Wanz or TeeWanz (“tee” + “W-on-z”), the Singer in Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” who looks incredible in your Grandad’s clothes is actually a 51 year old computer programmer from Seattle, Washington named Michael Wansley. Self described as a “jack of all trades” regarding his computer coding prowess, Wanz could expand that classification on a much broader scale after being on a Billboard Number One hit song.. as his very first nation wide track. Oh yeah… he’s still unsigned! The velvety smooth,erotically deep voice mixed with the funky trombone jam define the breakthrough hit of 2013 and make plenty of fellow thrift shop goers proud.
Michael Wansley has been performing since age 5 by singing songs from the radio on the playground in elementary school up through middle and high school. His love of the radio and the joy of singing led him to sing in church, school, on the street, almost anywhere, anytime and for anyone.
After singing hooks for D. Sane and Street Level Records for over a decade, Wanz was tapped by unsigned independent Seattle based Cold ass honky rapper Macklemore and is featured on “Thrift Shop” – which ultimately became the first number one song by an unsigned artist in over twenty years. Macklemore’s album, “The Heist” released October 9, 2012, has propelled Wanz, Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, as well as all unsigned artists, into an incredible bright and unexpected spotlight.
Macklemore feat Wanz “Thrift Shop” Music Video
If you were going to list the reasons for the mostly unexpected crossover success of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop,” there’d be a number of factors to point to: Macklemore’s hard-earned fanbase and rep as an independent touring rapper, the song’s funky, skronked-out beat and sax hook (courtesy of Lewis), the song’s quickly viral music video parodying traditional hip-hop excess. But perhaps at the top of the list would be the song’s sturdy, soulful, and instantly memorable hook sun in an unreal Sexually Smooth Voice reminiscent of the Great Barry white.
“I’m gonna pop some tags
only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I-I-I’m hunting, looking for a come-up
This is fu-cking awe-soommme…”
That hook is the work of the Seattle-based singer Michael Wansley, known better as “Wanz,” a 51-year-old music vet who had never cracked the Hot 100 before, let alone reached its top spot. In fact, there were a whole lot of things that Wanz had never done before getting the call to be on “Thrift Shop”—never been on a music video shoot, never been out on tour, certainly never been on Ellen. Oh wait, he just did here!!!1@1! A_A
Wanz, Macklemore, and Ryan Lewis on The Ellen DeGeneres Show “Thrift Shop” Music Video
Michael Wansley, who is now better known by his stage names TeeWanz and Wanz, (born 1961)was formerly known for being a programmer for various companies. His hobby as an American singer in various genres including R&B, soul, hip hop and pop has achieved wide acclaim after the Seattle-based duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featured his vocals on their international hit “Thrift Shop”. The track was from their 2012 joint Macklemore/Lewis album The Heist.
With experience singing jazz, pop, even opera (did Porgy and Bess summer of 2011). Sounding familiar yet, unique from other artists, he brings his own sense of R&B/Soul/Hip-Hop/Pop ideas to the table looking to find management, production and possible collaborators to touch listeners with tight, intelligent, listener-friendly perspectives. Check out the smooth grooves of TeeWanz!
Wansley started performing in church, school and on the street. He sang hooks in recordings by D. Sane and Street Level Records for a decade. He also took part in the summer of 2011 in the opera Porgy and Bess.
Prior to the break out performance of “Thrift Shop”, Wanz was a full-time software test engineer knowledgeable in C#/.net programming.
He was a Software Development Engineer for companies like Microsoft, Adapx, and volt.
R&B/Hip Hop/Soul artist Michael “The Wanz” Wansley is interviewed by Sonwriters in Seattle Organizer Chris Klimecky. They discuss his long musical history in Seattle, his new songwriting and production process, and his evolution as a musician. (SiS / songwritersinseattle.com)