Last Saturday, Occidental students stormed en masse to the Greek Bowl where Tinashe, the first female artist ever to be featured in the school’s annual SpringFest, performed hits from her newest album “Aquarius.” The hour-long performance showcased several crowd-pleasers, including “2 On,” “Pretend” and “All Hands on Deck,” as well as covers of DJ Snake’s “Turn Down for What” and Rae Sremmurd’s “No Type.”
Occidental’s own Rachel West (senior) opened the show by walking onto the stage singing an a cappella version of “Heroes (We Can Be)” by Alesso. Cheers erupted from the crowd of students, several of whom wore Rachel West shirts, which were sold alongside Tinashe’s merchandise at the entrance to the theater.
“When I first walked out they had all of the lights up and so I got to really see everybody who was out in the crowd. And so all of my friends like screaming and being really excited definitely got me excited to be out there,” West said. “Getting to connect with them and getting to watch them sing all of my lyrics was really exciting for me. I was shocked at how many people knew so many of the words to my songs.”
West then performed three songs—”Lifesaver,” “Dreams” and “Tsunami” (mashed up with “Boom Clap” by Charli XCX)—from her EP “Aurum,” released Dec. 2014. Reilly Brown (sophomore) later accompanied her on the guitar as she covered “Our Own House” by MisterWives and “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit.
Following the covers, students in the crowd began chanting “Orange,” the name of one of the biggest songs from her EP. West considered the moment to be one of the highlights of her performance.
“The ‘Orange’ chant at the end was really exciting, and I am excited that people know the music and connected with it and listened to it,” West said. “That, for me, is the biggest honor. To get to see that and get to be with them during that moment was really special for me.”
Soon after West ended her set, Tinashe, donning tan cargo pants and a black tank top, jumped on stage. She performed a myriad of songs from both her mixtapes and her album, “Aquarius.”
With backup dancers at her side and a drummer continuously hitting beats throughout her set, Tinashe showed off 19 years of dance training.
“I really enjoyed Tinashe. I think that she put on a great show,” Deon Summerville (junior) said. “She had really great performance quality and stage presence.”
Tinashe finished off her show with perhaps her most well-known song, the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart-ranking Platinum single “2 On.” While performing, she frequently called out for responses and left the stage to lean over the metal railings holding back eager students. During one song, Tinashe held the hands of those who had braved the tightly packed crowd to dance nearest the stage.
“I thought Tinashe was great. I had a great time,” Clif Cody (junior) said. “I know lot of people who were there were disappointed she was only on for a short period of time. But while she was performing it looked like everyone was having a good time. I thought she was a great performer. Overall I really enjoyed it.”
Tinashe’s performance followed a weekend spent performing in Japan, the conclusion of her first world tour, which began in North America last December and has taken her across the globe to Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Europe.
“This past year has been pretty crazy. I’m on tour all the time now,” she said. “I’m going places that I’ve never been before.“
Her favorite aspect of the tour has been seeing first hand the feedback from fans across the world.
“Seeing them sing the words to songs, and knowing and loving all of the music, means so much to me,” she said. “That far away from home, [having] that kind of reaction.”
Born Tinashe Kachingwe, the artist decided to pursue her career as a singer-songwriter and dancer at age 14. Since the launch of her first mixtape “In Case We Die” in 2012, Tinashe has released three additional mixtapes and several singles. She has also been featured in the work of various artists, including Kid Ink and Nick Jonas.
“I love working with other artists. I think it’s a cool way to, you know, just have fun as a creative person when you’re able to bounce ideas off of another creative person and see where that goes,” Tinashe said. “I’ve had a lot of really amazing collaborations and I’ve been lucky for that.”
“Aquarius,” which was released Oct. 3 of last year, is Tinashe’s first full album and, according to her, public feedback has soared.
“It’s a different experience [having released an album],” Tinashe said. “People treat you differently. It’s very interesting; it’s kind of an exciting process.”
For more, watch the Weekly’s exclusive interview with Tinashe below: