Tinashe’s Breakfast Invite to Discuss Her ‘Joyride’ Album Was Full of Surprises [EXCLUSIVE]
When Tinashe welcomes you to breakfast, you accept the invitation with open arms -- and an empty stomach. If you're familiar with anything about the music industry it should be that late nights and early mornings are a usual occurrence. So a 9 a.m. breakfast meeting with the singer on Tuesday morning (Nov. 17) would surely be met with some sleepy, but excited faces.
A sizeable group of about 25 people gathered at the Sony Club in New York City to hear Tinashe give details on her sophomore opus, listen to her new tunes and indulge in some eats. With a buffet including yogurt parfaits, mini quiches and egg and cheese biscuit sliders, noshing on the spread and sipping on mimosas and coffee helped me and the rest of the room stay energized for what Tinashe had to share. The event was in her honor after all, and no one should be groggy when meeting her.
Tinashe may be beautiful and look like a sweetheart, but don't underestimate this woman's talents or her state of mind. She's a strong force set on building a lasting career, performing for the masses and essentially taking over the world. For about an hour, she opened up about her purpose and her new project -- a discussion that was full of surprises.
"For me, the plan is world domination overall," she told the audience at a special listening party for her upcoming album, Joyride. "But [with] Joyride, I'm really excited for people to get to know me. It was an introspective in a sense since I'm on a joyride right now."
At only 22, Tinashe has four mixtapes and a debut album, Aquarius, under her belt. And even with the success of singles like "2 On" and "All Hands on Deck," she knows that she still has more work to do in order for people to know who she really is. This is why she's most excited about "Player," her current single with Chris Brown.
"I'm so excited about 'Player,' she shared. "I have an issue with people who put me in boxes that I don't necessarily fit into. They put me in the pretty girl box... like it all came easy to me. [But] we have been grinding a long time to get to where we are."
She's been hard at work on her craft ever since she was a toddler -- old enough to sing a note and do her first twirl. "As long as I can remember, I always wanted to entertain," she said. "I always wanted to be in front of the camera, put on a show."
She added, "I was probably the most annoying kid ever because I wouldn't shut up."
After seeing the talent that their daughter early on, her mom, a native of Iowa, and dad, who immigrated from Zimbabwe with his family, did everything they could to support her creative pursuits. "They really just took a chance on me and moved to L.A. [from Iowa]," Tinashe revealed. "Because they did that and never told me to this day that it was financially difficult, I give them almost all the credit to my self-confidence to succeed."
Watch Tinashe's "Player" Video Feat. Chris Brown
And even though she's already traveled the world a few times over and is creating a respectable catalog of music, Tinashe admits that one thing hasn't changed: where she calls home. "My home base is still in my parents house in my room that I decorated when I was 12 years old," she admitted. "So in my five-year plan, I hope to move out of my parents' house in five years, but no guarantees."
That's the thing about Tinashe that is so impressive. Despite her wide-eyed optimism and faith in following her dreams, she is focused and pushes forward no matter how bumpy the road ahead. Some artists her same age might be set on getting a lavish crib rather than living with the 'rents. But there's a time and a place for everything, according to Tinashe. "Right now at this time in my life, I'm super, super career-focused," the Amethyst creator stated. "Creating this album is an interesting perspective because I don't have a love inspiration."
She may not have a bae by her side, but that doesn't mean Tinashe isn't writing about love. Her pen game is strong when it comes to the feels. "Fires and Flames" is "a nice little ballad" that will hit you straight in the heart. "It's about being in an awkward situation when you're with somebody, and they're destructive. And you still want to be with them. It's just a story that a lot of people can relate to. I definitely relate to it."
"Prisoner" is a slow-burning, orchestral pop song produced by the Wolf Cousins, who are from the Max Martin crew in Sweden. Meanwhile "Fearless" is an uplifting track centered on not being afraid of taking risks and delving into the unknown. Then there's "Flame," a song about a girl who's telling her man to just stay with her no matter what, even if he's not into the relationship anymore. "Tell me you've still go the flame for me," she sings on the chorus.
Tinashe had the opportunity to work with a number of her favorites for Joyride including Boi-1da, who she says is "such a genuine guy," and Max Martin, who's the force behind pop powerhouses like Britney Spears and Katy Perry. "Max Martin was so high on my list of people who I want to and got to work with," she said.
While she was more than happy to work with those guys, it still surprises Tinashe of the lack of women behind the mixing board. "When I started collaborating, it's an extremely male-dominated industry, especially in the production area. I've worked with so many producers and engineers, and I've only worked with only one female producer and one female engineer. It's insane."
So she has some advice for young female artists on the rise: "Especially if you're interested in pursuing any kind of music career, you should get involved in the production part of it."
Aside from talk about the album, she also discussed a person who is "one huge inspiration": Janet Jackson. At the 2015 BET Awards in June, Tinashe, alongside Ciara and Jason Derulo, paid tribute to the "Rhythm Nation" singer. "She's one huge inspiration," she gushed. "I was personally invited to be part of her tribute, [and] just being a part of that was such an honor."
Growing up on Janet's iconic videos including "Rhythm Nation," "If" and "Pleasure Principle," Tinashe wants to reintroduce that aspect of performance back to the stage. "It's so important for me to bring dance back into the conversation," she explained.
Not only was she inspired by Janet's moves, but "Touch Pass," another song set to appear on Joyride, also has that "Janet vibe." With piano melodies and continuous snapping dictating the rhythm, the song has a fluid yet sexy feeling to it -- you'll sway your hips in the same way Ms. Jackson would.
Joyride is Tinashe's pride and joy right now, but the project is just one stepping stone toward a bigger goal of being the best artist she can be. It's not an overnight success story as she can attest to, but if you're prepared to put in the work, the glory is there for the taking.
"You're only one day away from doing anything you want to do," Tinashe said. "There's so much that's possible if you try to make it happen. People get so comfortable and get so complacent in what they do and what they know. Just experiencing new things and taking life by the reigns and go on an adventure."
Get ready to take that ride with Tinashe when her sophomore album arrives in January 2016.
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