The brother-duo band, consisting of Rocky and Ross Lynch, now has 1.3 million followers on Instagram, and over 300K Spotify listeners per month.
Ross and Rocky are hot, hot, hot right now, and it’s obvious why – The Driver Era only has a few singles out right now, but the music that is out is alluring, well written, and extremely unique.
The duo just released their newest single, “Low,” about some personal experiences that Rocky had this past summer, and it’s a hit.
For December, Galore is focusing on our Crushes. We sat down with one half of The Driver Era and a major Galore Crush, bleach blonde Rocky, to discuss the band’s new single, his ideal first date, and what he looks for in a woman.
Check out the exclusive photoshoot and interview below!
Multi-talented R&B musician and lyricist, Tink, dropped her latest album entitled Thanks 4 Nothing in collaboration with Winter’s Diary, WD Records and EMPIRE. If this album is any indication, you never have to guess what Tink’s thinking, the Chicago-born songstress and rapper says it all in her music. She spits, speaks, and sings straight from the heart without filter or apology. At the same time, she breaks boundaries, dropping off bars with uncontainable charisma and belting out hooks with show-stopping range. This remarkable project comprises 14 distinct tracks with two features from Ty Dolla $ign and Yung Blue, and executive produced again by Hitmaka. The album includes her two most recent releases, “Toxic,” and “Fake Love”. Showcasing a diverse range of themes and emotions related to relationships, love, and heartbreak, this versatility consistently affirms her as a force in her own lane.
Last year, Tink dropped her widely successful 16-track project PILLOW TALK featuring artists 2 Chainz, TOOSI, Fabolous, G Herbo, Russ Muni Long, Layton Greene. While her last album, Pillow Talk, was all about love. Tink’s new album Thanks 4 Nothingshows us the depths of Tink’s lyrical abilities. Allowing herself to be vulnerable with her global audience Tinkgoes into grittier issues in Thanks 4 Nothing – dating toxic men, trust issues, letting your guard down, cheating, finding a new guy, and all while still owning her independence and knowing she’s “the catch”.
“With this new record, I’m really in a different setting. Pillow Talk felt very sensual…and now I’m just approaching everything harder, speaking on real things? That’s how I connect through the music. So the energy is different. It’s up.” Tink shared.
Tink’s collaborative chemistry with Hitmaka further establishes that these two are unmatched. His engineering and her vocals meticulously guide the listener into a sonic world that shows women of all ages what “becoming a possible, realistic vision of female empowerment” is really about. The duo never miss a beat.
“I met Hitmaka through EMPIRE, which is our company that we’re working with/in partnership. The first day I met him, I feel like we kind of just organically/naturally just connected. He’s from Chicago. I’m from Chicago […] We just had a lot in common and that helped to make the music. It made making the music even easier. It gets very tense with producers and he wasn’t like that at all. He was very open and very fun. He wasn’t like that. He was very open and very fun. He didn’t make it feel like work and that’s when I knew I could be myself. I could say what I wanted to say. You know and I was really just in my element when we were working, so that’s why we kept going with it.” Tink shared.
Tink’s satin-smooth vocals caress listeners’ ears while Hitmaka synthesizes trap and electronic elements into a cohesive R&B sound. As her musical range and lyrical compositions continue to evolve and expand, so does her voice as a self-empowered artist. From her early days signed with Timbaland and the restriction years of label politics, the 28-year-old star continues to declare her autonomy in her career and proudly owns all of her masters/catalog. “I’m applying pressure” she states. Tink continues to show her audience that advocating for oneself is integral in the music business.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Tink on numerous subjects: from her latest singles, to releasing her new album on Valentine’s day, to her collaborative partnership with Hitmaka to advice given to her by Remy Ma, and even how her Pisces zodiac sign influences her artistry. She even revealed all her tour dates and talked about how excited she is to share her music with a live audience. Tink will undertake a month-long Thanks 4 Everything North American tour that is scheduled to commence on March 30, 2023. With her exceptional talents and unique perspective on relationships, Tink promises to deliver an unforgettable performance of hits from her previous albums as well as the new project. Read the full interview and find out more about the Thanks 4 Everything North American tour below!
