Tolani has never been one for sticking to the rules, but then she’s not your average Afrobeat artist. This is a new era for the Nigerian star, aesthetically and sonically, starting with her single, ‘Tenderoni’. Check out her video for the track and you’ll see how she’s created a “new genre”, thrown by the beats and her unusual delivery. It might not be quite that, but it certainly is different. SCHICK caught up with Tolani about the instrumentalisation that inspired the melodic choices and words of her new single ‘Tenderoni‘, future collaborations, and what to expect this year from her music. Enjoy!
Q1: Congratulations on your new single, the video is amazing! Can you tell us about the thought process behind the song?
Thank you! I’m glad it meets with SCHICK’s very high standards! (laughs). Every song has a different process. With this one, it started with the instrumental – the beat, the chords and the sound. And then we just played around with it – came into the studio, vibed to it and let the instrumentation inspire the melodic choices and words. It was a fun one to make.
Q2: Why did you choose to partner with Skales?
Skales is really talented. He has such a wide body of work not just in numbers but also in content. He struck me as an artist who could do something dope on Tenderoni and he definitely delivered!
Q3: Now that you have this awesome collaboration behind you, who are you still looking to work with?
Woah.. dream question. Lol. But also a nightmare one because that list goes on and on! There are some fantasy collaborations that I have in my mind- Stephen Tyler, Sade, Prince.. a Reborn Fela. Lol.. but more realistically and local to our shores… TuFace, Wande Coal, Nasty C are a few of them.
Q4: What do you want to accomplish with the next phase of your career?
I just want to work, work, work… I want to exhaust myself creating and performing. I feel that I’m at that stage of my career, I want the world to see what I’ve been up to… So I wanna work hard on putting myself out there.
Q5: Do you see yourself going into a different genre of music?
I do. I often say that I feel like the notion of “a genre” is slowly dying out. The world is so small today – you can go from having an experience (in some form) of Lagos to having a completely different encounter from Southern India with the swipe of a finger! Even the greats grew and developed their sound, MJ’s early Music was very soulful, when compared to his 1987 album “Bad” that was swamped with up-tempo rock tracks. Music is music, I just go with the flow, and do what feels good to me.
Q6: How do you balance music with other personal duties around you?
To be honest, I’m not an entirely balanced individual… Balance is overrated. I think that in life something’s gotta give. I can be a bit of a control freak and it was something I had to learn and am still learning every day. When you are working toward achieving a goal, some things may fall by the wayside and I think that’s okay. I just try for those things not to be losses that you cannot come back from – family, friendship, health.
Q7: What advice will you give to beginners in this industry?
Just do the damn thing. (laughs!).. get on that magic carpet and ride it till the threads start to fall apart! I feel like I lived in my head for a long time… I intellectualised too much, and planned too much… Perfectionism can be the death of creativity. So just do it! And be emotionally ready.. it can be scary, and being misunderstood can be discouraging, but life is short so don’t faff around. If it’s what you want, commit to it and give it your everything.
Q8: What hobbies do you have that rejuvenate your creativity?
Is eating considered a hobby..? Lol. I’m a massive foodie.. and when I can, I love to indulge. I like to try out new foods, new restaurants & food markets. I used to cook a lot, but sadly don’t have a lot of time for it these days. I also love movies… Foreign cinema in particular. Oh also… at the moment I’m having a love affair with Africa Magic Yoruba! I can’t get enough of the stuff! haha
Q9: Is there any kind of music that you listen to that you think would surprise people?
Bollywood Soundtracks… I’ve been obsessed with Bollywood most of my life, and probably will be forever. I find that it touches a part of me in a way that I can’t describe.. maybe it’s the scale its written in or the incredible vocal techniques.. or the senseless romance. I love it! It used to be so extreme my mum used to joke that I might have been born into the wrong race. (laughs). I’m a lot more balanced now (that overrated word again… haha)
Q10: What can your fans expect this year from your music?
I don’t know… we’ll have to wait and see no? I want my fans to get to know me! So this year I’m working on putting myself out there more. More music, more shows.. more me.! And for all the newbies… you can find out about everything Tolani @shesTolani Twitter/Facebook/Instagram and that jazz. Mwahhhhhh….