Next To Blow

Next 2 Blow: Singing Yoruba Tunes Makes Me Unique - Tipsy

Wednesday, June 13, 2012Omobaswagz H


By Babajide Awoyinfa
Her name is a bit confusing – Oluwatipsy. But her ability is not in doubt. And to a certain degree she has earned herself a name in the UK before coming back home to become a fixture on the Nigerian music scene. 

The artiste, whose real name is Yewande Abiodun, currently signed to BigBoyz Entertainment, is one of the fast-rising female acts currently making ripples in the Nigerian music industry. Her first single, “Se N Gbomi”, featured Ice Prince and Bigboyz All-Stars. At the moment, she has two singles, “Ching Chong” and “Emi Noni,” which are rocking the airwaves. 

Tipsy is gradually becoming the rave of the moment and producers’ favourite. She has featured with top producers such as I.D Cabasa, JJC, TeeBee O and Ay Mix. Similarly she has collaborated with an array of artistes that include 9ice, Orezi, Seriki, Ajayi Brothers, Rayce and Harrysong among others.


In a recent interview, the Business Economy undergraduate of East London University, England, explained the rationale behind her affinity for using Yoruba language as the staple of her song. She also disclosed how UK-based hit-maker, JJC, made her to take a career U-turn from dancing to singing. Excerpts.

How did you come about your stage names - Oluwatipsy, One-Man Mopol or Chingchong?
My friends gave me Tipsy back when I was in school, and I decided to add the prefix “Oluwa” (meaning God) because God is the Most High. Interpreted, Oluwatipsy means ‘God is the most high’. Besides, all my siblings except me have got Oluwa at the beginning of their names. So I decided to affix it in front of Tipsy. “One-Man Mopol” implies I am always by myself.

My real name is Yewande Olusola Abiodun. I was born into a family of four. I am the last girl. I grew up with my mum because I lost my dad when I was only two.  I attended St. Louis Nursery and Primary School, Akure, and Federal Government Girls College, also in Akure.  Then, I moved to the UK where I am now studying Business Economy at the University of East London.  A lot of people misconstrue my stage name – they perceive me as a drunk - and erroneously assume that I’d act like a drunk too whenever I steps on a stage to perform.  I neither drink nor smoke; it’s just the kind of inspiration I get from God that makes me different from other people.

How did you start musically?
I was a dancer back then. I used to be a church drummer when I was younger. I was also a dancer before I left Nigeria. When I moved to UK, I started singing and rapping. And I also do dance videos by myself – I danced to songs of Nigerian artists, recorded the sessions and then uploaded them on YouTube just to promote myself. The day that changed it all was when a friend took me to JJC’s studio to pay him a visit. JJC said that he had been seeing my videos on the internet. He told me that he would help me to develop my talent because he believed that I have got the swag and talent to be an artist to reckon with. My music career actually started in 2010 when JJC signed me. He helped me developed my manner of singing and rapping which is skewed towards the modern Yoruba style, which I now find myself doing.    Music has always been in me; I loved music since my childhood. I grew up in a church environment.  Back then, I loved drumming on the table and singing - that was how I learnt how to drum and flow along with songs. 

I lost my dad at a tender age, and it was hard for me growing up. It was then that I cultivated the habit of composing song and writing them down so as not to forget. I composed songs from my personal experience; things I see, things I observe. I also consulted people I recognized as being musically-inclined, who put me through by telling me to add this and that, until I got the basics of songwriting perfect.

What were the songs that moulded you as you were growing up?
While growing up, I listened to different kinds of songs, but I later developed interest in Dagrin’s songs. The late Dagrin still inspires me till date, because of the whole Yoruba rap fixation in his song which is similar to the way I sing too. You can listen to every bit of what he is saying as it is clear and sensible. He was very lyrical content-wise. I also grew up listening to Yoruba legends such as Musiliu, Sikiru Ayinde, King Sunny Ade and Wasiu Ayinde. I have always loved Yoruba songs and I find myself very expressive when I use Yoruba tunes throughout my songs.

    Tipsy Locking it down @ M.I UK Album  Launch
Would you say that growing up in Akure influenced your love for Yoruba tunes?
I lived in Akure for 16 years before I travelled to London. I believe that if I had probably grown in Akure till now, I would probably erroneously believe singing in Yoruba is local, especially judging by the prevalent way some people see it. But when I went to London and I saw that not many people were proud to be Yoruba or proud to speak the language, then I thought of it that if I modernise my song in Yoruba, I will be very different; more so, being a girl as well helped me to reinforce that decision - because girls sometimes like to pretend as if they can speak only in English.

How would you personally define your musical style?
My musical style generally is Yoruba rap. However, I also switch to a bit of eccentric “chingchong” things. Just I and spiritual people will understand the chingchong concept.
How do you see female music in Nigeria?
I believe it is growing. We have the likes of Tiwa Savage, Muna, Eva, Sasha - you look at these people and they inspire you a lot because they’ve got different things that you can pick from them. I believe if people can give us enough chance, it will keep us going. They now play our songs well because they know that we’ve got talent.

What can you say about Dagrin?
We were Facebook and phone friends. We were just about arranging to meet at a show he was meant to come and perform at in the United Kingdom when we heard that he passed away. It really hurt me because I knew him very well and we did contact each other every day, hoping to meet some day.   Dagrin made me have confidence in believing in my dreams and not letting anyone deter me. 


How do you feel being a part of the Big Boyz crew?
It feels good to be amongst people who share the same dream as you, who also sometimes understand the challenges you face which you cannot tell other people about. Apart from that, we are like brothers and sisters. We are good.

Tell us about your achievements so far in music?
I was privileged to be part of the AfroBeats Festival 2011 Hammersmith (London) where I performed alongside artistes such as P-Square, WizKid, May 7, Ice Price , JJC & BigBoyz Allstars.  Also I have performed at events such as the City People Awards 2011 (Lagos) and Three City UK tour with Wande Coal (London, Manchester, Hudderfield). Similarly I have opened an Etisalat event at the Silverbird Galleria (Lagos) and AY Live at the 02 Arena (UK) in 2011. I have also performed at the University of Abuja on the occasion of a product launch sponsored by Etisalat in 2011. My performance portfolio also includes the Nigerian Music Video Awards (NMVA) 2011.

Tipsy with jimmy Jatt
Your last words for your fans? 
I love you all. Keep supporting me. I need your prayers most and ideas, because without you all, there will be no me. Thank you very much.  Feel free to hola @ me on Twitter: @tipsyenupo. You can also join my Facebook fan page on www.facebook.com/tipsyofficial. Ask me question and stay connected. Also to see new videos check www.youtube.com/tipsyofficial


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