JaJuan: What’s good y’all! My name is JaJuan Malachi. On behalf of Galore, we’re here with the wonderful Tink. First and foremost, thank you for sharing some of your time with us.
Tink: Of course, I’m a big fan of Galore so this is dope for me too.
JaJuan: Thank you, thank you! Um so to kick things off, just tell us about the origins of your name? Where’d your nickname come from?
Tink: So my real name is Trinity. I got the name Tink when I was child. Like, my friends gave me a nickname and it really doesn’t have a long story. It’s kind of something one of my friends said and I kind of stuck with it. And when I went to the studio for the first time and I heard it on the mic, it really made sense.
JaJuan: Yeah, I can definitely relate to that myself. In particular, one is Juanito.
Tink: Juanito! That’s dope!
JaJuan: Yeah, that’s what they like to call me. That still resonates today. So for my next question, how was it coming up in Cook County, Illinois?
Tink: Uh, Cook County, so that’s like Chicago/Calumet City area but of course everybody knows Chicago is a rougher city. For me, I feel like it gave me an edge. I make music for Chicago women. I’m always speaking to my city and for my city. I carry Chicago with me. You can hear it in my voice. My slang. The way we talk. The way we enter a room. You know, Chicago people have a distinct vibe about themselves. And for me just growing up, I came up around the “drill” time era. That was like in 2012 when Keef was lit and we seen a lot of the rappers going crazy. Keef, Durk.
Tink: Herbo of course. So for me, I kind of was just watching the guys really hustle and watching everybody kind of rise. Doing their own thing. Shooting videos in the backyard. That was kind of my approach to the game as well. For a long time, we were really just thuggin’. I’d call my guys to shoot my videos for like $50 dollars. And you know in Chicago, we kind of just have a drive about us. We’re gonna get it done no matter what. So I carry that still till this day.
JaJuan: I feel that. I feel like there’s a grave misconception about Chicago being like this really dangerous, perilous place and I don’t think that’s the case fully.
Tink: It’s not. I will say Chicago of course, we know the city has like a lot of violence but there is beauty in Chicago and there is inspiration in the city. I feel like that’s my role too. To just show the other versions and sides of Chicago folx, you know.
JaJuan: Well, I’ve gotta say you’re doing it really well.
Tink: No, thank you!
JaJuan: No problem! So who would say are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
Tink: My biggest musical inspiration off back: Lauryn Hill. Lauryn Hill was to me. The first kind of artist that made me just look at myself differently. With her rapping and singing, I really kind of took to that part too but you know her message was so strong. I just love how she was so powerful with her music and she might have had one album, you know what I’m tryna say. So her music really stood the test of time. If you can drop one album and flourish, that’s crazy.
JaJuan: Classic album too by the way.
Tink: Yes, classic! And that’s what I wanted my music to feel like. I wanted people to listen and just to touch the soul and do it in a cool way so that it doesn’t feel like I’m preaching but I’m preaching. So Lauryn is off the back the #1 for me.
JaJuan: Hm, gotcha. Would you say like Foxy Brown, Lil’ Kim have they had any influence as well?
Tink: So I was a little younger. When I was growing up, I listened to a lot of R&B, so I didn’t really get into rap until I was in my teens. When I was listening to rap, I was turning on Nicki Minaj. That was my introduction.
JaJuan: Like Itty, Biggy, Piggy maybe.
Tink: Itty, Biggy, Piggy and Roman, you know. And that whole era when Nicki was in Atlanta and linking up with Gucci. That was kind of like my introduction to female rap in general. So you know, I was playing a lot of Nicki. Yeah for awhile, Nicki was running things so that’s my girl.
JaJuan: Going back to the whole Lauryn thing, I can definitely see that there’s a parallel, just in terms of the raw feel and honesty that sort of emanates.
