Tonye Garrick’s name may not readily ring a bell, but the songstress has been around for quite sometime. In 2010, she sang an emotional acapella titled “What about us?” which captured the hearts of many and was later used for the Nigerian Youth Presidential debate in 2011. She made her debut last December with a single currently enjoying airplay, ‘Were Niyen’. This sultry singer speaks to LANRE ODUKOYA about her career and aspirations
What made you think music is the best for you?
I started singing when I as 11 years old and it was by accident. I was just doing it anywhere I found myself in the church. I didn’t take it seriously until I relocated to the United States and started getting auditioned for reality shows. At that point, I began to see many possibilities. And I realised how well the Nigerian music industry is doing. So, I decided to make the best use of the opportunities back home. Music is actually the best way for me to communicate with the world, tell my story and be heard.
What kind of music do you do?
I do R&B and Afro pop, sometimes I try my hands on dancehall songs and just deliver something you can’t forget soon. My style is eclectic, sultry, smooth, expressive and honest, and it just leaves you asking for more. My musical influences range from legendary artists such as Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Brandy, Aaliyah and Maldon.
How about your lyrical contents?
I have amazing stories to tell from personal experience and they form part of my songs. Some of my lyrical contents are sourced from my day-to-day experience as I go out and return home. I realized that there’s something to learn from every little thing we don’t take cognizance of.
What do you hope to do differently from the pack?
I noticed that what you find around are sweet choruses and everything inspiring dance. But in my music, I compromise both ways, having sweet melodies and quality lyrical substance. My music is a message. I think once in a while, we should sit back and play some music that makes us reflect on some important aspects of our lives.
How many songs do you have already?
I don’t have my debut album yet, I released one of my singles in December. It was titled Were Niyen (Insanity). I have twenty songs already and I cannot promise that I’m going to have an album in two months, but I may consider doing that when I’m sure it’s the best time. Right now, I’m focusing on releasing the singles and developing my brand till more people get to know me.
Who are those you would like to sing with in Nigeria?
I really like Burna Boy right now. Iyanya is also somebody I would like to sing with. I would like to do a song with Black Magic and I met Omawumi last year, she’s got an amazing voice. I would equally like to do songs with Omawumi and Tiwa Savage. I know Tiwa draws her inspiration from Brandy and so do I.
Tell us a bit more about your background
Born in England, I spent most of my childhood and adult years in Paris, Nigeria and Washington DC. From a very young age, I had already begun forging my musical path as I dabbled into dance and theatre both in and outside of school. After obtaining a degree in International Business & Fashion Merchandising from Marymount University, I had a stint in corporate America where I served with different accounting firms as a consultant.