Meet Tosinger, a singer, writer and storyteller, from Nigeria and based in Atlanta, GA. She is also an Advisory Board Member for our organization Orisun Collective! This is her story.
Tell me about how you came to be a creative. When did you know that was what you were meant to be or do?
I have always been in and around music, entertainment and the creative arts. I grew up observing my mother as a TV presenter/journalist in those days at NTA Abeokuta (Ogun State, Nigeria) and watching my grandma who was also an all-round creative even while working as an educator. My friends and family noticed my talents but I didn’t fully come into my realization of being a creative until shortly after my Master’s program in the UK when I attended a creative arts diploma school in London in 2002.
You are known as a singer, writer/storyteller, and an “Artpreneur”. Tell us more about these 3 sides of you.
I am in front of the entertainment scene as a singer/storyteller and behind the scenes as an “Artpreneur”. As an “Artpreneur”, I own a company “DreamWeavers Entertainment”, through which I handle the business side of the arts by providing copy/content writing services and organizing concerts and artsy events. I also opened an artsy multipurpose event space in Atlanta, Georgia called “Terra Cotta” (www.terracottaatl.com), which provides a space for talented indie artists to nurture and express their gift of music to an intimate live audience.
As a “Singer/Storyteller”, I have a particular connection to the art of folklore, which is also evident in my music. I incorporate traditional Yoruba folklore, folk songs, and proverbs. I tell stories to both children and adults to teach life lessons and keep the legacy of the African culture alive and ongoing especially in the diaspora. My music, for genre classification reasons, may be referred to as “afrosoul/afrofolk”. These three roles are interconnected and all have to do with preserving arts and culture and inspiring others.
What are you currently working on? What is your day-to-day (job/duties) like?
Since the independent release of my debut album ‘Organically Singing’ in 2015, I have taken a break from making new music. Right now, I handle business for my event space, organize shows, and handle daily affairs of being a wife and a mother of two growing boys. I also work part-time, doing freelance writing for various clients, work on film sets as an extra, or perform at different shows/spaces. The one thing that has been constant is the presenting and storytelling that I do on an Atlanta Radio station (WRFG 89.3 FM) on a show called “The African Experience Worldwide Show”.
What do you think of the current climate of music in Nigeria?
The current climate of music in Nigeria seems to be ‘hot’ and on the move. It seems the ultimate aim of the current generation of Nigerian artists is to be known globally and be recognized on the international scene and that is obviously happening for some of them. It would be of great advantage if particular attention is paid to the lasting effect of music as a legacy just as it was with the classics.
Why do you think what you do is important in Nigeria or for Nigerians?
What I do has been referred to as inspirational and it brings a sense of identity and nostalgia to Nigerians around the world. It’s important because whether recognized or not, I contribute in my own way to the preservation of our culture within and outside of Nigeria. This leaves a legacy for generations to come. I see myself as a cultural ambassador and it is very important that I positively represent my country of origin. This is what I do through my art, my essence and aura, and my personal style.
Where do you see your work going in the next 10 years or more?
God willing, in 10 years, I hope to see my work reach a wider audience than it has at the moment. A lighted candle hidden under a bushel is of no use.
What advice would you give a Nigerian child who aspires to be a singer?
Believe in God, the Giver of good gifts to make ways for you to express your talent and give you your own audience. Believe in yourself knowing that nothing is impossible. Hone your skills, learn from others who have gone ahead, surround yourself with positivity, and stay focused. Remember ‘Rome wasn't built in a day’. Lastly, have a message. Don’t sing just to be rich and famous so that even if you’re not, you are still happy to sing - that is the test of true passion. Sing because you have a message and a voice for the world believing that they will be better for it, after they’ve heard you sing.
How do people follow you?
Twitter and Instagram @Tosinger
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