Tinashe Says New Album '333' Helped Her 'Refine' Her Independent Spirit
By James Dinh
September 7, 2021
Just a month ago, Tinashe dropped her new album, 333, on her own terms. Released independently through her label, the 16-song collection ended up becoming her most critically acclaimed body of work and now she's encouraging youth to create music on their own terms.
In partnership with Reese's Puffs and the Save the Music Foundation, the pop star, 28, is promoting a new campaign with the brand's first-ever music boxes: the RP-FX and RP-PRO. The first of the cereal boxes, which are available in three flavors: Creamy Lead Synth, Chocolatey Bass Synth and Crunchy Drum Machine, let fans create music by placing cereal puffs on the back of the box and using the accompanying PuffsFX.com app. The RP-PRO box offers an ultra-exclusive synthesizer with music samples, audio effects and other special functions.
"I started creating my music by producing and recording myself and creating my own stuff in my room at my house," the star explained to iHeartRadio. "That's been a very important part of how I've been able to build myself as a career, as well as my confidence as a creative. It's something that I've also really championed a lot because there are so few female producers and engineers that I've come across in my career. I think when this opportunity came about to work with Reese's Puffs on something that was so on-brand with something that's really important to me and something that I really wanted to continue to advocate for and be a part of, it just made a lot of sense. It was just simple, kind of happened very naturally."
For the collab, Reese's Puffs will donate $100K to Save the Music Foundation, in an effort to make music more accessible for youth and Tinashe made it clear that she understands the impact that campaigns like these can have on creates of all ages. "It gives me a sense of empowerment as a creative and as an artist," she said. "Not having to wait for someone to create something for me or not having to wait for things to just magically fly out of the sky and happen, to be able to take that initiative, to learn how to create my own music. And then you feel like you're unstoppable because you don't need any other collaborators. You're able to create amazing art by yourself. And I think that that was always kind of what drove me and inspired me to learn how to make my own stuff and to be really just tapped into that side, the production side of creating music."
Tinashe knows both sides of the coin. She started out by releasing music independently at the beginning of her solo career, before signing with RCA Records for 2014's Aquarius and then announcing her departure in 2019. "Being independent has really given me that opportunity to refocus on those things and to reevaluate what my purpose in the music industry is," she said in reference to 2019's Songs for You and the aforementioned 333. "That's really been fulfilling for me to have that experience to have gone from the major label system and seeing how that worked and then being able to kind of refine that independent, that DIY energy, that DIY spirit. I feel like I always thrive in that environment and it really kind of fills me up."
Part of that DIY approach involves everyday questions from fans regarding promotion, booking, production schedules and more. Head over to Twitter and you'll notice one question in particular: Where are the physical copies of 333? "The physical [copies] are on its way, which I'm very excited about obviously because the fans want that hard copy," she said, adding that production delays are to credit for the hold-up. "We'll also get a deluxe, too, because I do have more songs. We're always creating, so I'd love to continue to keep dropping."
In the meantime, Tinashe is preparing to host the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show. She's also in rehearsals for her upcoming “333 Tour,” which is scheduled to kick off next Thursday in Houston, Texas. "I'm just picking the ones that are the most exciting for me and the most fun for me because that's what I'm really focused on right now is just like doing what I want to do and what I want to hear," she said about formulating the setlist. "That's what I've been focused on is just building that dream setlist that I want to perform. It's got old stuff. It's got new stuff. It's got Songs for You. It's got 333."