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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

SZA and Tinashe Under the Same Spotlight

Ctrl album cover

A late night wind-down is nothing without the accompaniment of the ultimate chill down playlist- or album. When it comes to the ethereal new sounds of R&B produced by the SZA and Tinashe, who will be the one to fuel an evening of divine introspection or inspiration-based action?

The eclectic SZA released her debut album, Ctrl, early June and played to the beat of the entire summer. The album gained traction fast and was put beside “2 On” R&B singer, Tinashe, as a comparison.

Although claims of a rivalry are false, these two female black artists do share similar qualities in their music. In SZA’s interview with the Breakfast Club, she quickly gives credit where it is due and leaves room for Tinashe to be dope in a world that is stuck on creating competition between women.

SZA’s Ctrl and TInashe’s Nightride, have one thing in common: they branch away from the traditional world of R&B. By using different approaches to create music, both artists involve sounds that evoke an ethereal quality over lyrics that reflect the highs and lows of their romantic lives.

Ctrl houses a range of songs that reflect the good, bad and downright ugly when it comes to growing into one’s own power and the not-so-healthy relationships that came with it for her. She includes indie rock and neo-soul influences, which can be heard from the chimes and drums heard in “Doves in the Wind” to the almost undetectable whispers from Pharrell at the end of the introductory song “Supermodel.”

In comparison, Tinashe released her EP, Nightride, late 2016, courageously singing about love and romance with an umbrella of dark, breathy tones that invite you to stay for the night ride. Her album maintains sultry, light-dimmed atmospheric music that almost feels woozy to the ear. Her voice uses a breathy vocal to create a spacey sound that fogs you out of reality.

While Tinashe takes you out of this world, SZA brings you back down to earth with unexpected lively instrumentations and sounds from nature. The experience of listening is enhanced with the sun beaming down and ear buds allowing one to hear the intricate details that change from song to song.

Even though the artists do compare in many ways with one being the color of their skin. The world of young female rappers and singers is more difficult to break into but the boundaries are pushed by artists like Tinashe and SZA alike. As SZA’s creative debut project release demonstrates, there is still room to grow on an individual basis to innovate the R&B industry in the future.

Alejandra Solorio can be reached at [email protected] or @alesolorio8 on Twitter.

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