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Nigerian singer Teni asks the Giant of Africa to step up

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There is no doubt Teni is one of the biggest stars in African music right now.

She has just released her debut album, Wondaland, a collection of 17 songs tackling topics including family, sex, body image and police brutality.

Surprisingly, it goes against the current vogue and contains only one collaboration with another big-name artist, the single For You which features fellow Nigerian, Davido.

“It was my first album so I just wanted to give the fans me. And then my next project, I already have collaborations.”

Although Wondaland was recorded over two years in seven cities across four continents, the pandemic’s lockdowns allowed Teni to apply the finishing touches.

The title speaks to the 28-year-old’s love of theme parks, specifically Disney, and fittingly, for someone with the nickname “The Entertainer”, there is one theme Teni wanted to bring to the fore.

“I just wanted to create something fun, something exciting. Something that made me feel like I was in Disney again.”

But on a rollercoaster of a record, it is not all sweetness and light. Teni spent time out on the streets for October’s violent #EndSARS protests and found the experience disturbing.

“People came out to protest and you’re bringing out guns? What happened to speaking to them? What happened to solving problems? People are crying. People are tired! It is sad,” she told This Is Africa.

“Is there ever going to be a change? Are we ever going to see a country that works?”

Her experience has been channelled into songs such as FBI and Black, the latter a luscious piano-led ballad awash with a rousing string arrangement that gives the album an uplifting climax.

“Everyone deserves to be treated equally. We need to look at ourselves as one race, love ourselves and be our brother’s keeper,” she explains.

“Nigeria, we need to change. We’re the Giant of Africa. We should be the ones leading,” she says.

SourceBBC

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