Photo: Thompson Ekong.

Interview: Teni Is All Bright Colors

We talk to the star artist about what Nigeria means to her, The Quarantine Playlist EP, and always focusing on positivity.

Teni is one of the biggest names coming out of Nigeria right now. Teniola Apata is far more than just a singer-songwriter, though, she's an overall entertainer—as her stage name has previously hinted—who pairs Afropop sounds with her colorful, vibrant personality, and fashion sense.

"Music has brought me lots and lots of joy. For me, it's a feeling," she states. Born in Lagos State, Teni lost her father at the young age of two. Now, her and her sister Niniolaalso a well-respected recording artist—continue to push on and keep his legacy alive by creating the highest quality music.

Beyond her own talents behind the mic, it was Teni's songwriting skills that allowed her to write for big names like Davido, contributing to his hit "Like Dat" back in 2017. Fast forward a few years and her own hits "Askamaya," "Case" and "Uyo Meyo" solidified her presence in the Nigerian music scene.

Teni has since received numerous accolades and accomplishments, including Rookie of the Year at the Headies Awards, Most Promising Act to Watch at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards, Best New Artist at the Soundcity MVP Awards Festival, and Trending Artist on the Rise from YouTube Music. Beyond that, it's her charismatic personality, one that's full of love, that fans can't help but gravitate toward.

OkayAfrica caught up with Teni via FaceTime to discuss what Nigeria means to her, The Quarantine Playlist, her mentors in the game, and more.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Thutmose. Photo: Abi Polinsky. Courtesy of the artist.

Interview: Thutmose Blends the Sounds of Brooklyn & Nigeria Into His Own Pop Flavor

The Nigerian-born artist talks to us about his new EP, Don't Wake Me, as well as getting on the Spider-Man soundtrack, touring with Billie Eilish, and collaborating with Rema.

Thutmose is living out his dream. To this day, the Nigerian rapper and singer has a hard time accepting this is his real life—from "Run Wild" becoming the soundtrack to the official trailer of EA Sports' FIFA 2018 World Cup game to to opening for pop/R&B sensation Billie Eilish and being featured on the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack.

At eight years old, Umar Ibrahim migrated from his home of Nigeria to Brooklyn, New York. Admitting to encountering a "complete culture shock," Thut quickly adapted to his surroundings and took took a liking the East Coast. When it comes to his music, he makes it a point to highlight his journey from his Nigeria to the States, naturally combining both upbringings into one style.

Thut has yet to return to Nigeria in over 16 years, which makes his forthcoming trip in December that much more meaningful. In any case, he just hopes to inspire and motivate all those who come after him. Now, he unleashes his new EP, Don't Wake Me, a tribute to this dreamscape he's been living as a reality. On the five-track project, he recruits highly-buzzing Nigerian recording artist Rema and even samples Koffee's "Raggamuffin."

OkayAfrica caught up with Thutmose in Los Angeles to discuss the inspiration behind Don't Wake Me, working with Rema and Koffee, and how he landed on the Spider-Verse soundtrack.

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