She is the definition of true beauty, deep in thought and delivery. All you need is an opportunity to engage her. She’s got the warmest, sweetest personality that rejuvenates your belief in humanity once more.
This lady relates her own way and we make bold to say “it’s the ideal way for humans to engage one another”.
funTAQA caught up with her when she visited Nigeria recently and she’s got quite some gist for her fans.
How long have you been into the music business?
Professionally? Since 2003, so about 13 years now. Before then, as a little girl growing up, I’ve always sang in church and any platform of opportunity I find to use my voice.
What are you listening to lately?
Depends on my mood per time, but currently it’s a very diverse playlist that includes Stromae, 9ice, Brymo, Sting, Jonathan McReynolds, Adekunle Gold, Passenger, Matisyahu, Nina Simone, Sade Adu and a collection of classic soul and Nigerian/Ghanaian highlife music.
What’s the first song you ever remember hearing?
Wow! That’s a memory jogger. I was exposed to a lot of classics, 70s/80s/90s music during my childhood but for the sake of naming one, I’ll go with Michael Jackson’s ‘Blame It On The Boogie’. My parents played the song a lot and called me “Sunshine” as a little girl, which is why it comes to mind right now.
Your music delivery allows audience to reflect on social issues and bring them to the consciousness of their surroundings. Is that a deliberate path you decided to take?
Yes. Very deliberate. I personally have a preference for deep, conscious music, lyrically and musically. Music is very powerful and can transcend beyond a physical response [i.e. dancing] into having a soulful/spiritual effect. I believe music has the power and capacity not just to inspire, but to provoke thought and action. Music can be used as a tool to not only express personal truth and human experiences but also as a tool for social advocacy, education and to enrich and unite humanity despite cultural differences. It’s been done before [a good example is the use of Music as a powerful weapon against apartheid and the role it played in the life of the late Nelson Mandela and many more] and can always be done again and again by artists so inclined.
I am/want to be an artist that reflects the times through their art and music, to impact the community. It goes beyond just having a good singing voice but having a message to deliver and an aura to match same message. As the legendary Jazz Singer, Nina Simone said – “this is the duty of an artist, to reflect the times”. Award winning African Singer/Activist, Angelique Kidjo also states – “I believe music is a powerful tool of social change” and I agree totally. 100%.
You were recently in Nigeria, is there anything brewing you want to share with your fans?
I was in Nigeria to promote my most recent work ‘Organically Singing’, my debut album, to get some press/media coverage and also some on ground performances for select audiences. My music is afrosoul/afrofolk with contemporary elements and I wanted to present my music to my people so to speak. I also used the opportunity to work on a project titled ‘Silent Thoughts’, with one of Nigeria’s extremely talented music producers – FloRocka. ‘Silent Thoughts’ is a performance poetry/spoken word piece with an afro-theatrical edge addressing the issues of our time.
As a spoken form of art on a musical backdrop, ‘Silent Thoughts’ intends to provoke and inspire thought towards change. This single is about the undiscovered Chibok Girls/the campaign to “Bring Back Our Girls”. Things have been quiet lately about the Chibok Girls. Whatever happened to #BringBackOurGirls? What is currently happening? It can be downloaded at www.tosinger.com or at www.soundcloud.com/tosinger. Download here
I visited three years ago and not much has changed. It seems the current government is really taking their time to effect the change they promised but the patience of Nigerians is obviously wearing thin. On the positive side, I observed that there are actually more commercial outlets with lots of shops springing up in places; the economy might have pushed out more entrepreneurs. Apart from that, it’s still the same story with regards to unstable supply of electricity and the prevalence of bad roads. Unfortunately!
You seem to have everything all together i.e. from the home front to your music career. How are you doing the magic? Lol
Well, nobody really has everything together. There is always room for improvement or progress in all aspects of life; we just do the best we can with wisdom. Personally, I just make sure I use a lot of work-life balance tips and principles like effective time management, self-care, prioritizing and focusing on one thing without the detriment of the other.
Experiences shape one’s outlook of life over time. Definitely, I have become wiser and more mature and still learning every day. For example, things that used to be a source of worry, as I get older and wiser, are not stress points any longer. Values have changed e.g. making impact is more important now than pleasing people.
What inspires you in life?
God – God’s word, God’s creation – Nature, the African continent and her people and legendary artists who have gone before and paved the path.
What’s your favourite album by another artist?
Asa – Aṣa (2007) – all her albums actually.
How many songs do you have in your home collection?
Wow! Numerous, uncountable, I wouldn’t even bother to count.
If you were president of Nigeria today what’s the first thing you’d do?
I would tackle corruption from the roots and employ a team of the best of the best brains/minds/talents from the current/younger generation who are passionate and desire to see the country move forward. I will also secondly, work towards establishing a maintenance and compliance culture comparable to the west, from there – every other aspect will start getting slowly and positively affected, including the economy.
Wow! Globally? Hmmm! Maybe Stromae, real name Paul Van Haver. He is a Belgian Singer/Songwriter; a musical genius who combines theatrical acting, storytelling and good music in his act. His music, appearance and expressions are just pure ART. His music and music video concepts are all so creative with a relevant message. He also seems very personable, humble and down to earth. I have a lot of respect for great talents who are not stuck up. He is of Belgian/Rwandan heritage. The 1994 Rwandan Genocide is one that moves me deeply as any violent act against humanity does. Stromae’s father, though absent, was killed in the Rwandan genocide and Stromae, raised by his mom, has been able to work hard and rise above that tragedy to become the great musician he is today. He is very creative, socially conscious and his writing is genius. Musically, his diverse influences are obvious – hip hop, African music – Sudan & Congolese rumba, electronic music, acoustic percussions etc. It’s all so eclectic. He has a cross generational global appeal notwithstanding that his lyrics are in French. You can ‘feel’ his music even if you do not understand the language. He definitely emotes depth in his music. In an interview with The FADER in 2015, Stromae spoke about his ultimate goals and said, “Our ambition isn’t to be big, it’s to be listened to and supported by people. And to have the success—if we deserve it, of course.” Now an artist with that line of thought and with such ingenuity deserves all the awards I could ever give.
Wow! Your questions are deep J How far back?. Some personal situations come to mind that I would rather not disclose but for the sake of this interview; I would say I would ask my late maternal grandma, Mme Georgietta Abeke Adesina, more questions before she died. I was very close to her as a little girl and soaked in her powerful ambiance growing up. I asked a lot of questions then, I was told, but if I could go back, I would ask more about the past, present and future with regards to life and living. She was a smart, giving, sweet yet powerful woman that I absolutely adored.
What’s next for Tosinger?
One day at a time. I’ll never stop creating as long as I have the inspiration and the opportunity to keep – singing, songwriting, storytelling, advancing the arts and impacting the world each listener at a time.
A final word for your fans and prospects here.
Thanks to everyone for the support. I appreciate the true fans, lovers of good music, of depth and culture. Never stop receiving and sharing good music. Every positive energy, each like, share, comment, feedback of how my music/art has impacted you goes a long way in encouraging further creativity. Let’s stay connected at www.tosinger.com and @Tosinger on all social media channels.
Blessings and Peace to all!
Love, Peace and Beautiful Afro Music