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Unarguably one of Africa’s biggest female acts from Nigeria, Tiwa Savage has opened up on the journey to becoming a global African superstar.
From the early days of backing up legendary George Michael all the way to her recent deal with Universal Music Group, Savage has played every card right to become one of the most powerful women in Nigerian and African music.
To her credit are ‘Once Upon a Time’ (released in 2013) ‘R.E.D’ (released in 2015), an Extended Play, EP, ‘Sugarcane’ (released in 2017) and over 25 collaborations. Signs of Savage being ready for the global market was witnessed in 2016 when she signed a management and publishing deal with Roc Nation but the time still wasn’t right.
Tiwa’s second album, R.E.D, did not only introduced the world to an emerging Afropop force to be reckoned with, but an artist serious about her craft. The album re-emphasised her determination to make a mark and take her cut in the global market. R.E.D simply laid the template for Savage’s to dominate the Afrobeat culture in the near future.
Here are 6 pointers to Tiwa Savage becoming a global force from Africa 6 years after her first album.
1. A journey to global acceptance
Tiwa Savage agrees that the journey from her first album, ‘Once Upon a Time’ in 2013 till the signing with Universal Music Group was necessary for her readiness to dominate the global scene.
In her words, “It was like a journey… for me to also learn about the company and also about signing an artist’s deal – the benefits of it and also some of the possible disadvantages and just weighing options and just figuring out a deal that works well for me and allows me to represent Africa and put my music out the right way,” she told Bella Naija in an interview.
2. The moment feels right
The moment felt right for Tiwa who believes strongly that the hard work she has put into her career in the last six years was responsible for her recent feat.
“It felt like everything that’s been going on in my journey led to this point. It felt right. It felt like it was the right time. Felt good that I hadn’t been working in vain.”
3. No rush or pressure
Having come of age and willing to take her time, Tiwa Savage wasn’t in a rush to sign the once in a lifetime deal. Though she knew she was going to take the opportunity, she was willing to go through the nitty gritty before putting pen to paper.
“Finalising the contract took close to a year… going back and forth with different labels.
“It took me a year to conclude this deal. It took that long for a reason. It took a year to convince them that I don’t want this and I want that and this is the reason why. They understood. I feel blessed in the position I’m in. I have an amazing deal with UMG.”
4. Retaining her style and sound
Not many artist will complain if an international label offers a deal with a clause of dropping their style and sound. But Tiwa Savage isn’t one of such, she explained how confident and sure of her global success only if her style and sound is retained.
“The fact that they’re willing to sign a female Afrobeats artist and also the fact that they’re allowing me to maintain my style, sound and brand, but on a global level meant a lot to me,” Savage said in the interview.
5. Improved brand for a global perspective
39-year-old Tiwa Savage sure has her eyes on the ball and works hard with every move to improve her brand for a global perspective. Her experience working with global stars was not enough till six years after her debut album.
“Within that period we finalised the deal and I was like, maybe it’s time to rebrand and start afresh. I didn’t actually start it because of this deal. I just wanted to take a break. Then I started deleting pictures because my page looks cluttered and I wanted my page to have a theme.”
6. I’m ready for the global market
In the recent interview, Tiwa Savage reiterated her readiness to conquer the world after the release of her first album in 2013.
She said, “I was doing a lot more shows outside Nigeria/Africa and I felt like it was time to give my music on a much bigger platform.
“This new contract is “like a reinforcement that I’m ready for the global market.”
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