Tiwatope Savage, born February 5, 1980, is a British-Nigerian singer, songwriter, and actress. She was born in Isale Eko and attended secondary school in London when she was 11 years old. Five years later, she began her music career, performing synth sounds for artists such as George Michael and Mary J. Blige. After appearing on the UK edition of The X Factor and graduating from Berklee College of Music, Savage signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing in 2009. Inspired by the developments in the Nigerian music industry, Savage returned to Nigeria in 2012 and signed with Mavin Records.
Her debut studio album, Once Upon a Time, was released on July 3rd, 2013. To accompany it, seven singles were released: Kele Kele Love, Love Me, Without My Heart, Ife Wa Gbona, Folarin, Olorun Mi, and Eminado. The album was nominated for Best Album of the Year at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards, as well as Best R&B/Pop Album at The Headies 2014. R.E.D., Savage’s second studio album, was released on December 19, 2015. “My Darlin” and “Standing Ovation” were two singles from the album. In June 2016, Roc Nation signed Savage to a management and publishing deal. Her debut EP, Sugarcane, was released in September 2017. R.E.D and Sugarcane have been nominated for Best Album at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
Tiwa Savage was the first female Nigerian musician to be nominated for a BET award in 2014. The same year, she won the best female category at the Channel O music awards (2014). In 2018, she was also nominated for the award. In 2014, she was nominated for the MTV European Music Award, which she went on to win in 2018.
Savage became the first woman to win Best African Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards in November 2018. She announced her record deal with Universal Music Group and departure from Mavin Records in May 2019. Savage sings in both English and Yoruba, and her music incorporates Afrobeats, R&B, pop, and hip-hop. Savage’s contributions to the Nigerian music industry have earned her a number of honors. She has worked on projects for youth empowerment and breast cancer screening, as well as raising funds to build schools in Nigeria.
Early Life & Education
Tiwatope Savage was born in Isale Eko, Lagos State, Nigeria, on February 5, 1980. Her family relocated to London when she was 11 years old. While in secondary school, she was a trumpet player for her high school’s orchestra band. Savage graduated from the University of Kent with a degree in accounting and went to work for The Royal Bank of Scotland. Savage earned a professional music degree from Berklee College of Music in 2007.
Tiwa Savage’s career began when she was 16 years old. She provided backing vocals for English artist George Michael, as well as Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Blu Cantrell, Emma Bunton, Kelly Clarkson, Andrea Bocelli, and Ms. Dynamite.
Savage auditioned for the UK version of The X Factor in 2006 and made it to the final 24 before being eliminated as the 12th contestant. While competing, she struggled with dealing with the spotlight. “You must always be aware that others are watching you,” she said. When I found out I wouldn’t make it to the final 12, it was a really bad time for me. You must, however, learn to hold that until you get home.
You don’t want to let everything out at once. People like you and want to see you succeed; they don’t want to watch you fall apart. “
In 2009, Savage signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. As part of the deal, she was able to write for Babyface, Kat Deluna, Fantasia, Monica, and Mya. She was nominated for a Grammy in 2010 for her collaboration with Fantasia on the song “Collard Greens & Cornbread.” Tiwa Savage wrote Jaicko’s “Oh Yeah,” which features Snoop Dog, and Deluna’s “Push Push,” which features Akon. In 2009, she sang background vocals on Whitney Houston’s album, I Look to You.
Once upon a time
Tiwa Savage began work on her debut studio album, Once Upon a Time, in 2010. Tiwa returned to Nigeria in 2012, inspired by the country’s growing music industry, and signed with Mavin Records.
She signed with Mavin Records in 2012 and was one of the lead artists on the label’s compilation album Solar Plexus. In 2012, Savage was included in a remix of “Oyi,” which she produced before teaming up with Flavour.
She hosted an album listening party at the Wheatbaker Hotel in Ikoyi in May 2013. During the listening party, she revealed the entire album’s tracklist and confirmed Iceberg Slim, Sarkodie, and General Pype as featured performers. On July 3, 2013, the album was released to the Nigerian public. It was available on iTunes a day before it hit stores. Savage chose the title Once Upon a Time to reflect the good things in her life. She stated that she wants to inspire other aspiring musicians by telling them that she was once a little girl from Isale Eko who dreamed of becoming a star. At the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards, Once Upon a Time was nominated for Best Album of the Year. It was also nominated for The Headies 2014 for Best R&B/Pop Album.
