By Natalia Barr
The road to Joyride, Tinashe’s highly anticipated and long-awaited sophomore record, has been longer, rockier and more riddled with potholes than anyone could have expected.
After beginning her career in a girl group called The Stunners, Tinashe released her solo major label debut, Aquarius, in 2014. It was a somber and sexy body of work that recalled Janet Jackson and Aaliyah, sprinkled with contributions from Dev Hynes, Clams Casino, A$AP Rocky, and ScHoolboy Q. The smash single “2 On” made her a household name. Tinashe then released a seven-track mixtape, Amethyst, as a “thank you” to fans and a reference to her DIY roots. Later that year, Tinashe would tease the release of her second album, Joyride, slated for 2016. To date, Joyride has yet to receive an official release date. Her label RCA released another mixtape in 2016, Nightride, to appease fans, yet many wonder if Joyride will ever see the light.
For now, the multi-platinum popstar has kicked off 2018 with serious momentum. She implicitly addresses Joyride‘s long journey on her recent single “No Drama”: “Said I’m fallin’ off, but they won’t JFK me / Tried to be myself, but they won’t AKA me / AKA a popstar AKA a problem / AKA don’t hold me back, I swear I got ’em.”
This past weekend, she spearheaded Sony’s Lost in Music Sessions, a live music series dedicated to challenging artists to reinvent and reimagine their signature tracks. In a brief ten minutes with Tinashe backstage at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust before her performance, the artist was mostly tightlipped about Joyride, but talked Lost in Music, collaborations, and her newest single, “Faded Love,” which came out this month.
NATALIA BARR: What do you want fans to know about “Faded Love” and what it means to you?
TINASHE: I feel like the vibe of it is kind of special. It feels more so like the stuff that I’ve done in the past, so I think some of my old fans will really love that element to it. It’s got this kind of sexy, mysterious vibe, which my fans definitely always love.
BARR: How did “Faded Love” come together?
TINASHE: I recorded it with Stargate this summer. It was the first song that we did when we started working this summer. It just came out very easily. It felt really natural, and so I knew that it was a keeper.
BARR: Why did you choose Future for “Faded Love?”
TINASHE: I just kind of always go towards people that I’m a fan of in general, and people that I think are doing cool stuff. I worked with him before on Aquarius and I thought that it was one of my famous collaborations. It was really unexpected, and his approach was really unexpected, so I thought that it would be the same with this song.
BARR: What were you listening to or being influenced by while recording for your new album?
TINASHE: I don’t know. I really just honed into, I think, just my own instincts and just tried to tone out all the rest of the noise. I really kind of made a creative hub this summer and brought a lot of people into the environment, and it was definitely kind of a safe space to be really creative and let that energy thrive, so that was more what the focus was on.
BARR: You have said that “No Drama” is about pushing forward and proving yourself. Is that going to be a theme of your album?
TINASHE: I think that’s a theme of just growing up. I think it’s something that I always try to encourage young women and people to kind of embrace those moods and feelings.
BARR: What can you share with fans that they can expect from Joyride?
TINASHE: I’m excited for fans to hear. I think it has a lot of great energy. It’s something that you wanna play that makes you feel good, and it’s something that I hope everyone will appreciate, because I’ve definitely put a lot of work and energy into it for a while, so I’m excited for everyone to finally hear it.
BARR: I know that you like being involved in the production process, but that’s not always easy on a major label. Did you have a hand in the production on Joyride?
TINASHE: Yeah. I think it’s important to have a hand in every single aspect of your career, from the creation of the music, to the art, to the music videos, to the production of the music, everything. It’s just my vision has really come through with this project, and I’m excited for people to see.
BARR: How have your fans reacted to the wait for Joyride?
TINASHE: They’ve been very dedicated. I have some fans back there who have been fans forever. I know them by name, so that’s meant a lot to me to have those kind of people supporting me.