Classics, Interviews

Old Skool child celebrity Tosin Jegede explains pet project, One Book, One Child ‘Music can wait for now’

FOLLOWERS of advocacy music in the 80s will easily remember the child music sensation, Tosin Jegede.  At five, she had her first album entitled Children Arise, the second album, Leaders of Africa arrived at eight while third and the last hit the shelves when she was 11. That was Children of Africa.

Now the young woman is back home to roost but not within the music circuit.  In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, Tosin Jegede made it point blank that music has to wait until her pet project, One Child, One Book, is solidly established in Lagos and much more…


Where have you been all this while?

I have been alive living. I spent a few years in England studying and also working.

What did you study?

I studied Business Decision Analysis in the University of West England.

Where did you work?

I worked in the pension industry, the Pension Protection Fund in London, for two years.

What happened to your music career?

I decided to just stop for some time, I have been an artist since I was five till about 16. I decided to go professional that was why I stopped.

What do you miss about being in music?

Performing was always nice. I met different people as a musician.  I released my debut album at five entitled Children Arise.  The second album is Leaders of Tomorrow at eight and the last one, Children of Africa at 11.

What kind of music were you doing then?

Happy songs.

Would you still like to go back to music?

Yes, later on, I think I would like to go back to music.

You excluded your relationship with artists like Banky W and Eldee, the music then and now what to you has changed?

I just met him once, I would like to do something with him.  These people have been able to do music in different ways.  They are being honoured more than when I was a singer.

Tosin has really grown from a child celebrity to an adult celebrity, how did it affect your life?

It’s been good, I got a lot of exposure when I was younger, it really made me who I am today.

Are you in a relationship?

Yes, I am.

How would you describe your man?

He is a good man, I can’t be with a man that is not good.

How did you meet?

I met him through a friend.

What is his name?

I can’t tell you his name.

Is he really the kind of guy you have always wanted?

Yes!  I would say God chose him for me, who am I to say no.

What’s your One Book, One Child programme all about?

It’s a project where we would be visiting public schools in Lagos, giving books to children in schools to encourage the reading culture in Nigeria.

When did you conceive this idea?

In 2001, we took time to understudy how the project would work.

The challenges so far?

Getting all around Lagos, who to work with and then funding has been a major challenge.

What progress have you made?

So far, we have been able to collect the data.  We know how many students and number of schools also.  We went into a school on March 1, 2012, and distributed books to the pupils, 350 students.  We have been able to follow up with the school’s head teacher.  The last time we were there was June and we spent time with primary four students.

How many children are you looking at in Lagos?


How much exactly do you need to actually get the books?

We want to give as many Nigerians as possible.  It costs N500 for a child and as we go on, we want to spend N1,000 for a child.

Who has been supporting you?

Family and friends, no corporate sponsorship yet.

Is this what you would be doing before you bounce back to music?

I would be very happy working in this field.  Education is something I am passionate about.  I would be comfortable here.

How are your parents?

My mom passed on last month.  She died at 60.  She was ill for some time.

How would you describe her?

Loving, caring and fantastic.

What’s her name?

Martha Onyemauchechi Jegede.  She’s from Owerri, Imo State.

How many siblings do you have?

Three siblings.

What are your personal plans?

My plan is to change the way people perceive Nigeria, to change our thinking.

There was a rumour of an attempt to kidnap you?

We were just hearing it, it was worrisome that was why I just stayed away.

What else do you look up to God for?

It’s just for Him to walk with me.

  • This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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