Tiwa Savage is a Nigerian music artist, performer, songwriter, as well as an actress. She has signed recording and songwriting deals with some music companies including, Marvin Records (2012) and currently with Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
In June 2016, Savage confirmed a management and publishing deal with Roc Nation via her social media page. Her soft voice and ability to incorporate the Nigerian dialect in most of her songs gained her tremendous popularity.
Tiwatope Savage was born 5 February 1980 in Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria. She was 11 years old when her parent migrated to the United Kingdom then proceeded to the United States. This granted her the opportunity to grow up and experience a multicultural setting.
Her love for music started at a young age. While attending high school, Tiwa Savage was a trombone player in her school’s orchestra band. Although she didn’t pick up music right after graduating with a degree in Business administration from the University of Kent, she never stopped dreaming of becoming a big star someday. Savage started working at The Royal Bank of Scotland. But she engaged in musical activities and lent vocals to notable musicians such as Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Andrea Bocelli, etc. She also performed on stage with artists like 50 Cent, The Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, Destiny’s Child and many others.
To bolster her passion for the entertainment industry, Savage enrolled at Berklee College of Music and graduated with a degree in professional music at the age of 27. According to her, the drive and passion of the younger students she attended classes with, motivated her.
Amongst all her media exposure is her participation in the UK edition of The X Factor – this was while she was still attending the aforementioned music school. She advanced to the final 24 but was evicted in the final 12. Reminiscing the experience Savage said, “it was a really painful time.” Yet the “Kele Kele Love” crooner continue working hard towards her goals.
In 2009, Sony/ATV Music Publishing signed Tiwa Savage to a music deal. The deal solidified her to write songs for Babyface, Kat Deluna, Fantasia Barrino, Monica and Mýa. But more than writing for other music producers, Savage thought it’s time to step up her game and storm the limelight. Not anywhere, fatherland was on her mind.
Moving back to Nigeria was the biggest decision Savage had to make but in her heart, home is where the greater biggest opportunity resides. Stepping into Nigeria’s musical landscape, was a bit of a challenge. With a male-dominated industry, Savage had a lot of obstacles to deal with. She once shared that people close to her tried to dissuade her from settling in the country. Her first performance on stage was a huge flop. Since her song lacked the usual vernacular most Nigerians are used to, it became another challenge Savage had to deal with.
As one who is prone to corrections and adjustment, Savage made some modifications to her lyrics, accents and inculcated her native tongue. She established her own label imprint, 323 Entertainment, with her then-manager and now husband Tunji “Tee Billz” Balogun.
In 2012, she joined Don Jazzy‘s Mavin Records in 2012 after the label she co-owns teamed up with the executive producer. Her debut single, “Kele Kele Love,” became a massive success upon its released in 2013, topping Nigeria’s music chart. Then followed her first long-awaited album, “Once Upon A Time.”
So far, Tiwa Savage has released three albums: Once Upon A Time (2013), R.E.D (2015) and Sugarcane (2017). Her other songs include Eminado, Ma Lo (featuring WizKid), All Over, Without My Heart, Wanted, Ife Wa Gbona.
Tiwa Savage featured on Reekado Banks single “Turn It Up”, which was produced by Don Jazzy. Under Marvin Records, she collaborated with Don Jazzy, Dr SID, D’Prince, Reekado Banks, Korede Bello and Di’Ja in the hit song “Dorobucci,” released on May 1, 2014. Same year Savage worked with Mi Casa, Lola Rae, Sarkodie, Diamond Platnumz, and Davido on a song for DSTV’s Africa Rising campaign, aimed to inspire Africans to participate in community-based social investment projects.
During the 2014 MTV music award, Tiwa performed alongside Miguel, Flavour, Davido, Mafikizolo, Uhuru, Oskido and Professor. She was also featured in Flavour’s song Oyi (Remix) which won the Channel O Music Video Awards as the Most Gifted R&B Music Video of the Year.
So far Tiwa Savage has won a total 15 awards in the course of her musical career. She won four music awards in 2011 alone. Below is the list:
FAB Magazine Awards for Most Stylish Female Artiste (2011)
Dynamix All Youth Awards for Most Promising Act (2011)
City People Entertainment Awards for Female Musician of the Year. (2011)
Afrotainment Museke Online Music Awards for Best R&B Soul Song (2011)
Channel O Music Video Awards for Most Gifted R&B Music Video of the Year
The Headies for Best Vocal Performance (Female) (2012)
Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA) for Best Highlife (2012)
MTV Africa Music Awards 2014 for Best Female (2014)
City People Entertainment Awards for Female Musician of The Year (2014)
African Muzik Magazine Awards for Best Female West Africa (2014)
2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards for Best Pop/R&B Artist of the Year and Female Artist of the Year
2014 Channel O Music Video Awards for Most Gifted Female
The Headies 2014 for Best Reggae/Dancehall Single
COSON Song Awards for Best Collabo Song
It was a pink, gold and white affair over the weekend at one of the biggest events in the Nigerian music industry, when popular Nigerian singer Tiwa Savage wedded her fiance, Tunji Balogun aka Tee Billz. Some of the top celebrities at the star-studded event include Banky W, Don Jazzy, Lynxxx, Davido, D’banj, Funke Akindele, Toke Makinwa, Agbani Darego, Dr Sid & his fiancee, Jumai Shaba, Uti Nwachukwu, Andrea Manuela, Linda Ikeji, Dayo Adeneye (DI) & wife, Freeze (Cool Fm), Dj Exclusive, Eniola Badmus just to name a few.
Tiwatope Savage and her husband Tunji “Tee Billz” Balogun held their traditional marriage at the Ark in Lekki on November 23, 2013. The following year, Apri 26, 2014, they had a white wedding ceremony at the Armani Hotel, Dubai. Soon comes their first child, son Jamil Balogun, born on July 22, 2015.
Her marriage wasn’t all a fairy tale. Like most celebrities, Tiwa almost separated from her husband shortly after the birth of the son. While Tee Billz accused her of infidelity, she debunked the claims and cited financial recklessness, drug addiction, and abandonment on her husband’s part. And even though they at some point, tried to put their differences aside and come back together, but the marriage failed.
Savage’s net worth is estimated to be about $4.9 million. Apart from proceeds from the sales of her albums, performances, her endorsement deals with MTN Nigeria, signed in 2013, is reportedly worth ₦30 million. She became the first African female artist to be associated with Pepsi brand after signing an endorsement deal with the bottling company. Forte Oil and Maggi have also joined the list of the financial bouquet.