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Interview: Tinashe on her debut album 'Aquarius'.

Interview: Tinashe on her debut album 'Aquarius'.

Tinashe epitomises the age-old saying 'here today, gone tomorrow'

And no, that's definitely not to say her time in the music industry has an expiry date - especially when you take into account that she's only one album in and can already tick off collaborations with Dev Hynes, Schoolboy Q and A$AP Rocky. It's because she literally touched down for less than 24 hours to play Auckland's Splore Festival before continuing her international headlining tour.

Since the release of her debut album 'Aquarius' in October last year, Tinashe has proved that she's clearly not only a girl on-the-go [refer to previous statement re: 24 hour stopover], but a girl going places.

After formulating a musical career as part of the girl-group The Stunners, Tinashe's decision to venture solo in 2011 has kept audiences on a three year - and three mix tape - wait while she perfected the album. She explains: "It took a long time for me to work with all those people and just really feel comfortable and confident in the music... being a new artist and a young woman I think people just assume 'she's just a cute girl signed to a record label' type thing. It's always a process to just establish that respect amongst who you're working with."

Between ranking third on Billboard and Rolling Stone magazine's Best R&B Albums Of 2014 lists, and being invited to feature on Nick Jonas' #1 single 'Jealous', Tinashe is dead-set on ensuring the authenticity of her music by protecting it from becoming "fabricated or label-made" - even recording various tracks within the self-made home studio in her bedroom.

"To me, it's just really important that we see more women within music and encourage other women to do music..."

Bring on the dawn of Aquarius...

COUP DE MAIN: Congratulations on your debut album 'Aquarius'! Your song 'Bet' is definitely one of my personal favourites on the record - the R&B influences mixed with that guitar solo near the end is rad! What was it like working with Dev Hynes on the track?
TINASHE: Thank you so much. Dev is one of my favourites, he's just a really cool guy. I've worked with him on one other song that didn't actually make the album, but I've always kind of had him in mind. Actually when that song came about I just had this random idea that it would be cool to transition it into the next song and to add that guitar interlude, and I saw him play at Coachella and basically do this guitar solo and he fucking killed it, so I was like: "Alright, I've got to get him to do one on my album." So I hit him up and he did it and I love it.

CDM: We talked to Nick Jonas recently and he said that you are an incredible artist and were the perfect fit to feature on 'Jealous'. Why did you decide to join forces with him for the song?
TINASHE: That's so nice! I loved the record and he actually asked me to be a part of it, and since I already loved the record it was a no-brainer for me, I was like, 'Absolutely!' It was already completed at that point so they sent me a version with an empty verse and I basically then just recorded it in my home-studio in my bedroom and just sent it back to them. That's it! That's how it happened. But I hadn't even met him at the time, but since then we've gotten the privilege of performing together a few times and stuff like that. 

CDM: It’s great that you have your own home-studio! It’s still a rare thing now for an artist to have that level of control.
TINASHE: Yeah definitely. I think it's just people in the past have gotten other people to create their music. More so out of necessity is why I started getting involved in creating my own music, and then I realised that this is really amazing because you're not limited so you don't have to wait for people, you can really just make whatever you want 'cuz you have that creative power to create the music.

CDM: You’ve said previously, that you love that R&B is collaborative, and that you think artists should continue to support other artists, especially female artists. Why do you personally feel it's important to make sure the female voice and perspective is heard within R&B?
TINASHE: I just feel like in music in general, females are a little bit underrepresented - it's not like there's that many female artists that I feel are in the game. There's way more men. Especially in creating music with producers or engineers you just don't see very many women doing that - when I was creating the album I didn't see very many. To me, it's just really important that we see more women within music and encourage other women to do music, for sure.

CDM: You've been involved with the music industry for a fair while - obviously as part of The Stunners but also as a solo artist you’ve previously released three mixtapes. Why did you decide to wait a few years before releasing your debut solo album?
TINASHE: I just honestly had to finish it. It took a long time for me to work with all those people and just really feel comfortable and confident in the music. For me, it took a long time when I started working with other people to get comfortable - well not necessarily for me to get comfortable, but for them to really understand where I was coming from as an artist because being a new artist and a young woman I think people just assume 'she's just a cute girl signed to a record label' type thing. It's always a process to just establish that respect amongst who you're working with.

