Introducing Tinashe: Girl-Group Survivor, Creative Savant

By Niki Gatewood   /   Published 11/29/12

Tinashe BallerStatus

Tinashe is art.  Penetrating harmonies, demanding visuals, and undeterring motions  constitute her creative  skill-set.  Though the emerging actress, singer, dancer is still in her teens, she possess a polished sophistication that  promises to increase with time's caress. Encouraged by a nourishing and motivational family, her artistic trajectory is infinite. Say hello to carefully crafted timeless music.

BallerStatus delivers another exclusive, as we introduce Tinashe. Read along and discover more about her exploits being in a girl-group survivor, being a creative savant, and being politically active.

After I watched your video "Boss" the first couple of times, I didn't believe that you directed it. I emailed him about it. Through that video, with your creativity alone, I was like, "I f*** with her!"

Thank you for that.

I wanted to interview you to pick your mind before you become a star.

[Thanks], I appreciate that. I'm the type of person to where I'm super hands-on. I don't like waiting on stuff. I literally was like, "I want to make a music video. I want to make a mixtape." So, it was a "take matters into my ownhands" type of thing. I just did it. That's just a passion of mine with just figuring out what I can do and being creative. I have to take control of my creative prospects.

You're off to a great start. Many people initially began supporting you when you were part of the group, The Stunners. While working within that group dynamic, how were you able to capitalize on your individualized strengths, and still remain a cohesive part of the group?

The particular group that I was in, The Stunners, we definitely tried to showcase the individuality of its members. That was a big part of who we were as a group. We were very multi-ethnic -- we had a couple of Asian girls, a Latina, Caucasians, we had a Native American girl. We had a lot of diversity, so I think that it was important to the people that put the group together for us all to maintain some type of diversity, as our particular "character" while we were in the group. I think it still typical in those situations -- obviously, when you’re put together from an audition -- for it to be 100% organic to really understand and get along. I just happened to do just, probably a lot of the singing and a lot of the writing, and I was in the forefront a lot. Being the youngest member and working the most, I think that caused a little bit of tension. That's what set me apart as a break-out artist. So, I earned a good amount of fans that were ready for me to put something out on my own once the group disbanded.

You're a singer/dancer/actress. As you transition from a group to becoming a full-fledged solo artist, how are you learning to control your creativity to ensure that your vision is clearly expressed?

It's definitely hard work putting out a first album. I'm a perfectionist; I have really high standards for myself. I don't want to put out something that's just mediocre. I strive for a "Grammy-winning" album, which is what I want, in my brain. That would be really cool. But, you have to take a lot of things into consideration. There's a lot of days in the studio that are apparently wasted while you're trying to figure it out, you know? It's still a learning process for me, as I work on my albums and videos. I have a very clear vision of what I like and don't like. That helps me, because I'm able to be decisive in whatever finished product that I put out will be something that I'm proud of.

In relation to songwriting, how do you make it work? Do you begin with a topic, a chorus, a harmony; does it vary by track?

Typically, I like to start with getting a really good beat, or a really good track. Then, I will usually just go in the booth and lay down and record melodies. Melody-wise, I will figure out exactly how I want the full song to sound. Then I'll think, "Well, what do I want this to say?" Then I'll add in all the lyrics. That’s sort of my main method to songwriting.

Years have been invested into your profession. This year, you released two mixtapes, In Case We Die and Reverie. In what ways do these projects encapsulate your musical journey?

These two projects are extremely important, as to who I am as an artist. Before the two mixtapes came out, I really had nothing in the marketplace that stylistically was even close to this type of genre. Particularly, the music that I was doing with the group was more dance-poppy. So, I wanted to give my fans a taste of who I was and where I was coming from and to add a little bit more urban and a little more R&B. It's a little bit darker than the sound I was doing previously. These two mixtapes are extremely important, because they establish my particular sound, but that sound is completely pure. Literally, that was what I was able to get with beats from like f***ing Twitter. (laughs)

(Laughs) Grind!

