“My songs come from the eye of an emotional storm” – Tega Ethan

Tega Ethan is one of the most exciting and talented musical acts coming out of Nigeria’s music scene. His music, a combination of deliciou...

Tega Ethan is one of the most exciting and talented musical acts coming out of Nigeria’s music scene. His music, a combination of delicious poetry, heart-strumming sounds, and some heartbreaking lyrics, is a different offering from the usual fast and upbeat sound that is the widely travelled and accepted Afrobeats. In this interview with BellaNaija’s Nnebuifé Kwubeï, the Ibadan-based musician talks about how he started writing songs, his creative process, what Ibadan means to him, opening for Johnny Drille, his background in poetry, and his journey so far.

Read the full interview below:

Hello Tega, How are you?

Hi Kwubeï, I’m doing marvellously well, I’ve been having great food and the weather is perfect.

How did you start your songwriting journey?

Honestly, I can’t remember the exact moment, but I remember writing choruses for fun for my elder brother who used to make rap songs when we were kids. I was about 12 years old then. I can pinpoint that as the start of my journey.

You mentioned that you started songwriting before singing; what inspired the latter?

I started really singing intentionally when my elder brother introduced me to Ed Sheeran’s “Multiply” Album. That project inspired me to be a performer, and for that I had to sing.

You have opened for The Cavemen and Johnny Drille; how was that experience? And how are you finding your feet in this room that’s Afrobeats-centric?

Opening for Johnny Drille came rather early in my career. I had chosen to go pro in 2018, and opening for a big act in my field was all the validation that a young artist could require. The opening gig for The Cavemen was equally exciting, it was nice to watch their genius and connect with very talented artists.

Navigating the Afrobeat-centric space that is the Nigerian industry, has been pretty hectic. It can feel very lonely sometimes and there’s a lot of voices saying “it isn’t worth it.” In the end I have had to accept that I’m doing majorly for myself with the hope that songs will find others who appreciate this form of music. Over the past one year, I’ve found that Nigerians do appreciate my alternative style as long as I can get the song over to them.

What’s your creative process when writing love songs and heartbreak songs? Are they the same?

My creative process is the same across the board when I am writing for myself. The songs usually come in the eye of an emotional storm. I walk into that peaceful centre and a song is usually in there waiting for me.

Being based in Ibadan, Nigeria, how does the local culture and environment inspire or shape the themes in your music, especially those centred around love and heartbreak?

The major thing Ibadan gives me is peace of mind. It has been the perfect breeding ground for my art and for a lot of Nigerian legendary artists. There’s something about the city that makes it compatible with genius, and I sometimes find elements of Ibadan in the songs I make. Whether love or heartbreak, this city lets you have your way.

Is there any artist, locally or internationally, that you would love to collaborate with? And why?

Internationally, I’d really love to work with Ed Sheeran. I think that would be fun and he has inspired me a great deal. Right here at home, I really hope to make music with Asa. she is one of the reasons I was bold enough to make my kind of songs as a Nigerian.

Which current Nigerian song do you wish you wrote or sang?

Hmmm, I wish I wrote Omah Lay’s “I’m a mess.” He is another artist I’d love to work with. Amazing Musician.

As a rising star, building a fan base is crucial. How do you engage with your audience, particularly when it comes to discussing the heavy and pure emotions your songs carry?

Rising star? fingers crossed… haha. Right from the start, I’ve always taken the approach of having a warm relationship with my listeners. It’s what feels more natural. I have a mailing list, I have one-on-one conversation in person and in the DMs – although this is getting more difficult as I grow a larger community – and I care and nature my audience. It’s about being a source of value.

Your songs are as soft and feathery as poems. Do you have a background in poetry?

Technically I wrote poetry before songs. I even have an instagram page for poetry that I ran around 2018 but no one’s ever gonna find it – haha.

Who is Yinka?

Yinka is every one of us. We deserve that unconditional type of love.


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What’s the last book you read?

“God’s Children are Little Broken Things” by Arinze Ifeakandu

Can you tell us about a specific song that holds personal significance to you and the story behind its creation?

Pretty Little Lady. It is the first song off my first EP from 2020. I wrote it for my little niece. I had been staying at my uncle’s place in Lagos while I was in a singing competition. I got to meet my niece properly for the first time. I’m not very close to my extended family so it was nice to relate to someone who was family and not a sibling. The fact that I do not have any sisters made it even cuter. She saw me playing my guitar and asked me to write her a song. I finished the song the night before I had to leave but I didn’t get to sing it to her because she was out with the mum that day. I still haven’t seen her again since then, partly my fault, but I have seen people connect with the song in ways that I could never have imagined. I love performing it.

What’s the journey been like for you from “McCarthy Street” to “Falling in Love Is Like Lagos Traffic”?

The journey has been difficult and exciting. I have been to many cities, played on stages I could only have dreamed about, and gotten so much appreciation towards my art. I learnt to produce and engineer music so that I could make “Falling in Love is Like Lagos Traffic” and with that came a lot of growth. I have also changed a bunch, learnt a lot of things about myself, and confirmed that I will never know it all. Having conquered perfectionism and a fear of inadequacy, I am ready to give Nigerians, Africans and the rest of the world, soundtracks to the special moments of their life.

How do you balance the vulnerability of pouring your heart into your music with maintaining a sense of privacy in your personal life, especially when drawing from real experiences?

I have familiarised myself with the art of saying a lot, and being sincere, without saying too much. I also make music for myself first, so I’m only doing what I want to do, and saying what I want to say. I just stay sincere to myself and respect my own boundaries.

What’s next for you, Tega Ethan?

An album that will go down as one of the greatest albums in Nigerian history. Thanks a whole bunch.

Photo Credit: @bellcaspiphotography

The post “My songs come from the eye of an emotional storm” – Tega Ethan appeared first on BellaNaija - Showcasing Africa to the world. Read today!.



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Google9ja | Entertainment | Nigerian Latest News online: “My songs come from the eye of an emotional storm” – Tega Ethan
“My songs come from the eye of an emotional storm” – Tega Ethan
Google9ja | Entertainment | Nigerian Latest News online
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