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My Songs Are Heavily Influenced By My Culture, Language-Taiyel




The road to fame for most musicians is usually rough. Indeed, it has been for delectable dancehall and pop queen, Taiye Lawanson, popular as Taiyel. However, having scored several landmarks such as getting a feature as an up and coming Afrobeat Femcee on Fox Sports Boxing, HBO Ballers TV, and NXT Style Bag, Taiyel has found herself on track as an emerging popstar whose stars are aligning together in her favour. A full-fledged package and well-rounded popstar with a unique sound that is hard to replicate, Taiyel is the next big thing in the music industry. The US-based Nigerian spoke about her music, fashion, and more in this interview.

Taiyel, your stage name is intriguing, how did you come about it?

It was crafted years ago while I was looking for a stage name. It’s a combination of my first name Taiye and the first alphabet of my surname Lawanson. I felt it was right and unique at the moment I put it together. I knew the name stood for greatness, so I have embraced it ever since. I love my name and I get a lot of compliments from it.

What inspired your foray into music?

 I was initially doing music as a hobby and using my computer skills to make money.  While on a job, a client who wanted to start an entertainment company asked me to create a logo and a website for him. On getting to the location, I decided to be courageous and introduce my music to the owner Demgully Entertainment. I got a studio recording deal and record there for about a year. After a year, I requested a meeting with Demgully, played all my new recordings, and told them that I would love to sign a deal. They gave me a chance and we made it happen officially in 2018. We have been a team ever since. Demgully Entertainment has also been a blessing for managing my brand.

 Doing Afrobeat and Dancehall in America must be challenging, tell us about it.

It’s a little tough because it’s hard getting your music to the right listeners. Afrobeat does not have an official genre in the United States, and on digital streaming platforms.

 How then have you managed to push your brand?

My management and I created a marketing strategy that has been working well for us. My music has been getting to the right channels and audience. The response has been great and currently, my songs are doing very well in Nigeria, U.S, and many other countries.

Is it the success of the marketing strategy that has seen you on major platforms in recent times?


You are perhaps the only upcoming artiste that has been on highly rated platforms such as NXT Style Magazine, Fame Magazine, and HBO Ballers TV, how did you manage it?

My management was contacted by these publications and television shows. They explained their love for my sound and how they felt it was the right choice for their individual platforms. It was really great getting the coverage. My team has been making efforts to ensure that my songs get heard all over the world.

 You are currently promoting the song titled ‘Matter’, what is the inspiration behind it?

The song was done to change the perception of some people about Taiyel. I was inspired to actually say something about myself that a lot of people don’t know. I wanted to express another side of myself that a lot of people have been curious about. I loved every bit of making the song all the way to its outcome.

You are also planning to drop an EP, can you tell us more about it?

Yes. My EP is ready and would be released this year. We are currently rescheduling the release programme due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What makes your sound unique?

My sound has a fusion of my Nigerian root which is Afrobeats and my diaspora life and experience in New York City. Taking from the influence of the music in America and mixing it with Afrobeat led to my pioneering what I call the new Era Afrobeat, Afro-Fusion, or what you can call Afro Wave. My sound is really different from the Nigerian sound many may hear. It is also heavily influenced by my culture and my language. I always make sure my music finds a way to connect with every race be it Nigerian or foreign.

 You wrote your first song at the age of 14; produced your first beat at the age of 15, this is laudable.

I learned everything on my own. I am self-taught in all the skills I have acquired, but now I get a lot of support from young and old folks. I started producing in the earlier stage of my music discovery. Ever since I was signed, I began self-teaching myself as a sound engineer, I had a lot of time on my hands and full standard studio at the label office. I began to learn and I recorded 100 songs, mixing became the next step to get the sound right, so I moved on to acquiring the skill, I mixed some of my official songs such as ‘Enemi Say’ and ‘Matter’. I managed to juggle all these skills by being persistent. I knew I had to get things done without having to wait for anyone. I also felt I was the right person to define my own sound. I am always in the studio when I’m not touring. I like to be in the studio.

Your musical influence must be huge to have achieved this much at such a young age?

They are made up of great musicians that have shaped my sound. I am talking of artistes like Brenda Fassi, Sizla, Missy Eliot, Eve, and Akon.

Who are the artistes that you look forward to working in the near future?

A lot of them, but presently I am looking at Akon and Yemi Alade.

As a musician; how creative can you be?

I can be very creative. I once had a situation during a show in a New York club. The sound to my perfectly mixed song came out so badly that I had to tell the DJ to pause it, I sang the song acapella and the crowd loved it regardless, many of them told me they had more respect for my artistry.

 The relationship between record labels and artistes eventually get rusty; tell us about your label, Demgully Entertainment.

The journey with Demgully has been a blessing. Together we have managed and attained as many heights as we want to. Demgully is not just a management team, they are also family, I believe the future together will be full of many celebrations.

 How would you rate your acceptance in the Nigerian industry?

The acceptance has been great. I believe people are open to explore and discover the next sound and future of Afrobeats.

 Your most recent effort is titled ‘Matter,’ what is the inspiration behind the song?

The idea behind the song is to change the perception some people have about Taiyel. I was inspired to actually say something about myself that many may not know. Some say I act like a guy, but I wanted to tell them they might not be able to handle it if I got all sexy on them because I’m a go-getter. I believe I have been able to express another side of me that a lot of people have been curious about. I loved every bit of making the song all the way to its outcome.

 Let’s talk about your fashion; what is your style like?

My fashion has been evolving since I signed up with my label. I’m adventurous so you can say comfortable but still cute does it for me. I like to wear the type of cloths Aaliyah the artist would wear. I also sometimes like to be in a beautiful dress. It really just depends on my energy. I don’t really like heels, so I’m always in sneakers be it tall or short; it just needs to be comfortable.

Would you say the kind of music you do influence your look?

There is no denying the fact that they share similar elements. It is influenced by both my Nigerian and American culture.

The COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the world; how have you been able to impart on your fans?

I am someone that really cares about my fellow human as far as how I can help and empower anyone is concerned. I and my management Demgully Entertainment, do monthly give back to homeless children, nursing mothers in the United States, we also do it in Nigeria. We are currently planning to do it bigger this year in Nigeria and slowly spread across Africa.

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