It's pure, in a sense that I didn't have A&R's helping me. I didn't have anyone else writing my lyrics. It is a 100% true and they come from me. I don't think I'll ever really have those experiences. Maybe when I'm a super-successful artist, in 20 years, when I can just make whatever I want. This is literally [my work] with no outside influences. It's all me; I think that's what makes it special.

If everything happens for a reason, then who or what factors encouraged you to embrace the arts?

I definitely wanted to be doing music, and doing this career, for as long as I can remember. There was never like a specific moment that I realized like, "Oh, hey! I can sing." A lot of people say that they remember those moments. For as long as I can remember, I've always known that this was what I wanted to do. One of the biggest factors was the support of my parents. My dad was in the performing arts. He was an actor. Him bringing me into his agency at a very young age, I was a baby, that kinda inspired them to get me into the business with modeling, or acting, or whatever. Even at age five or four, the fact that they supported me wanting to be on the stage, just showed that they were a huge factor in me developing a love a passion for the arts. They never once tried to make me do anything else, you know what I mean? They always supported my desire to be in this business.

That's beautiful. So, they never insisted that you have a back-up plan?

Never, and for that, I'm so incredibly grateful. They both are people who went to college and graduated. My mom went to college for a really long time. They're both professors at universities, both coming from places of education. For them to look at my situation, and what I wanted to do -- when I asked them, I didn't even complete all four years of high school in school. I tested out two and a half years early. For them to be like, "Okay, we support that, because we know that it will give you the ability, and the time to really do what you want to do. Then so be it." They know that I will never be happy doing anything else. They have such a strong belief in me that they're not even worried about me having a back-up plan. They believe in me, just as much, if not more, than I believe in myself.

That's love.

It's amazing; it really, really is love. It's the best thing that’s happened to me, for sure.

As you continue to challenge yourself to evolve into a better musician and into a better woman, what are some of your short-term and long-term goals that you’d like to accomplish?

First of all, with the short-term, I would like to be able to create an album that's a great body of work, and that I'm really proud of. Two, a big goal of mine is to have a song that's [being played] on the radio. Right now, my songs are really underground, they're all on the Internet. They're not really playing on the radio. This year, I'd like to be able to take a couple of songs to radio. As far as other short-term goals, I just want to be able to establish, for myself, a solid group of supporters who really understand what I'm about -- to tell that I'm a real artist, and that I'm making these songs from my heart and from my soul.

It's not just smoke and mirrors. I'm not just a puppet. I'm real. That's really important to me, that I get to show that to kids and especially young women. I feel like that's a big inspiration to people to know that whatever you want to be able to achieve, you can do it on your own, if you just take matters into your own hands. You can really take great strides towards whatever you want to do.

In the past, you've stated that you're "obsessed with politics.' With this being the first Presidential election that you were able to participate in, did you cast your vote?

I was waited until voting day. I wanted to go into a booth, and get a sticker, and that whole thing. Yeah, it's definitely exciting. I've really been into politics for probably way before I could vote. Now that I'm actually given the chance to go out there, and be a young person and make a difference, that's really cool.

In what ways was a particular candidate able to earn your support?

A lot of people want to blame Barack Obama for the state of the country. That bothers me the most, because our country is controlled by a lot more people than just the President. A lot of decisions are made by other people. In my lifetime, I don't believe that our country is in the best place that it's been. I would like to see it get back there. I feel that cutting it down to one term isn't enough of a shot for him to really make a difference. I want to know that I was a part of giving him that second shot.

For 2013, what future projects should your supporters anticipate?

My album will come out that year. I anticipate my album coming out, and I will be touring. So, for the rest of this year, I'll probably be staying underground in my dark studio, pumping out song after song after song, and music videos. I got a music video that's about to come out soon. For the next couple of months, I will be in the studio, and my album will drop next year.

Just know that BallerStatus wishes you continued success, until the next time, would you like to share anything else?

To my fans, I would just like to thank you guys so much for just supporting me. I’m up-and-coming, and I can’t wait for my music to come out.