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I see two sides of Tinashe during her show at Terminal 5 in Manhattan on Sept. 30. 

I witness one of them backstage before her performance, as she kicks back on a couch in a wool jacket and other comfy attire, moments before her first headlining set in New York as an independent artist.

The other side of Tinashe—the one that comes to life the second she steps in front of a crowd—is present for the entirety of her set, especially during her “Bouncin” trampoline routine, when she drops to the floor on her hands, grabs hold of a mini-trampoline, springs her knees around in coordination with her dancers, and thrusts to the sky.

“I think I black out during that part,” she jokes.

Tinashe, who has finally been able to unleash that second side of herself during her journey around the US on the “333 Tour,” is completely in her element throughout the show, to the point where she doesn’t even notice a fight break out between two women in the middle of “Link Up.” The way she dances through it proves that it’ll take a lot more than an offstage tussle to stand in the way of one of today’s most charismatic performers putting on a show. And as Tinashe will tell you herself, when you watch her concert, you’re watching a pop star at work. 

“It’s great to be back,” she says, grateful for a return to the stage after a string of pandemic-driven virtual gigs throughout 2020. “It’s great to feel the crowd. It’s just way better than those virtual performances.”

Before the gig, we caught up with Tinashe to discuss her latest album 333, her admiration for Janet Jackson, the many Tinashe references in hip-hop, and why she “hated being called an R&B star.”