Eight Q's with Tucson Hip Hop Festival Speaker: Andres Tardio
Having interviewed a multitude of public figures such as Kendrick Lamar, Khloe Kardashian and Ice Cube for publications like Billboard, Complex, and MTV-News, Andres has established himself as a prominent journalist in the industry.
Respectively, he has also established himself as a photographer. Andres has captured the performances of artists including Kanye West, Cardi B, Justin Bieber, and more. In addition, he has worked on ad campaigns for brands like Nike, Puma, and Jordan Brand.
Over a phone call conversation, Andres and I were speaking about his profession in both industries and how he has been able to navigate being uniquely identified as an artist in each. Inspired by his journey, Andres' panel discussion at the festival is titled, "Respect in Each Art Form: Photography and Journalism."
Below is a pre-conversation; eight q's with Andres.
What’s the most memorable concert you attended and why?
There are so many to pick from, but I want to go with something recent because it’s fresh in my memory bank. This past December, Top Dawg Entertainment held a concert in the middle of Nickerson Gardens in Watts. Kendrick Lamar closed the show with a special appearance from Rihanna. SZA, Jay Rock, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, E-40, SiR, and Isaiah Rashad also performed at the event and it was all for free. Can you imagine? Folks just had to bring presents for kids in the community in order to get in. I think the fact that it was all for a good cause just resonated extra hard. This was the fourth TDE event of its kind and each year gets better. You could just feel the love in the air that day. That’s what music is all about and it’s always an honor to attend, cover, and photograph such a special show.
If you were to select one piece of Hip Hop history that truly inspires and/or moves you, what would it be?
It’s hard to pick one piece of hip-hop history, but if I had to, I’d go with the invention of this culture. Everything we see now is just an extension of that origin. I’m talking about the first turntables, the first spray cans, the first b-boy sneakers, the first microphones. Pick any piece from that era, and you have a very important part of hip-hop history.
What’s your favorite Bun B track or lyric?
What unique aspect of your career is your favorite (or most fulfilling)?
I love the fact that I’ve been able to write and take pictures in this field. Being able to do both of those things -- sometimes at the same time -- has been incredibly fulfilling and I’m grateful for every opportunity that allows me to do those things.
What are you currently trying to learn?
Personally, I’m trying to learn how to raise a child. That’s huge for me right now. Professionally, I’m always looking for ways to improve and expand on what I know. With photography, that means working on different editing styles and techniques. With writing, I’ve been analyzing my work more and editing things down, trying to get more efficient with words. I recently interviewed a friend of mine Devi Brown and it was like speaking to a spiritual mirror sometimes. At one point, she said, “I have a huge appetite for learning, growth, and understanding people. I also have a big desire to be of service.” That’s exactly how I’ve always felt and so that appetite for learning and growth continues to fuel my decisions.
*How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success?
This happens all the time. They say that whenever one door closes, another one opens. I’ve realized that there’s so much truth to that. In fact, one door might close, and three doors might open right after. A lot of times, if you’re stuck being upset about that one door closing, you miss out on the other doors. You might not even see them. So, I think it’s just important to always be looking for those doors and opportunities whenever you feel like you’re at a low point.
How do you define success?
There are lots of ways to define success and it can vary every day, month, and/or year. But usually, this remains a constant truth when you boil it all down: If you can do what you love while providing for yourself or your family, I feel like you’re successful. There are a lot of other things that blur that truth -- money, fame, clothes, cars, whatever -- but that definition of success outlasts everything for me.
*What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?
Invest in yourself. Don’t invest in technology or equipment if you don’t believe in yourself. Once you have faith in your abilities, then go ahead and invest in all that other stuff. But you come first. If you’re a writer, you don’t need the illest laptop known to man to get started. You don’t need the best notebook. If you’re a photographer, you don’t need the craziest camera or the wildest lens. Sure, all of those things end up being helpful but none of it will work unless you believe in yourself.
*Q inspired by Tim Ferriss
To attend Andres Tardio's panel discussion on "Respect in Each Art Form: Photography and Journalism" at the Tucson Hip Hop Festival Saturday, February 24th, purchase your ticket here or at the Rialto Theatre box office.