Tinashe on her upcoming world tour, her hard-earned dance moves, and her continually-delayed sophomore album
On a February morning, a week before the 23-year-old singer’s three month international tour begins, she’s prepping for a photo shoot. By 10 a.m., she’s already been up for hours getting her hair and makeup done.
After the photos, she’ll join dancers from her upcoming tour at a studio in North Hollywood for roughly 12 hours of rehearsal. Though that sounds like a lot of work — and it is; their rehearsals typically end around midnight — it’s absolutely necessary.
“The majority of the numbers in the show have movement, so there’s a lot to do and a lot to put together,” Tinashe says. “We waited until a week before the tour to start rehearsing.”
Practicing 12 hours a day for an upcoming tour is not the norm for most musicians. But then again, most musicians are not Tinashe. A dancer since the age of 3 who turned her childhood bedroom into a home studio, Tinashe has long been known as a hard worker. She wrote, recorded, and produced her first three mixtapes herself, and directed and co-wrote her early music videos. And though spending copious hours on dance routines might not be “necessary because the majority of artists nowadays don’t dance,” being the rare singer-dancer is precisely why she feels the need to incorporate dance into her show.
“When I was younger, I always really loved and appreciated artists that danced and put on a show,” she says, name-dropping Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, and Britney Spears as a few of her favorite entertainers. “So that was an important aspect that I wanted to incorporate when I became an artist.”
Long rehearsals aside, preparation for the upcoming tour has not been seamless. The tour’s whole purpose was to promote Tinashe’s sophomore studio album, Joyride, a follow-up to her 2014 debut Aquarius. Though it was slated to come out last fall, Joyride has yet to be released due to pushbacks from her label, RCA.
After the first delay, she anticipated the album’s release for the end of 2015, a few months ahead of her world tour and just in time for the Grammys (“In my head, we’re in 2016 and I’m winning my Grammy for this next album,” she told SPIN way back in June 2015), but now even Tinashe doesn’t know when the album will drop.
“That’s obviously not the way it usually happens,” she says. “So we’re just going to do it more as a promotional tour.”
She says she still plans to perform new music from the upcoming album, as well as tracks from Aquarius, equating the tour to a sort of prolonged listening party.
To tide fans over, she released her 2012 and 2013 mixtapes Reverie and Black Water as a combined album on Spotify this March. Since recording Joyride, the singer has also toured with Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry, and collaborated on songs with Ty Dolla Sign and Drake.
Her last release, March 2015’s six-track EP Amethyst, is comprised of R&B-infused, slow-tempo pop songs that showcase the singer’s crystalline voice over slinky instrumentals. Unlike Joyride, which includes features from artists like Chris Brown, Young Thug, Juicy J, and Mike Will Made It, Amethyst is a more humble endeavor, featuring a slew of lesser-known male artists, including the Bay Area’s own IAMSU.
Joyride, she says, goes in a slightly different direction from her previous works, most notably Aquarius,which featured upbeat, fast-paced bubblegum pop bangers like “2 On” and “All Hands On Deck,” as well as slower, sleeker tunes. The new album, produced by Dr. Luke and Max Martin, was created with a clearer idea of where she wanted the album to go. Fans should expect songs that are faster and catchier, and, as she toldSPIN, “hooky enough to cross over.”
Instead of a slew of midtempo tracks, Joyride, she says, will be comprised of a range of tempos. Though there will be uptempo songs like her 2014 DJ Mustard-produced single “2 On,” there will also be some languid, moodier tracks in the mix, reminiscent of her early mixtapes.
“I like being able to go both directions as an artist onstage and in my music,” she says. “I genuinely have different sides to my personality and who I am as an artist and person.”