Apr 14, 2023 - Things to Do

Tank Ball on "DM Pretty" going viral ahead of Jazz Fest

Tarriona "Tank" Ball performs at a microphone wearing pigtails and a red long-sleeved top.

Photo: Erika Goldring/Getty

Few people could claim to be busier than Tarriona "Tank" Ball during festival season in New Orleans. But between performing with Tank and the Bangas, a new PBS show and going viral on TikTok, the poet and music artist still hopes to find time for her own festival favorites.

Who Dat: Ball is the front-woman for Tank and the Bangas, a New Orleans-born band that, since winning the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest for NPR, has earned Grammy nominations for best new artist and best progressive R&B album.

Background: Ball grew up in New Orleans East, graduating from Sarah T. Reed High School. With her band, solo or as a special guest, she regularly appears on stages from festivals to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • "I’m a New Orleans baby girl," she says.

Onstage recently: Tank and the Bangas performed at French Quarter Fest on April 16, and they opened for Lizzo's Festival Stage performance on April 28, at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

  • But will that be all? If Jazz Fest in 2022 holds any insight, there will be some surprises up her sleeve.
  • "I did so many [extra appearances] last year, probably the most stages I ever did," she says. "Even the Jazz Tent with Norah Jones."

Going viral: Major internet moments have been cornerstones to Tank and the Bangas' success, from the early days of the Tiny Desk Concert audition tape to their "Black Folk" music video nabbing over 1 million YouTube views.

  • Most recently, an audio clip of Tank's spoken word took off on TikTok before becoming the track "DM Pretty."
  • "It's so cool to have these moments, and then you walk to places and they're like, 'Are you the "DM Pretty" girl?'" Ball says. "It's kind of crazy. I'm just happy we've had these positive viral moments, because you can go viral for not a positive thing."

What she's eating at Jazz Fest: "The fried chicken and jambalaya. My family works there, right next to where the crawfish bread was."

Her snoball order: "I'm always getting strawberry with ice cream on top."

With her magic New Orleans wand, she'd fix: "The crime. That would change so many things."


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