R&B It-Girl Tinashe: "I definitely have a tomboy edge"

Alt-R&B breakout Tinashe dishes on her hit album Aquarius, fashion, switching from acting to singing—and what sets her apart in the ever-growing PBR&B crowd

Tinashe pic 3R&B is getting a major refresh, thanks to young innovators like Banks, Kelela, FKA Twigs, How to Dress Well, and Jhené Aiko putting their own spins on the form. Tinashe is one of the genre’s biggest stars, earning major critical love for her charting debut Aquarius and lead single “2 On,” along with her guest appearance on Nick Jonas’ “Jealous” remix.

On the eve of her first Canadian dates (Toronto, Dec. 13), FLARE quizzed the Los Angeles native on her cool laidback style and the life of a rising R&B superstar.

What initially inspired you to shift your career from acting to music? Music is a lot more fulfilling for me so it was important for me to focus on it. I felt as though I was old enough to have people take it seriously and not think I am doing it as an opportunity for fun. I wanted to establish myself in music before I get back into acting.

Tinashe Album Artwork

What inspired you to write your album, Aquarius? The album is a mesh of where I was at in my life at the time when I wrote it. I was living in Los Angeles and working, trying to get into the music industry, trying to just make it.

If you could collaborate with any music artist in the upcoming year, who would you choose? Anyone! But definitely André 3000. He is an amazing artist.

What do you think sets you apart from your peers? What I bring to the table is a lot of good vibes, really great live performances and energy. I can put on a great stage show and create good entertainment value.

How would you describe your go-to style? I like to just be casual. I think a lot of my style is about being comfortable and I think that is something that makes me feel just confident and relaxed. I like to feel like myself. I definitely also have a tomboy edge. As far as labels go, I don’t like to stick to a particular label. I like to switch it up and I love vintage.

What designer have you always dreamt of wearing? Chanel or a designer that is similar in the sense of being classic. I would also love my own pair of custom Christian Louboutins.

What beauty product can you absolutely not live without? Sunscreen! The first step to looking young and beautiful is to take care of your skin.