Tiwa Savage Chats With Ebro Darden, Working With Beyonce, Forthcoming Album ” Celia ” & Others
Nigerian music superstar, Afrobeats queen, and mother of one, Tiwa Savage had a chat with Ebro Darden on HOT97 FM, where she talks about how her parent influenced her career by making her go to college, being one of the leading forefronts of Afrobeats movement, working with Beyonce and many others.
In the said interview, Tiwa Savage speaks about her forthcoming album ” Celia ”, being vocal about rape and sexual assault culture in Nigeria, and more!
Here’s Full Text of Tiwa Savage Chat with Ebro Darden on HOT97 below:
New York to the world right now, to the Hot 97 YouTube channel, it’s Abro in the morning with more styles and Cetron in the morning and the amazing and beautiful Laura Styles, mostly cool.
Rozenberg, thanks. And the beautiful Tiwa was savage. You you guys this young this woman is amazing.
No beauty in the building.
Are you coming to us from Nigeria right now? Yes, I am.
From Lagos, Nigeria. West Africa. Live and die.
Yo, so amazing to see you. Now, people may not recall, but let’s just reset. Tiwa once lived in Brooklyn, New York.
Oh God. Honey said it’s time now. When was that to you? Yeah. What was that.
That was probably like. Oh my God. Maybe like 12, 13 years ago.
Is this just while you were grinding in the music scene?
Yes, so I just finished from Berklee College of Music to study music, and then I moved to New York just like after my degree, just to get into the whole industry and stuff. And then I got a publishing deal with Sony as a song.
Well, this this makes me want to go back to the beginning then, because how does someone growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, end up at the Berklee School of Music in Boston? What was sort of your path there?
So then. First of all, we moved to London and my mum and I moved to London and then I told my parents I want to go into music. And they were like, hell no. So they made me go to university to study accounting and that help. So when I got my degree in accounting, I said to my dad, I said, There you go. I don’t know if you want to roll with it, but I’m done with it. I’m going to do music. And my mom was like, if you want to do music, you have to study.
I’m like, well, Beyonce and Michael Jackson and go to school. We went to Africa and they forced me to get serious about it. You have to study. So I applied. I got a full scholarship mentality in.
So just amazing when now has that now for for young people watching, how has the accounting and the studying music helped you navigate this industry, though?
I mean, honestly, my team can tell you there’s no contract that that we get that I’m so screwed up on everything I know sunset clause, different tricks of the trade that they try and slide into the contract. And I’ll be like, no, we’re not doing that. No, take this out.
And also just musically, like, I feel like because I study jazz, like my musical background, I literally can do or appreciate any type of music from classical to like soul to hip hop to Afrobeat. For me it was really simple and like I hate my parents at that time, but literally I think every day for sending me to Berkeley because like, honestly, I feel like I’m going to have such a longer career because of my of my background.
You as Afro beats began to go mainstream again, you know, and in in a different form since the days of Fela Kuti coining the phrase and it coming full circle, you were one of the early superstars in the game and putting on for continent.
Tell us, how’s it feel right now, because you’ve been able you’ve been on the forefront of this music for, you know, a little bit now, so how does it feel right now, the new artists, how the music’s being embraced internationally, the collaboration of Caribbean artists and African artists and UK artists and American artists and just the whole black diaspora celebrating Afro beats.
I think we’ve spoken about this before, but I think it’s deeper than music, I love to say I am so fortunate to be because I grew up knowing that being African or doing Afrobeat wasn’t cool to cross over to now and still being alive to witness Afrobeat being one of the coolest thing and one of the fastest growing genres. So for me, it’s like seeing that transition and living through that transition is actually beautiful and it’s amazing.
And like I said, deeper than music is like reuniting and building the bridge between Caribbean music, between music from Haiti and hip hop. And so the half of it just actually uniting all music around the world with black origin and just knowing that it literally start from Africa. So to see that Afrobeat is an African general is getting this attention right now. It’s just like it’s wonderful.
