Tipsy who's birth name is Yewande Abiodun, is currently signed to Big-Boyz Entertainment, she is one of the fast-rising female acts currently making ripples in the Nigerian music industry. Her first track which she says is like the whole crews single, is “Se N Gbomi”, featured Ice Prince and Big-boyz All-Stars. She hails from AKure in Ondo State, where she grew up.
As she informed us JJC, influenced her to make a career U-turn from dancing to singing.
She was a dancer back then, a church drummer and when she moved to the UK, she started singing and rapping.
Lost her dad at a tender age, and it was hard for her growing up.
She grew up listening to Yoruba legends such as Musiliu, Sikiru Ayinde, King Sunny Ade and Wasiu Ayinde. She listens to Dagrin a lot.
Publisher, MFB BLOG met with her in her London Apartment and here's what we discovered.
MFB BLOG: You won several awards last year, since then, what have you been working on?
Am working on a track with Dammy Krane, a party track, he's a kinda young fun person and am based on rap thing, tryna get my message across to people and now I want to create something for the club, and Dammy Krane feels like the right person to work with.
Tell us more about your trip to Nigeria:
"Nigeria was alright, went there to really stay like last year, which was when I was nominated for the NMVA, not because I thought I was going to win but I thought I could have a chance and was asked to perform so I went with the hope of winning something. Later, felt I should capitalize on the award I won and stay a while, promote my stuff and make my face known to people over there.
Nigeria was been fun and also been hectic as well. There's a lot of competition over there and you cant relent on your effort when you know that there's about 10 other people doing exactly what you are doing. At anytime, if your efforts drop, people are likely to overshadow you and you become irrelevant, so you have to keep working everyday."
Which 3 people are you indebted too, for your life and career?
"Personally: To God, My Mum, cos at a time, she never supported the whole music thing, but later, she started praying for me and she would ask me, how come your sisters have your songs and I don't? And she would be like send it to me on bb. If your parents actually pray for you on what you do, there's no way, you won't move forward. She does that and its something that I really appreciate, and I owe her that appreciation.
The 3rd person is JJC, because you know i was a dancer before, other people loved me as a dancer
but they never saw that rap/sing thing in me. But JJC was like, I like your dance and swag and am going to develop you and sign you and I would make you something. So definitely, am indebted to JJC.
FOR MY CAREER
JJC comes again cos if he never saw that talent in me, I would probably still be a dancer. He really gave me a lot of confidence. Also Dagrin, cos if he never started Yoruba rap, I don't think I would ever have the confidence to do Yoruba rap. Cos I would probably feel people would see me as razz, but you know what, even now people still see me as razz, but who cares really (laughs), I don't care, as long I deliver my message and have got people who listen to it, its all good, its fine.
3rd person/people would be the street, people that listen to the music, there's no street in London so am not talking about UK cos there's no street here lol, am thanking the people in Nigeria, they listen to the songs, watch and react to you perform, who let you know what you got to do right and you fix it. So I really appreciate these people and am grateful for their support."
Who do you think is the biggest act from Nigeria right now? Given that a lot of people feel its D'banj cos of the GOOD music deal and all, while there's still these large sect who believes its Tuface any day
"Mehn that one get coma ohh, lol. Okay, if I was to choose between them both, I would choose Tuface. Why? Cos his music is universal, like if you listen to his last album, its a kind of album you would play any where in the world and people would sing along. Most of it is in English and meaningful, you know, passes a lot message and its music for the young, adults or old...yeah and my brother D'banj, me and you would talk, no diss please (laughs)."
Tell us about one of your real life awkward moments in you career?
"Haha, have got a lot of them actually. There was this time (I wont mention the name of the show before they start beefing my career, lol) that we had to perform at a show in Lagos, and we planned and rehearsed and all before the event, and when it was time for the show we got there and they were like: Tipsy come out and perform meanwhile 2kriss was supposed to perform before me and then the DJ just messed up everything.
They gave us the wrong mic and all. Everything went wrong basically, so with that, I was like why did I even come here, would have just prepared to stay at home and perform myself.
Also there have been times where the mic doesn't work, your cd stops playing or you performing to stuck up people. You know, you trying to impress them and they are all just looking like you like...and i'll be like why
don't they all go home if they cant sing/dance along. They are meant to support you, you know isn't that why they came? All these kinda things are sort of challenging and annoying but helps you grow better, you
know you prepare your mind next time that you know what, this show am going for, its 50/50, either they sing along or help you or they sit there and watch you drain yourself and leave the stage. So in that kind
of situation, just have fun for yourself and leave the stage."