Tink: Yeah, I take after a lot of that. Just the way that she had a message. I feel like that’s what’s missing in the game today. It’s great music. Always great music. But who’s really teaching? Who’s really dropping gems in a dope way. In a way that still feels current and trendy. So Lauryn showed me, it’s possible.
JaJuan: So for my next question, it seems like you Hitmaka never really miss a beat.
Tink: Thank you!
JaJuan: I was curious. It sort of feels very organic as well. How’d that sort of relationship come about?
Tink: Yes, it’s very organic. I met Hitmaka through EMPIRE, which is our company that we’re working with/in partnership. The first day I met him, I feel like we kind of just organically/naturally just connected. He’s from Chicago. I’m from Chicago. So with that being said, we had a lot in common. We would talk about the way he came up. The school he went to. And you know, “I grew up down the street and I used to come by there.” We just had a lot in common and that helped to make the music. It made making the music even easier. A lot of times producers will come in a room and it gets kind of like a little stiff.
JaJuan: A little tense?
Tink: A little tense. Yeah, that’s it. It gets very tense with producers and he wasn’t like that at all. He was very open and very fun. He wasn’t like that. He was very open and very fun. He didn’t make it feel like work and that’s when I knew I could be myself. I could say what I wanted to say. You know and I was really just in my element when we were working, so that’s why we kept going with it.
JaJuan: I would definitely say. I feel like y’all have such a blissful dynamic.
Tink: Thank you and I appreciate you saying that. You know, Hitmaka is one of my first producers that I really let executively produce a full album. And I’m the type of artist, I like to be in the studio alone so it took me awhile to open up and to be inviting to collabin.’ So to hear people really receive it, feels so good. I’m glad we connected for the music.
JaJuan: Well I’m happy you felt comfortable opening up to him that way.
Tink: Yeah, I love to be in the studio. I used to love being in the studio alone so it was a big process tryna get used to working with ten people in the room. I’m the type of girl. I write at home or I like to write in my own space, so I had to get used to working with other people and performing in front of others but I can say it has helped me grow a lot. It makes for a better album as well, so I’m super happy.
JaJuan: For my next question, I came across a quote actually. And the quote says, how you distanced yourself from Drill music because you wanted to focus on “becoming a possible, realistic vision of female empowerment.” So I’m curious to know, how important is female empowerment to you?
Tink: Man, it’s so important. It’s my whole reason now and I said that because living in Chicago, we see how violence affects our families and I’ve watched my friends pass and I’ve watched fathers get caught in crossfire, so it’s not fun when you’re living in it. A lot of people do things or they rap or they touch drill, and you really don’t know ….
JaJuan: Where that’s coming from.
Tink: Yeah, you really don’t know just how that affects our families in the inner city. For me, I wanna be the one who gives our girls and our kids another outlook on life. I wanted to show the world that Chicago has a lot to offer aside from drill. So for me, it was for that reason alone. It’s like you know, going into my 20s and my later 20s, I’ve got a bigger responsibility in this game now and I just wanted to elevate. There’s a time and a place for all of it. When I was a teenager, that was the vibe. We drilling and we really in the streets. But as you get older, you start to realize that you don’t wanna send nobody off. You know, I wanna help these girls. I just started thinking about what I was writing and the things I was saying and if it didn’t have substance, I just didn’t wanna do it, you know.
JaJuan: Yeah, I feel that. And you begin to ruminate on sort of your long-term impact.
Tink: Exactly! And like I said for me, when you’re in Chicago. It’s just a different type of energy. We have to watch our back and we can’t just kick it. There’s so much violence in the city that you’ve kind of gotta be aware and I’m just tryna help that issue.
JaJuan: I feel that, I feel that. Well, I commend you for being a beacon of light for Chicago.
Tink: Thank you! That’s what it’s about.
JaJuan: So as an artist who owns her masters if I’m not mistaken, how important is owning your masters?