Singles in the Album “Once Upon a Time”
- Kele Kele Love
- Love Me (3x)
- Without My Heart
- Ife Wa Gbona
- Olorun Mi
- Middle Passage
Tiwa Savage released the Spellz-produced “Love in Yellow” on January 31, 2014, in honor of Valentine’s Day. The song has a traditional Rhythm and Funk vibe to it. Don Jazzy was the producer of Reekado Bank’s 2014 single “Turn It Up,” which featured Savage. On May 1, 2014, Mavin Records released “Dorobucci,” a song produced by Don Jazzy and featuring Savage, Don Jazzy, Dr. SID, D’Prince, Reekado Banks, Korede Bello, and Di’Ja. On June 7, 2014, Savage performed alongside Miguel, Flavour N’abania, Davido, Mafikizolo, Uhuru, Oskido, and others at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards.
She worked with Mi Casa, Lola Rae, Sarkodie, Diamond Platnumz, and Davido on the song “Africa Rising” for DStv’s campaign in June 2014. The campaign’s goal was to encourage Africans to take part in community-based social investment initiatives. The music video for “Africa Rising” was filmed and directed by Callback Dreams, a South African production company. The musicians performed the song at the Africa Rising launch ceremony in Mauritius.
R.E.D., Savage’s second studio album, was released on December 19, 2015. R.E.D. is an acronym that stands for Romance, Expression, and Dance. The album features Don Jazzy, Olamide, Dr. SID, Iceberg Slim, 2face Idibia, D’Prince, Busy Signal, and Reekado Banks. Don Jazzy was the primary producer, with contributions from Baby Fresh, Altims, Spellz, and P2J. To promote the album, two singles were released: “My Darlin” and “Standing Ovation.”
Wizkid and P-Square contribute guest vocals to the deluxe edition, which was released in February 2016. R.E.D was nominated for Best Album at the 2016 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. Savage made the album while pregnant with her first child. MTN Music made the album available for free digital streaming on December 21, 2015. Within 24 hours of its release, it became the most-streamed album on Spotify.
On August 24, 2018, Tiwa Savage performed at The O2’s Indigo arena. Entry tickets were sold out hours before the event. During the show, Don Jazzy, Reekado Banks, Di’Ja, Dr. SID, Awilo Longomba, Mystro, and the Alternate Sound Band all performed. Prior to the show, Savage set up a pop-up shop on Berwick Street. She became the first woman to win Best African Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards in November.
Savage performed at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on December 2, 2018, as part of the 2018 Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100. Savage has been added to the lineup of performers for the 2019 Wireless Festival, which takes place on March 13th. On May 2, 2019, Universal Music Group announced that Savage had signed a seven-year publishing and distribution deal with the label. She also claimed to have left Mavin Records.
“49-99,” Tiwa Savage’s debut single with Motown Records, was released on September 5, 2019. The song makes reference to the line “49 sittings, 99 standing” from Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s 1978 hit “Suffering and Smiling.” “49-99” is described as a mix of Afrobeat, R&B, and pop music, with rhythmic percussion, humming background harmonies, and sharp snares. Meji Alabi’s video for “49-99” is full of vibrant images and symbolism. One of the video’s sequences is based on Eliot Elisofon’s classic 1972 photos of Congolese schoolgirls. Another scene in which Savage wears long braids is reminiscent of Diana Ross’ late 1960s flower-accented hairstyle.
Savage released “Attention,” a single produced by Black Jheerze, and “Owo Mi Da,” a song produced by Pheelz on November 19, 2019. In “Attention,” she chastises her love interest for failing to pay attention to their relationship, whereas in “Owo Mi Da,” she makes disparaging remarks about an anonymous borrower. Savage sang background vocals on Coldplay’s eighth studio album Everyday Life’s slow-burning ballad “Ekó” (2019). Tiwa Savage revealed the tracklist for her upcoming album, Celia, on August 18, 2020, and confirmed the album’s release date of August 28, 2020.
Tunji Balogun married Tiwa Savage in a traditional ceremony on November 23, 2013 at the Ark in Lekki. The couple married in a white ceremony at the Armani Hotel in Dubai on April 26, 2014. On January 1, 2015, Savage and Balogun announced that they were expecting their first child together.
Six months later, Savage gave birth to their child. On April 28, 2016, Balogun accused his wife of adultery and his mother-in-law of witchcraft. Later, she denied her husband’s accusations of adultery, accusing him of financial irresponsibility, drug addiction, and abandonment. She stated that she and Tunji had divorced.
On July 19, 2021, Tiwa’s father died after a long battle with an unidentified disease.
In an interview on October 8, 2021, Savage revealed that someone was attempting to extort and blackmail her with a leaked sex tape of her and her boyfriend; later, on October 19, 2021, the contents of the sex tape were revealed to be vaginal intercourse with Savage being a party to it and the identity of the male partner unknown.
The sex tape controversy has elicited mixed reactions, with some fans claiming that the leaked footage was nothing more than a marketing ploy. While the majority of fans and public figures have been critical of Savage’s sex video, other celebrities, including Mercy Aigbe, Harrysong, and others, have taken to social media to express their support for her.
She later went on Instagram and posted a cryptic message that said, “Change that sh*t to the game and never talk about it again,” implying that fans should disregard what they had witnessed.
