Tinashe Talks Rihanna Stealing Her Song, Record Label Pushing Her Album Back For Zayn Malik & Being Compared To Kehlani

On Moving To Los Angeles As A Kid & Quitting School Due To “Jealousy”:

“I was very aware of my parents and our financial situation,” she says of the pressure. “We always figured it out, but I knew we couldn’t afford to live in Los Angeles. My parents are from Iowa, and we were barely getting by in LA.”

As the acting roles piled up, including a recurring role on sitcom Two and a Half Men, Tinashe quit school. “There was a lot of misplaced jealousy, so I didn’t want to be there any more,” she shrugs.

On Sexism In The Music Industry:

“I learned how to record in big studios and how to engineer and create songs.” After they split in 2011, she taught herself Pro Tools from YouTube tutorials, creating her first mixtape, 2012’s In Case We Die, in her home studio. That helped her to land a deal with RCA, which, for Tinashe, coincided with the realisation that her thirst for knowledge wasn’t always going to be seen as a positive. “There’s a lot of sexism in the music business,” she says, calmly flattening the creases in her floor-length silk coat. “A lot of sexism. As far as female producers or female engineers … when you’re in these studios, it’s all men. It is so rare that they’d not even expect me to have an opinion.”

“Male artists don’t really co-sign female artists like that, and if they do it’s always like, ‘Are they fucking?’ It’s never, ‘Oh, I really like her music.’”

“It’s so much easier for male artists, I know it is,” she says.

On Colorism In The Black Community:

Tinashe’s mixed-race heritage, which was used “as another example of why I was different” during those difficult school years, also remains an issue. “There’s colourism involved in the black community, which is very apparent,” she says carefully. “It’s about trying to find a balance where I’m a mixed woman, and sometimes I feel like I don’t fully fit into the black community; they don’t fully accept me, even though I see myself as a black woman. That disconnect is confusing sometimes.” A shrug. “I am what I am.”

On Her Music Industry Setbacks:

“Things haven’t always gone according to my original plan,” she says calmly, “but that’s life, and things change.” Any normal person in this situation might want to flip a table in frustration, I suggest. “However long it takes, I know I will get to my end goal,” she says. “I’m never going to stop. I will make music forever.” To prove her point, the background image on her phone is a generic picture of a Grammy, and it will stay like that until she can swap it for one of her own. “It’s been like that for years!” she screams in mock horror.