Tink: It’s very important and I’m glad you brought that up because a lot of artists, we don’t have a clue about masters. I didn’t have a clue about masters for a long time. When I got my business straight going independent, I had a better gauge on what that means but it’s important. It matters down the line. You know, 50 years from now, 100 years from now. You’ll be able to help your family and you’ll still be able to make money. You know, you’ll still be able to make a profit off of your music even when you’re gone. A lot of people don’t think about it because it doesn’t matter right now. You’re not thinking about it today. Your masters accumulate over the years. It’s something we should talk about more because major labels will come in and snatch your masters and you don’t care because it’s not current money in your pocket but it matters when you’re done making music and you still wanna collect your money. That’s what it’s about.
JaJuan: It’s kind of comparable to a pension right?
Tink: Exactly! Hold onto your masters if you can. I do wanna let people know that that’s a huge investment on yourself and you’re kind of like setting yourself up for the future.
JaJuan: Yeah, fasho. So I listened to your recent single: “Toxic”
Tink: Nice! Do you like it?
JaJuan: Yeah, I love it! It’s a bop! It has an anthemic kind of feel to it.
Tink: Yes, that’s it. And it was the first record that I wanted to drop off the album just for that reason. I wanna introduce my audience to this new vibe, this new era. And coming off of Pillow Talk, which was a real soft and sweet album, very much in love and sultry. “Toxic” was like she’s flipping the switch.
JaJuan: Taking it to the next level!
Tink: We’re taking it to the next level. And also, just getting aggressive with the music. “Thanks for Nothing” is such an aggressive album, so “Toxic” was like the introduction.
JaJuan: Gotchu, Gotchu! It felt so vulnerable and I’m curious to know where the inspiration derived from?
Tink: I think the inspiration was just life in itself. You know, this album I dropped during Valentine’s Day, so of course we’re in the love season at the time.
JaJuan: Yes, very much appropriate.
Tink: Yes, exactly. I know women can relate. Dealing with men in general. We’ve all been in a toxic situation before and I just wanted to touch on it and let women know. You don’t have to be in that s**t forever or whatever the case. You know, just speaking on it and not being afraid to tell the truth about it.
JaJuan: Yeah. And even telling women that it’s ok to fall sometimes but you’ve gotta get back up though.
Tink: Yes, that’s it and that’s the whole point of “Toxic.” I know that you were Toxic. I still f**ked you and I still loved you and now I’m coming to a point where I can’t deal with that no more or I’m not accepting it. I should have stayed in my element and that’s the whole message, you know.
JaJuan: I can definitely feel that in the track.
JaJuan: It’s a little relatable. Arguably, too relatable. I’m not gon’ go there with it though.
Tink: No, you’re right! That’s facts. You know before we released it in my mind, I was like “is this taking it too far?” Because I know that it was triggering. It’s very relatable to the point where I feel like s**t when I hear it.
JaJuan: I can see that perspective. So for my next question. Going into the creation of “Thanks For Nothing,” tell us about the initial vision you had for it. You kind of spoke about it a little bit already but yeah.
Tink: No, for sure. My initial vision was to flip the switch. I wanted to make a project for the single girls. If your man didn’t come through for you. It was really like “Thanks for Nothing.” Thanks for not giving me time. Thanks for not giving me affection. Thanks for not giving me energy. Whatever that means to you. That’s the message, you know. It’s knowing that if a man is in my life or if he is not in my life, I”m good and thanks for nothing. Thanks for showing me I can do this s**t without you. That was the whole point of the album. You know, just turning my girls up.
JaJuan: I feel that. So what would you say is like your favorite track off the project? So many bangers on it but if you had to choose one.
Tink: I’ve gotta ride with ‘Fake Love’
JaJuan: That’s the second joint off the project right?
