Tinashe is standing on the front lawn of her childhood home in a suburb of Los Angeles, debating with her dad about which color to paint the recently repaired fence. She’s in sweats and glasses, a dramatic contrast to her glamorous onstage persona, and she’s trying to get herself motivated to pack for a massive three-month tour that will hit the States, Asia, Europe and Australia. As she edges around the grass, you wonder, “Do the neighbors know who she is?” As Tinashe settles into the massive brown couch in the living room, she confirms they do. “Uh, yeah,” she says. “They know.”
The 23-year-old musician began to draw attention in 2012 when she released two mixtapes (made right here in this house) and inked a deal with RCA Records. Her debut album, Aquarius, dropped in 2014, but it didn’t necessarily reflect Tinashe’s creative goals. She sees the first album — and its related tours — as having been a means of proving herself and showing her record label that she had the goods to make her own decisions. Her upcoming release, Joyride, which is expected out in early summer, is the album she wanted to make, as opposed to what the industry had in mind for her.
The music on Joyride is an evolution of sorts for Tinashe — and not only because she feels it’s a better reflection of her artistic vision than Aquarius. For one thing, the music itself has a stronger pop vibe than her prior work, as heard on songs like “Prisoner” and “Flame,” buoyant, anthemic numbers that pair the singer’s soulful vocals with hook-laden beats. And, for another, there are fewer featured guests (Young Thug’s collaboration on single “Party Favors” and Chris Brown’s appearance on “Player” are two), because Tinashe feels that a “great song will speak for itself.”