I'm just really inspired by R&B, hip-hop, and alternative music so I just wanted to combine all three of those for the sound. And the type of person I am, I just find darkness interesting in a way. I just love songs that sound like a little crazy, I think it creates an interesting juxtaposition between my voice because it is so bright, and soft, and like pretty, and sweet that I don't want my music to come across sweet or nice. I do like the opposite, so I think of something that's dark and heavy and then I put like sweet and light on top.
Tinashe Kachingwe was born on February 6, 1993, in Lexington, Kentucky, and is the eldest child of college professors Michael and Aimie Kachingwe. Her father is a professor who teaches acting at California State Polytechnic University and a first generation immigrant of the Shona people of Zimbabwe, while her mother, who is of Danish, Norwegian, Irish, and English descent, teaches physical therapy at California State University, Northridge. Her parents met each other on a blind date during their time as undergrads at the University of Iowa. Tinashe's name means "We are with God" in the Shona language. She has two younger brothers, Thulani and Kudzai. She and her family moved to Los Angeles, California when she was eight years old. She attended Crescenta Valley High School for a year before finishing early to pursue a career in music full-time. She began studying ballet, tap, and jazz dancing at the age of 4, and continued to compete in various styles as a part of a dance company until she was 18.
Tinashe scored roles in a number of TV shows, movies, and children's videos in the early 2000s, including the movies Cora Unashamed (2000), Call Me Claus (2001), Masked and Anonymous (2003), and two TV series: Rocket Power (2004) and Avatar: The Last Airbender (2007). These led to a regular role in the TV series Out of Jimmy's Head in 2007–2008 and a recurring role on Two and a Half Men in 2008–2009.
In 2007, Tinashe joined the girl group The Stunners, with whom she released one extended play before they disbanded in 2011. She made her solo Artist debut with two critically acclaimed mixtapes the following year, In Case We Die and Reverie, which she created in her home studio. Following their success, Tinashe signed with RCA Records and released a third mixtape, Black Water (2013). Her debut single, "2 On", reached number one on the Rhythmic airplay chart, and peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Her debut studio album, Aquarius (2014), received further critical acclaim and garnered her nominations for Soul Train and BET Awards. Her collaboration with Snakehips and Chance the Rapper, "All My Friends", won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song in 2016. Tinashe's 2016 album Nightride reached number 8 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in the United States.
In 2007, Tinashe joined girl group the Stunners, founded by Vitamin C. Her bandmates were friends Marisol Esparza, Allie Gonino, Hayley Kiyoko, and Kelsey Sanders. Six months after their formation, the group signed with Columbia Records, and later signed a production deal with Lionsgate Entertainment for scripted television show for MTV. On March 18, 2009, they released a single and video, "Bubblegum." In October, the group released a five-song EP, influenced by artists such as Madonna, Gwen Stefani, and Rihanna. The music video for their promo single, "We Got It", was released on February 22, 2010, and they performed the song on The Today Show and The Wendy Williams Show. After signing with Universal Republic Records in 2010 they released a single, "Dancin' Around the Truth." The music video premiered on June 2, 2010, just before the group was announced as an opening act on Justin Bieber's My World Tour.
In Case We Die, Tinashe's debut solo mixtape, was released in February 2012, recorded in her home studio. The mixtape spawned four singles, the first being promotional song, "Chainless", released to iTunes on December 19, 2011. "My High" was released for streaming on her official website. The music video for single "This Feeling" directed by Cole Walliser was released on May 1, 2012 to Global Grind. The mixtape's final single, Boss, was released August 20, 2012, after the song was featured in an episode of the VH1 series Single Ladies. The music video for the song was self-directed. The mixtape was received positively by the blogosphere.
On July 13, 2012, Tinashe announced that she had signed with RCA Records. Following the signing, her second mixtape, Reverie, was released on September 6, 2012 through her official website. The mixtape released three singles: the first "Stargazing", released on August 21, 2012; the second, "Ecstasy", released on December 18, 2012; and the final, "Who Am I Working For?", released on March 12, 2013. Upon its release, reviews for Reverie were generally positive.
From August to November 2012, a series of remixes of songs from Tinashe's two mixtapes leaked online to critical acclaim. On November 26, 2013, Tinashe released her third mixtape, Black Water. The mixtape was composed of thirteen tracks produced by Dev Hynes, Boi-1da, Ryan Hemsworth, and Tinashe herself. The single "Vulnerable", which features Rapper Travis Scott, was declared a "Must-Hear Pop Song of the Week" by MTV's Buzzworthy on November 26, 2013.
On June 29, 2014, Tinashe made her national television debut, performing her single "2 On" at the BET Awards pre-show. That same day, she also announced that her anticipated debut album, Aquarius, would be officially released on October 7, 2014. Speaking about the theme of the album, Tinashe said: "It combines the essence of all my previous work. I've stayed true to who I am. Obviously, there's some progression as I've grown as an Artist, and I'm influenced by new things and what not. I think my fans will be really happy with it. I think it really embodies who I am and where I am creatively right now". The second single, "Pretend" featuring ASAP Rocky, was released on August 22, 2014. "Aquarius" debuted at number 17 on Billboard 200 with 18,000 copies sold in its first week. Tinashe also featured on Nick Jonas' "Jealous" remix.
In the summer of 2015 Tinashe joined Nicki Minaj for U.S. concerts on the Pinkprint Tour, and in September and October she toured South America with Katy Perry on the Prismatic World Tour. Meanwhile, she was featured in a November 2015 fashion spread in Vogue, and was the cover feature in the Winter 2015 issue of Dazed Magazine (formerly Dazed & Confused).
On February 2, 2016, Tinashe posed for Complex and invited them to her home to do a feature about her family. According to the feature, she still resides at home with her family in a suburb 30 miles north of Los Angeles.
On July 11, 2017 Tinashe stated that she is currently working on her second album, Joyride, with producers Mike WiLL Made It, TM88, Metro Boomin, Diplo, Boi-1da, Charlie Handsome and others. On January 18, 2018, she released "No Drama" featuring Offset, the lead single from her long-anticipated upcoming album, Joyride. "Faded Love" featuring Future was released as the second single on February 12, 2018. Joyride is set to be released on April 13, 2018.
On March 8, 2018, Tinashe confirmed she is in a relationship with NBA point guard Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers.