This Black History Month, Atwood Magazine has invited artists to participate in a series of essays, interviews, reviews, poetry, playlists, and more features in recognition of, and out of respect for the symbolism and significance of this month.
Today, Award-winning Nigerian artist TENI THE ENTERTAINER showcases the Black icons who inspired her upcoming debut LP ‘WONDALAND’ as a part of Atwood Magazine’s Black History Month series. An acclaimed singer, songwriter, drummer, rapper, actress, and social media sensation, Teniola Apata has been incredibly active throughout the past decade, but it is through her upcoming full-length debut album WONDALAND (out March 19, 2021) that TENI THE ENTERTAINER fully emerges as a worldwide force to be reckoned with.
A genre-defiant journey trailblazing an inspiring new path for Afrobeats and pop music alike, WONDALAND pulls from influences throughout time and space: From the legendary Fela Kuti and Miriam Makeba, to King Wasiu Ayinde and King Sunny, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, and beyond. Created over two years and across seven cities (London, New York, Orlando, Dubai, Ondo, Lagos and Abuja), the record is as much a labor of love as it is a testament to Apata’s verve for life and her embrace of a multicultural tapestry that is as as much of the world, as it is definitively Nigerian in sound and character.
TENI THE ENTERTAINER recently released WONDALAND‘s soaring lead single “For You” featuring Afrobeats star Davido. An evocative and expressive duet, the song showcases both artists’ vocal talents against a powerful acoustic backdrop brimming with emotion.
“‘For You’ is a record I made to celebrate the essence of love, sacrifice and the reaffirmation to always be there for that special someone who means the world to you,” TENI THE ENTERTAINER says. “I always wanted to make a record like this with Davido especially because of my admiration for him as an artist, father, and someone with a big heart.” WONDALAND is out March 19, 2021.
“I wanted to do an album that anyone from my mother’s hometown in Ondo or my dad’s in Ekiti to Osaka, Japan can pick up and be entertained, inspired and educated. You can’t record your debut album again so I ensured Wondaland will be that album I would listen to in 20 years and it’ll still sound just as fresh. I wanted to make an evergreen record that represented my roots, showed my growth and where I am heading to because I believe this is just the beginning of great things to come.”
“It’s an album that doesn’t sound like anything you have ever heard not just because it’s coming from an African artiste but because it’s just pure and unadulterated music from the bottom of my heart. I have been working on this album for 2 years across 7 cities in the world. However, I was able to finish the album during the lockdown. So it’s a labour of love meant to take through a rollercoaster of emotions from the first track to the last. I want to see old and young people shed a tear, laugh, dance and relate and see themselves in the songs and the videos to come. Welcome to my WONDALAND.” – TENI THE ENTERTAINER
Black Icons Who Inspired WONDALAND
by TENI THE ENTERTAINER
Brenda Fassie – Vuli Ndlela
This song was on every radio and TV station back in Nigeria and I remember how much joy and happiness Brenda brought to people through her music and her personality.
Yvonne Chaka Chaka – Umqombothi
This is such a happy song and it’s inviting and very festive. I’m a very happy person and i love the energy the song spreads.
Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
This is one person I wish I met and made music with and never released it. I would just keep it and listen to it everyday. She has such a powerful voice that carries such emotion and this song particularly gives me tingles every time I listen to it. I love it – who doesn’t.
Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey – When You Believe
These two take me to another realm when I listen to this song. Their voices basically became one yet they still sounded distinct on the record. It’s very difficult to achieve that level of perfection when it comes to music.
Michael Jackson – Speechless
The greatest entertainer of all time. No comes close to him. Speechless is that song that expresses so much passion and communicates a lot. Thank you Michael for leaving a mark on the world. We miss you.
Fela Kuti – Water No Get Enemy
Fela is such an icon and he came at a time when Africa as a whole needed someone to speak up and he brought that hope with his music. This song reminds me of the epic legacy he left behind and one I’m willing and hoping to emulate.
Miriam Makeba – Malaika
This song is such a beautiful love song and Mama Africa as she was fondly called was blessed with such a voice that it just conveyed the right emotions even though you didn’t understand the language.
Angelique Kidjo – Agolo
I love her energy and her purposeful delivery. The passion she puts into her music makes you understand the essence of music.
Lionel Richie – All Night Long
This song just gets you in the mood to party and forget all your worries.
K1 De Ultimate – Adé Orí Òkin
Kwam 1 is such a legend with what he has done with the Nigerian fuji scene. This song plays in weddings now and it gets people up on their feet immediately as they start dancing.
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📸 © courtesy of the artist
Black Icons Who Inspired ‘WONDALAND’
:: TENI THE ENTERTAINER ::