They call her Afrobeats leading lady, i call her Africa's number one Doro Diva...Tiwa Savage!!! Mother, songbird, fashionista, she is a black strong, independent and talented woman. One of the finest R&B/Pop sensations to come out of Africa. Tiwa is the first African female musician to be signed to Roc Nation and she is featured in a recent interview with Vibe Next. See all of her pictures and read part of her interview after the cut.
It’s a Tuesday afternoon and there’s a golden hue shining over the Manhattan skyline. The 82-degree heat can be felt swarming through the busy streets of Manhattan’s Flatiron district. The time is slowly creeping towards half past the hour and at any minute Roc Nation’s newest member Tiwa Savage will walk through the door. From the looks of it, today seems like the perfect day to chat and get familiar with one of Nigeria’s biggest Afrobeats artists.
The Nigerian-born and London-bred singer quietly strolls into the office decked in a black, adidas track jumpsuit with a small four-person entourage. Her afro-puffed ponytail and hoop earrings give off “chill girl next door” vibes, which is quite contrary to the diva-licious attire she wore during her performance at the inaugural One Africa Music Fest at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center over a month ago.
It was not too long ago that the singer-songwriter was just starting to make a buzz on the radio (and party) airwaves. Within six years of her solo career, Savage has managed to release two studio albums, rack up numerous award nominations (including one from BET and MTV Africa Music), walked the green carpet of the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, starred in a hit international television series aimed at educating the masses about the realities of HIV/AIDS (by the way, don’t sleep on MTV Shuga), and served as an ambassador for global brands like Pepsi and Pampers. But after digesting all this information, one can’t help but wonder how she got to this very point in her life.
“I’m the only girl. I’m the last-born. I have three older brothers. Life was beautiful. I had two loving parents; my brothers were always very protective because I was the only girl. Because I grew up with only boys, I was very tomboyish and a lot of people don’t see that,” she says. “A lot of people see heels, makeup and being glammed up, but 90% of the time, I like sneakers, track suits and being cool and relaxed. Growing up was fun and [had a feeling of] being free. Strict at times, but fun.”
“I know a lot of artists have gotten international deals, but for me the genuine passion for Africa was just there and it started with me and Bee-High and just him taking time to come to Nigeria several times. That speaks volumes,” she replies. “For someone who is not from there, coming and spending time and learning about the culture and saying that this can crossover, it made me feel really comfortable. When I went to the Roc Nation office here in New York, there was a genuine interest and genuine love. It was the same feeling when I met Jay Z. He was genuinely interested in the African culture and you can even see from some of the artifacts he has in his office. It was a no brainer for me. I didn’t have to shop around and see what my options were. There are some things that when it just comes, you know it’s right. That was just the situation. You hear a lot of times when people sign after a month, they’re on their own. With Roc Nation, it seems their day-by-day support is only getting stronger.”
“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.”
Read the full interview here on Vibes.