Truth be told, If you are asked to predict an artiste that is capable of ruling the Nigerian airwaves, you are likely not to choose the high-spirited Teniola Apata a.k.a Teni the entertainer. She is an unlikely pop star and doesn’t cut the image of your usual Nigerian pop diva. Surprisingly the singer born to a Nigerian civil war-hero father, has become of the country’s most sought after entertainers in a short while.
Her music is anchored by empathy; it comes from the point of view of an artiste who knows the challenges of her audience and just simply sings about them. Teni’s amazing music versatility is as a result of her early exposure to the Juju and highlife melodies of the likes of King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey , Victor Olaiya and lot’s more.
So why would Teni rule the Nigerian entertainment terrain in 2020? One trait you cannot take away from her would be her originality. The ‘Askamaya’ crooner doesn’t take herself too seriously. She is like the girl-next-door who you can relate with .This same authenticity has earned her a devout following, all thanks to her hilarious Instagram videos. In an era where star power relies not just on talent but on relatability, Teni’s originality perhaps is one of her secret weapons.She said in an interview: “Everybody used to say ‘Teni you have to look like this, you have to do this.’ I needed to prove to a lot of people – not the naysayers, – but the young girls like myself, you can be yourself and win.”
Another factor that will make Teni rule the Nigerian entertainment scene in 2020 is her devout fan base. No matter how talented you are as an artiste if you don’t have a huge fan base you are a failure. Success in the music industry can be attained through the strength of fans. The recent success of Teni’s London O2 Arena concert is an indication of the devotion her fan base has for her music.It is one thing to have devout fans, it is another thing to be able to engage them. Teni does this effortlessly. She feels the pulse of her fans and creates content that appeals to them. One of the reasons why her song, ‘Billionaire’ resonates with Nigerians is because it captures their aspirations. The song is an aspirational anthem for anyone who dreams of succeeding.
In an industry where talent is sometimes underrated over charm, glamour and charisma, Teni’s musical dexterity is not in doubt. Her Instagram page is replete with short melodious videos where the award-winning singer can be seen freestyling to a music progression. Little wonder she calls herself ‘the one take god’.
Yes the industry prefers its female entertainers skinny, flesh-baring with sex appeal to burn, but Teni is a total departure from this template. Rather she wears her baggy pants and allows her personality and talent to shine through. She would definitely be here for long.