Driven by passion and discovery of what’s stored inside her, Titilope Olusegun, known in the music circle as Teetee, contested in the maiden edition of Unleash Your Talent in 2011. She won, giving credence to her innate talent.
Now, the light-skinned beauty currently studying Linguistics at the University of Lagos, is ready to take a place among the stars.
She honed her skill further. She took a music course in Lagos and she told about that and much more in this chat…
A lot of young persons imagine they could sing and go into music because it can be quite lucrative. For you, what made you choose music as a career?
initially, I didn’t realise my singing talent, though I’ve always loved singing even as a child. Back in school, I used to sing in class and my mates would tell me, Girl, you are good, you have a nice voice’. I didn’t take it serious as I didn’t grow up wanting to be a musician. Later, I decided to get serious at it and I started.
Then, I used to sing songs by Shakira, Beyonce, Rihanna and the likes. Before I started doing my own thing, I didn’t set out to do music, it just happened naturally. I didn’t have to force it.
Before then, I had always wanted to be a model…
(Cuts in) What happened to that dream, it didn’t work out?
No, not that it didn’t work out. I realized that if you want to be a professional musician, you’d need to devote your 100 percent into it. You have shows, studio sessions, interviews like this and all. But when I become a star, plus I’ve got the looks, they’ll definitely call me and I’ll be the face of maybe Dangote (laughs).
How do you draw inspiration to write your music?
My immediate environment, people in my life, their attitudes and things that happen around me. I could just observe someone and start composing a song on the person. Also, my mother. She’s a real source of inspiration for me. When I started like I said, I used to sing other people’s songs but she said for me to really be a professional, I’d have to compose and sing my own songs. Besides, it’s a talent, so it comes naturally.
You seem quite confident in yourself and in your ability. What makes you so confident?
When you can do something, you don’t need anyone to tell you that or you don’t need anyone to help you. For instance, some artistes need someone to either write songs for them or do one thing or the other for them, but I don’t need anything like that.
When did you start music professionally?
In 2011, after I won the maiden edition of Unleash Your Talent.
That’s about four years now, what has your journey been like?
It’s been fun, but challenging. Though I see challenges as stepping stones to great heights. I’ve got good comments from people.
You studied at a music school after you won, how was the experience?
It wasn’t easy, but I had fun. I learnt a lot. Apart from the voice and keyboard training I got, I also learnt to handle different kinds of people and to tolerate them. It wasn’t easy in class, especially when you’ve the voice.
So, you can play the keyboard and sing along?
Yes, I’m trying.
How has that helped as an artiste?
For now, I won’t say I’ve started really applying all of that. Nigerians want club banging songs they can dance to like my first song, Ebelebe. Later, When I’ve got them. I can then do those songs that show that this girl is really good, she can sing not just club songs.
What genre of music do you consider your forte?
I’ll say R ‘n’ B! But you know Nigerian music fans, you have to give them songs that they can dance to.
Who are those musicians that inspire you both locally and internationally?
First is Beyonce. For me, when I look at her I see a woman in her prime. Rihanna is another, but not the ‘good girl gone bad’ part of her; and also Celine Dion. These are people I’ve loved from childhood. Here in Nigeria, I love P Square, they’ve been very consistent over the years; I also love 2 Baba and Banky W. They really inspire me.
What do these artistes have in common that inspires you?
They create good music, and have been doing so for a long time. Not only that, they are respected. They have prestige even in the midst of their fellow singers.
You are now a professional, so you should understand the terrain you’re in, what do you think about the Nigerian music industry?
There is this belief that the male artistes are better than the female ones. I don’t believe that. Some say the female artistes are not doing as well as the male ones, but look at the likes of Seyi Shay, Tiwa Savage and what they have achieved. That mentality is one thing I don’t like about the industry. We have our flaws, just like the guys do and we’re all working towards perfection.
Do you buy the idea that for a female act to become famous she has to expose her body?
No, I don’t believe it. You don’t have to sell your body. The fans know what they want and that’s good music. It’s not about you exposing your body. It’s about what you have on your inside, the inner you. There are people like Chidinma who has this decent, cool girl look and successful. She’s got that respect! So, I don’t believe in that.
But if we are realistic, that’s what the fans want and it works, don’t you think so?
Sure, they want that, but deep inside they want good music, too. Another thing is you will be respected. And I’ll rather be respected than just being popular.
What would define success as a musician for you between awards and commercial success?
I will say both. I can’t pick one over the other. They achieve different things. Winning awards, especially the big ones like the Grammy, gives you respect, even among your colleagues.
What do you bring to the table that’s different?
I’m not going to sit here and make promises that you’d be wowed or anything like that or tell you how I’m bringing this or that. What I’m going to say is I’ll give it my best and leave the rest to God. The fans should just be on the lookout.
Where do you see Teetee as an artiste in say five years?
By then I want to be a role model for young people. Someone young people can look up to and say “I like her, I want to be like her”. It’s more than having the money or fame or all of that. Aside that, clinching endorsement deals with the big brands like MTN, Glo and like I said, Dangote (laughs). I also dream of winning a Grammy.
Let’s meet you.
I’m Olusegun Titilope. As an artiste, I’m known as Teetee. I’m from Osun state, though people find it hard to believe due to how I look. I’ll call myself a versatile musician. I can do R ‘n’ B, hip hop, afro pop or even rock.
I like experimenting, I like trying new things in music, even fuji.
- MICHAEL NWOKIKE