If you had a chance to pick 3 International acts to work with on a mix-tape track or Album, who are they going be?
"I think in the UK I don't have anyone I would like to work with, am not down with all their brovs brovs music, lol. but em, would wanna work with Lady Gaga, cos I think she's as weird as me, and then Ciara."
No dude you would like to work with?
"Well maybe Kanye West: he could do his thing and i do my Yoruba rap, *laughs*, you understand. At the end of the day, he's speaking his English and people in Nigeria would be like YES!"
A lot of artiste don't like to come clean when you asked them what's lacking in their career. Could you tell us what wrong move you have made in the course of your coming up, and what have you learnt from that experience?
"Something like this: one mistake have made, wont mention names, but erm, sometimes you are meant to work with people on a business level, do what you wanna do together and leave it at that, but you get
into people so much and becomes friends instead of business partners, you know you were meant to do a song and get it over with.
Have made such mistake once or twice where I had opportunities to do stuffs with people and it just became too personal and got into the whole friendship thing and then we stopped talking and then nothing happens. Have learnt not to do it anymore, its business first and then we can now be friends afterwards.
Also, now I kinda drops songs online first and see the crowd reaction, before deciding to go and print CDs, so I can be safe enough."
Twitter or Facebook? Which are you more into and helps your career?
"Facebook is dead! I mean, don't know what they use Facebook for anymore, *laughs...Twitter is more current, its that kinda place where its easier for you to connect with your friends sharply. Its easier for you to
send links of your songs, like you could just mention different people's handles and stuff and the ones that like you would help you re tweet and broadcast. And at the end of the day, whether the song is rubbish or
they like it or not, they still help you broadcast though they might laugh at you but which ever way, they still helping you to spread the song.
So its twitter all the way!"
Have you heard of twiterave? This year's going be like the fourth one, and would be debuting in London for the first time in November.
Who do you think is like the most popular Nigerian celebrity on twitter?
"I think Don Jazzy, he would probably win."
He's won a couple of times.
"The thing is cos Don Jazzy is like this person on twitter that everyone knows, especially with the fact that he shares credit and everyone loves awoof *laughs... So he's kinda the most relevant. Unlike people like me, lol
as me too am looking for credit, (Kidding)."
Which is your first single officially?
"My first official single was ChingChong, which I won a video award for last year at the NMVAs."
Do you still drum?
"Yeah, I can drum with your back, laughs. But i don't think am so good with the drum sticks anymore but could still...used to do that in boarding house and church then."
How many awards did you win last year?
"Won Best Reggae and Dancehall video at the NMVAs, and erm...NUBAA Awards in the UK for BEST UK BASED FEMALE ARTIST."
Just like marketing has several components that makes it tick, what factors do you feel makes up your USP? (Unique selling Points)
"I think the Yoruba thing, nah I don't think, I know am very original, am not one of this people that fake accents, I just do it as it comes you know, whatever meaningful lyrics that comes to my mouth, I just do it. I think am a creative person, I like to try new stuffs and just cos other artistes are trying to rap like Nikki Minaj, don't mean I should copy her, I might as well set a trend too. God has given me a lot of talent and a lot energy to perform so that helps as well."
Who else are you working with soon apart from Dammy Krane?
"I like 9ice."
Should we expect something soon?
"Yeah, I would beg him, *laughs...you know, we upcoming and all. I would like to work with 9ice, Reminisce, who else? Hmm those are just the two on my mind for now."
What has been the highlight of your career?
"Should be the NMVA though. Thing is, when a lot of people listen to my songs, they are like, I don't really know who Tipsy is but for me, even if you don't know me, have won an award, you know... and its not just an award that is just made up, its an award that is credible. So its like one of the highest of my musical career.
And am signed to spinlet, which a lot of people don't know about and I think its a good thing to be discovered."
How do you feel about the current state of Nigerian Hip Hop?
*Breathes in and out* "Hip Hop? Is there hip hop in Nigeria? *laughs... Well there's just very few people who do hip hop in Nigeria, Modenine for one and Vector who is very good. But I don't think hip hop is in
What are the factors that makes a successful artiste? be it in Nigeria or UK.
"Would have to divide that, cos in the UK/US, your talent speaks volume. In Nigeria, its more of your attitude and the relationship you have with people, Connection basically. Because in Nigeria, you would find people who've got talent, that won't go anywhere really. But it depends on how you can...*prostrates* (Baba, baba DJ, baba abeg take 1million-for example, and play my CD). The song would blow you know.
