Nigerian music superstar and Mavin first lady, Tiwatope Savage-Balogun, better known as Tiwa Savage, is without a doubt the biggest female pop artiste the country parades and has been on top of the rung for quite a while. However, the Lagos born multiple awards winning singer didn’t just stroll to the top, she got there following a time tested process which included planning, preparation and opportunity.
Encomium.ng compiles the moments that defined her glittering career…
- She identified her calling early: Though Tiwa was born in Ikeja, Lagos, after her relocation to London at just 11 years old, as a high school student, she played the trombone for her school’s orchestra band. At 16, she was already doing backup vocals for George Michael.
- She Got Formal Music Training: Having identified her calling to be music, she didn’t go to school to study Agric or Medicine. She attended and graduated from Berkeley College of Music ( New York, USA) with a degree in professional music.
- Tiwa tested herself against her peers: The precocious singer participated in a music competition as a student In 2006,and as she advanced to the final 24 in the UK edition of The X Factor. This gave her a taste of fame and glamour and after tasting the limelight, she never looked back.
- She learned from the masters: It is one thing to have a particular skill and it is another to hone that skill to perfection. One of the best ways to sharpen your skills is to learn from the masters and that is what Tiwa did. She did back up for stellar musicians such as Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Blu Cantrell, Emma Bunton, Kelly Clarkson, Andrea Bocelli, and Ms. Dynamite, amongst others. She has also performed on stage with Sting, 50 Cent, The Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, Robbie Williams and Destiny’s Child, to name a few.
- She met Teebillz: By the time Tiwa met Teebillz, she knew she was ready to step out of the shadows and needed someone who understood the Nigerian terrain. This led her to send e-mails of her music to Tee Billz who was managing Sinzu (Sauce Kid) at the time. “I sent him my music and he didn’t listen to it”, said Tiwa Savage of that attempt. She didn’t stop there however, she walked up to Teebillz and confronted him next time they saw. “I met Teebillz in Los Angeles at a Timaya concert actually and I was at that time looking for a manager and he didn’t listen to my CD I had sent him unfortunately. So when I saw him, I was a bit angry. I was like ‘I dropped my songs a few weeks ago and I am the next big thing and you are missing out’…and he was like, “wow, calm down, who are you?”
Meeting Teebillz was the major turning point of her musical career as he mentored and managed her from the wannabe star to the global superstar we have today. It was Teebillz who convinced her to move to Nigeria, and even then she was initially skeptical. He also told the then tom boy appearing Tiwa that she ‘had to shed weight, wax her eyebrows, and use make-up so she can look appealing to an average Nigerian music lover.
The rest as they say is history as she has since then got signed on to one of Africa’s biggest music labels, Mavins records as well as Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
Tiwa Savage has won over 15 local and international awards including the Best Female category at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2014. Also in 2014 she won the Channel O Music Video Awards for the Most Gifted Female with Eminado. She also scooped the Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA) for Best Highlife with smash hit, “Ife Wa Gbona”. Tiwa savage also won the Channel O Music Video Awards for Most Gifted R&B Music Video of the Year with “Oyi (Remix)” (Flavour N’abania featuring Tiwa Savage).
DanielFayemi for encomium.ng