Tinashe Says She Felt Forced To Release Chris Brown And R. Kelly Collabs

BYTallie Spencer14.8K Views
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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 25: Tinashe performs at BST Hyde Park Festival 2023 at Hyde Park on June 25, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Lorne Thomson/Redferns)

Tinashe emphasized her discomfort and embarrassment having music with the two artists.

Tinashe has openly criticized her former record label, RCA, where she was under contract from 2012 to 2019. During an interview on the Zach Sang Show, Tinashe provided insight into the early stages of her career, which included collaborations with R. Kelly and Chris Brown. She expressed a sense of discomfort regarding these collaborations, explaining that she felt compelled to feature them in her music, despite feeling embarrassed about it. When asked about how these collaborations came about, Tinashe responded, "You think I wanted [to do those songs]?" Tinashe responded when asked about how the collaborates came together. "I literally block out that R. Kelly song ["Let's Be Real Now"] from my mind — I forget that it even exists. That is so embarrassing. That is so unreal that I even have a song with R. Kelly."

Furthermore, during the conversation, Tinashe shared with Sang that her record label had instructed her to collaborate with R. Kelly on the song. She went on to emphasize, “I was so young too, which is crazy because I feel like I did that song when I just signed to that label… I was probably like 20.” It's worth noting that R. Kelly is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence for convictions related to sex trafficking and racketeering. Tinashe also expressed regret regarding her collaboration with Chris Brown on the track "Player," highlighting that her former label had pressured her to release the music. Chris Brown has a history marked by controversy, including allegations of physical abuse and misconduct.

Read More: Tinashe: The Evolution Of A Musical Chameleon

Tinashe Discusses Labels Being Controlling

Continuing the discussion, Sang and Tinashe delved into the issue of artists having limited control over their music, particularly with regard to their singles. Tinashe mentioned a specific instance, saying, "We all wanted ['Player'] to be this big moment, this big single. So I feel like in [RCA’s] mind, they were like ‘You need the support.’ And [Brown] was like their biggest artist that they had on rhythmic radio at the time. I was like, ‘Well, this is a pop song, so I really don’t feel like we should put Chris on it like that. I don’t like that. That doesn’t compute to me.'"

At the time, Tinashe was a relatively new artist who was buzzing with the success of her releases Aquarius and "2 On." She listened to her label's words of guidance since she expressed having no other choice. "There's only so much that you can be like, 'No, I'm not going to do this,' because you want to be successful. You want to put your music out," she said. "There was a part of me that was still excited or thankful or grateful or hopeful that, 'Maybe this will work. I am collaborating with a very successful artist. I don't know.'" As far as what Tinashe has been up to as of recent, she's now independent and her latest project titled BB/ANG3L, just dropped last week (September 8).

Read More: New Music From Tinashe & Roy Woods Appears On Our “R&B Season” Update: Stream

About The Author
@TallieSpencer is a music journalist based in Los Angeles, CA. She loves concerts, festivals, and traveling the world.