Tink: Yes, second joint. And ‘Fake Love’ is my favorite just because, you know, it’s inspiring for me. And it’s also kind of like telling people off. You know what I mean. That record was written solely by me and I was going through a lot at the time and was feeling like a lot of things in my life weren’t aligning, so when I hear the lyrics, it’s deep to me. I am just speaking on not dealing with anything fake or anything that disturbs your peace. Or anything that makes you feel less worthy, so I feel like that song alone just has a lot of gems in it.
JaJuan: Yeah, I can definitely feel that when I listen to it. So with all of the projects you release back-to-back, it seems like your work ethic is something truly different.
Tink: Yes. A lot of albums and a lot of projects.
JaJuan: Yes, yes. Very much prolific. What does your work/life balance look like?
Tink: I have no balance my friend. I’ll tell you how the day goes. It’s like I wake up, go to the gym and that’s a part of work too, keeping your body right! A lot of people don’t know. It’s not just making songs and going to bed. I’m always in the studio. Literally, the studio sessions last about 8-10 hours sometimes. And then when I’m not in the studio like I said, I’m working on myself. I’m working on my body and my mind. And then you also have to go and promote the music after you create it so that means that we have to schedule out weeks at a time to be in New York, be in LA. Then you have shows. So that means you’ve gotta take two days to travel to the city, perform and then you’ve gotta travel back to finish up the album. So what I’m just tryna say is that my life is just work. You know what I mean.
JaJuan: Gotchu. I know what you mean.
Tink: So when I do have time to have fun. I take advantage but if you wanna make things happen, you’ve gotta grind right now. I know the fun will come later, so I don’t even have time to have a social life right now. It’s all about this bag and taking advantage of the moment, so yeah.
JaJuan: I understand that fully. I admire your work ethic for sure and I feel like the fruits of your labor always show for sure.
Tink: Thank you! And that’s what I always want. I know the more I grind, the better the results. So I’m not tripping.
JaJuan: Fasho! So this is more of a reflective kind of question. What would you say is the best piece of advice you’ve received thus far in your career and from whom if you don’t mind expounding on that a little bit.
Tink: You know what, I had a really dope conversation with Remy Ma. So I was actually in New York. This was last year and I ran into her at this “Power” party.
*Shirley highlights that there’s a photo of Remy Ma on the wall*
Tink: That is crazy.
JaJuan: Wow! That is ironic.
Tink: That is like, very crazy. But I ran into Remy Ma at a “Power” premiere party. We were just talking and she gave me some very dope advice. About a quick ten minutes. I was telling her how this game and this industry is tricky. I’m like, as a brown girl, how’d you really break the barriers? How’d you really break through because you know, it’s harder for us. We were sitting at the table and she said: “imagine this table is a glass.” She banged on it. She banged on it again. She said “if I keep banging on this glass, what is gonna happen?” And I’m like if you bang that hard, it’s gonna break. She was like, that is the whole goal. You have to keep knocking. You have to keep banging. I took that and was like wow! That means a lot. Because a lot of times, we’ll try something once and if it don’t work, we done. Or we give up. Or we try a couple times and then we just let it go. But that gives me inspiration to keep dropping these albums. I don’t care how many it takes. Keep dropping your singles. Even if one doesn’t work or if you have to drop five singles to find your hit. Keep knocking and keep applying pressure. So I really love how she just broke that down in the middle of a party. While music is going on and s**t. I was like “woah, that was very real.”
JaJuan: That seems like it resonated with you on a deeper level. It’s very profound I would say.
Tink: It is. I’m applying pressure.
Shirley: Can I interrupt right quick? Just to follow up on that advice comment, what is your own advice that you would share with a younger audience or just a feminine audience that is trying to find their voice? They’re making their own music. They’re doing their own mixing in their room. What would you tell them in terms of how to keep pushing forward?
