If she hasn’t already, Teni the Entertainer is going to charm you. You may not know it’s happening in real-time, but once you’re done bringing her many hilarious videos on Instagram, or watching/ listening to her music, or perhaps even after you meet her, you are left with a lingering smile. Couple that with her undeniable talent and you’ve got a serious staple in the crop of new musical talent that’s taking Nigerian music in a completely new, exciting and, quite frankly, refreshing direction.
Your career is arguably still in its infancy but the response has been incredible! How does it feel to be getting the kind of reception you are getting now?
It’s phenomenal. Hearing my song on the radio, seeing the crowd singing my songs, lyric after lyric, watching my videos on TV, all still gives me goosebumps. Believe me when I say it’s a surreal feeling. I just thank God for the journey so far and I know he isn’t done yet.
What are your thoughts on fame? Do you think it is as dangerous as we believe it to be? Do you fear that as it comes for you, it could change your personality and your relatability to your audience?
Oprah Winfrey once said, “If you come to
fame not understanding who you are, it will define who you are.” If you know who you are, what it took you to get [to where you are], you try and not let fame get into your head. Don’t get me wrong, fame has its perks, enjoy them but you have to try and stay focused. There are three things that you can get as a celebrity – fame, power and money and one rule of the game is to never let it control you
Was music a big part of your childhood?
Music was a big part of my childhood. Listening to King Sunny Ade, King Wasiu Ayinde, Dolly Parton and more, formed a huge part of growing up.
What major life lessons would you say you’ve learnt so far from being a performer?
If you want something in this life, keep striving for it but enjoy yourself while doing it. Everything you do in life, do it for the right reasons. Be careful of the people you trust. Trust your instincts.
Songwriters often enjoy a level of anonymity, and you seemed to have that before pursuing your music career. Was that something you were afraid to give up?
Not really. Music is my passion and is what I live for and it doesn’t matter whether I’m behind the scenes as a songwriter or in front as a performer. I wasn’t afraid to give up anything. I just want to make music.
You have managed to maintain a social media presence that feels honest and true to you. Do you have any boundaries to your personal use of social media?
Of course we all have boundaries but the thing is I do as my spirit leads. I just do what I feel like doing. People have to see the real you. I am not a celebrity, I am a normal human being who God has blessed with a gift and a platform to spread joy and happiness and I am going to use every available channel to do so.
In music, a woman’s image is often times given more attention than her talent and ability. Did you ever feel any pressure to present yourself other than the way you are or was that something that was ever suggested to you as a way to” get ahead”? If so, how did you fight to stay true to who you are?
You cannot fake what you are not. People will eventually see through it and you’ll lose your originality and your identity. Also when the ‘image’ fades they’ll still look at the talent and ability. Of course in this industry, people have had their opinions but in the end, just do you and be you. God’s plan is divine and triumphs all understanding.
As a songwriter, what is your biggest inspiration for the songs you write?
Life in general.
What do you think is the most important key to being a great songwriter?
I’ll say letting your soul lead you. Let it come from within you. Don’t rush it.
This interview was first published in Genevieve Magazine December Issue, DOWNLOAD the digital to to get all the scoop on our exclusive interview with the Idibias (Annie Idibia and Innocent “2Baba” Idibia) as they open up on their journey through marriage, the difficulty in adjusting to marital life, insecurity and the gift of finding each other.
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