24: Introduce yourself to everyone that doesn’t already know who you are.
Teni: My name is Teni and I’m a jazz singer who makes alternative soul music. I’m from Nigeria originally and recently moved back to London after ten years in Africa.
24: Before we get into your music, can you describe your history about how you got into and what inspired you?
Teni: I think music chose me. I was a history student at a London university at the time and found myself always dreaming about music, seeing myself onstage. Writing already came naturally to me
since I was very young and I’d always loved listening to music of all genres. I went to a boarding school in the UK in my teens and music was my escape and my sanctuary so it was so natural for me to go into music though I didn’t know at the time that it would be the path I’d choose when I got to college. It had simply become a part of me. I was also inspired by great classic musicians like Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Sade Adu.
24: What was the Hip-Hop scene like for you growing up where you’re from?
Teni: I was a real Hip-Hop head growing up in London. Back then I was listening to artists like The Wu Tang Clan, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., and The Fugees. I remember going to see people like Common, Dead Prez and Mos Def when they would come on tour to London. Buying every hot new Hip-Hop record that came out. Hip-Hop inspires my music very deeply though I’m a Jazz artist. The attitude, the energy, and the sheer badassness of Hip-Hop are major influences in how I deliver my sound. The concept of jazz is so Hip-Hop!
24: What makes you Unique as an artist and different from other artists out now?
Teni: My sound is a fusion of the blues, jazz, soul, funk, and afrobeat. It’s a very classic, one of a kind sound that draws inspiration from the 1970’s in particular as well as other eras in the past and makes it fresh and new. It’s a big band live sound too, written, arranged and composed by me. I’m also an African artist attempting to go mainstream, bringing a new energy and perspective into the industry and showing people a different, more positive side to Africa than they see everyday. When have we ever seen an African woman on the world stage or being celebrated globally? I think it’s about that time! It’s all about inspiring future generations, leaving a legacy and making timeless music with a message.
24: Tell us about what you are working on.
Teni: I have my first two singles, Afrodisiac and Lionheart out now on iTunes and my debut album also titled Afrodisiac will be released on the 22nd of January 2013 on iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Spotify. I’m working on going global with my afro-influenced sound! That’s why I called my album “Afrodisiac.” Something new from Africa that will turn the world on! I’m also working on a very interesting collaboration with a new rapper with a famous, legendary father so stay tuned!
24: What producers have you worked with and who would you like to work with in the future?
Teni: I’m a self-produced artist though I’d like to work with producers like Salaam Remi and Timbaland if I got the opportunity.
24: Are you happy with the feedback you have been getting from people on material you have released?
Teni: Yes very much so! I’ve received great feedback from fans in my country, all over the world and people in the industry. It’s unique they say, groundbreaking, just what the industry needs, some have called me a new generation Sade maybe because I come from the same country and have a similar sound. If you listen to my album though you’ll know how different my sound is from the great Sade. There will never be another Sade.
24: In today’s free download age, what do you need to do to make yourself a household name.
Teni: Make great music that people can relate to, have your own unique sound and brand and keep reaching out to the people, keep pushing, keep connecting. Determination. Perseverance.
24: How do you feel about the current state of the Hip-Hop scene?
Teni: A while back Nas said “Hip-Hop is Dead” and to an extent I agree with that especially because of how pop and techno are taking over Hip-Hop these days, it’s been watered down and over-commercialised, but right now I’m loving new albums from Nas, Rick Ross, and Kendrick Lamar, loving Azealia Banks, too. So while the golden age of Hip-Hop may have passed, there’s still a lot that is great and exciting in the Hip-Hop scene.
24: Outside of the music, what else are you currently working on?
Teni: I’m also a fashion designer and I run a luxury, ethical fashion and lifestyle business called the House of Makeda and have done so since 2008. We currently have a boutique in Lagos, Nigeria and will soon be available online too. Check us out at http://houseofmakeda.blogspot.com.
24: Where do you see yourself going in 2013 and how do you plan to separate yourself from the other artist out today to get the recognition you feel you deserve?
Teni: I see 2013 as being a new era in my life, my debut album comes out so it’s the year when I emerge fully into the world of music, the world stage, rather than just being hidden away in my little boutique in Lagos. I see limitless skies and possibilities and breakthroughs happening in 2013 both in music and fashion. Simply by being myself , sharing my alternative soul sound that is an expression of my West-African roots and eclectic influences and also representing Africa everywhere I go.
24: How can fans go about contacting you?
For bookings and inquiries: [email protected]
24: Thank you for providing 24HourHipHop with this exclusive interview, do you have any last words for your present and future fans?
Teni: I want to thank all my present and future fans for the love and support, please make sure you buy the singles and album and stay in touch! Viva Africa! Spread the word!xx
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