As the 'year we'll never forget' makes it's grand exit, Afrobeats star Tekno aligns himself with all of the BEST for the new year ahead! On December 10th, after 7 years of smash singles, the international afro-pop star added some sonic relief to rest on the laurels of 2020. His debut album "Old Romance" (Island/Def Jam) arrived just in time to sonically take us to the FUTURE! We got a chance to dive into some Q&A with the Nigerian born hitmaker discussing everything from quality time to… calls to work with [Queen] Beyoncé herself??!
Photography: Tobi Tej
You started releasing music in 2013, where did your love for music begin and when did you know that this was what you wanted to do with your life?
I've always been passionate about music, even from a young age. I always wanted to share the melodies and sounds I created in my head. Opportunity meets preparation and here i am.
Fast forward to 2019 and you’re on a record with THEE BEYONCÉ! What was it like, receiving the call that 'Queen Bey' herself wanted to work with you?
I mean to be honest, I didn't see it coming and I felt honored, I mean it's Beyoncé, we can all agree she's the queen , her call meant I was a recognized artist and that she knew that I could create great music with her.
Afrobeats has really grown in international popularity even heavier within the last 6 years. Your contributions with huge hits like 'Duro' & 'Pana' were super instrumental in moving the genre globally. What do you think the future of the afrobeats genre will be in say, 6 years from now? & What specifically would you like to contribute to it?
Afrobeats is only getting started and it's been growing like wildfire, 6 years from now I know that Afrobeats will be a genre that's as common as reggae or reggaeton. We set trends that the entire world picks up on and our music brings an energy like no other. In 6 years I hope for more great music, more structure in the industry and more opportunities for female artists as well.
Has there been a pinnacle or defining moment in your career so far that really made you realize that you’d “made it”?
For me, there is no pinnacle, just continued success and shattering my goals and creating new ones, being on top of my game and loving my life, that's me 'making it"!
7 years after your electrifying start, you finally decide to release your first full debut album. Why now? What was it about this year, this time, that gave you the personal green light to take the full leap?
It was just the right time, this year taught me not to take time for granted, I really wanted to give my fans a piece of me that would connect with them, I worked long and hard to deliver something I knew my fans would love.
We know for artists their songs are like their babies, but if you HAD to choose, which would you say is your favorite track on ‘Old Romance’?
That's like choosing between your right foot and left leg, I simply can not lol -I'll let you all decide :)
If you had to give a description of ‘Old Romance’ as a complete body of work, for loyal and new listeners alike, in your own words; what is the album about & what does it mean to you?
Well, it's a journey through the experience that love brings you, a love that I'm sure most have never felt and don't know how to give, It's beautiful, real, fun, sexy and passionate. Old Romance is a blueprint, a playbook, a guide; listen and you will learn!!! LOL!
Who is your personal favorite artist of all time?
Honestly, for me, that's impossible to answer. I live and breath music, between today and tomorrow the answer might be different. Music feeds the soul and sometimes the soul needs different things , different moods, different deliveries, different messages. -Am I allowed to say me? :-D
Do you have any hidden talents or skills that fans might be surprised to learn about?
Hmmm, I give a lot of myself to my fans, you guys know I'm a gamer, dancer, producer, actor, writer and well....singer. Hmmm I can draw, maybe that will surprise you? Ha!
We ask every famous face this (our favorite) question, the answers vary from items to life experiences, favorite pastimes and everything in between: what’s YOUR definition of luxury?
Well the standard of luxury is different for everyone, for me, it's comfortably being able to buy nice things for me and my loved ones without thinking twice. Luxury could also be free time, cause its also possible for someone to not have the luxury of a nap right? lol
What does it mean to you to get to represent your people, your culture, your heritage like this on the world’s stage?
It makes me proud to know I'm part of the new age pioneers who put the Afrobeat wave on the global map, West Africa, Nigeria all of it. We collectively made and continue to make history, feels good, I'm doing what I am destined to do.
2020 was a huge year for global social justice spotlights from the US to Nigeria & beyond. Do you have a stance as it pertains to the SARS injustices/END SARS movement that took root in Nigeria & were you at all able to use your spotlight to help move the conversation forward?
Do I have a stance? YES! -Me standing outside with my people during the protest tells you where I stand, I stand for a better, stronger, smarter, healthier Nigeria, that's where I stand.
The way we can access music from anywhere in the world these days is amazing, literally every day new fans are undoubtedly being created & discovering your music. Describe yourself for us in 6 words:
Calm, talented, handsome, creative, confident, perfectionist.
Finally, please finish this sentence for us? -In 2021 Tekno will:
-Continue to deliver the music you know and love!
Old romance boasts 14 full tracks that are a definitive body of work, evermore impressive as a debut. Editor’s picks: Tumbo***, Catalia, Family Issues, Neighbor, Armageddon, Enjoy, Mistakes. -Old Romance is available globally on all platforms!
-Corey S. Guevarra, Editor In Chief