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10 years of Tiwa Savage’s debut album ‘Once Upon a Time’


For Tiwa Savage, music started at a very early age when she started as a backup vocalist for some top acts including Mary J Blige, Kelly Clarkson, and Andrea Bocelli. She would go on to become part of a girl group while also writing for top artists including Multi-Grammy winner Baby Face, Fantasia, and Monica.

With a rich exposure to Western music, Tiwa Savage’s entrance into Nigerian music brought along these influences and sexuality that would take off from where the eclectic Goldie dropped off.

Her debut album ‘Once Upon A Time’ released on July 2, 2023, was an impressive body of work that saw Tiwa successfully merge R&B and Soul Western influences with her Afrobeats roots with the help of the supremely talented Don Jazzy and a coterie of top-notch producers.

At a time when the female arm of the industry needed a spin, Tiwa Savage came forward to offer her talent through celestial vocals that spiced up the R&B side of Afrobeats while injecting sexuality that provoked sensibilities and packed suitable music to present a convincing brand.

The stimulating effects of her looks were accompanied by befitting music that conveyed the image of a woman confident in her ability and bold her defiance of the conservative norm that polices the sexuality she exudes.

Although she didn’t present herself as a feminist, Tiwa Savage had the full intention of staking a claim in the mainstream for the female arm of the industry.

While hit records like ‘Wanted’ and ‘Love Me X3’ offer insight into her branding as a sex symbol, ‘Ileke’ is a more female-centric record as it serves as a rallying call for her sisters in arms as they join forces to take over the mainstream.

She boldly and artistically accepts her place as a “Lady” in the ‘Fela Interlude’ where she turned the legendary Fela Kuti’s jeering record of the modern/educated woman into a celebratory track that exalts the place of women in society and brings them on par with men.

Tiwa Savage’s bold sexual expressions which is apparent in her writing, visuals, and brand was a daring move in a conservative society. She defiled the prejudice that such representation to become a Popstar built in Europe and finished & polished in Lagos.

Across 21 songs, Tiwa Savage covered the Afrobeats landscape by offering exciting music to listeners while inspiring a crop of new ones.

Her hit credentials shine across the R&B leaning hits like ‘Kele Kele,’ ‘Wanted,’ and ‘Love Me X3’ while also bringing her Yoruba heritage with folk in ‘Ife Wa Gbona’. She showed her ability to excel on the Afrobeats hits the front with hits like ‘Eminado’ where she joined forces with Don Jazzy for a street-facing record.

Across 21 songs, Tiwa Savage covered the Afrobeats landscape by offering exciting music to listeners while inspiring a crop of new ones. She combines well with superstars Sarkodie, Flavour, and General Pype as she reached out to listeners across different bases including the gospel scene with the driving record ‘Olorun Mi’.

Ten years after the release of her debut album that positioned her for mainstream dominance, Tiwa Savage has fulfilled her potential to become one of Africa’s biggest music stars.

Since the release of her debut album, Tiwa Savage has followed up with two albums and two EPs. She ascended to the top of the music industry where’s she’s one of Afrobeats biggest stars, winning multiple awards and the hearts of listeners around the world.

Her contributions continue to form a spine for the female end of the industry. Her bold brand expressions have opened the door for a generation of female acts. And although heavy is the head that wears the crown, Tiwa Savage continues to effortlessly discharge her royal duties with the grace and glamour befitting of a Queen.

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