Spotify, the world’s leading music streaming service, is thrilled to announce Teniola Apata, popularly known as Teni, as its EQUAL Africa artist for the month of August. Since her arrival on the Nigerian music scene, the award winning Nigerian songwriter, singer, performer, actress and social media sensation has become one of the most sought after names in the African music sphere.
This recognition comes as part of Spotify’s ongoing commitment to promoting diversity and equality in the music industry and celebrating talented female artists from diverse backgrounds. Teni’s selection as EQUAL Africa ambassador further solidifies her position as one of Africa’s leading musical talents.
“We are delighted to have Teni as our EQUAL Africa programme ambassador for August” says Spotify’s Head of Music for Sub-Saharan Africa, Phiona Okumu. “The uniqueness of her music, dedication to her craft and growing fandom truly spotlights her as an inspiration in the African music scene. Celebrating Teni and her musical journey definitely aligns with our commitment to recognising the unique experiences of female artists through their music; from all corners of the continent.”
Teni released her first single, Fargin in 2017, and has since built an impressive catalogue comprising three musical projects, and popular tracks such as Wait, Askamaya, Uyomeyo, Billionaire For You and more. Her recent release, No Days Off, off her upcoming album in the fall of 2023 was listed as one of the best songs of 2023 by Rolling Stone.
Fondly referred to by fans as Makanaki or Sugar Mummy, the multi-talented singer is highly versatile and effortlessly moves across genres from Afrobeats, pop, RnB and more. Her music is influenced by King Wasiu Ayinde, King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Osita Osadebe and Dolly Parton.
As an EQUAL Africa artist, Teni will be featured prominently on the Spotify platform, offering her fans and music enthusiasts across the globe the opportunity to delve into her rich musical catalogue, gaining a deeper appreciation for her exceptional talent and contributions to the music industry.
Teni says, “To be honest, it’s not easy but thanks to initiatives like the EQM program which helps to spotlight more female talents, we can make more progress. I’ll keep using my platform to push and make space for opportunities like these to help more female talents to thrive.”
Her infectious energy, unique vocal prowess, and captivating melodies have earned her numerous nominations and awards both home and abroad.
1. What is that one surprising thing your fans might not know about you?
I love staying indoors. Give me NBA 2K, some food in bed and I’m going nowhere. I have been exploring the outdoors a little bit more though.
2. When did you realise that making music was in your destiny and what is your WHY for pursuing this craft?
Making music is an extension of who I am and what my earthly purpose and mission is. It is a way to know I exhausted all my God-given talents to inspire, entertain and enlighten people to be more and do more by being their true unique selves irregardless of what the society thinks.
3. Which African songs or artists did you grow up listening to?
I have always loved music from a young age as I grew up in a large family with a diverse taste in music from traditional Nigerian gospel music, fuji, hip hop, RnB and more. However, there are some African artistes that I would say had a huge impact on me which are King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, Funmi Aragbaye, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba, King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Osita Osadebe, Shina Peters amongst many other iconic artists.
4. To someone who has never heard your music, how would you describe the sound, tone, and style?
I will say Afro-pop but with a fusion of gospel, fuji, hip hop and RnB delivered with a mixture of ruggedness or sometimes soft emotional energy especially when it comes to love songs. I can be hard on the outside but I’m a sucker for love. Well who isn’t?
5. Any advice for someone dreading following their dreams?
Never give up on your dreams. It might get lonely, dark, frustrating but find the little light around by doing everything that is needed to get you there.