International music diva, Tiwa savage featured on America’s music and entertainment magazine, Vibe Magazine.
The Mavin Records and Roc Nation star explained to the magazine about how her career started, her growth and background, how her Roc Nation deal is going, and music.
Talking about what led her into music, she said, “I played trombone. Don’t ask me if I still play but I literally picked it up because I had a crush on a boy in high school. He used to hang around with the cool kids, the musicians and dancers…. Here I was: this kid fresh from Nigeria, strong accent, my mom shaved my hair off. I tried to get his attention. I went to this music teacher and said that I really wanted to do music. He looked to the corner of the room and said the trombone was the only instrument left. I picked it up, but eventually got bullied for it because it was always getting in the way on the bus. That was having the opposite effect of what I wanted because this guy’s now laughing at me instead of falling in love with me. So, I gave up and joined the choir.” On her background and parental support for her music career, she said, “When I did tell my parents that I wanted to do music, my dad thought that I just wanted to sing in the choir. I told him I wanted to be a musician and initially he wasn’t really for it, so he told me to go to school and study in either business, engineering or be a doctor or a lawyer. I wanted to do music and he said that I have to go and study music. I’m glad he did because I ended up going to the Berklee College Of Music and I studied jazz and music business. It really comes in handy when I have to look at music contracts.”
After studying jazz and music business in Berklee College of Muisc, Tiwa continued as a songwriter. “Songwriting kind of happened. I was in the studio trying to create a demo for myself. I finished the song and went back home. The next day, I was supposed to come and do some ad-libs on it and learned that when I left, Fantasia Barrino heard the song and liked it. Long story short, she took the record and I got a publishing deal. I had to start writing songs for other people, which is a learning process for me because usually I write songs just for myself. When you are submitting (music) for other artists, they make like the song, but they might say tweak a certain part. I had to learn how to tailor a lot of songs to different artists, but the beauty about being an artist now is that I can say what I want say and how I want to say it.”
On Roc Nation deal, she explains that she is not going to change her African sound as she is trying to promote African culture and music “I’m still very pro-African and you can’t take that away from me,” she points out. “There’s nothing you can do to change that. I think only time will tell and they need to be rest assured that Roc Nation is really trying to introduce the African culture to the world, not even just America. When I say culture, they’re not just interested in the music; they’re interested in the fashion, in the culture and in the movement. I think that is because everybody is kind of reconnecting back with each other. A lot of the Africans in the diaspora are connecting back home and they see that buzz and they’re just trying to assist in building that bridge.” “It all starts with great music,” Tiwa says. “I love that at Roc Nation they’re giving me the liberty to create great music. Mentally, I’m just trying to create something that crosses over, but appeals to Africa. Once we get the right music, I think the music is going to determine what we do. Obviously, the press, the plugging in to radios, the strategic collaborations, all of that is in the works. It depends on the music that we determine which artist I collaborate with.” Finally on the Afrobeat and Afrobeats controversy, Tiwa says, “I don’t even know how it came about,” she admits. “I know Afrobeat is from Fela and the reason why I guess people wanted to start a new genre of Afropop was because a lot of the music we’re doing now is influenced by hip-hop, R&B and pop. You can’t really say it’s just Afrobeat, because Afrobeat has a sound. When you hear it, you now it’s Afrobeat. I think that’s where the argument is.” She ends with a smile. “I think at the next forum we have in Nigeria, we should have this discussion.”