Tinashe Recalls ‘Embarrassing’ Collaborations With R. Kelly & Chris Brown, Says She Was Pushed by Label

The singer was signed to RCA Records at the time.

Back in 2015, while Tinashe was signed to RCA, she teamed up with Chris Brown for a song called “Player.” Shortly after, her R. Kelly team-up “Let’s Be Real Now” arrived. On Wednesday (Sept. 12), the singer reflected on working with two men accused of abuse in a new interview with the Zach Sang Show.

“I literally block out that R. Kelly song from my mind. I forget that it even exists,” she said in a clip from the interview posted to TikTok. “That is so embarrassing. That is so unreal that I even have a song with R. Kelly. That’s so embarrassing.”

She added that she was “so young” when “Let’s Be Real Now” came out, with Sang noting that there is not a lot of “control” over collaborators when you first sign to a label and that it wasn’t fair for Tinashe to face scrutiny over the releases.

“Especially when it comes to singles, for example — that song with Chris [Brown],” Tinashe replied. “That was a song that we all wanted it to be this big moment, this big single. So I feel like, in their mind, they were like, ‘You need the support.’ He was their biggest artist that they had on rhythmic radio at the time. To me, I was like, ‘Well, this is a pop song. So, I really don’t feel like we should put Chris on it.’ That doesn’t compute to me, but I don’t know.”


Tinashe at Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Live held at The Novo on Aug. 8, 2023 in Los Angeles.Christopher Polk for Billboard

Brown has a history of reported violence against women, dating back to his 2009 assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna. R. Kelly, meanwhile was found guilty in 2021 on all nine charges brought against him by the government, including racketeering and sex trafficking, at the end of a federal trial in New York.

Tinashe left RCA in 2019 and signed with Nice Life Recording Company earlier this year. See the interview clip below.

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