CDM: I really love the metaphorical context of titling the album 'Aquarius' and the idea of it being your introduction to the music industry, but as we’ve just discussed, you have been making music for a long time already. Would you say that this album is almost a new beginning for you as an artist?
TINASHE: Yeah! I think since it's my first album in a way, it's an introduction even though I've had projects in the past. For me it seemed like a clean slate and an opportunity for me to really re-introduce myself I suppose.

CDM: You connect with indie/alternative music artists such as Bon Iver and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, whose music comes from a real and legitimate place. What places do you personally draw inspiration from for your music?
TINASHE: Things that I go through, experiences that I have. Obviously travelling the world and getting to go to different places is a big inspiration for me because I have real incredible new experiences. I think you get inspiration from other art, things that you see - movies, music, everything.

CDM: Apparently you want to work with Karen O?! I can't even begin to imagine how rad that track would sound...
TINASHE: Oh my god, yes! I would die...

CDM: You're playing at Splore Festival, but if you could curate your own music festival what would you want it be called and who would be on the line-up?
TINASHE: It would just be all my favourites on the line-up, which would mean Janet Jackson would have to come out for a performance which would be great. You would need, like you said, Bon Iver, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, some Metric, all sorts of people. Freakin' Kanye West, Jay-Z's coming out, Beyoncé's gonna be there! It's gonna be crazy. I'm gonna be there, obviously. Headlining, obviously. <laughs> And it's called... I don't know, that's really hard. It's called Spaz. Spaz Fest.

CDM: Speaking of headlining, when are you going to come back and do your own show?
TINASHE: I'm really excited to come back! This is my first time here and I'm definitely not able to spend enough time here, I only get to be here for today and leave tomorrow. I'm really excited to come back A.S.A.P.!

CDM:The 'Deep In The Night' interlude features a recording of you singing a song that you wrote at age seven - why did you decide to put that short recording within the album?
TINASHE: Well for me, it's kind of just like an inside joke to myself where I'm reminded of how far I've really come and this being my first album and that being the first song that I wrote. I don't know, it's just a tribute to how far I've come. I just thought it was interesting to share.

CDM: What was the song about?
TINASHE: I don't know where I got inspiration for this song, but it was about saying to someone you don't have to be afraid because I'm here with you.

CDM: So mature for 7-years-old!
TINASHE: So mature.

CDM: Does the Indigo Child interlude happen to have anything to do with the artist Raury who also featured on 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1' soundtrack? Cuz' he's all about that Indigo Child revolution too...
TINASHE: No, it doesn't!

CDM: Both just Indigo Children together then?
TINASHE: I guess so! We're both just on the same wave.

CDM: Lyrically, what's your favourite song on the album and why?
TINASHE: Lyrically, maybe 'Cold Sweat'? That song to me is about pressure and dealing with the industry and just being a young woman in the industry and living in L.A.. That to me is where that song comes from.

CDM: Talking about young women in the industry, if you could give them any advice or have that pep talk with them, what would you say?
TINASHE: I think it's more so just go out and make it happen for yourself. Don't wait for someone to do it for you. You don't have to sit around and wait for a deal or any of these things. You can go out there and create the music and become the artist that you want to be.

CDM: What do you think is the difference between a good song and a great song?
TINASHE: I think a good song is one that gets stuck in your head and it's something that's fun to listen to. I think a great song has something that you connect with on an emotional level and explains what you're going through.

CDM: A friendship-crush is someone you have no romantic interest in, but just really wish you were best friends with. Who would be your top five friendship-crushes, living or dead?
TINASHE: 5?! That's so hard. Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lawrence, Britney Spears - back in the day <laughs>

CDM: I feel like you need Karen O in there?
TINASHE: Oh yeah! Karen O.

CDM: Janet Jackson?
TINASHE: Janet! That would be great. I wonder what she would say? I wonder what that conversation would be like...

CDM: What's left on your bucket-list that you'd really like to achieve?
TINASHE: I really want to go to Zimbabwe which is where my Dad is from and my name is from, I've never been there. To visit there would be awesome. What else? To win some Grammys, that'd be cool. To have a #1 album, that would be awesome. Those things.

CDM: And lastly, what do you hope for people to take away from listening to your music? 
TINASHE: I just want people to realise that it comes from a genuine place, that it's not fabricated or label-made. It's definitely a genuine thing that means a lot to me that I'm really behind creatively, so I hope that comes across in the music.

Tinashe’s album ‘Aquarius’ is out now, featuring the singles ‘2 On’ and ‘Pretend’. Click HERE to purchase via iTunes.

Watch the ‘Pretend’ video below...

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