How did it feel when that phone rang to be on that Beyonce project for the line?
Hello? How did that feel?
Well, walk us through that day. Do you remember?
Well, I was on the phone call and the email when my manager called and she was like, they’re doing this project. And so we literally ignored it for like a couple of days.
So you thought it was an email scam?
I mean, who gets an email to say he wants to put you on a project, like I said, no, of course I’m not going to fall for that. And then she would like to delve into it.
And then we started hearing whispers of other artists, got the same email.
And I was just like, we need to close out. This is real. And they called us back and are like, yo, it’s real.
Literally, I was on the plane the next day to L.A.. Twenty two hours. I was like, I’m ready. Here we go.
All right, let’s get going.
Now, that was not your first run in with a very high caliber artist. Has to do background vocals for people. Right.
The very idea of Kerry I was on Whitney Houston has Soul Rest in Peace. Her last album I did on one of the songs.
And so did you record that with her? Is that done separately? They play you the track, you’re in the studio and you just add to it.
No, I was it was done separately, so they played with each other.
What about. I saw George Michael listed, too. Is that true?
I did, I did. It was at Wembley Stadium, actually. That was my first gig as a 16 year low. Yeah, I was like this. So like so I went to audition and I got the gig and it was like to do backup and I was getting paid to do what I love. All the side dishes don’t play.
So you were know. So we’re going back a ways now and you were singing like the the the little backup part on father figure in front of fifty thousand.
I have no father figure like yo don’t ask me to sing and dance with him but yeah. Yeah it was.
Oh my goodness. And it was about nine, ten singers so he did like three shows around that time.
Well in situations like that will the artists interact with the background singers a lot. Like what’s the position like you’re 16 years old, you’re getting into it, you’re at a major venue with a major artist. How much do you interact with them and how much do you sort of just like, you know, know your role? Like how does that work?
I mean, knowing me, not knowing how I am, I do the you know, I’m just kind of like, hey, how you introduce myself. And it’s not like, oh, let me get you. No, yo, what’s up? Let’s keep this up. Because like that we went his main main backup. It was just like for that, you know, sell shows. So yeah, it was just like, hey, how was it y’all two.
Oh, sorry. Go ahead. I’m sorry.
I also read that, you know, something that’s really important to you is speaking up about women’s rights and, you know, the the rape culture in Nigeria specifically, that you’ve been a very strong voice and you’ve been very vocal about the Metoo movement and you know how it’s a very rampart problem in Nigeria. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Yes, it wasn’t really something I planned, it was literally like during this lockdown, and I think it’s because of the lockdown we were paying attention to, a lot more news is coming out because normally you would see it chimed in and then you go about your business, but you’re at home 24/7. Embassy tweets about this person getting raped, this girl. And it was just a lot. And it literally just it was heavy, heavy on my heart.
And I was just like, we are tired. Like, this is unbelievable. So I started tweeting going crazy and then it just started trending. And then at that moment, I realized that it can’t just be a trend. I have to do something more because I have a platform.
And it shouldn’t just be for music because people are young kids watching me send me mediums that they are hoping that I would read and that that people really hurt. So I just spoke to my team and I said we have to do more. Like when this hashtag is over, these young girls lives, like what happens to them. So it was just it was just that moment.
It was just kind of, you know, rape is a is a is an international problem. Right. Like even here in the United States where you have victim blaming and people just ignoring people afraid of the ridicule if they were to go public in in Nigeria, I’m sure similar issues.
But what are how are you going to advocate for these women?
What are the steps that can happen that you can take that they like you said, it is something that happens all around the world. But for me, Nigeria is like sometimes it’s not taken seriously. A lot of the cases that I still apply when the victim goes to the police station, they would ask, what were you wearing?
Right, right. Right.
