Tinashe is not your everyday r&b singer. She started acting at the age of five, was part of a girls group who went on tour with Justin Bieber and acted alongside Charlie Sheen in ‘Two and a Half Men’. Before she became a big star she did everything on her own: from writing songs and producing to even directing her own videos. Last year she blew up thanks to her summer hit ‘2 On’ and in October she released her debut album ‘Aquarius’. A couple weeks of weeks ago she performed at Trix in Antwerp and I had the privilege to interview this 22-year old rising star before she hit the stage .
ITU: You’re on your first world tour at the moment. How has it been so far?
Tinashe: “It’s been crazy. We’ve been all over the world. We went to Australia, New Zealand, now we’re in Europe, after this we’re going to Asia. It’s really been a whirlwind. It’s great to know that I have such dedicated fans so far away from home.”
ITU: What’s been the most epic tour experience so far?
Tinashe: “I went to Dubai and performed for like 30.000 people. I think that that’s pretty epic.”
ITU: Before you made the album, you recorded all of your music in your home studio. Was it hard to make that transition to recording in big studios and stepping out of your comfort zone?
Tinashe: “Definitely, because there’s another level of artistic perspective coming in. When you have other people in the room they’re affecting what you do. It was definitely a learning proces. I was a lot less comfortable but as I went along I got better at it. I also learned how to balance it. I still recorded some tracks off the album in my home studio.”
ITU: Why is it so important for you to hang on to that?
Tinashe: “Mostly because I feel like that’s where I make my best stuff. I feel like that’s where I’m the most comfortable and the most creative. Naturally creative without any outside opinion or influence. I try to maintain that organicness.”
ITU: On your previous projects you were doing everything by yourself – writing, producing, engineering and even directing your own videos – how did it feel to give up a part of that creative control?
Tinashe: “It’s hard for me but I still have my hands in all elements off everything that I do. I still sometimes record my own songs, I still sometimes make my own videos and if I’m not making my own videos I’m very hands on in the editing process and the directing process and the conceptualization of them. Someway, somehow I have my input on everything that comes out.”
ITU: You recently dropped your third video off the album for the sentimental song Bated Breath. Could you elaborate a bit on the concept and how the video came together?
Tinashe: “It was kind off a DIY-video because my label didn’t fund it. I wanted to make more videos for the album so I went out on my own, found a director that I liked and we collaborated on an idea. The song for me feels like when you’re in this period of like waiting for something to happen and you feel just really kind of abandoned and stuck. That’s kind of the vibe I wanted to give with the visuals as well and that’s why I went to the middle of nowhere and acted like I was lost.”
ITU: You’ve worked with a lot of rappers on your projects such as Travis Scott on ‘Black Water’ and Asap Rocky, Future and ofcourse SchoolBoy Q on ‘Aquarius’. Which rapper would you definitely want to work with in the future?
Tinashe: “My dream is to work with André 3000, so I’ll go with that.”
ITU: You’ve done a lot of acting when you were younger. Currently you are very focused on the music. Would you ever want to venture back into acting or is that a closed chapter?
Tinashe: “At this point in my life I’m very focused on music and establishing myself as an artist but once I’ve reached those goals I would definitely like to get back into acting if the part makes sense.”
ITU: What kind of parts would you like to play?
Tinashe: “I would like to be an action hero. I want to shoot people, jump off buildings and cause explosions. That would be fun.”
ITU: The Aquarius world tour is slowly coming to an end. What’s next for you after this?
Tinashe: “My immediate plan is to get back in the studio and start working on new material and after that… Who knows. I mean, the sky is the limit so I don’t like to limit myself. I hope to have continued to put out succesful albums, be on another succesful worldtour, a bigger one. I also want to get involved in all sorts of things like for example fashion. I would love to start an own brand.”
ITU: And win an Oscar?
Tinashe: “I’m planning on winning one of those when I’m 35 because then people will think I’m too old to be a pop star and I can tell them: “Yes, that might be true but I’m not too old to win an Oscar”. (laughs)”
Pictures by Amin Srasra