Tink: I would tell people to. You literally have to stand apart. These days, there’s a lot of talent out there and there’s just a lot of people doing it just to do it, so finding what works for you and what makes you special and really hone in on that instead of tryna follow up behind what others are doing. I really found my niche just by talking in my own voice and using my own tones. Just the Chicago in me sets me apart from a lot of people. And that’s why I tell people. Whatever city you’re from. Whatever is different and unique about you. Express that. You don’t have to be the next “whoever” r&b queen. You don’t have to be anybody but you. People draw to that. They can tell when it’s authentic. And they can feel when you’re being genuine about yourself. Be unique and different. Even if it feels lonely. Like, ain’t nobody gon’ understand this. Please do that.
Shirley: And another question before JaJuan closes us off. What is your sign? And how do you feel like your sign influences your artistry?
Tink: OMG! I’m a Pisces.
Shirley: Okay! It’s your season.
Tink: Yeah, I’m a Pisces and I get told all the time that we’re very emotional. And I be like damn, that hit it right on the head. But yes, we’re very emotional but we understand. We’re very empathetic to anyone. Like, I can understand anyone’s POV. I can be felt by anyone, at any level. As a Pisces, I make emotional music. I’m always in my feels, so it makes sense.
Shirley: It definitely translates in this album. I see that in the lyrical content for sure.
JaJuan: For sure. I definitely agree. March 18th right? That’s your birthday?
Tink: Yes! That’s my birthday. That’s dope! How you know?
JaJuan: Ah, A little research. Shoutout to my boy Omari.
JaJuan: So for my next and final question. This has been a great conversation.
Tink: It has! This is super dope!
JaJuan: So as we know, you’re about to headline your own tour.
Tink: Finally! Finally!
JaJuan: Yes, yes! This is a major win right here. But it starts on March 30th right?
Tink: Yep! The end of March.
JaJuan: The end of March. It’s the “Thanks for Everything” tour. So how do you feel about that?
Tink: I’m so excited and I’m not saying it just to say. I haven’t been on tour or headline my own tour in a very long time. Over five years and what makes this tour so special. It’s called “Thanks for Everything,” so I’m literally doing this tour for my day 1s and everyone that’s been supporting. I get the chance to perform the new album: “Thanks for Nothing” and also the classic, older tapes: “Winter’s Diary,” “Hopeless Romantic.” So you know it’s gonna be one big vibe for all the real ones. You don’t know how crazy that’s gonna be, so I’m excited for that. Just to perform the classic songs and really do the full body of work is gonna be crazy.
JaJuan: I would imagine. It’s about to be quite the experience.
Tink: The girls are about to act up and that’s what I’m really excited to see. All the women singing their hearts out does something to my spirit, so I’m ready for that.
JaJuan: That’s super dope! And to my knowledge, you have some people joining you. I’m not sure if you can disclose that at the moment.
Tink: I may drop it soon. I’m still working on crossing the Ts and dotting the Is but you know, the show is going to be amazing but that news is gonna come for sure soon sometime.
JaJuan: Gotchu! Looking forward to it and also, I noticed that you’re going to be ending the tour in your hometown right?
Tink: Yes in Chicago, at The Chicago Theater and that’s gonna be just insane and they’re always looking for me to perform there, so I’ve gotta give them the best of the best. And you know, that’s my hometown, so I get clown and act crazy with ’em, you know. We’re gonna act up together but yeah, that’s gonna be a good vibe.
JaJuan: That is super dope! Well those are all of the questions that I have for you Tink!
Tink: Nice! Thank you! This was really, really great!
JaJuan: Thank you so much!
Tink: We’ve got some great gems in this.
JaJuan: Fasho! Fasho! It’s been a pleasure.
Tink: Thank you! Appreciate you! You’ve got a good shake too. A great shake!
JaJuan: Thank you. I’d love to get a photo with you.
Tink announces a month-long Thanks 4 Everything North American tour that is scheduled to commence on March 30, 2023, with a pre-sale link going live on March 2nd at 9 AM CT. With her exceptional talents and unique perspective on relationships, Tink promises to deliver an unforgettable performance of hits from her previous albums as well as the new project “Thanks 4 Nothing,” which is sure to captivate audiences across the nation. Full list of dates below!