Without playing to the gallery, gifted female singer, Temitope Savage is a genius! Her musical wizardry cannot be compared to any of her female counterparts and she certainly proved this at the listening part of her debut album, Once Upon A Time.
It took the Isale-Eko, Lagos born vivacious singer two years to release an album, but before then, her soothing singles, include Kele Kele Love have been ruling the airways, dominating social scenes and have earned her accolades, mouth-watering endorsement from Pepsi, as the brand ambassador for the second time.
On Sunday, May 26, 2013 for an album listening party held at the classic Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Some of the few friends included Banky, Lynxxx, Iceberg Slim, General Pype and Ill Rhymes, who was the anchor.
Just while members of the press present were wondering about the whereabouts of Don Jazzy and the other members of Mavin crew, the celebrant, who is a member and first lady of the record label, explained that they were all unavoidably absent because of their engagement at the opening of the Big Brother Africa show, which was happening simultaneously in South Africa.
The energetic singer got a huge surprise when a pre-recorded video made by Don Jazzy, Wande Coal and D’Prince was played, wishing hr success and corroborated Tiwa’s story of the reason for their absence at the event.
Tiwa, looked ravishing as she took the centre stage on the podium to take industry experts, critics and music pundits through the journey of her 19 track album from Once Upon A Time to Thank You. She also premiered a brand new video, Olorun Mi, a song dedicated to the industry’s father heroes, heroines and the victims of disasters. The video is set to be release on June 3.
The party which started with a cocktail around 3pm, ended at 8:30pm as planned by the organizers proudly supported by Pepsi, Baileys, 323 Entertainment and Mavin Records.
The elated singer later took up into her life, music, and why she dedicated a track to the love of her life…
Why did it take you for so long to drop your first album?
This album is from my heart and it’s something that I worked so long for. A lot of people wondered why it took so long and that’s because we had to go through a lot of legal processes to clear some of the samples that we used and that took months.
Also, we wanted to work with some notable producers in the States like Warren Pak who worked with Nicki Minaj and Rihanna. So, we had to work round their schedules that’s why it took so long. This is an album that I don’t want it to be the usual Nigerian album with patchy tracks from beginning to end. I wanted it to have a meaning.
Why did you title it Once Upon A Time?
It’s a story. My life has been an amazing journey and I wanted it to reflect that. I also wanted it to motivate upcoming artistes. Once Upon A Time, I was a little girl in Isale Eko that wanted to do this and here I am doing it. So, I want their once upon time to turn to reality.
How do you feel whenever you recall when you came back to Nigeria and you weren’t sure of success?
A lot of people discouraged me saying people who come back are not really accepted because they don’t know how to connect with Nigerians, especially for a female. They said, there’s no way a brand would endorse me, there’s no way I could on a stage with the like of 2Face and Wizkid and I got discouraged a little bit and I moved back to Los Angeles, United States of America after I dropped Kele Kele Love and then I dropped Love Me, Love Me. So, I moved back as people around me encouraged me that if I could be consistent I could make it.
While on stage, you said you wrote a track for your finace for wiping your shame away. Were you ashamed of being single?
Personally, no. But you know the culture here. If you’re no married and just focused on your career, people would start asking questions. He understood my journey and he was able to push me career-wise and he encourages me a lot so I had to do a song for him.
What’s the role of the 323 label in your career?
I am actually signed to 323 Entertainment and it’s owned by Tunji Balogun (Teejay) who is also my partner but 323 is under Mavin Records. So, Mavin oversees the label but 323 handles my day to day running.
You’re on 323 and Mavin. Where’s the international connection and where does Sony come in?
I am still signed to Sony in America. I’m signed to them as a songwriter. I write my songs, I perform but I still write for other artistes. I just did a song for Monica called Catch Me, which came out in her last alum and they called me a few weeks ago that I have another song with Christian Michell. I am still signed to Sony International.
What inspires you?
A lot of things inspire me. Life, happiness, heartbreak, Nigeria, as a country. Especially that Olorun Mi song, I felt sad for a few days and the Dana crash inspired me to do that song.
With more female artistes showing up on the scene, are you scared of the competition coming from them?
No. why should I be scared? Like I said on stage, you have Nicki Minaj, you have Rihanna, Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and they’re all female artistes and they’re all big stars. Why should it be only one person? I am actually glad that more female artistes are coming up.
What fond memories do you hold of your Isale Eko days?
Growing up, I was like a tomboy. Back then, I didn’t care about make-up or bags or shoes I was very free. I had a very healthy upbringing. My parents made sure I was really grounded. I had loving brothers and I remember playing around all the time when I was a kid.
A good work of art should be subjected to criticism. What would have been your reaction if you had a negative reaction to your album?
I don’t think I’ll feel bad because everybody had an opinion and that’s life. I think Thriller, Michael Jackson’s album, as beautiful as I think it is, there’s someone somewhere that doesn’t like the album or does not even like Michael Jackson. Even Jesus Christ had enemies so who is Tiwa Savage to not have. For me, I’ve done something from my heart. I haven’t compromised my integrity, I haven’t compromised musically, I have songs there where I was really singing and I’ve satisfied my heart so I am going to leave the rest to God.
Are you a sex symbol like a lot of people think?
No. if you ask my family, I am not like that. I am a laidback person.
What has changed about you since you gained stardom?
I was a little bit more out-going but I am now a bit more reserved. Some people lie and they say they haven’t changed a bit when they start making more money, but that’s a lie. I think you change because you’re more wary. You want to be careful and trust less easily. I think people around me have changed too. They expect more. I’m under a microscope always. I might make a normal mistake but it will get blown up because it’s Tiwa Savage. So, I am more wary of what I do and say in public than I was before.
If you had an opportunity to change anything in Nigeria entertainment industry, what would you change?
I will like it to be more international. I will like us to be recognized as the front-runner of Africa music and I think it’s happening slowly. I’d like to be able to go to the UK and hear more of our music on radio in a mall and to have more artistes from Nigeria nominated for Grammy. I will also like us to have better infrastructure and effective piracy law.
THIS INTERVIEW WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN ENCOMIUM WEEKLY ON TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2013