Tinashe is one of music’s most compelling artists, fusing innovative sounds from R&B, pop and hip-hop. Tinashe’s list of collaborators is extensive, including Britney Spears, A$AP Rocky, Usher, Charli XCX, Chance the Rapper, Travis Scott, Dev Hynes and Calvin Harris. She is also one of the stars of Hugo’s Spring 2023 campaign.
Tinashe, you started your career on TV, which included a recurring role in ‘Two and a Half Men’. How did acting define your career further?
I always enjoyed entertaining people. Being in front of an audience or camera was something I always loved since I was very very young, so acting felt like a natural extension of that. It gave me experience working in professional environments from the age of four or five and was my introduction to the entertainment industry as a whole.
Was music always your first passion, even though you began your career as an actress?
Music was always my favorite aspect of entertainment. I loved to sing and had dreams of being a famous singer for as long as I can remember.
Before embarking on a solo music career, you were part of a group, the ‘Stunners’. How much more difficult or easier it is to be a solo artist than being in a group?
Being in a girl group was a great learning experience for me as I had zero prior experience in a recording studio or on tour, for example. I didn’t enjoy the fact that we were so contrived and I had extremely limited creative input. I was excited for the challenge of expressing my own voice and writing my own music.
Tell us about your path from being in a group to being a solo artist. How did your solo career begin?
When I was 17, nearly 4 years after joining the group, we disbanded. At this point I built myself a home recording studio in my bedroom at my parents house and started recording, producing and mixing my own music. I shot my own music videos and put them all online. It was very soon after that I signed to RCA .
You began studying ballet, tap and jazz at the age of 4 and continued to compete in dance until you were 18. With dance being a huge part of your life, how important you believe dance is in music?
Dance was also a natural extension of my love for both music and entertainment. It adds a whole new dimension to how I interpret music and express myself through movement. It’s extremely important to me as both a songwriter and a performer to dance.
In 2021, your fift studio album ‘333’ was released. Are you currently working on the sixth album? Do you have an idea on what it will sound like and what do you want to express with it?
With every project I want to stay inspired and keep people guessing. I don’t follow any particular formula when deciding what to make, I simply create what I want to hear in the moment and trust my instincts. The creative is always evolving, so the version it is in right now will likely not be the same version that I release.
You’ve done an extensive amount of collabs so far. Who would you love to work with next?
SZA, James Blake, Andre 3000, Rosalía and Don Toliver are currently on my wish list.
You’ve teamed up with ‘The Blonds x motorola razr’ for their Pride Month collaboration last year. You’ve been open about your sexuality, but why does performing at a Pride Extravaganza hold such a special meaning to you?
I love celebrating authenticity and pride is such a wonderful display of that. There’s nothing like coming together with other people who are also celebrating being their fullest, truest selves. Every time I am able to support the LGBTQ community I am thankful and excited.
What is the most important to you in life? What values guide you in everything you do both personally and professionally?
My family is always number one. After that, I most value hard work, loyalty, creativity, consistency and kindness.
This spring, you’re also one of the stars in Hugo’s Spring 2023 campaign. What makes you identify and connect with Hugo as a brand? How important is fashion for you?
Hugo as a brand has really allowed me to be myself in the campaign, which is so important to me. Any brand I align with must understand who I am as an artist first and foremost and not try to change me or minimize me. Fashion in general is an amazing way for me to connect with my artistry and my message in a visual sense, and connect with who I am as an authentic human being.
Photographer/Creative director/Set design: Tyler Patrick Kenny
Stylist: Marc Eram @ A-Frame Agency
Hair: Ashanti Lation
Hair assistant: Sierra Wilson
Make-up: Pircilla Pae @ A-Frame Agency
Production: Tunnel Media Group
Studio techs/Set design: Reno Ronquillo & Madi Sileo
Editor: Timi Letonja
Location: FD Photo Studi / PR: Imprint PR
This interview was done for Numéro Netherlands by Jana Letonja.