I just had a Tiwa Savage filled weekend that rolled over into the course of my working week. As I sampled sound treaties from her repertoire of chart-topping singles obviously not missing out melodious chords of a nightingale from her soprano, I entered a utopia of thoughts where I wondered how one chic could just surface from purple, rock tha hell out, stay on top – winning and still slaying with a growing baby bump. This deep soliloquy took me far back as my third year in the university, 2010 I think. My friends, Nonso and Chidi had introduced me to a new fiercely-vocaled chic whose Youtube channel we became frequent visitors of just because we couldn’t get enough of her awesomeness. The kind of scales she ran in her cover version of our national anthem were never heard before. Not even by Beyoncé! Ooops, she did it again trying out the popular gospel chorus “Jesus Love Me” and it wasn’t enough that we heard what a rich vocal soul should sound like, we literally marveled at the expressions she made with her face as she sang.
Omawumi had been In The Music, there was Waje too, J’odie… women who were incredibly skilled in the music and vocals art but when 2010 came upon us and introduced Tiwa Savage with Kele Kele Love, it was safe to assume she was going to get in queue. Then we watched the video! We had to think twice. Everybody was like ‘heeyyy… whoa, who she be?’ Love Me continued this new fashion and later Without My Heart, which became her first-talked-about collabo with production maestro, Don Jazzy. In all these records, her message was clear and strong, she was giving the female folk a long-deserved opportunity and was effortless at it. While her predecessors were singing about needing men (who had desecrated the woman’s place with their portrayals), she chose to kick their trifling asses to the left curb with a disarming smile and the middle finger for dramatic effect. And she did this looking confident, uber fierce and very racy too. As in, we’d never seen this before. Only trashy whores and hoes were the ones who showed that much skin. Video vixens at the time were still blaah-dy learners but Tiwa done did it and gave a new meaning to ‘making goodness attractive’.
Several records after, Tiwa wrestled really big names to owning her spot on the hottest list, and I’m not referring to the females yet. By so doing, a new trend evolved. Many up-comers jumped ship because madam had set the standards outrageously high. It seemed impossible to keep up. Some girls were convinced what they were doing was singing because of the pattern TV and radio had created then but by the time Tiwa was in her third visual release, the fake it to make it principle totally lost it’s place. She was already leading an army whose slay prowess was freaking real and with a rare kind of healthy competition that made you bleed. It was quite the uphill task considering we lived in a man man’s world with partial societal beliefs. Still, Tiwa cared less about gender inequality and worked her fine ass out, pushing herself all the way like one who had no breaking point. She showed that a woman could be many things and more – famed, rich, not just rich but utterly successful and well respected. Tiwa Savage moved the emancipation for women in the industry. That they shouldn’t only be seen but also heard, and very loudly too.
Now the likes of Seyi Shay, Yemi Alade, Niyola, Chidinma, Emma Nyra and Cynthia Morgan can be commandeering in their roles as artistes just because one woman made it possible. The beauty of one’s success story is not in the physical accomplishments or the laudable feats achieved. It is in the successes of others that are tied to one’s own success. Asides allowing women the opportunity to be heard, some of whom she’s personally handed a mic to, she’s also given them a reason to hope, to live their dream and then dare to be bigger than it.
Written by Jim Donnett