Her music is neither Afropop nor alternative music; she calls it good music. Teniola Apata, stage named Teni the Entertainer basks in the excitement of the wide acceptance of her music.
IKEDI MEKZ REPORTS
“Peruzzi trying to compare himself to Teni. Uncle, calm down…wait till Teni wins next rated at the Headies,” was just a terse content of a tweet by a popular social media user @thepamilerin. He had pitched tent with the vocalist and talented song-writer, Teniola Apata, better known as Teni the Entertainer. Teni then had just emerged over another talented act, Peruzzi, as the Best New Artiste at the 2018 SoundCity MVP Awards which held on January 6, 2019.
While both were esteemed next rated acts at the time, Teni was almost taking over the scene with a string of her hit songs such as ‘Askamaya’, ‘Case’, and ‘Uyo Meyo’, catapulting her into the mainstream music.
Nonetheless, the pop act affiliate to Davido Music Worldwide (DMW) Peruzzi with one solo single would take to Twitter to rant, saying he had a better year than Teni when she won the coveted title. Naturally, social media was set ablaze.
Not a few would agree with him. The social media influencer, @thepamilerin had further posted a series of tweets insinuating that Teni was a better artiste than Peruzzi and many of their followers had taken sides with Teni.
Meanwhile another award was in the offing. Both pop artistes were going to slug it out again at prestigious awards recognition in the category for Headies Next Rated Act. Peruzzi was now uncomfortable.
Pissed by that, Peruzzi physically attacked Pamilerin not long after that. Of course, @thepamilerin has influenced his views and comments in favour of Teni, following which Peruzzi confessed that “The main reason I was angry with this guy was that he has created so much heat between Teni and I…
He started this whole thing. This is somebody I have nothing against. Wherever I go Teni, Teni; Teni this, Teni that. I can’t even make a song with her… Pamilerin started the whole thing.”
With much acclaim to her sudden emergence and acceptance in the Nigerian music scene then, Teni proved her mettle and worth as an artiste and entertainer from the onset.
In 2016, a star yet to be known then dropped a debut track ‘Amen’ which was recognised as her debut single while she was signed to Shizzi’s Magic Fingers Records. Her first hit single ‘Fargin’, which preaches sexual abstinence released in 2017 under a new record label Dr. Dolor Entertainment, gave her prominence, signaling a new chapter in her journey as one of the new acts in Nigeria’s reenergized music scene. Prior to this, she had been a prolific songwriter for artists such as Davido.
The talented singer started gaining prominence after ‘Fargin’ dropped in September 2017. While 2018 was a revealing year for the vocalist, Teni was more of a force in 2019, winning awards back to back.
It would be recalled that earlier in 2019, Teni became Africa’s first YouTube “Artiste on The Rise.” This implies that her song ‘Case’ was promoted by YouTube on its US trending page, ads and event appearances. ‘Artiste on The Rise’ is YouTube’s strategy to promote new artistes in their trending tabs.
Gifted as a performer, the musician became an internet sensation owing much to her social media freestyle videos. Buoyed by the hunger for success, she explored the instrumentality of music as the only way out. According to the award-winning singer cum songwriter, “It was just a young girl passion. I was just really hungry for success and I knew music was my only way out. I decided to follow it. Because of music, I didn’t graduate when I was supposed to have graduated.”
After her secondary school education, Teni proceeded to the United States to study Pharmacy.
But subsequently, she pulled out of Pharmacy school. Teni hated every bit of that moment as music kept creeping into her soul. Eventually, she graduated from the American Intercontinental University, Atlanta Georgia.
Armed with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Information Technology, Teni began recording her songs upon her return to Nigeria.
Soon, her stage craft got people talking. Her first body of work was released last October in an EP titled “Billionaire”.
Ahead of the release of the six tracks project, Teni had dropped the title track, ‘Billionaire’, which is still getting tremendous airplay since its release. The 19 minute-record is a mix of Highlife, Afrobeats and Afro-pop with no guest feature. The reviews were mainly positive, which indicated that the public accepted Teni’s new creation warmly.
She is one of the musicians who are natural crowd pleasers. This is a great time for her fans that she has been treating with all kinds of music goodies lately.
After the single came out, many people started expressing their wish to become rich and successful, inspired by the lyrics.
A lot of fans praised the performer’s unique voice and the catchiness of the ‘Billionaire’. Teni took time to make the ‘Billionaire’ work as best as possible which came out a mixture of the sounds she has been putting out. Just as fans are yet to get over her impressive career strides in recent times,
Teni, who rounded up a tour of nine countries in Europe last year, had basked in the excitement the widespread acceptance her music has received.
She had revealed in an interview that while she might be well-known in the United States, her biggest surprise came from northern Europe. According to the vocalist, “Bulgaria, Poland, Romania… Those places surprised me the most. White people were, like, singing my songs. I’m telling you! It was ‘Askamaya’ and ‘Uyo Meyo’ and, I’m telling you, they were singing along to all the words!”
Her music is neither Afropop nor alternative music; she calls it good music.
“Music allows me to tell stories that resonate with a lot of young people. I do good music. I don’t box myself because I can do almost all kinds of music. I feel like God has given me the talent so it will be unfair for me and to the world to box myself when I can do more,’’ Teni had earlier revealed in a chat.
During her early twenties, she drew influences from folk, juju, fuji and apala music. Growing up, Teni listened to legends like King Wasiu Ayinde, King Sunny Ade and was largely influenced by their versatility and artistry.
And she simply found herself drawing inspiration from everything and making a song out of it no matter how silly it might have sounded.
She showed interest in music at an early age with the establishment of a music band in her school. Teni’s history with music began with her singing at age two. In High School, she played drums for Former Governors of Lagos State including Mohammed Buba Marwa, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola SAN, when they were in office. Further, childhood memory holds fond and interesting moments for Teni.
“Interestingly, I think that’s why I turned out the way I am because I grew up in very loving environment. I grew up with so much love; I will say I had the best childhood. My mother always makes me feel very special; in fact she will tell you I am the best. So, that built my self-confidence. Growing up with my elder sister, Niniola, she was very protective of me. I’m proud of her and how she has accomplished by setting good examples and laying a good path. Her work doesn’t affect me; it encourages and inspires me to be a better musician.”
Her sister, Niniola, is one of Nigeria’s biggest known Afropop stars. In both sisters’ act and style of entertainment lies a contrast.
Their dad, the late Brigadier-General S.O. Apata, the founder of the elite private school, Apata Memorial School was a music enthusiast who often funded music projects. According to Teni, her dad was fond of saying, “my children would be superstars”. Although his time was cut short by assassins, his words have come true.