Tinashé’s debut album, released earlier this year, would best be summarised as a colourful and varied collection of indie-pop tracks, lyrically reflecting the geographical journey from his birthplace in Zimbabwe to locations in the UK and his experiences throughout.
I first saw Tinashé last year when he supported Noisettes at the O2 Academy in Liverpool. Some supporting acts blend into the background and are muted by mindless chatter from the crowd as they eagerly await the main performer but with Tinashé, I found myself listening intently and making a conscious effort to remember his name and follow his progress long after the gig was over. Not only was he an animated, confident and engaging performer; he showcased a selection of soulful, catchy and upbeat tracks that left me intrigued as to what material, if any, he’d released, what he was working on and his music in general.
Disappointed, after the gig, that I couldn’t find much of his music online, I sat tight and waited for his debut album and what an album he produced…’Saved’ is a triumph of a debut.
Although difficult to compare Tinashé to one specific musician or artist, a cocktail of comparisons may give you an idea of his sound: If you added a cheeky dash of early Hoosiers to a pint of Jack Penate, poured it over ice, slipped in a bit of Bloc Party and added a thick slice of Jamie T to your glass for decoration, you’d get a taste of Tinashé.
Bearing those comparisons in mind, Tinashé’s drawn his sound from a blend of many musical influences, which are hinted at on the album, from artists such as Prince and Michael Jackson, who Tinashé enjoyed as a child, to the story-telling of 90’s RnB artists like the Notorious BIG who intrigued Tinashé whilst growing up in London. This fusion of classic musicality and great songwriting is what gives ‘Saved’ an edge. It successfully binds traditional concepts like strong guitar riffs, pounding pianos and some strategic strings with an upbeat and captivating vocal performance throughout.
‘Saved’ would easily please pop-lovers and certainly intrigue the indie-folk. There’s elements of hearty RnB lyrics and noughties experimental indie-pop. You could read into every single line of all the songs on the album, or delve into the “About” section on Tinashé’s website (linked below) which will tell you the ins and outs of his varied upbringing and specific occurrences that influenced him but I think it’s best to listen to the album and read into it what you will; apply it to yourself or listen freely to the music without thinking too much. Either way, I guarantee you’ll find yourself nodding along or subconsciously remembering the catchy refrains.
Despite being a well-rounded album, I think the stand-out tracks are: Saved, The Feeling, Good Times, Mr. Presumption & Every Single Day.
It was when thinking about my favourite albums of this year that I listened to ‘Saved’ again and decided to look online to see how it had been received. There was little in the way of reviews or opinions so I figured I would bring some to the table and hopefully invite others to give him a listen. The album was released in early 2010 so this article isn’t really a “Just released!” – “New Album Review!” – “Fantastic New Music!” type of post, more “Why haven’t we heard a lot more about this guy?!”.
Tinashé is now continuing his journey, gigging in the UK following his debut release. If you get chance to see him, go!