Awards and Nominations
|2021||Net Honours||Most Popular Musician||Nominated|
|Most Searched Musician (female)||Nominated|
|MTV Africa Music Awards||Best Female Act||Pending|
|Artist of the Year||Pending|
|NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding International Song||Nominated|
|2020||Soundcity MVP Awards||Best Female MVP||Nominated|
|African Video of the year||Won|
|African Artiste Of the year||Nominated|
|2019||AFRIMA||Best Female West Africa||Won|
|2018||Best Female West Africa||Won|
|MTV Europe Music Awards||Best African Act||Won|
|Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA)||Afropop Female Artist||Nominated|
|2017||AFRIMA||Best Female West Africa||Won|
|2016||WatsUp TV Africa Music Video Awards||African Video of the Year||Nominated|
|Best African Female Video||Nominated|
|Best West African Video||Nominated|
|Best African Performance||Nominated|
|2015||Vodafone Ghana Music Awards||African Artiste of the Year||Nominated|
|City People Awards||Artiste of the Year(Female)||Nominated|
|COSON Song Awards||Best Love Song||Nominated|
|Best Collabo Song||Won|
|2014||ELOY Awards||Best Female Artist||Nominated|
|Best Brand Ambassador||Nominated|
|The Headies 2014||Hip Hop World Revelation of the Year||Nominated|
|Artiste of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Vocal Performance (Female)||Nominated|
|Best R&B/Pop Album||Nominated|
|Best Reggae/Dancehall Single||Won|
|Channel O Music Video Awards||Most Gifted Female||Won|
|Most Gifted Video of the Year||Nominated|
|MOBO Awards||Best African Act||Nominated|
|Nigeria Entertainment Awards||Female Artist of the Year||Won|
|Best Pop/R&B Artist of the Year||Won|
|Best Album of the Year||Nominated|
|Hottest Single of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Music Video of the Year (Artist & Director)||Nominated|
|African Muzik Magazine Awards||Best Female West Africa||Won|
|City People Entertainment Awards||Musician of The Year (Female)||Won|
|BET Awards 2014||Best International Act: Africa||Nominated|
|MTV Africa Music Awards 2014||Best Female||Won|
|World Music Awards||World’s Best Song||Nominated|
|World’s Best Video||Nominated|
|World’s Best Female Artist||Nominated|
|World’s Best Live Act||Nominated|
|World’s Best Entertainer of the Year||Nominated|
|2013||Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA)||Best Use of Costumes||Nominated|
|Nigeria Entertainment Awards||Best Collabo||Nominated|
|Channel O Music Video Awards||Most Gifted Female Video||Nominated|
|4Syte TV Music Video Awards||Best African Act Video||Nominated|
|MOBO Awards||Best African Act||Nominated|
|City People Entertainment Awards||Musician of the Year (Female)||Nominated|
|Best Collabo of the Year||Nominated|
|2012||Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA)||Best Use of Costumes||Nominated|
|Best Indigenous Concept||Nominated|
|Video of the Year||Nominated|
|Nigeria Entertainment Awards||Best New Act of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Pop/R&B Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|The Headies||Best Vocal Performance (Female)||Won|
|Best R ‘N’ B Single||Nominated|
|Channel O Music Video Awards||Most Gifted R&B Music Video of the Year||Won|
|2011||Nigeria Entertainment Awards||Best New Act of the Year||Nominated|
|Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA)||Best Use of Choreography||Nominated|
|City People Entertainment Awards||Female Musician of the Year||Won|
|Afrotainment Museke Online Music Awards||Best R&B Soul Song||Won|
|FAB Magazine Awards||Most Stylish Female Artiste||Won|
|Dynamix All Youth Awards||Most Promising Act||Won|
|Channel O Music Video Awards||Most Gifted Female Video||Nominated|
|Tush Youth Awards||Female Musician of the Year||Nominated|
|Song of the Year||Nominated|
|The Headies||Next Rated||Nominated|
|2010||Dynamix All Youth Awards||Promising Artiste of the Year||Nominated|
Influence and Impact
In Nigeria, Tiwa Savage has been active in a number of youth empowerment and breast cancer screening programs. She aided in the fundraising for a local organization that constructs schools.
In July 2013, Savage earned a 30-million-naira endorsement deal with MTN Nigeria. She also signed endorsement deals with Pepsi, Forte Oil, and Maggi.
Savage signed a management and publishing deal with Roc Nation in June 2016, according to rumors in the media. She made it official on July 29, 2016, when she announced the deal on her Instagram account, making her the first Nigerian artist to be signed to the company.
Tiwa Savage is not only one of the greatest names in the Nigerian music industry, but she is also one of the richest. According to Forbes, Tiwa Savage is the richest female singer in Nigeria, with a net worth of $9 million.