That’s ridiculous. Well, what time was this? Where were you? Were you at home or were you in a club or were you coming back from a concert or ridiculous things like that. And this is even coming from the family, like family members or your mom or your aunties. It’s just like, well, I’ve told you to stop wearing makeup. You’re only 18 and different crazy stuff like that.
So but by the way, that archaic mentality is still in the United States, too.
Yeah. Yeah, I can imagine. And it’s wrong. It’s so wrong for me. It’s like our foundation. We want to get money together so we can help these girls and take it to court because a lot of times they can’t afford legal aid. So that’s what we want to do. And even if it’s just two or three cases a year, because I’m a realist. I know I know that I can’t help everyone. But I feel like if I’m able to help two or three girls and, you know, get the perpetrator locked up, that might be a deterrent. But for future, I guess, criminals, too.
You have new music out. I want to I want to play dangerous love. I love the way that came out. And what’s Koroba mean?
Ok, Cecilia, the whole album is like the Afrobeat from a female perspective, that each song is a specific concept. Koroba, we have these like girls in Nigeria that they call runs girls. And these are girls who people kind of look down upon and say they’re going off to politicians who have money specifically.
So Koroba is literally saying to people, while we always attacking the women, why are we not attacking these politicians and these corruption and these criminal yet who are carrying these little girls who are probably the same age as their kids, their daughters, why are they not accountable for their actions? And and a lot of times these politicians are stealing money from the country.
The money that they using to have this flashy rock star lifestyle, they’re stealing it from our country. And why are we not pointing fingers at them? Why is it just the girls that we’re talking about? And that’s what the song is about.
Politics is is a mess. A lot of places in Nigeria, it seems like there’s still they are coming to the realization of getting corruption out of politics. Some people are outspoken about it. Some people are like, I don’t want to say anything because I don’t want any drama back at home. It seems like this song you’re kind of going directly at it. What’s the you know, what kind of what kind of energy are you receiving back in Nigeria?
To be honest, because it’s such a danceable record and it’s a club where people really have a really good grasp of what the messages of people seem to really listen to. And she’s really she’s really talking some shit and she’s attacking politicians and religious leaders or whoever it is is just abusing their power. So I don’t really care. Like, I feel like I’m a musician, like I have. Like I said, I have a responsibility. I have to speak of things.
My child is the next generation. Like what is he growing up to? What kind of Nigeria is he going to live in this at some point? If we’re really talking about where the offsprings of Fela Kuti, Fela was outspoken and he and a lot of the things that he spoke about is still happening now. And that’s a disgrace.
Absolutely. It was great to talk to you today. I have a question. Oh, Sharni culture.
Yeah, well, I think is an important question. In your opinion, who has the better jollof rice got? All right, here we go.
Yo, man. Come on, man. We are. I was trying to get serious.
And you wanted to I want to see more of the conversation.
All I need to know from Tiwa Savage, who has the best jollof rice.
Who is it between with you? What are we gonna in Nigeria? This has been going on for centuries.
Son, go ahead. Go ahead. He will go.
All I’m going to say is, I mean, one of the best ever and I am Nigerian. No, go figure. I don’t know any.
Ok, OK, well, let me ask a follow up then, if you make the best jollof rice on behalf of culture, obvious question, are you single?
I mean, you know, this is why I love Rozenberg. You know what I’m saying? I’m saying I mean, this might be this might be it right here.
How you can I get a drum roll? Oh, OK. You know what I’m saying? I’m a hook something up here. I’m a I’m a get beyond sales people to email you. You know, I’m saying it’s very serious.
Wow, man. I had no idea. This is where this is going. Got you. My God. Is he blushing, shiny, shiny. This Tiwa savage some way. Like what?
Oh, he’s got to swear to yo man. This I want to say this jollof rice.
We better get out of it.
So yeah. Let’s run that. Oh by the way, she’s got a song. Sharni is called Dangerous Love. Sounds like a warning. You might want to listen to it fall back.
Thank you. Peace y’all. Love to go. See you. Bye bye. Bye.