Tiwa Savage’s journey has not been one without obstacles; from the shadows of singing in the background, writing songs, to making her way to X Factor UK where she advanced to final 24 but didn’t make it through. Like every success story ever written, she didn’t let all these deter her. With a degree in Business Administration and another degree in Professional Music from the Berklee College of Music, she came adequately prepared to take over the Nigerian music industry which she did.
Coming home and setting the pace is what Savage describes as “an interesting experience,” because, ”At that time there weren’t many other female artists in a similar musical lane as me. There were a lot of restrictions and it seemed that people were not ready for a female act who was very comfortable in her own skin to be making music in Nigeria.” She credits her success to her fans: “Without their support, it would not have been possible to break those limitations and show the music industry that the new age African woman was here to stay!”
In this interview with Guardian life, the Kele Kele songtress talks songwriting, breaking barriers, her goal as an artiste, people she looks up to and why she released an EP instead of an album. Enjoy!
It is no hidden record that Savage has learnt her voice to the likes of George Michael, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Kelly Clarkson, to mention a few, as well as written songs for Fantasia and Monica. Speaking on songwriting, she admits to still writing her songs as well as working with co-writers, so we ask, does Tiwa Savage still write for other musicians?
“I’ve been quite focused on writing my own music of recent, so, I haven’t had much time to write for other artists as much as I used to, but I still co-write especially for my fellow label mates and vice versa. It’s definitely something that I will like to return to when I have more available time in my schedule.”
This month, the songbird released an extended play (EP) called Sugarcane, which went No.1 on the Apple Music and iTunes World Chart. Also, recently, one of Africa’s finest and a constant collaborator with Savage, Wizkid, released an EP titled, Sounds From The Other Side which had solid reviews and drove social media crazy. Savage speaks about the new wave of EPs in the industry as opposed to albums as she answers the question of if EPs have become the new album in the music industry.
“I wouldn’t say EPs are the new albums, but music is definitely being consumed in a completely different way today than it was when I first started in music.” She explains further, “This is mainly because the attention span of people is getting much shorter. Labels and artists are choosing to release EPs rather than full albums because of the need consumers have for more music at a much quicker rate than before.”
Going further to speak on her goal as an artist, the super talented songstress is comfortable with naming herself as a role model.
“Ultimately my goal as an artist is to show young women, particularly young African women, that with hard work and belief in yourself, there is nothing you cannot achieve. I want to leave a legacy that proves that. I want young women to proudly say “if Tiwa could achieve that, so can I.”
Creative Direction: Chidera Muoka
Photography: Jerrie Rotimi
Styling: Cynthia Lawrence and Nkem Okorafor
Hair Styling: Debola Falana
Shoot assisted by: Yvonne Ejiofor