Singer/Songwriter Tinashe will perform at the Remsen Bird Hillside Theater (Greek Bowl) for the annual SpringFest concert April 4, making her the first female artist to headline the event. Occidental’s own rising musician, Rachel West (senior), will open the show.
Programming Board Event Manager Asa Welch* (junior) and the other board members wanted to choose an artist who diverged from the male hip-hop artists that have dominated the SpringFest lineups in the past few years. As an R&B female artist, Tinashe fit their criteria.
“The biggest thing is making sure people at Occidental are happy, which is literally impossible,” Welch said. “All we’re trying to do is have a really fun time, and that’s what it’s going to be.”
Tinashe is signed to major label RCA. She debuted her new album “Aquarius” on Oct. 3, which features artists such as Schoolboy Q and A$AP Rocky. Her single “2 On,” released in January 2014, made the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart. She also recently collaborated with Nick Jonas for the remix of his new single, “Jealous.”
“I’m a really big fan of Tinashe,” Welch said. “It brings someone who is diverse, who’s a woman, who has good music, who is talented and young. She represents a lot of positive things.”
Programming Board polled students during the involvement fair last semester, asking for opinions on preferred genre, price and artists. According to Joe Kling, the manager of Programming Board, students predominantly elected to have a hip-hop or EDM artist.
The board generally tries to select artists before they are well known in order to keep the performance cost low, Kling said. He added that making the decision was particularly challenging because of cuts to Programming Board’s budget.
“I’m really excited to bring Tinashe to campus,” Kling said. “There were obviously a lot of potential artists, but she fit our budget, our available dates and she’s someone we think a lot of people will get really excited about.”
According to Welch, making the Occidental student body happy was the biggest obstacle in choosing an artist, aside from financial concerns.
“I looked at Hozier, but he was super expensive,” Welch said. “I also considered Jhene Aiko and Azaelia Banks, but she’s had some bad publicity recently—if you go on her Twitter, she says very controversial things, which is not bad but can spark some unrest in students.”
Opener Rachel West plans to perform all of the songs on her first EP “Aurum,” released Dec. 16. She describes the sound as alternative pop and borderline R&B. Last month, West opened for rapper Wale at a concert in Portland.
“I’ll possibly be performing a few acoustic covers,” West said. “There’s also another special Oxy guest that I’d really love to perform with me, but we’ll see. I’m working that out because we might end up doing a completely new song together.”
Programming Board will also hold a pre-SpringFest event on the upper soccer field. The event was inspired by the success of last year’s SpringFest pre-show, which included food trucks, a RAW Records performance, a rock climbing wall, an obstacle course and a bouncy house. Welch intends to make this year’s event just as memorable.
“SpringFest has always been the biggest event of the year.” Welch said. “If I was a [first-year], I would be so confused because there are no social events. So the one time we do something I would expect it to be incredible, which I would like to think it will be.”
*Asa Welch is a staff member at The Occidental Weekly.