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Wanz wearing sunglasses and a colorful suit
Wanz at the University of San Francisco, 2013
Background information
Birth nameMichael Wansley
Also known asTeeWanz
Born (1961-10-09) October 9, 1961 (age 62)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • rapper
  • Vocals
  • bass guitar
Years active1980–present

Michael "Mike" Wansley (born October 9, 1961),[1] better known by his stage names Wanz and TeeWanz, is an American singer, songwriter and rapper. He performs in various genres, including rock, R&B, soul, hip hop, and pop. He was featured on fellow Seattle-based duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' international hit single "Thrift Shop", which received two Grammy Awards for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.

Life and career[edit]

Wansley started performing in church, school, and on the street. He was introduced to jazz and pop music early and studied jazz at school. He has been performing since the early 1980s.[2] At 21, he formed a band called Boys Will Be Boys. Their repertoire included covers, including INXS songs.[3] In the early 1990s Wansley went on to become the bass player in the Seattle band The Rangehoods, taking over for Bruce Hewes. He also was the bass player and singer for the original hard-funk band, Lifering, with David Scott Cameron on guitar, Jeff Stone on guitar, and David Nielsen on drums. He later on fronted a band called the Ghetto Monks and saw some success.[4] 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.[5]

Wanz graduated from Lakes High School in Lakewood, Washington. Prior to the break-out performance of "Thrift Shop", Wanz was a full-time software test engineer[1] for companies such as Microsoft, Adapx, and Volt.[6][7] Sane called him and introduced him to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to do the hook for "Thrift Shop" in 2012. Wanz has toured with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and performed with them on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live.[4] He is also featured in the official music video of the song. Wanz has written a book about a series of sayings he has coined over the years, to be called #The Book of Wanz[1] and has a Ted Talk called "You Too Can Be Your Own Unicorn".

In 2015, Wansley returned to his career as a quality-assurance engineer for the software company Tableau and has been working with at-risk youth and other causes as well as working on new music.[7]



Year Title
1991[8] Long Way Home
(The Rangehoods)
1999[9] High Steppin'
(Ghetto Monks)

Extended play[edit]

  • Wander (2013)


Featured in
List of singles, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Peak chart positions Certifications Album



"Thrift Shop"
(Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz)
2012 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 The Heist
(Macklemore & Ryan Lewis album)
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


• 2003: “Pull with Me” (Dividenz feat. Wanz) (5:24) (on Dividenz album ‘Hollow Point Lyrics’)

• 2004: “Take This Flight” (Crytical feat. Dividenz & Wanz) (4:16) (on Crytical’s album ‘Crytical Condition’)

  • 2006: “Rain” (Dividenz feat. Wanz) (5:15) (on Dividenz album ‘10% Rap, 90% Hustle’)
  • 2006: “No Way” (Dividenz feat. Wanz) (4:16) (on Dividenz album ‘10% Rap, 90% Hustle’)
  • 2010: “I’m Gon’ Preach” (The Competitive Hustle League feat. Wanz) (3:53) (on Competitive Hustle League album ‘CHL’)


  1. ^ a b c Mogg, Daniel (January 17, 2013). "The Story of Thrift Shop's Wanz". youtube.com. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  2. ^ Josh Kerns (2013-02-08). "Seattle's Wanz finds fame decades later than planned thanks to Macklemore's 'Thrift Shop'". MyNorthwest.com. Retrieved 2013-02-11.
  3. ^ Steven J. Horowitz (31 January 2013). "Wanz Q&A: Meet the 'F-ing Awesome' Singer in 'Thrift Shop'". Billboard. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  4. ^ a b Caulfield, Keith (October 17, 2012). "Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' 'Heist' Album Debuts At No. 2 On Billboard 200, Mumford Holds at No. 1 Archived 2012-10-19 at the Wayback Machine" Billboard.
  5. ^ PopDust: The Story of Wanz, The 51-Year-Old Breakout Singer on Macklemore’s "Thrift Shop"
  6. ^ "Wanz... All about the Seattle Singer". bakeek.com. January 27, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Soper, Taylor (August 7, 2015). "'Thrift Shop' star Wanz returns to software testing job after 'surreal' year on tour with Macklemore". GeekWire. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  8. ^ "The Rangehoods – Long Way Home". Discogs. 1991. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  9. ^ "Ghetto Munks – High Steppin'". Discogs. 31 March 1999. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  10. ^ "Macklemore Album & Song Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  11. ^ "Macklemore Album & Song Chart History: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  12. ^ "Macklemore Album & Song Chart History: R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  13. ^ "Macklemore Album & Song Chart History: Rap Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  14. ^ "Discography Wanz". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  15. ^ "Macklemore Album & Song Chart History: Canadian Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  16. ^ "Discographie Wanz". lescharts.com (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  17. ^ "Macklemore (Single)". charts.de (in German). Media Control Charts. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  18. ^ "Irish Charts – Top 100 Singles – Week ending 8th November 2012". Irish Recorded Music Association. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  19. ^ "Discography Wanz". charts.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  20. ^ "ARIA Charts > Accreditations > 2013Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  21. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart: 03 December 2012". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  22. ^ Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop" Certified Double Platinum | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales | HipHop DX
  23. ^ (on J-Haze's Mixtape ' Heroin Habits") iTunes: Ridsa - Mes histoires album page
  24. ^ "Back to Work (Feat. Wanz) - Single by Wizdom". iTunes. 2 January 2018.

External links[edit]