HER BLACK WATER EP TURNED HEADS GLOBALLY BUT AMERICA’S QUINTUPLE THREAT IS ONLY JUST GETTING STARTED…
Tinashe is a bonafide star. She’s the kind of woman that will excel in life, not only due to her talent but also her graceful determination. A skilled singer, songwriter, dancer, actress and producer, she began her career as a child, appearing in TV movie Cora Unashamed at the age of five, followed by The Polar Express. Her last role was in Two And A Half Men during her teens, before she turned her full attention to music. “I kinda went on hiatus if you will, so that people knew that music wasn’t just something I was trying to do for fun.” During this hiatus, she joined a girl group and toured with Justin Bieber, a process that only confirmed her desire to be a solo artist.
Aged only 14, the process prepped her for life in the music industry and on the road. And having dropped out of school shortly before, she was determined not to go back, saying, “I’m the type of person that’s only Plan A, no Plan B.” Her bravery and confidence paid off, as prepares to release her debut album later this year with features from A$AP Rocky and Future. Her biggest track so far is the club anthem, ‘2 On’, featuring Viper’s cover star, ScHoolboy Q.
Tinashe is a Zimbabwean name, meaning “God is with us” in Shona, the language of the largest ethnic group in the southern African country. Her ‘Black Water’ EP was self-produced in less than a month, shocking by anyone’s standards. But Tinashe’s determination and reassurance make her not only one to watch, but one that will undoubtedly push the boundaries of RnB music today. It’s rare that a singer-songwriter is able to produce their own instrumentals too, but hopefully Tinashe will inspire more young women to learn the technical side of the music industry. Though she plans to return to acting eventually, expect to hear a lot more from this quintuple threat before you next see her on the big screen.
How do you feel that people are shocked you produced the EP?
I think people always just expect someone to be one dimensional when actually there’s many different dimensions to people. The fact that I have a home studio and I am creating all the stuff in my room, I think it makes people definitely realise that you aren’t limited necessarily in doing one thing and you can definitely branch out, there’s nothing holding you back but yourself.
For your age you seem very professional and based on your writing abilities, I assumed you were older than you are. There’s a mature side to your writing which you describe as dark.
Yeah, definitely. It’s interesting because I’ve been in the professional business since I was like five years old, so I think professionalism in general is something that I’ve learned over the course of my life and my parents definitely taught me how to be professional. Being on sets and working in an adult environment as a kid can kinda make you be more mature in a sense. I think it’s exciting.
It’s lucky that you’ve got supportive parents and that it worked now!
Yes! So it’s working out hopefully.
It’s nice you have your parents living in your house. Especially since you can work from there with your home studio.
Yeah, they’re like my biggest fans and it’s really important to have that support system because it’s instilled a huge sense of self confidence. They never doubted me or told me that it was a bad idea or not to do it, they always told me I can do whatever I want, so I was like, “Yeah, I can!”
Chance the Rapper remixed one of your songs, was that a surprise?
Yeah, I was happy he reached out, he loved the song, he loved the track. It was cool to be able to hear his take on it and I loved the verse. I loved it, like this is awesome.
Any news facts about Tinashe?
I’ve never eaten Kiwi.
It’s a shame there’s not one in the fruit bowl.
‘Cause you would make me eat it right now? Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a Kiwi. I can’t remember eating one. But I typically don’t like anything green, that’s another random fact. The only like green things I like are Avocados. I love a good Guacamole.
This is an extract from the Spring Issue of Viper Magazine. Read more from the magazine here. Buy physical and digital copies here.
Photos by Sam Bayliss-Ibram
Words by Lily Mercer