TENI Olafisoye is the daughter of famous Otunba Adebiyi Olafisoye, owner of defunct Lord’s Club in Lagos. Growing up in an ambience of entertainment, Teni was influenced by her father’s business, now a musician in the mould of Sade Ade, her album just hit record stores. “Growing up has been fun,” she divulged.
She spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly more on how her parents separated while in her early age.
What’s been happening to Teni?
I have been in London and Ghana. I only came back to Nigeria a couple of weeks ago and I am glad to be back. I am promoting my new album.
Tell us about your new album.
I am a jazz musician. So, my music is more of a fusion of jazz, Afrobeat and soul. It is a 10-track album produced myself and I am also a fashion designer. So, combining the two has been hectic. It took a long time for the album to be completed. The title track of the album is called Afrodisiac, the video is already showing on TV stations. I have songs about love, society, Africa, every situation you can come up with. One of my songs is about changes, breakthroughs. The album is on iTunes. It will be in stores at The Palms and everywhere. For now, you can buy on iTunes.
You have been singing for long now, what has been your staying power?
God. It’s a calling and I am going to pursue music with all my strength, no matter the obstacles. It’s all about having self belief and trusting in God. God has been there for me.
In your fashion business, who are your clientele?
It’s very difficult combining fashion and music businesses. It takes a lot of energy and effort. I have no social life at the moment. My clientele are a lot of upwardly mobile professionals. Women like Funmi Iyanda and others are my regular clients.
Your father once ran a club, what happened that he decided to close down?
The Lord’s Club doesn’t exist anymore. As my father got older, he lost interest in the club business, he had to close down. Right now, he concentrates more on his insurance business.
Was there any way his running a club then influenced your lifestyle as his daughter?
Yes, my dad took me to London when he wanted to buy records. I was always around music, I helped him pick records for the club. From early age, I was exposed to music. Sometimes, I would go clubbing with him. It was a good experience and definitely I had my introduction into the music world through him.
Do you club now?
Once in a while I like to party. I like to dance. So, when I have the time I do, but most times I don’t.
Your other siblings, where are they and what do they do?
All my siblings are very creative. My immediate younger sister is a fine artist. She also does music. My younger brother is a very talented musician. We all have that creative talent in us. I have five younger siblings, one sister and two brothers from my mother’s second marriage, one brother and a sister from my dad’s new marriage. I only have one full sibling and that’s my sister.
Didn’t your mother’s separation from your father affect the children?
I don’t think so, me especially because I had a normal upbringing. I went to a boarding school, focusing on my studies. So, it didn’t affect me much.
At what age did your parents separate?
Quite early. I accepted it, I have always accepted it. I am a very realistic person, no matter what.
What’s your relationship with your stepmother?
We have a good relationship.
Who was taking care of the children at that period?
In spite of their separation, my mother and my father still ensured we were taken care of properly, they still communicated and talked. My mother is in England so, whenever I travel I spend a lot of time with her and when I am here in Nigeria, I relate with my dad.
Did your mother remarry?
She has remarried with children.
How old are you now?
In my early 30s.
When are you getting married?
Very soon. It will happen, I have a wonderful relationship, a good friend.
What was the attraction?
We have a lot in common, we are on the same wave length, we communicate with each other easily.
Is that the first time you are falling in love?
Obviously, I am a grown up woman. So, I must have had experience in love one time or the other.
So, what made you think he is the best man for you?
Because he understands what I do. It is important you marry somebody who is not intimidated by what you do, who accepts you for who you are and I think I have found that person.
What is your idea of love?
Love is understanding, trust, compatibility, companionship, friendship and just wishing the best for the other person.
Which entertainer couple has always impressed you?
Outside Nigeria, we have Jay Z and Beyonce, very powerful people. They have been there for long and waxing strong. In Nigeria, we have Joke Silva and Olu Jacobs, Tunde and Wunmi Obe, they are very inspirational, they are strong in their marriages.
What’s your normal day like?
When I wake, I try to do some exercises, check on my designers, go for a rehearsal or fashion show, meting up with stylists, clients.
Is your dreadlock natural?
I started it about 12 years ago. I trim it regularly, I really like it. People say it’s my trademark.
Where do you shop for your clothes?
I usually shop when I am in London and Nigeria.
What has sustained your fashion business?
I have good people around me as well as good clients and I have a unique style.
- FOLUSO SAMUEL
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, July 20, 2013