With the weather getting warmer and spring finally peeking its head out, now would be the perfect time to get out and see a concert. Unfortunately, thanks to current events that turns out to be an unrealistic ambition for most. However, Tinashe just might have the solution; the “2 On” singer-songwriter is coming straight into our living rooms — without ever leaving hers — when she gives the inaugural performance of LiveXLive Presents, a new series of live-at-home performances via Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, Twitter, and LiveXLive.com. The concert “airs” today at 11 AM PST/2 PM EST on LiveXLive.com, Instagram, and YouTube.
LiveXLive, a new-ish music streaming platform similar to Pandora or Deezer, usually offers pre-programmed stations that users customize to their liking. Users can set the stations to offer more hits or deeper dives from an artist’s catalog, to push more current or classic content, or to play music, sports, news updates or DJ banter between songs.
With much of America socially-distancing to combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, concerts and festivals all over the country have been canceled or postponed for the next month at least. Artists have responded by offering livestreams via their respective social media — mostly on Instagram Live — but LiveXLive is giving its select artists “Plug+Play” livestream kits to allow artists to simulcast to LiveXLive.com, the artists’ sites, and other social platforms.
Over the phone with Uproxx (naturally), Tinashe offered insights into the new living room concert series, her self-quarantine boredom busters, making the transition back to being an independent artist after being signed to RCA for seven years, and her advice on tackling life’s low points.
The show must go on! Tomorrow I’m gonna do a fun live Stream “concert” from my home studio… 💕 I’ll be performing “Songs For You” on livexlive, YouTube, and IG TOMORROW pic.twitter.com/0KPe6NPG7D
— TINASHE (@Tinashe) March 26, 2020
How did you get partnered with LiveXLive and what about this program attracted you to it?
Through Roc Nation. So, Roc Nation helped connect those dots.
Well, I’ve just been thinking a lot recently, even before the coronavirus outbreak about how to bring the live experience to more people than are able to come to the major market cities. I’ve just been thinking a lot about how to stream concerts and to do things remotely and this felt like a great opportunity and the perfect timing.
Absolutely. What does it mean to you to be the first artist to kick off this initiative with LiveXLive?
It’s super exciting. For me, live performance is my favorite, number-one part of being an artist. The connection with the people and the performance element is a huge part of what I feel like I do best. So it seems really fitting to me that I would be a part of something that feels new and innovative, especially as an independent artist. It’s really exciting to just be a part of all these fun endeavors.
So of course we have to talk about it. What have you been doing to stay busy while stuck at home?
Oh gosh. Staying busy is the challenge, right? I’m just trying to be creative, focus on my mental health, trying to take it day-by-day. I’m doing a lot of painting, writing, eating, trying to be creative, and to continue making things and stay inspired.
We know one thing you did was danced with your dad and posted it to Twitter. It was adorable and everyone loved it. Did you expect the online reaction to be what it was?
Oh, no way! That’s like my most viral tweet of all time. I did not expect that at all! It’s like, who knew that was the secret? Put my dad in my content.
What was your favorite reaction to that video?
Everyone said my dad looked like Joe. That was funny. I used to get that all the time back in the day. It’s been a minute, but people were like, “Oh my God. Is your dad Joe?”
Tinashe’s Dad: That is hilarious.
Hey, Dad! How’s it going? Now, of course, you’ve also been live streaming with your fellow artists during his life from the other day. Tory Lanez said he wanted you to be his “quaranting.” So first of all, I want to know what your reaction was and second of all, if you could pick somebody to be your “quaranting,” who would it be?
Gosh, I don’t know anybody that I have to spend this much time with. I should probably know them pretty well. So, I don’t know about introducing someone new in such an intimate setting. I’m going to pass on the “quaranting.” It’s all me, myself, and I right now.
Can you tell us any funny stories from the recording of Songs For You?
I don’t know if it was too funny, but there was just some really great moments that stand out to me from the process of making the album. Like having everybody over at my home studio and one of the songs in particular was like a real gang event in how we created it. Like working on the sounds and I remember at one point my drummer pulled out some drumsticks and just started drumming on the table and we were like, “That sounds perfect!” Then we recorded it on iPhone and then imported the audio onto the track and then used that. So it was really fun. We were just experimenting and being creative and playing and it came out great.
Absolutely. It reminded me a little bit of your early work, going back to those first couple of mixtapes with the head wrap on the cover. You started out writing and recording those songs independently in your bedroom and then you went to a major label, you had the big hit, and now you’ve come full circle, you’re independent again. How would you describe that experience and what did you take away from it?
I’m grateful for that experience because I don’t think that I would have the same mentality as an independent artist if I hadn’t been signed to the major. I signed to that major label in a really interesting time where music was shifting, changing a lot and to see that firsthand while being signed was really interesting.
It took me outside of my comfort zone as a creative, as a writer. And I think that that is both good and bad because it allowed me to grow and learn so much. But at the same time, it definitely changed my creative perspective and I would say it was affected by the different voices in the room at this company and in the situation, so it was really, really freeing and liberating and amazing to reconnect with that freedom.
Every career has its highs and lows, but from the outside looking in, yours has been like a roller coaster. You’ve been up and then you’ve also been down. You’ve gone through a lot and you seem really resilient for having gone through so much. What did you do to help you cope with some of those low points?
It’s interesting because I’ve never really looked at my career as an option or thought I would ever possibly, potentially do anything else. So even in the lowest of low, I’ve been discouraged, but I’ve never been hopeless. I’ve always just used that down period as some type of motivation to create better music and create better art and be a better creative. I really thrive sometimes when my back is against the wall. I feel like I step up to the plate in adversity. I would say a lot of times the lows have been good things and motivation for me to keep moving forward and I just wouldn’t ever stop anyways. It’s all part of the journey.
When you did finalize your break from RCA, what was the first thing that you did?
Whew! Party! No, I was really happy. I mean it was an emotional split. It wasn’t something that I just came to the conclusion really easily, but I respected them a lot for allowing me to leave because they didn’t have to. I was very lucky and felt blessed to know that the people at the company still respected me as an artist and wanted me to continue to succeed as a human being outside of my relationship with them. So that felt good. Nice to know that I still had their blessing and I was just excited to start. I just started making songs. I just locked myself in the room for like six months and made a bunch of songs.
What direction do you want to sail in next now that you’re steering the boat again?
I just want to fucking sail and just take wherever the wind takes me today. That’s where I want to go. It’s like I’m just letting life steer the ship and I know that it’s going to take me in the right place. That’s kind of more so the ticket. I feel like I’m aligned with the universe and it’s all going to work out because shit just feels right.
Everything is my decision. I can go on tour if I want. I don’t have to if I don’t want. I can put out another album if I want. I never have to put out a song again if I want. So it’s like having that freedom is really exciting because it allows me to be the true creative.
Follow more of Uproxx’s coronavirus coverage here.