They would force it on people. And there some who don't have talent...its just money basically. But to be honest, there are also people in Nigeria who play my songs, not because they know me or got paid, but
perhaps because they feel am talented and they see me as someone who respects them and someone who's got a lot of zeal in life to make it, so they sort of help you because of that. I sort of appreciate that and i feel people should actually consider the talent first before the money because some of us, you know...like me, its only ,my mother that is taking care of me." *laughs*
Are you married, in a relationship or single?
"Am i married? No, am i single? No again, *blushes* Am in a relationship, *laughs."
Care to disclose with whom?
"You want me to mention his name? Nope, am with a guy so definitely not a girl. Lets leave it at that."
Do you smoke, drink?
"Nope. I only drink smooches, you know the type they sell at SHRINE."
Do you believe an artiste needs to get high to face the crowd on a stage?
"I think that's for dumb people. Really, cos at the end of the day, if you believe that you have to get high for that, then you not letting your talent speak for you. You are letting something else control your ability to speak, deliver to people, so what if you are in a situation where you don't have access to these things
before you get on stage? What would happen? Do you flop your performance? So I don't think that makes sense in anyways."
Do you upload videos on YouTube? What's the worst YouTube/Facebook comments ever on any of your work and how did it touch you reading it for the 1st time?
"Yes I do. And yes, a lot, na me now. (lol) Thing is am sort of used to it now, you know as I said, I used to be a dancer and I upload some of my dance videos online and some people would be like what is this skinny girl dancing? Why don't you go and read your book. All that started around 2007, its 2012 now so its about
5 years of experience and it doesn't mean anything to me anymore.
But then there are some really healthy criticisms that makes sense: when people write, you have to work more really. Like u have to listen to it over and over again and then try and improve.
Chingchong, must have had the worst comment ever for me... and if you listen to it, you would definitely know that its a freestyle song. I was in the studio and TBO (the producer) said I need to make a song that day before I left the studio. And I was like okay, and has it comes, we kept recording. Then JJC listened to it and was like, cool, have got this video idea and all. The video looks like an horror movie, even my mum didn't like it at first, she feels its demonic. So we got comments bout how dark it is, or how silly the song is and they don't understand what am saying.
But am like chingchong, abeg free yourself, cos that's the idea for you to free yourself and do whatever you wanna do. As your career goes, you sort of improve."
Do you do any other thing apart from music?
"Am a student and am getting a job soon, so I wont have to depend on music for a living for now."
Briefly, whats your perception about awards in Nigeria, people say it suffer fairness, Nepotism, lack of full support from Corporate bodies (sponsorship)?
"There are some really credible ones that you can't really fault, they are genuine, but to be honest, you can't really say everything is 100%, there are some awards that operates on whoever is present only would
be given an award, so its like you marking present and you get an award for being present basically.
Heard also that there are some that when you pay them, you get an award, you know...why would I pay for an award? When I can go to where they make plaques to make something for myself, and hang em in my house?"
As an International observer, Who do you think should win the Hip Hop Awards "Next Rated" 2012 and why?
Nominees are: Eva Alordiah, Flowsick, DavidO and Praiz.
"Honestly, Eva is very good rapper, I love her. Flowsick, Davido, Praiz? No. For me would have been Dammy Krane, Chidinma who ought to be in that category, like am nominating my own people now, people i feel should be next rated. Like i said, all awards should be based on talent and not money, or how much you have, or how much you can bribe with. So really shouldn't be about buying awards, but be about giving to people who deserve it. With Dammy Krane, you can see his "My Dear" video, and see how, much effort he put into his career so far.
Also Chidinma, as well, is like one Nigerian female artiste that is blowing up everywhere, her songs are making waves. She's on so many big shows, and performs really good. So I don't understand why people like that are not nominated in next rated. Like if they were, I would be pretty cool knowing they deserve to be nominated."
"Wanna give a shout-out to mumcee who directed you guys in here, to my record label, JJC, you know he's tried for me so far. He's put his own career aside to make sure, we are where we are today. Wanna give a
shout-out to my best friend who is looking at me (during the interview). To the people who constantly support me, upload my songs, all the music blogs and all. A big shout-out to my boyfriend, you know it feels good to have someone who support you and he's your no. 1 fan. Thanks you to you guys (MFB BLOG) who had to come in the rain to have this interview."
As Interviewed by Olusegun Olufunmiloye.
Watchout for the video interview online, and also via our new TV program- CHECK REPUBLIC in the UK and Nigeria.