Interview: Tinashe x Air Jordan 11 "Gamma"
"It's all about being inspired." - Tinker Hatfield
I think its safe to say that the first season of Chicks N Kicks was a ridiculously cool experiment. We had no clue what we were doing, we just knew that somehow the inspirational women we were meeting and the sneakers we love just kind of fit together seamlessly. Today, we launch our second season of Chicks N Kicks a little bit wiser and more aware of the purpose of our vision: promote and uplift successful women who are making a name for themselves; proving that brains, beauty, and a great pair of kicks make for an amazing laced hustle.
That said, RCA recording artist and budding superstar Tinashe is a great kick off (pun intended) to our second season. As an entertainer, Tinashe has probably done more in her 21 years than many of us can imagine. Born Tinashe Jorgenson Kachingwe, the Los Angeles native received her start in film at the age of five and has since appeared in over eleven feature films including Akeelah and The Bee and The Polar Express. Tinashe's stint in the five-girl band "The Stunners" helped cultivate her sound before embarking on a solo career at the ripe old age of 18.
In 2012, Tinashe released two critically acclaimed mixtapes In Case We Die and Reverie before inking a major deal with RCA Records. We met up with this rising star at the Le Meridian Hotel in the heart of Dallas, Texas to talk about her debut solo album (due for release this year), what sets her apart from the flood of talent in a city that breeds superstars, and her obsession with Jordan 11s.
ChicksNKicks: We've almost seen a rush of artists coming out of LA in the last three years. What sets you apart?
Tinashe: I think I have an interesting perspective. I'm mixed, I'm from California, I'm 21 and I write my own music. Everyone has their own story to tell and I just want to be true to myself. I think embracing what's real about you [and embracing your differences] is what sets you apart from people. My dad is from Zimbabwe...
CNK: Your mom is from Iowa, right?
Tinashe: Yes! She's from Iowa! You know, it's such an interesting combination and I just try to embrace all the different sides of me and not limit myself to one thing.
CNK: Even though you're relatively young, you've been singing professionally for quite some time. Talk to us a little bit about your former girl group 'The Stunners' and how you eventually decided to go solo.
Tinashe: I started in 'The Stunners' when I was 14. I was working in major studios, writing music for people, and learning how to record music. The Stunners was a very valuable experience just to get my feet wet and learn. When I was 18, I really felt I was prepared to do my own thing - it's been a great ride for me to make my own music about stuff that relates to me.
CNK: We were talking earlier about the music that makes people feel something. Would you say your perspective makes you a more relatable to your audience?
Tinashe: Absolutely. I think being relatable is what connects you in an organic way, especially at the beginning of your career. I don't necessarily have a normal life, but I still go through the same stuff that a lot of people go through.
CNK: Speaking of being able to relate, In Case We Die x Reverie were two pretty personal projects that you dropped back-to-back in 2012. Tell us about that process.
Tinashe: I actually made In Case We Die in less than a month and Reverie in the same. I wanted people to have something really tangible to hold onto in terms of my style and who I was.
CNK: How would you describe your personal style?
Tinashe: It's a lot like my personality - I like to showcase different sides of myself. There's definitely a strong side of my personality that's super laid back and more introverted; a lot of that comes across in [my wearing] sweatpants, t-shirts, and crew necks. I like to be comfortable and casual, but still swagged out. I like to wear a lot of boy's clothes. [laughs]
CNK: Would you say you're a little bit of a tomboy?
Tinashe: I guess, yea...in a way. I didn't used to, but as I grew up it's what made me comfortable. There's another side to me, though, that's va-va-voom [laughs], you know? That comes across in my music as well and sometimes I'll throw on some heels and a little crop top - you never know.
CNK: This is Chicks N Kicks - we obviously love tennis shoes. So, tell us about your favorite pair of sneaks.
Tinashe: I love Jordan 11's. All of them. I'm obsessed with J's - I have Bred's, these are the Gammas. I have the Space Jams at home.
CNK: We heard you love the Cool Greys...
Tinashe: I do love me some Cool Greys. Those are actually the first pair I've ever bought.
CNK: OK, favorite way to rock your sneakers?
Tinashe: With a big oversized sweater, tee, or jersey dress. Super comfy, a pair of socks and just something that might make no sense. Just do me.
CNK: Last, but not least - what can we look forward to from you this year? I know your RCA debut will hit us later this year, correct?
Tinashe: I'm doing a whole bunch of shows, traveling around and meeting a lot of my fans in different parts of the country. I get to visit London in April and get ready to promo the album and then, hopefully, more singles and more videos.
Gloria at RCA Records
Damon Lott at RCA Records
Jean Njamen of Nerdy Fresh
Jason Sanders of WMS Photography
Le Meridan Hotel - Dallas