Rationale Talks Taking His Voice to Unknown Realms on Debut Album

It’s not often that an artist changes their name mid-career, but for Tinashé Fazakerley, the transition was butter. In fact, not only was it easy, but it turns out that his new chosen name has brought out an even more successful singer within him. Rationale, as he’s now known, has just dropped his first LP. Created in “The Bunker,” his window-less studio in south London, the self-titled album is filled with incredibly catchy pop hooks and dynamic electronic production, all supported by the British singer’s wide-ranging vocals, “Rationale” is everything one could want from a debut.

While cruising through the streets in his hometown of London, the 33-year-old Zimbabwe-born artist spoke with Entertainment Voice to discuss his new project, down to the details of a few of the stand out tracks on the album.

How has the transition been going from your previously musical persona in Tinashé to your new project in Rationale?

You know… I don’t even feel like it’s been a massive transition for me. I just like to make music, and when I was ready to make music for myself, I wanted to represent something new. I took the name Rationale to go with the new sound, it just felt like the right thing to do. The transition, I suppose, if you want to call it that, has been awesome because I think I’m probably a bit more successful with what I’m doing now than I was working as Tinashé.

The first single you released under Rationale was “Fast Lane” which soon acquired over a million streams on SoundCloud. What went into the creation of this tune, both lyrically and sonically?

Sonically speaking… you know how they say some things are born out of really happy accidents? Production-wise, the process was easier than a lot of the stuff that’s on this album… once I planned the guitar part. I wanted it to feel it had no stupid tricks, or thrills in it and stuff. I referenced something, drum-wise which was “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G. I wanted it to feel like that (song). (Lyrically,) I had written the song one day when I was sitting on a train…I was a little bit annoyed and frustrated with life and I wanted to convey that fact, how I felt like we’re all running this rat race.

You said last year about “Fuel to the Fire” that those in power often make important decisions “without seeking knowledge” and that they “add fuel to fires we don’t need.” When you look back at this song now, over a year later, what are your thoughts on its meaning now?

I think with everything going on in the world, you have to look at each situation. With you being in America, you probably see it too with your current President in power. We’re all in this fine line where something crazy can happen. When you think of a song like “Fuel to the Fire” … I think it’s really apt. The people that are in the most powerful positions at the moment are very close to an event that could be very, very significant and very awful to humanity. But you only have to look at our country here and the events that have happened recently with the terrorist attacks. We’ve had a number of attacks over here in the UK and (even) around the world. And a lot of that has been a result of people adding fuel to the fire. It’s one of my favorite songs and one of the most meaningful songs on the record, next to “Prodigal Son” (which also) applies to society.

Much has been said about your unique vocal ability and “Loving Life” is a great example of your range. Do you enjoy challenging yourself when it comes to your vocal abilities?

Yea, I do! I love challenging myself in the studio. I don’t want to keep repeating myself, so “Loving Life” was written probably later on in the process of making the album because… I wanted to write something positive, something that made me feel good. I challenged myself to (reach) that high part of my voice. And it’s probably the highest I’ve ever sung on the record, while still encompassing all the ideas. So yea, I think “Loving Life” is a good example of how I challenge myself. And it’s been played on the radio in the UK, so I’ve been really blessed about that.

Speaking of “Loving Life,” the video portrays exactly what the title implies. Will you give us the who’s, what’s and where’s of this music video?  

Well, instead of going and trying to pick some kind of big shot director, we wanted to work with somebody that was fresh and young… with a video that didn’t have me in it. (Something) that would actually portray the feel of the song. It’s about loving all that in life, so we filmed in London, my hometown. We filmed at different events that allowed us to capture all these cool moments that people weren’t even aware of. I wanted it to represent a part of the town that I’m from. And at a time when crazy stuff is happening, you should take in all the joy that you can get. That kind of comes across in my music…

Even through its dark tinge, much of the album feels very freeing, uplifting and open. That said, where do you think would be the perfect place to listen to the album?

Dude, I’m really biased because I think the place I listen to music is when I’m driving. There’s something really great about the feeling of motion.

You’re about to embark on a supporting run with Rag n’ Bone Man around the U.K. Any plans to bring the album on the road state-side?

I would love to! We’ve been to America once before, we toured L.A., we went to New York. But I’d love to do that again soon.

Rationale” is available Oct. 6 on Apple Music.