I AM A HUGE SUCKER FOR LOVE
My daddy was an accountant who lived in the U.K. Life was interesting but nomadic. I was moving up and down. I was in Abuja, and Lagos. I had my primary and secondary school education in Abuja. I came back to Lagos for university education. I went to law school and then went to Zamfara State for the youth service. I moved around a lot. I started singing as early as nine-year-old in an Anglican church in Abuja, but professionally in 1997. I was in a group and we went around singing and we even earned money. I did something with Kennis' Music. I used to do back-up for them but a lot of people didn't know because I wasn't popular then, you wouldn't have known that it was Tosin Martins behind the microphone.
Music, my passion
God has been very gracious to me letting me know early on that this is what I am supposed to do. I am a lawyer. I am qualified as a lawyer. In fact, if I was practising I would be eight years in the bar this year, and in two years, I should be qualified to become an Attorney General of a state. I am not practising law because music is what I want to do, it is my passion; it is what I love. Even if I am not into music, I would be doing something around music maybe investing in talents, writing songs for people, being on music reality TV shows, doing a music TV show or something that is music related. I'll be running a label or something because I just love music.
So much in little time
I have done so much in a very little time in this industry. I was the first artiste to open the first eviction show of the Big Brother Nigeria, me and Weird MC. I have performed at various levels that amazed me, God has been faithful. I have performed for presidents. I have been in and out of the country. We were in America last year doing a concert so, I have actually been working. I've been busy. I just need to communicate more with the fans and keep the audience engaged.
On Naija Sings
I have been working tirelessly in the studio. I have been working on the set of reality shows. I was the resident judge on Glo Naija Sings, which took up half of my year. We were moving around the country looking for talents, and I have also been in the studio recording. Unknown to many people, I actually put out two new albums around this time last year. The two albums have the same title, Higher the Expression and Higher the Confession.
Dual fan base
There are two parts to Tosin Martins' fans base. There is the core gospel fan base and there is the secular fan base for those who love my social songs. There are those who like the Tosin Martins who is from the church, they want me to play gospel songs which I always do because of who I am. I am a Christian, I believe in sharing my faith with people. So, I successfully run both and I haven't had any problem. Somebody has to blur the line and let people know that what we call secular is not evil. It is only evil to use secular patterns to promote things that do not in any way edify God. I am a musician. I have the right to be a musician and use my music to promote my faith.
On my new albums
The Expression is secular while The Confession is gospel. The two albums came out last year. But we are actually planning to take them off the market because the communication was not effective. That is purely because we couldn't get a marketer who had the capacity to push it out in the volume that is visible enough. There is the demand, people have seen new videos and they are wondering where is the album. So, what we have decided to do is to pull it off, take it off the market and then re-issue it with newer songs on another marketing platform that is stronger and more visible. We are in the middle of that right now but we have left the videos for communications just to keep people engaged until that is done.
The Expression album
This album that we are reissuing is actually one bouquet of collaborations that is on another level. There are Banky W, Jesse Jagz, M.I, and Ego on this album, also there is Sage doing a skit for us. Rooftop MC is on the gospel album. I am a very political and socially conscious person. I talk about issues of national development and the society. I am from Lagos State. I just did a song, Welcome to Lagos because we don't really have any song right now that you can call a Lagos anthem, something that the new generation of young people and the older generation can connect to and say anytime you think Lagos you think about this song. Secondly, there is Made in Nigeria, which was in my first album. It is a fuji song but we tried to incorporate some modern expressions into it and I have Nateo C on the new one. Also, there is a song about children entitled, Why. When I served in Zamfara State in 2002 or 2003, I had the opportunity to see firsthand the plight of children on the streets and I wrote a song, Why. It is like the diary of a street kid and it's in the secular album.
Yes, I love perfect love. I am a huge sucker for love. It doesn't necessarily mean that I am a perfect lover but I love to love. I love the idea of perfect love. I don't know about being the best lover on earth because there are no standards for rating that. But I think I do my best to be as much a lover as I sing about. And sometimes I sing about it because I desire to attain that perfect love. So, singing about it keeps me in touch with the idea of perfect love. It is possible. It is a journey but it's possible.
How I met my wife
I started singing way before I met my wife. I met her in church. We courted for about two years, we were off and on but today we have been married for five years. Yes, my wife is the beneficiary of the song, Olo Mi because I didn't release it until I met her. She came into the studio and listened to the song. She critiqued it and told us what she thought. We went to work on what she pointed out, at the end of the day, it was really her song. No, it's a dangerous thing to sing for women. The truth that I have found out is that it is dangerous to sing for women. I don't think I have what women really want apart from the love songs. I don't have all the money in the world, I am not the finest of guys and I am not D'banj or Banky W, two people I know girls will do anything to be with. I am lucky I don't have that much girl trouble. But I got lucky with my wife. I am a father now. I have a son who was a year old on July 5. In fact, he was born a week after I was born on June 28.
I can't count the number of weddings at which I had performed Olo Mi. It could be up to 100. With Olo Mi, I have won about three awards. I haven't been very lucky with awards because these days, awards are more about the hip culture.
I am going to be in concert next month at the Shell Hall, Muson Centre, and it's actually the first of its kind in the sense that we are doing a live recording. Everything we are doing on that day is going to become documented as an album and video. Even members of the audience are going to be part of the production without them knowing it. They are buying tickets to come but when they get to the show, they are going to see that we have set up for them to be part of the production. Things like these are just part of the many things that I want to start doing. It is called Sound Sound.