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Getting to Know Tinashe

Don’t let the petite body frame and cutesy voice fool you. Tinashe (pronounced Tee-NAH-shay) has plenty of spunk and moxie to go around. The nuevo 21-year-old is currently RCA’s secret weapon, snagging features with some of hip-hop’s power players including Mike Will Made It and Future. Currently focused on the promotion of the recently released song “2 On” with Schoolboy Q, the L.A. native has been around the block a few times, but is confident she’s here to stay.

JETmag.com had the opportunity to catch up with the former actress to discuss her career evolution, upcoming album and star quality.

JET: A lot of people don’t know you’ve been signed before. What’s different this time around?

Tinashe: What was different with RCA was when they signed me, they already respected where I was coming from as an artist, who I was as well as my artistic perspective. Going through this process of creating an album, [RCA] always tried to respect my creativity, which was so important to me. Once [the label] respects who you are and where you’re coming from, they’re going to give you a lot of creative control because they know you’ll make the right decision.

JET: Did you experience creative control with “2 On”?

Tinashe: The treatment was my idea. I was hands-on during the editing process, as well as the styling and concept. [People] should know I’m really behind this stuff. It’s not corporate-made. All of the ideas are coming from me, just with corporate ties.

JET: Speaking of “2 On,” How did the collaboration with Schoolboy Q come about?

Tinashe: I just turned 21, so I wanted to make a song that I could dance to and hear in the club. I decided to link up with [DJ Mustard]. The record already had a West Coast-type of vibe so I thought to have Schoolboy Q come aboard since he’s out of L.A., too. I’m from L.A. and Mustard’s from L.A.. Schoolboy Q is one of my favorite rappers, plus I never heard him on a beat like that, so I thought it would be fresh.

JET: What was the reason behind the Sean Paul “Like Glue” mention on the hook?

Tinashe: I always think it’s cool to reference things people are familiar with because people are automatically drawn to it. It was already something that they like.

JET: Besides club tracks such as “2 On,” the rest of your music has a darker vibe to it. What inspires that contrast?

Tinashe: For me, I think I need to have a level of contrast in my beats and my music. It has to be a little bit dark because if I sing over happy sounding beats, because I’m such a “cute” person and my voice is so soft and feminine, I come off as way too cute and I wanted to give a little bit of depth and grit. I love the juxtaposition between a dark beat and soft voice.

JET: What can fans expect from your upcoming album?

Tinashe: It’s called Aquarius. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s supposed to represent the layers of who I am. It’s my introduction to the world and it’s my sign. I’ve been working on it for a year and a half now so I have hundreds of songs done. I’ve been working with a lot of amazing people such as DJ Mustard, Mike Will Made It, Boi1da, T-Minus and Clams Casino. I’m really excited about the people I’m working with. The album should be out this summer.

JET: Besides Schoolboy Q, who else are you collaborating with?

Tinashe: I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll give you a few: I have Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky and Future.

JET: Future has a lot going for him right now. How was it working with him?

Tinashe: It was dope! He was a really cool person to work with. He’s such a character. We went down to Atlanta. We went to the strip club. It was insane! He had a stack and I had $30. (Laughs) He had a mountain of money. It was really fun.

JET: That’s a strong roster of features. Do you have any dream collaborations?

Tinashe: I would love to work with Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, James Blake, SBTRKT. I would like to do some more interesting collaborations besides working with rappers.

JET: What’s one fact your fans would be surprised to know about you?

Tinashe: I’m actually pretty introverted. You would think because I’m so confident on stage and in the studio that I’m a huge, big social personality, but I like spending time on my own.

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