V90

ARTICLE MARCUS HOLMLUND

PHOTOGRAPHY CHAD PITMAN

STYLIST MARYAM MALAKPOUR

CREDITS ARTICLE CONTENTS

JENNY SLATE

WHAT WOULD THEY BUY NOW: MARIE ANTOINETTE

TINASHE

EXTRA CREDITS

Makeup Kirin Bhatty (Starworks Artists)  Hair Dennis Gots (Jed Root Inc.)  Manicure Whitney Gibson using Chanel Photo assistants Alex Gay, Brad Liber, Chris Moore  Stylist assistant Catlin Myers Equipment rental Quixote  Retouching Velem  Location Mack Sennett Studios, Los Angeles  Catering Food+Lab

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THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE  THE PICK-UP CECILIA DEAN ON SPECIAL EDITIONS FRONT ROW: MILAN FASHION WEEK

TINASHE

PHOTOGRAPHY CHAD PITMAN
FASHION MARYAM MALAKPOUR
TEXT MARCUS HOLMLUND

BLESSED WITH THE VOICE, MOVES, AND LOOKS OF A SUPERSTAR, THE BREAKOUT R&B SINGER IS HERE TO REMIND US OF WHAT POP USED TO BE AND SHOW US WHERE SHEÍS TAKING IT NEXT

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Tinashe (pronounced tee-NAH-shay) somehow always knew that she’d be in show business. “I grew up dancing, since I was four. Ballet, tap, and jazz evolved into hip-hop, lyrical, and modern. I did it all,” says the 21-year-old Los Angeles–based singer-songwriter, who has worked as an actress, model, and member of girl-group the Stunners. “Part of the reason I fell in love with dance so early was because of people like Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, and Britney Spears. When they would dance onstage and in their videos, that was huge for me. I lived for that.” 

Look no further than her choreography-laden video “2 On” (featuring ScHoolBoy Q) for proof of her devotion to dance. “People have been slacking in the past five or ten years when it comes to performance,” she says. “Dance has always just been an extension of music for me. It’s about putting my music into motion. It’s just another dimension that I tap into with my music that not many artists do anymore.” 

Since she broke onto the scene with two short mixtapes, in 2012, she’s made it her cause to differentiate herself from the thriving progressive R&B crowd, though doing so hasn’t been the easiest feat. She’s usually lumped in either with a group of Aaliyah revivers or with indie acts like Kelela, even though she borrows heavily from the worlds of rock, pop, and crunk. “Comparisons to other artists can be frustrating, because not only does it put you in a box, but it hinders the listeners’ own creativity,” she explains. “Of course there are always similarities between artists like myself and Jhené Aiko, but that doesn’t mean we’re the same because we exist in a similar genre. If everybody’s making quality shit, then there’s room for everybody.”  She’s also not about the package deal. “The difference with me, too, is my attitude. I don’t feel like I take everything so seriously. I take my craft seriously, of course, but I don’t feel the need to always play a certain character or a certain part or persona,” she says. “I’m not going to cut something out of my life because it’s not ‘my image.’ I want to be open enough that if I love something I can do it and it will add to myself as an entertainer. If I’m into something that doesn’t fit the label’s idea of me, then fuck it. Some artists get so restricted by their own doing.”

For her debut album, Aquarius, coming out this fall, Tinashe is enlisting a hearty roster of contributors: Future, Stargate, A$AP Rocky, DJ Mustard, ScHoolBoy Q, Boi-1da, Jasper, and Detail are all confirmed to lend their rhymes and beats to the project. The petite firecracker is confident she can bring her indie appeal to the masses and still be genuine. “I think RCA trusted me so much because of the fact they knew I already came with a fan base that I grew myself online, recording things in my room, I grew from social media. I realized early on that the blogs were what was going to pop me off. They know what I have going is established and valuable and that I’m not a label-made product.” Already buzzed-about in the R&B sphere, the album will be her call to arms. “It’s sort of like I’m shouting, ‘I’m a force to be reckoned with, this shit’s legit, take me seriously, pay attention, this is not an online mixtape!’” The production may be enhanced this time around, but she guarantees it’s still the real deal.

AQUARIUS IS AVAILABLE THIS FALL ON RCA

EXTRA CREDITS

Makeup Kirin Bhatty (Starworks Artists)  Hair Dennis Gots (Jed Root Inc.)  Manicure Whitney Gibson using Chanel Photo assistants Alex Gay, Brad Liber, Chris Moore  Stylist assistant Catlin Myers Equipment rental Quixote  Retouching Velem  Location Mack Sennett Studios, Los Angeles  Catering Food+Lab

MORE TO LOVE

THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE  THE PICK-UP CECILIA DEAN ON SPECIAL EDITIONS FRONT ROW: MILAN FASHION WEEK
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