Tinubu you don hit my car
Popularly known as the Golden Boy of Africa, Afro hip-hop star, Tony Tetuila, says music has always been his hobby since youth. Daily Sun in a recent interview learnt how Tetuila started his musical career and how he rose to become one of the most successful young artistes in the country today. Not minding his status as a star, Tetuila gave reasons why most celebrities alienate themselves from the less privileged in society, noting that he prefers to be simple and humble.
My name is Anthony Olarewanju Owutoyin (a.k.a. Tony Tetuila), the Golden Boy of Africa. I hail from Kwara State. I was born and raised in Lagos in the family of the late Chief and Mrs. Olarewanju, who has been my inspiration since I was a child. I'm the last of eight children, while two are late.
I attended Catherine Modern Primary School and had my secondary education at St. Finbarrs College and I later obtained HND in Business Administration from Kwara State Polytechnic.
How I started
I started music in 1998 alongside my former group called Remedies. In 1999 I went solo, and produced my first album entitled, Morning Time in which I had the hit track Omo de meta n'sere. It was a very impressive work and the album was well received in the market and made a mark for me in the entertainment industry, although, the Remedies gave me fame. I appreciate God for my first album, for using it as a starting point to success in my career.
In 2001, I released my second album entitled, My Car which was a very big success in the market. It was well sold both here and abroad. My fans really appreciate the album and it enjoyed airplay both on radio and television. In 2003, I did another mind blowing one entitled, E go Better which I did in collaboration with Tictac, a popular Ghanaian musician who featured in the track in Fefe Na Efe.
My inspiration comes from God. Actually, music used to be my hobby but it later turned out to be my career. I give God all the praise because without Him I don't think I would have attained the level I am today. So, I can gladly say that the Lord and my mother are my sources of inspiration.
Tony Tetuila is my stage name. I got it when I was in the Polytechnic. It means I love you. When I started music, my group suggested that I adopt the name as my stage name.
Kind of music
I sing Afro hip-hop but now I am diverting into hip-life which I learned in Ghana. Now, I do some afro hip-hop and hip life beats in my music, particularly the track in which I featured the VIP of Ghana.
Impact of my music
My music has really affected Nigerians. It has also given me fame both in and outside the country. My music has taken me to a lot of places in the world and I believe that it is the Lord's doing. I must tell you that I'm very proud to be a Nigerian. Anywhere I go in the world, I'm always delighted to represent my country.
For example, my album, E go better is a song of praise for Nigeria. I did the song to encourage Nigerians in respect of our poor economy. I used it as a message of encouragement that things will definitely change someday, no matter how bad it is today. They should try and engage in something profitable here in Nigeria instead of travelling abroad to do odd jobs.
Life as a musician
Actually, being an artiste is really encouraging but there are some things one can't do like any other person. When you are a star, you have become the people's idol. You can't walk on the streets freely without your fans appreciating you and sometimes you are embarrassed by some of them.
Reactions of fans
My fans always make me happy. Whenever I see them, I thank God for having them around me because I know that without them, there would be no Tony Tetuila. I promise never to let them down and that is why I have been doing everything possible to work hard and make them happy and give them the best.
I'm working on my new album. Hopefully before the end of this month, it will hit the market in a very big way.
The album, Free Soldier has about eight tracks and featured the popular Ghanaian musician called VIP in one of the tracks entitled, Two Women. Free Soldier is an account of a painful experience I had. This is a true life story that really affected my life and anytime I remember it, I feel bad because relationship or marriage is supposed to be built on love and not fame. But today I thank God for attaining the height I am and I know that He who has stood by me all these years will not let me down. I also have other tracks like Put d drink, Baby love, Rock the party, Prayer for Nigeria, Omo Eko.
I am planning to own my record label Tetuila Records. I have two artistes on ground now called Tony Robinson and Kasha. I featured them in my new album and particularly, Tony Robinson in Omolara and Omo Eko.
I think they are wonderful artistes and all they need is one to encourage them in the industry. I believe they will help the recording company to grow and I'm ready to give them all the assistance they deserve. I will give them the opportunity of realizing their dreams as musicians. And with God solidly on our side, the project will be very fruitful in the future.
I will always appreciate Kennis Music for the love they have shown me so far. In the recent times, I would say it is nice doing business with them. I must say they are wonderful people. I thank them for their marvelous assistance and care.
The industry is really growing today. It can't be compared to what it was four years ago. Our artistes are recognised internationally and are being nominated and given different awards. Tu face Idibia won the MTV Base award and I was nominated in South Africa and won the first Channel 0 Reel Award 2003. With all these awards and others, it shows that the future of the industry is really bright.
Failure in the industry
The failure in the industry is the issue of piracy. It's annoying that after working in the studio to release an album, some enemies will just gang up to pirate them. It is not encouraging at all. It doesn't give us joy as artistes. People can as well help us to fight piracy by discouraging those who are fond of buying pirated copies.
Femi Kuti and Lagbaja are the ones I look up to because they play my kind of music. I appreciate the way they deliver their messages through music.
Recently, in South Africa, I was awarded the Best Performing African Musician. The track Fefe na fe which I did with Tictac fetched me the Best Collaboration Award of the Year, and the first ever in Ghana.Others include, the NTA Award, City People Award, Sickle Cell Foundation's Certificate of Recognition in recognition of my contribution to the development of the National Sickle Cell Centre and for bringing hope to the African child.
The award was presented to me in September, 2005 by Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, wife of the Lagos State governor. There was also the Coliseum-in-Concert award presented to me on December 28, 2002. Diamond award was also presented to me by the wife of the Governor of Lagos while Merit Award was given to me by the Governor of Lagos State.
Advice to upcoming artistes
If they want to be like Tony or an achiever, the first thing they have to do is to be humble. When you are humble, God will never fail to bless you. As it is written in the Bible that humility is next to godliness. This is because without God, no one can make it in life.
They should believe in themselves in whatever they are doing. The Lord will order their steps to prosperity and I believe the Lord will never disappoint them. And to my fans, I promise to always give them the best. I love them. They should stay away from drugs and always remember to play safe.