Updated: Nov 18, 2021
Photographed by Juan Veloz
It has been nearly a decade since Tinashe released her first independent project In Case We Die. Eight years and a record deal later she’s flourishing as an independent artist. With the release of her studio album Songs for You, Tinashe explodes with a new level of creativity. She delivers a sense of comfortability, freedom and complete creative control. “One thing I am not willing to sacrifice is my integrity as a person, I feel very grounded in who I really am and don’t feel the need to behave in any particular way that doesn’t feel aligned with my spirit.”
So who is Tinashe? “Ambitious, creative and stubborn.” Influenced by music icon Janet Jackson – “[S]he is all around what I hope to be as an entertainer, all of the qualities of an music artist and entertainer. An icon, great diverse music that doest fit in one box.” – Tinashe is a performer, artist, dancer, singer, songwriter and an all around entertainer. Entering the music industry as a teenager she’s no stranger to the main stage. “I’ve been in love with music for as long as I can remember…for me it just comes second nature, it feels natural to who I am.” Tinashe, with her personable personality, has always focused on making music for the people who support her and her art.
“The greatest sacrifice I’ve made is probably dedicating my entire lifestyle to music at such a young age. I went to public school all my life, until I was 15 when I essentially tested out and started working on music full time. Not having a backup plan has really been a pivotal driver of my success in my opinion.”
Coming from the pre-streaming era to now, with having over 5 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Tinashe has proven she’s here to stay. Remaining true to herself and her artistry she continues to be a trailblazer within the music industry, even in the midst of challenges.
“If I wasn’t doing music I’d be doing something else creative, like directing. I really enjoy making things, making something out of nothing, I just enjoy being creative.”
She has also opened herself up to collaborating with other creatives, especially women, being that she now has the confidence and freedom to do so. Now, that she has the independency to thrive, Tinashe shines in being able to be comfortable in her own realm of art without any outside noise.
With her Songs 4 U tour postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, over the past months Tinashe has produced sensational visuals and virtual performances, staying connected to her fans and elevating as a creative.
“It’s fun to be able to experiment in VR, and in ways to bring the live experience to more people than those who are able to attend concerts in major markets. I’m very disappointed I won’t be touring this year, but it does give me the opportunity to really challenge myself to connect in innovative and fresh ways.” we’re finally meeting Tinashe as the true multi-talented and diverse creative she is. Songs 4 U marks Tinashe’s first label-free album, allowing her to embark in the deep recesses of her heart and mind without being shackled by restraint or restriction. As each song builds from the other, you instantly begin to see the growth in confidence and direction, something Tinashe has cultivated after many attempts to resist conforming to things unlike herself. From the first few tracks, “Feelings” and “Life’s Too Short”, it’s very clear that she has adopted a more light-hearted approach to her romantic and professional missteps and is hopeful of the future, improving herself and her bag while maintaining a low profile.
“Lately I ain’t been in my feelings//Nashe always minding my business. Throw it in your face you gon’ feel it” Tinashe seems to float over many of the tracks on this album, taking flight and using her own brand of vocal control to push out her message.
Tracks like “Save Room for Us” and “Story of Us” inspire feelings of a love that never seems to die out, despite time, distance and even other relationships.
“Oh, you know it’s not the end//We’ll fall in love again//’Cause we were built in dreams of gold//Just save room for us//And it may not be today//True love will find a way//Just save a space for me.”
Her deep understanding of faith and fate blend effortlessly in her milky tone and harmonies, even showing us in other songs that although she might be remembering past pleasures, she is definitely enjoying her present as well. “Hopscotch” and “Link Up” give us just the hint of Pop/R&B that we need to party while we wait.
“Paparazzi on me ’cause they know that I’m a star//Got these titties sittin’ extra pretty in that bra//Watch me steady grindin’ I ain’t ever fallen off//Switch on me, you never get back what you lost.”
Oozing charisma on these uptempo beats reaffirm Tinashe as a threat in all genres of music and leave us wondering how the choreography of it all would have turned out amidst the COVID crisis. Note-worthy pitstop interludes and bridges interweave themselves throughout this masterpiece, finally arriving at an ending that once more speaks to an intuitive knowing in the deep connection of a lover, stripping her to only a guitar and her own vocal instrument. “Do you remember when//Made you those promises?//I’ll never forget//I’ll never forget//I hope you know I meant//I hope you know I meant//Every word I said.”
“Remember When” is the perfect ending to a stellar independent album as Songs 4 U proves how eclectic and able Tinashe is to adapt, change and transform into anything she chooses, just so long as her heart and mind are in it.
Who will you find on Tinashe’s Playlist? Artists in the likes of Syd and The Internet-Ego Death, PartyNextDoor, Rihanna-Anti, Ty Dolla $igns-Beach House, Drake-Take Care, Erykah Badu, and more.