Tinashe Says Anyone Is 'Fair Game' When Writing Music: 'Don't Feel Like I Need to Give Anyone a Disclaimer'

The singer-songwriter chatted with PEOPLE at the Grey Goose Essences x GRAMMYs: Sound Sessions event about new music and telling J.K. Rowling to "shut up" on Twitter: "She's so infuriating"

When it comes to making new music, singer-songwriter Tinashe sticks to her personal experiences. In fact, she calls the process "so personal" that she doesn't feel comfortable unless she is recording in her home studio.

"If I have to put on makeup and put on outfits to go write a song, it's not going to be the best song for me," she tells PEOPLE after her performance at the Grey Goose Essences x GRAMMYs: Sound Sessions Event. "I need to be in my pajamas, I need to be alone sometimes so I can most tap into my emotions, my experience."

The athletic performer, who treated attendees to a high-energy four-song set at the INTRIGUE WYNN Las Vegas, says that while she has a confident on-stage persona, "the real authentic stripped-down version of me" takes over while songwriting.

Tinashe at the Grey Goose Essences x GRAMMYs: Sound Sessions featuring Tinashe at Intrigue, WYNN Las Vegas
Tinashe. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Grey Goose Vodka

Tinashe, 29, previously dated NBA player Ben Simmons and explains that anyone in her life is "fair game" as subject matter for her infectious blend of pop and R&B.

"I don't even feel like I need to give anyone a disclaimer," she adds about when she starts dating someone. "It's my experiences. It's my business to write about."

The "2 On" hitmaker recently released the deluxe edition of her latest studio album, 333, and is currently celebrating a season packed with performances and festival dates. And while she wants to "keep the energy" of the current album going with more videos, she admits she has already started working on new music.

"We'll see how soon or how the next few months go, if I make a project that I really love, but no pressure," Tinashe notes, saying she's still in the "experimental phase" in the studio and searching for new inspiration before settling on what's next. "I like having new, fresh stuff to perform, but I wouldn't put something out just to put it out."

Tinashe Performs at Grey Goose Essences x GRAMMYs: Sound Sessions Event

Tinashe became an independent artist after previously saying she "didn't feel supported" by her major label, and reveals she now feels "a million times better about myself and about my art" by being able to release material she believes in and puts her heart into.

"It's very insidious to me how a label system and the game can get in an artist's head," she continues, noting that she was often pushed to make music replicating what was already on the charts. "You're like, 'OK, this is the BPM, that's what people want to hear, let me make something like that'," she recalls. "As soon as you start taking all that s--- into consideration, you're basically making a product as opposed to making art, and that's a huge difference."

In an age where artists are releasing shorter songs in response to the "hit repeat, hit repeat" era of streaming, Tinashe is aware that even she has become affected without being consciously aware of it. "Songs that are over three minutes now feel really long; it's just not what we're used to anymore," she muses at the event where guests enjoyed Passion Drop martinis, the official cocktail of the Grammys.

"I think it's about moving, adapting, staying focused on making the best art, and then letting whatever happens from there happen."

Tinashe cites childhood idols like Janet Jackson and Sade as continuous touch-points for her creativity, but one female the outspoken star looked up to from a young age has been scratched off the list: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

JK Rowliing
J.K. Rowling. Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

The bestselling writer, 56, has alienated fans with a steady stream of transphobic comments, as well as a Tweet on International Women's Day on March 8 stating, "Apparently, under a Labour government, today will become We Who Must Not Be Named Day," using the moniker she gives the villainous Voldemort in the Harry Potter series.

In response, Tinashe replied with a succinct "Oh my God, SHUT UP" on the social media platform. The exclamation went viral and seemingly spoke for a generation of readers who once looked up to Rowling. "She's so infuriating, so annoying," Tinashe says about the exchange. "As a millennial, she embarrasses me. There was a point in the day where I felt kind of bad, like maybe I shouldn't have internet bullied her, but then I thought, 'Sis, you're too soft, she deserved it.'"

Tinashe with the Passion Drop martini. Vivien Killilea Best

"I don't typically take that sassy approach online, but it's so important to me and such an important topic," she adds. "I don't know why the f--- she feels so entitled to speak about it so often, so I was glad that I said what I said and hopefully because of all the response, she saw it and will think twice."



1 ½ oz GREY GOOSE Vodka

¾ oz Passion Fruit Puree

¾ oz Ginger Syrup

¾ oz Lemon Juice


Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist on garnish pick.

Related Articles