Why I returned to Nigeria – Tiwa Savage

Tiwa Savage

Pop star, Tiwa Savage, has explained in an interview with CNN African Voices why she returned to Nigeria after moderate success overseas.

The 37-year-old, whose vocal talents have taken her from humble roots in a church choir to singing in Los Angeles with some of the industry’s biggest star, said she was advised to come back home and make a name for herself.

Hear her: “I worked with a lot of people, and they would be interested by my name. ‘Where’s that from?’ I’d say it’s Nigerian, West African, and they’d say, ‘You’re African?’ and fascinated that I was straight from the Motherland. This was a light bulb moment. These people were interested in Africa, and here I was running from it.”

Finding success at home was, however, an uphill climb.

“When I first moved to Nigeria, I got a lot of people discouraging me about being a female artiste, and a lot of people didn’t want to invest money or time because they didn’t think I was lucrative,” she said.

“Female artistes are huge in other parts of the world. It shouldn’t be different in Africa.”

Tiwa recollects that her musical career began at 16 years old, when she was singing backing vocals for the late pop star George Michael.

She tells ‘African Voices’ that this not only allowed her to move to Los Angeles in the United States, but also collaborate with other notable musicians such as Akon, Kat Deluna and Fantasia.

Having now returned to Nigeria as a recognised star, the mother of one explains how life in Lagos has changed since leaving at a young age: “It’s overwhelming, as well. My family is from here… It’s a great feeling, but sometimes you really just want to run, get something and go back home.”