During my usual observation of popular culture, I do sometimes notice that the media and a growing discourse among fans really want us to care or at least pay attention to individuals that just turned old enough to drink! I’m amazed by Ariana Grande’s massive Instagram following, and I’m amused by Justin Bieber’s Paris Fashion Week appearances amongst fashion influentials like Carine Roitfeld.
By no means are you not allowed to appreciate the presence or work of someone younger than you, that’d be a silly set of rules even our elders usually know best because we can’t help or know who will inspire, but I say all this since recently, I’ve become a big fan of singer/songwriter/dancer Tinashe. Though her debut major label album came out on October 7 (Aquarius), she’s been churning out music mixtapes for the last 3-4 years. In listening to her catalog as a whole, this is one 21-year-old, or back then 19-year-old, that totally, impressively understood how to explicitly remember the joy and agony of love, sex, and self-expression. At her age, I wouldn’t even know how to begin drafting such feelings and it would’ve had to have done out of childlike imagination of what it would even feel like to experience these emotions and honest reactions that I’ve heard so many times divulged in before. I’ll always recall the moment I realized, for example, the Cranberries’ great first hit “Linger” and how I liked it so much back in 1993 when I was little (Dolores’ voice was so calming), but now, I almost find it painful to listen to though I still think it’s wonderful. Like that “Oh, I, thought the world of you…” lyric. Nope. I can’t bear to even hear it sang out loud.
From Tinashe, she’s got a lot of songs that for me as a late 20-something, I got on repeat, and in celebration of Aquarius, she’s been in New York making the necessary promotional rounds. Thanks to a friend, I caught wind of her appearing at the Apple Store in Soho for a Q&A and possible meet and greet. Starting at 8:OOPM, she was interviewed by radio station Hot 97’s Miss Info (who’s been a reporter of hip-hop pop culture for some time now), and it was a very relaxed vibe in the upstairs floor of the flagship. Since this has been her first year in the mainstream spotlight, there was definitely no this-is-of-a-usual-routine aura about her. She didn’t seem, she was excited and eager to talk about her dream come true album. She was dressed in a go-to It-girl in the making ensemble of a tomboy chic, which was popularized in the ’90s by R&B girl groups and of course Aaliyah, who she’s been regularly compared to. Sartorially, her all black look consisted of a cropped tank top from Rita Ora’s Adidas collection, an Opening Ceremony heavy leather jacket, and I couldn’t tell where the leather joggers were from, but she did have black Nike wedge sneakers on.
The room wasn’t packed, but you could tell it was her core fans that really wanted to be there, and some had poster boards, news clippings, and the album for her to sign. I brought a copy of that controversial New York Times article about her for her to sign! I joined the fandom and I was even more elated that she did a small performance set that even for just a small gathering, she gave 110% and her two dancers meshed so well. She did some jams from her last mixtape Black Water and about three tracks from Aquarius, ending with the hit “2On”.
Following below are the tidbit goodies from Miss Info’s interview with Tinashe and videos from her set. #teamtinashe
MISS INFO: We’re here in the Apple store, surrounded by all these gadgets, it’s incredible because she is self-taught when it comes to ProTools, and Logic, and so, you were kind of a nerd! Tell me about buiding a studio and working at home…
TINASHE: The kind of inspiration for that was…with my personality, I don’t like to sit around and wait for people to do things for me, or opportunities to fall out of thin air. You have to go out there and make things happenf or yourself. That’s what really inspired me to take the reins on my own music career and do whatever I could do for my music. I also realized that espeically in this day and age, like you said, there is so much technology that is accessible to you, there are things like YouTube where you cn literally learn to do anything. You just have to take a leap of faith and try things out that you think will work. They’re not as scary as they appear.
MISS INFO: You were also a showbiz kid. All of these really diverse showbiz experiences, you were also in a girl band [The Stunners] that seems so different from the individual solo artist you are now, do you feel like going through that in a sense, that cookie cutter oppressive…do you think that helped make you the artist you want to be?
TINASHE: I do think it really inspired me to become this uperson because I wanted that creative control. When I was in my group, it was very formulaic, it was put together, t wasn’t fulfilling to me because obviously we were made…it wasn’t coming from my soul so when I started to create my own music and my mixtapes, it was just so liberating and such a great feeling because I made all these decisions myself! SO when making the albums, I just had to stay true to that, to follow my instincts.
SORRY FOR THE FOOTAGE BEING FILMED IN THAT SKINNY FORMAT, BUT IT LOOKS GOOD IF YOU CLICK ON THE FULL SCREEN OPTION!