From baby model to bully victim to Bieber opener, the R&B starlet behind smash hit "2 On" took the long way to fame.

On paper, Tinashe may come off like a former teen rebel: skipping prom and getting kicked out of her high school musical. And her slinky hit "2 On," a paean to the almighty "turn-up," teases out that narrative. But in reality, the R&B upstart -- who's releasing her debut album Aquarius Oct. 7 on RCA -- was simply too busy taking meetings with Hollywood studios and touring with Justin Bieber to take a smoke break behind the bleachers. "I was really independent, ambitious," says the singer, 21, born Tinashe Kachiogwe.

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