• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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TemiDollFace: The new rave with fresh, timeless music

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The person TemmiDollface

Temitope Phil-Ebosie is my name but my stage name is TemmiDollface. I am a singer, song writer, composer and a performer. I am half Yoruba, quarter Ibo and a quarter of West Indian and Scottish. I refer to myself as a creative multi-talent because I do quite a few things like styling, creative direction, video, photo-shoots among others. To all intent and purposes, I am a multi-genre artiste. Having said that, it is human nature to want to box people and put them in category so I do that for everyone and I call my style and kind of music as ‘Drama Soul’

Why ‘Drama Soul’?

Drama Soul is really just a cocktail of all the different genres of music that I am influenced by and you will hear influences such as Fela Kuti and other very wide spectrum of people that influenced my music even down to the love of old music, gospel, and electro. So, I like to express all these influences in what I do. I believe that my music bridges continents and cultures in a way that is not expected. People won’t expect that you will take an afro beat, put a bit of instrumental, and put a little of electro wonder and sing with Jazz vocal, so that’s what I like to do. I like to mix it up. I will say that my style is very similar to the way my music is.

“Drama Soul” invokes both past and modern luminaries, but matched with my own intrigue and quirk, it is a breath mint for the pop scene. Drama Soul deliberately evades the narrow categories of what urban music should sound like, not to mention that it defies the normal conventions of pop and every other genre it is derivative of. As an artist, I pull from a wide range of sources. For instance, I often combine jazz chords with catchy pop hooks, and African percussion to create something that’s simultaneously fresh and timeless. Obvious reference points for my flamboyant sound are Afro-Beat, Jazz, Soul, Hip Hop, Electro and R&B; but that doesn’t do justice to the variety of music I incorporates or to its singularity.

It’s a pull from many different forces from the past, present and the future. As much as I am in music, I am also a fashion person and I will say its 50:50. Both are my passion.

Journey into music 

I started this musical journey at the age of 7 and as much as I can remember, I am always singing and always gravitated towards music. But at the age of 7, I wrote my first song with the keyboard given to me by my Pastor at a time. I think it was just my natural inclinations to know what to do. I found my way around the keyboard without any piano lessons or anything like that. I just instinctively knew what I wanted to hear and created songs that I have a taste for and when I listen to such songs and I find it interesting that I could do that at that age.

Parents’ reaction to preference of music as career

Obviously, back then, it wasn’t exalted to do anything artistic. Parents and the society would suggest that you get a degree on something professional first so you have something to fall back on. I left Nigeria for a school in England and thought I should do something in the sciences and I got my A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths. I had no business doing that but I did. I went and got a degree in Food Science and Nutrition. A lot of people think that it has to do with the hospitality and catering business but it’s not.

We were always in the lab testing foods, looking at food under microscopes, doing lipid and protein extractions and many more of such boring stuffs. From the first week at the university, I knew that wasn’t my line but I stocked with it knowing I have something to fall back on. But while I was at the University, I was exercising every musical muscles in me even to the point that I trained as a fitness instructor.

I love fitness but that was really to get over my fear which is stage fright and the best way to overcome it is to throw yourself into the situation and then jump and the nerves will appear. I did that, teach classes and it just the same thing because all people’s attention will be on you while you are in front of the class commanding your audience. That really helped me on my way to becoming the artist that I am today. Even before I was done with university, I was performing at every given opportunity. Once I was done with the university, I decided I would go for a performance school.

Carving a niche for your brand on the international scene

I supported Mary J Blige at the “Sisters with Soul’’ concert at the Expo Centre Lagos in September 2013 and was part of the line up for Felabration concert where I gave an electric performance along with my 10-piece band. I also opened for the likes of American R&B crooner Chris Brown, Neo-Soul artist Rahsaan Patterson at Shepherds Bush Empire, Keziah Jones, D’ Banj, Somi, Bez, amongst other notable artists. I was one of the few Nigerian artists invited to Nairobi, Kenya to take part in Coca Cola’s new music TV show, “Coke Studio”. Other artists on the show included King Sunny Ade, M.I Abaga, Waje, Salif Keita, Culture Music Club from Zanzibar, Just a Band from Kenya, and HHP. I had an MTV USA nomination for MTV Iggy “Artist of the week”, for which I came in second by a tiny fraction. I was in the running with Artists from Germany, America, the United Kingdom and Ghana.