Digital Cover Story, September 2016
Writen by J RIVERA / DIRK DIGGLER
Photography by DENNIS LEUPOLD
The Los Angeles metropolitan area is populated by more than 12 million people. The most popular city in California has seen its census grow in the last few years, not only with dreamers in search of Hollywood stardom but also with musicians and producers who see the city as the new Mecca for pop culture. “It’s the best place to be creative musically. There are so many awesome artists in this city, and everybody can collaborate with each other. It’s a great environment for collaboration, I’d suggest every artist to move to LA”, Tinashe (who was born in Lexington, Kentucky, but has been living in the West Coast since she was 8) says. “The weather, probably. I grew up here, this is home to me, my family is here. It’s always sunny, it’s beautiful… and laid back”, she answers immediately when we ask her what she likes the most about LA.
Tinashe (February 6, 1993) is a natural born entertainer: singer, songwriter, dancer and occasional model. She started taking dancing classes at a tender age but singing was, in a way, her first choice. “I started entertaining at a really young age. I was always singing around the house, I started training and dancing when I was four years old; dance has been a huge part of my life because I really connected with the music. Being able to sing, being able to dance, to perform… I really loved that.” Her first mixtape, In Case We Die (2012), showed off her dance capabilities with visuals like “Can’t Say No” and “This Feeling”. She always works hard on her coreographies, helped by expert JaQuel Knight (who also worked with Beyoncé). “Growing up I really loved ballet and tap, they were really fun for me. Tap was so much fun with the rhythm and I started with ballet when I was really, really young… I’ve always loved that and continued with it up until now.”
Her teenage years were not easy. She was bullied in school while attending 8th Grade. “It affected how I felt about school, I didn’t like being around my peers; it was really unfortunate but at the same time really pushed me to focus on what I really wanted to do. It gave me an advantage because I started getting all my time and energy into my music.” Every cloud has a silver lining and Tinashe turned around a situation that many kids have to face nowadays. Today, she has become a role model for many teenage girls, for whom she has some important advice: “I think that, at the end of the day, the biggest thing that I can teach young women is to make up their own minds and think for themselves, to not wait for someone to do something for them and to go about trying to accomplish their dreams. That’s what I try to demonstrate every day, and also encourage women to get involved in music as much as possible.”
“‘JOYRIDE’ IS ABOUT MY JOURNEY, THE HIGHS AND LOWS, THE ADVERSITY AND BEING ABLE TO COME BACK FROM THAT TO FIND JOY; IT’S ABOUT BEING ON A RIDE, ON AN ADVENTURE, IT’S WHERE I FEEL I’M AT RIGHT NOW”
“MY STYLE IS ALWAYS EVOLVING AND CHANGING. THAT’S THE BEST PART OF BEING A YOUNG PERSON, YOU HAVE ROOM TO GROW, EVOLVE AND GET BETTER. WE’LL SEE WHERE LIFE TAKES ME, THAT’S WHAT LIFE’S ABOUT, REALLY”
The 23 year old Californian artist also appears regularly on fashion magazines (Vogue, Marie Claire, Elle…). She loves to innovate with her fashion sense and she has even worked as a model despite being only 5′ 5″. Red is the color that suits her the best, like we had the chance to see at the last ‘MTV VMAs’ award ceremony, where she wore an spectacular outfit by Juan Carlos Obando. “I think my style is always evolving and changing. That’s the best part of being a young person, you have room to grow, evolve and get better. We’ll see where life takes me, that’s what life’s about, really.” In the fall of 2015 he appeared on Ralph Lauren’s Denim & Supply campaign, and worked for M.A.C. cosmetics last February. Upcoming projects on this field are a collaboration with designer Alexander Wang on his new collection, in which some other relevant figures, such as Zoe Kravitz, producer Skrillex (Jack Ü) or it girl Kylie Jenner, are also involved.
On her personal side of things, she has been linked to scottish hitmaker Calvin Harris, but Tinashe has her priorities straight. And love is not among them… At least for now. “It’s not that feasible for me right now in my life. I’ve been focusing on getting this album out, music comes first for me and I’m trying to put all my energy there.” It also seems that she will not come back to acting in a near future, we will not see her following the footsteps of other artists such as Lady Gaga, Rita Ora or Rihanna. “I used to do a lot of acting when I was younger and I’d love to get back to it in the future but obviously, I’ve been focusing on music recently because that’s my main objective right now. Maybe later on I’ll get more involved in acting again”, she admits.
Next November will be a very crucial month for all americans, a new president will be elected. Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton could be the first woman to reach the White House. That is a very important fact for Tinashe. “I think that a female president is another example of the fact that women can do anything. I think that’s amazing. Even the fact that she got this far it’s an example for women and we should celebrate that.” Tinashe is a person that doesn’t put any barriers in front of her and uses a song from Biggie (“Sky’s The Limit”) to put and end to our interview. “I want to continue to grow and evolve. It’s hard to put a timeline on things because they always change. I wanna be happy, I wanna be successful, whatever that is… I wanna make music, tour the world, release new albums and do whatever I wanna do, whatever that inspires me. Sky’s the limit!.”