‘I Forget That It Even Exists’: Tinashe Calls Working With R. Kelly ‘So Embarrassing,’ Says She Tries to ‘Block’ It Out of Her Mind

Singer Tinashe has opened up about her experience under her former label RCA Records and some of the unfavorable positions the company put her in as a young artist.

Tinashe signed with RCA in 2014 and immediately released her biggest track to date, her debut single “2 On.” The singer was never able to replicate the success of the Schoolboy Q-assisted track but that is not due to her lack of trying.

In a recent interview with the “Zach Sang Show,” the singer/songwriter said that she was “heavily advised” by her label to not make the music that she wanted to make, but instead make the music that they felt she needed to make. According to Tinashe, she was made to focus on competing with other artists and making music for the radio rather than making the best art.

Host Zach Sang later asked if songs like the ones she made with R&B artists R. Kelly and Chris Brown were more of a “label-y” decision than her own. The 30-year-old laughed and said, “You think I wanted [to do that]?”

“I block out that R. Kelly song from my mind.” Tinashe continued. “I forget that that even exists. That is so embarrassing. That is so unreal that I even have a song with R. Kelly. That’s so embarrassing. Yes, that was label-y.”

Tinashe is referring to her R. Kelly collaboration, “Let’s Be Real” off of his 2015 album, “The Buffet,” also released under the RCA label.

Tinashe went on to say, “And I was so young too which is crazy cause I feel like I did that song when I just signed to that label. Like, I was probably like 20.”

Just four years after the song dropped, R. Kelly was the subject of the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which detailed his well-known history of sex crimes with minors and led to his arrest later that year. The “Ignition” singer was sentenced to 30 years in 2022.

RELATED: R. Kelly Charged With New Sex Crimes By Minnesota in Incident Dating Back to 2001

While speaking with Sang, Tinashe, who admitted she did not have much say in being featured on R. Kelly’s song, brought up another label-forced collab that she was not fully on board with.

“For example, that song with Chris [Brown].” Tinashe said to Sang, “We all wanted it to be like this big moment, this big single, so I feel like in their mind they were like you need the support and he was like their biggest artist they had on rhythmic radio at the time.

Tinashe continued, “And to me, I was like, well, this is a pop song, so I really don’t feel like we should put Chris on it. Like, that doesn’t compute to me. But I don’t know.”

RELATED: Celebs Call Out AMAs After Chris Brown’s Michael Jackson Tribute Was Reportedly Canceled Without Explanation

This confirmed some fans’ suspicions about Chris Brown’s music career.

“I was just wondering about why the girls kept making music with them weirdos the other day. I’m convinced the industry (not the artists) is the only reason Chr*s Br*wn still has a career and Tinashe pretty much confirmed it.”

“Tinashe confirming what I’ve thought about chris brown collabs with black women for a long time I’m not saying this absolves everyone that has worked with him but it puts some pieces together.”

While other fans think she is using Brown’s name for clout.

“Stfu, always using his name to stay relevant Worry about your dying career.”

“This bit#$% just can’t keep Chris’s name out of her mouth… Girl get busy and promote your 7 songs and leave Breezy alone.”

Brown has had a highly publicized history of abuse which started in 2009 with his violent assault on his ex-girlfriend Rihanna. The “Deuces” singer has stayed in and out of trouble since then, with one noted incident happening when another ex, Karrueche Tran, took out a restraining order after he allegedly threatened to kill her.


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