Despite what Chris Brown said, I know who you are Tinashe.
Most people probably know her from her most popular song, 2 On, but she’s been in the game for a while now. With three mixtapes under her belt: Reverie, In Case We Die and Black Water, Tinashe could have been something bigger if she would have stayed independent longer.
I feel like Tinashe is misunderstood because no one knows who she is. Her team is trying to find a niche for her but they are struggling with her image. The photoshoot and cover story she did with Complex was nice exposure but I didn’t take much from the interview and found her kinda dry. Musically, 2 On charted pretty high but it boxed her in as a “one hit wonder”. Her hunger to be at the top is very apparent but she doesn’t have the public’s eye because they don’t find her interesting. Aquarius was an okay album debut but it wasn’t the Tinashe I knew.
Songs like Vulnerable and Midnight Sun are what made me a fan of Tinashe. As a threat who writes and produces her own music, Tinashe could be out here giving these R&B singers a run for their money but she’s not. I liked Tinashe because she was versatile in her music, providing uptempo and sensual tracks but now everything seems forced with her. It’s like she’s trying to stick out but it’s only making her blend in.
Now, she is pushing for her next album, Joyride, to be a success and I don’t think it will. The promotions and setbacks this era has experienced has been a mess. RCA has been focusing on her other labelmates and putting her on the back-burner. With her rebellion with her label such as leaking Party Favors and the Chris Brown fiasco with Player, the label has postponed her current tour to get her back in the studio to tweak Joyride.
This album will be the “make it or break it” moment for Tinashe and her label knows it. Everyone needs to go to the drawing board and figure out WHOISSHAE. Once her team knows what their goals are for Tinashe’s branding, she may be able to gain more success. Instead of trying to make a hit, Tinashe needs to let everything be organic. In her interview with Washington Post, she comments “There’s something that’s great about having more people to work for you and to build your machine and your team,” she says, “but there’s something great about not having anyone else’s input and being able to just really truly put out whatever the f— you feel like, whatever’s inspiring to you, and not have to check in with anyone else.”
Since I have a soft spot for her, I am still open to hear what Joyride sounds like.
“The theme (of the album) is really just a snapshot of where I am in my life,” Tinashe says. “I’ve always felt like an underdog; I’ve always had ‘prove-myself syndrome’ of wanting to be bigger and better than people who underestimate me. I definitely feel like I have a long way to go and a lot left to do. It’s a lot of work.”
So will Joyride ever see shelves?