Last night, Tinashe headlined Ralph Lauren's concert to celebrate the "2 On" singer as one of the new faces of its fall/holiday Denim & Supply line. Alongside fellow D&S model Cody Simpson, the R&B-pop star moved through her hits, collaborations, and one new song, giving attendees just a taste of what's to come for the rest of 2015 and early next year.
Fuse hung out with Tinashe backstage before the show and got to talk everything from her personal style icon to the songs she's most excited for fans to hear on her upcoming LP, Joyride.
How does Tinashe define her personal style?
My personal style is a reflection of my personality and I think that my personality is very multidimensional, and that comes across in my style as well. I like to play with different sides of my personality: Sometimes I feel more dressy and girly and feminine, and sometimes I like a more casual, comfortable, hip hop way. It can go both ways, but I like to play in the middle ground.
Who do you look up to style-wise?
I think I have a few style icons, but I love Gwen Stefani. She's loads of fun. She kind of does the girly and tomboy looks which is something I incorporate into my look.
Why were you excited to collaborate with a line like Ralph Lauren's Denim & Supply?
Well, Ralph Lauren is obviously amazing and it was just a really great opportunity. Denim & Supply is a really relatable clothing brand. I like to be relatable. To me, being relatable as an artist is important. You know, sometimes people push that away. I like saying, "I'm just like you!"
Ralph Lauren's famous for jeans. Do you have a favorite pair of jeans?
Yeah, I'm a big boyfriend jean fan, so a lot of a boyfriend jeans through the years.
How was it working with Cody Simpson on the "Express Yourself" cover and shoot?
Oh it was fun. I always enjoy collaborating with other artists and creative people. It's always a good excuse to do something that's a little different that you would usually do. It was fun, I love the original song so it was really cool. Cody's really dope.
I think it shows a different side of me that fans should be excited about. The song, the video, the performance, what I'm bringing to the stage—I'm really excited about all that.
The single cover had you sporting some boxing gloves, is that related to the video or performance?
It's a loose concept of the video that it's just kind of being head-to-head with someone and you're battling each other. It's a loose theme. Chris is in it and that's exciting.
And this is all leading up to Joyride, which is coming soon. Are there any tracks you're particularly excited for fans to hear?
There's some songs that I recorded in my home studio again that I'm excited for the fans to hear because it shows, it's more of the original essence that brought the fans to become fans. You know, I'm still recording music there so it keeps that DIY vibe.
“People would be like, 'Can you sing vibey songs & still like partying?' It's like, 'No, sh-t.'”
What's the biggest difference between how you originally worked when you were hustling with mixtapes to now being on a major label?
The biggest difference is that there's more people involved. When I was doing my mixtapes, every decision was my own, everything was created by me, I didn't have to play it for people and ask for opinions. It was very much a solitary process.
That's a huge difference between what I do now, which is much more collaborative. But I think the biggest thing that I've had to learn in that evolution is to continue to trust my instincts and stay true to my own ideas, because it's worked for me.
I've always loved how you speak up about your refusal to sit in one genre or space. Where does that come from?
I don't know if it comes from being part of a mixed-race family. I never felt like I needed to do one thing or another. I've always been like, "I'm both! I'm this and this and this and this and this!"
And human beings are like that by nature, we all have different sides of our personalities, so I always got confused by the way people would box you in and be like, "But can you sing vibey songs and still like partying?" It's like, "No, shit." It's not really hard to believe, but I guess it is for people sometimes. That's why it's important for me to not be stuck in one particular lane or box. Also, just as a creative person, I enjoy being able to switch it up, make different things, be inspired by something and just kind of go for it. Instead of "This is my brand, I have to do it."
What else is coming in late 2015/early 2016?
Immediately, the "Player" video is coming out really soon. I'm going to keep promoting that, we have some performances around that. I'm finishing up my album in the next month. I had it pretty much done, but having been able to sit with it for awhile, I now want to add a couple more flavors. So I'm going to go back, write a couple more songs, finish up the year, then at the top of the year drop the album, go on tour and then see what happens.