was the moment his music career became less of a hobby and more of a passion that he incorporated into his career. Tommy Tattz had originally been influenced by his friends in the industry who had a local music studio which is owned by Gold LInk’s manager. Often being surrounded by music artists and producers, the direction to record his own music came naturally. A year later, Tommy Tattz launched his Fat Lyfe clothing brand. The #FatLyfeMovement embodies the passion and hunger for success and nothing less, that drove Tommy’s own achievements and prosperity. It is a movement of people inspired by Tommy Tattz’s example to show the lifestyle of hustling, eating good food, traveling and getting money. Fueled by his music and social media profiles, as well as his devout fan base the brand has flourished from a niche local market to a brand that is recognized nationwide. His most recent single, Murdera, released on January 14, 2018, garnished a great deal of local attention. Tattz states, “It was something different from me personally, Hip Hop with a Reggae influence. I had a lot of support from air time on local radio stations and fans sharing the song across multiple social media networks to gain traction on a larger scale. His fans often claim that Tommy’s music reminds them of a combination of French Montana, Juicy J and The Weeknd’s influences. Tommy Tattz, always flattered by his fan’s compliments and praise, admits that French Montana is one of the talented artists that he pulls inspiration from. “I can relate to the lifestyle that French comes from. Not only that, but his flow, sound and character collectively inspire me in the studio.” He has toured with Juicy J, Project Pat and Travis Scott. While on tour with Project Pat, he would often take the stage during his set to perform the single they did together. For now, Tommy Tattz is continuing to expand his clothing brand on a national level and releasing a new single in the fall of 2019 as well as some performances. Fans and media can keep up to date on all of his announcements on his social media and website.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in poverty, raised by a single mother. My mom had come to the US to escape the Cambodian war, settling in Lynn, Massachusetts. I am the middle child of a very tight, close knit family, I have 4 brothers and 2 sisters. Money was sparse, growing up in Section 8 housing, but in our family, we always support one another and still do so today. In the early 1990s, my mom moved us to the DMV area and that is when I was exposed to a more diversified community with African American, Latinos and Asians sharing and creating a unique urban environment.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path not only as a musician, but as an entrepreneur?

Growing up, my mom was always a hustler, working multiple jobs along with side gigs such as selling make-up to make ends meet, putting a roof over our heads and food on the table. On the summers that I would spend with my Dad, I would watch my father manage a group of 10 men on a maintenance crew for a hotel property, and his impeccqable managerial skills. The work ethic of both of my parents inspired me to be a successful entrepreneur while tapping into my creative and artistic side with my music career.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you launched your career?

I would have to say that I was really surprised at how fast my career and exposure grew! The support that I had received instantly when I started recording and releasing my own music was incredible! Then I started this big movement with my Fatlyfe brand nationwide, that just perfectly coincides with my music. It’s amazing to see how the Hip Hop culture embedded in my community has been so supportive of my career, music and my brand!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The most funniest mistake was when I was onstage at The Filmore and I went onstage and started performing but the mic wasn’t on! I had no idea that they couldn’t hear me! I can look back and laugh at it now but at the time it was quite the scene!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’m putting the finishing touches on my upcoming singles at the moment. I expect to release at least one single by the end of this year, and then drop the EP early 2020. I’m anxious to drop the new video for Murdera, because the response from the single has been amazing… so be on the lookout for that on my YouTube channel in the upcoming weeks!

I’m very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in the music industry? How can that potentially affect our culture?

I think that diversity in the entertainment industry brings people together from all places of life. That is exactly the basis of my movement with Fatlyfe and through my music. With my lyrics, I have the ability to bring people together with a positive message in order to create a happier, more motivational environment. Just like with food can bring family and friends together in celebration, music brings people from all walks of life together. That is how diversity in the entertainment industry can best affect our culture with an efficacious impact.

From your personal experience, can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do to help address some of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?

I really only feel strongly about one position that the industry as a whole can do to address the issues of diversity in the entertainment business. That is to stop segregrating music artists based upon their respective cultures. For the longest time, the music industry was promoting more of the white artists in pop and African-American cultures in Hip Hop, but the Asian community was left behind or ignored by the labels, distribution and publishing companies.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story, or an example for each.

  1. That this industry is full of sharks.
  2. Be wary of the people that want to take advantage of your dreams.
  3. Be cautious of the contracts that you sign.
  4. Don’t listen to those people that offer empty promises.
  5. There will be those people that cling to you based upon your success and not as a true supporter or friend.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Take it one day at a time. Don’t rush into anything, know your surroundings, do your research, get a second and third opinion before making any decisions that will affect your career.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to start a non-profit organization for at risk youth to have a better education. There are so many children out there that don’t have a true support system and don’t know who to reach out to or ask for help. This is something that I experienced growing up myself, and I know how important it is for kids to have resources and a support system in order to thrive in school and to have a secure foundation in their education for a successful life.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My wife. She has always been there for me through thick and thin. On the days that I wanted to give up and fold, she was always there to give me advice and I wouldn’t be the man I am today without her.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that is relevant to you in your life?

“Live to learn and learn to live.” Through trial and error, you learn to not make the same mistake over again.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would choose 50 Cent, as he came from a similar background as I do and he is always an inspiration to me in my personal and professional life. Other than 50 Cent, I would say French Montana since often people come up to me saying that they feel my music reminds them of French’s style and vibe. Both of these men are a great, and provide inspiration, setting the tone for other artists to become entrepreneurs outside of the music industry.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Facebook: Tommy Tattz Music

Instagram: @Tommy_Tattz

Twitter: @TommyTattz

YouTube: Tommy Tattz

Spotify: Tommy Tattz

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

Thanks for having me!

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