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‘I might just have to go butt naked’ – Tiwa Savage

But the problem is, though, how is she going to be able to follow it up?

It’s been an amazing year for Tiwa Savage, one of the biggest names in afrobeats and one of the biggest female artists in Africa right now.

She signed a major deal with Universal Music Group and she roared back into the limelight last year with the sophisticated and distinctive single 49-99, which was accompanied by a stunning and original video.

When I caught up with her she told me that she had been taken by surprise herself at how arresting the video was:

When I saw the edit I was, like, ‘This is amazing…'”

But the problem is, though, how is she going to be able to follow it up?

I might just have to go butt naked in my next video, because I don’t know what else I’m going to have to do to top that one!

And, just to put it out there, this was done in Nigeria. All the cast is Nigerian, the director, the AP, everybody is Nigerian.

I love the fact that I could present this to the label and say this was done in Africa by Africans, this is what we can do. Imagine when you invest in us even more, you would get amazing work.”

If the lockdown continues, Tiwa might have to end up shooting her next video on her iPhone in her house.

She told me that she would do this if it was the only way – she’s determined to carry on releasing music whatever this virus throws at us.

“I’m not going to starve my fans again,” she said, referring to the long gap before 49-99.

Tiwa’s new collaboration with Young Jonn and Joeboy, Let Them Know, has made waves on social media, with fans being challenged to imitate or improvise on Tiwa’s post, which sees her throw some jewellery and clothes in a bowl, stir it around and emerge as a more glamorous version of herself.

We’re going through this pandemic, so the idea was I want to let them know that I’m still a boss, that I’m still beautiful, that I’m still African – and people have been really really creative with it which is amazing.”

Tiwa’s new album, Celia, named after her mother, is due for release soon, and she’ll be dropping a single from it in the next couple of weeks.

The album is a whole mix of the emotions an African woman goes through: love, aspiration, being bossy, being sexy, being vulnerable. All of that is what I think the modern African woman is, and that’s what I wanted to portray.”

Tiwa says the lockdown has given her valuable time to think about her career to date, what she wants to do next and what she wants to be remembered for.

It’s also made her very conscious of the lives of other people:

It’s really touched my heart to see that people are having a hard time during this. I mean we’re blessed to be at home, we have light, we can pile up food for months if we want to. But there’s some people who can’t, people who only have money for today, or food for today. So this pandemic has really opened my heart to the real situation of where the world is right now.”

The full interview with Tiwa Savage will be broadcast on the BBC World Service’s This Is Africa programme from Saturday 16 May. You will then be able to listen to it here.

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