Soulful songstress, Tiwatope Savage-Balogun is a symbol of classical music any day. Her musical dexterity cuts across all and sundry. No doubt, Tiwa has proved her critics wrong in all yardsticks to carve-a-niche for herself in the showbiz business. Tiwa has never concealed how proud she is to have her baby (Baby Jamal) as he is called. Even during pregnancy, Tiwa was very active on all social events and developed better stage craft with the arrival Jamal. She has twice her skills and recorded most of the songs on her R.E.D album during pregnancy. The first lady of Mavin Record headed by Don Jazzy is still very much active in the music scene with the recent release of ‘Standing Ovation’ featuring YBNL Boss, Olamide. Cornered at the recently held Nigerian Entertainment conference where she was one of the panelist, Tiwa in this chat with MUTIAT ALLI, speaks about motherhood, purported rift with Yemi Alade, her music to mention but few. Enjoy…
Are you aware that people see you and Yemi Alade as rivals?
Defnitely, you know it happens in all industries. People compare Davido and Wizkid, Beyoncé and Rihanna, among others. It is just a natural thing and that is life. When you have two people doing great things, you tend to compare them. But there is actually no beef between her and myself. I really love what she does.
Would you like to collaborate with her?
If it happens, if God wants it, yes I would be up for it.
How has it been since releasing your album, R.E.D?
I have been going to a lot of events, shooting videos and going on tours. I have a great supporting system to help take care of my baby. I have an incredible nanny and my mother is also helpful. If it is a long trip, my mother comes along or travels with me. If it is a short trip, I am very confident in leaving him at home with my husband and my nanny. We are equally planning a tour for the album before the end of the year.
Are you dropping another video soon?
Soon, I would be releasing a video to my song, ‘If I Start to Talk’ featuring Dr. SID.
Is seems there is a chemistry between yourself and Dr. SID?
He is amazing; he is a great guy, highly talented, team player and my label mate. I love him like a brother and we all get along well on the label. Korede Bello and I did the song ‘Romantic’ and it came out well. I just thank God that I have been able to work with people who have great energy and are humble at the same time.
When do we get to see the video of the song you featured P-Square?
We are definitely working, but you know you cannot drop too many videos at once. After releasing the video of ‘Standing Ovation,’ I had to give it sometime and see how far it goes. The next one is the song featuring Dr. SID and I am really looking forward to that because it is one of my favourite songs.
Don’t you agree that having got married and having a baby reduced your followership?
All I have to say is that numbers don’t lie. Since I gave birth to my baby my followership has actually grown to 1.4 million on Instagram and twitter respectively. It is growing way faster since I had my baby. I would actually say my baby is a blessing.
How has it been combining motherhood with being a wife and musician?
Definitely it is more challenging now. But at the same time I have a beautiful son and I am willing to make whatever sacrifices. I have to do what it takes to make sure that I give him the best.
When was your scariest moment during labour?
The scariest moment was at the delivery room when the doctor told me that his heartbeat dropped. My happiest moment in life was the first time I saw baby Jamal.
When should we expect another album from you?
We are already working on new materials. I don’t wish to wait too long to release another album. The distance between my first and second album won’t be too much, so we are already making plans on the next one.
Can you really keep up with releasing albums every year?
Of course, I can. I recorded 90 per cent of the songs on my album when I was pregnant. It is not an easy thing to do, but it just shows that if I was strong enough to do that I can handle any other challenge that comes my way by the grace of God.
How do you keep in shape since you gave birth?
It is a step at a time; I am not completely back to where I was and I am also not putting myself under pressure. Sometime when you diet you could get depressed. But for my son’s sake, I need to be happy. I need to show other women as well that it took nine months to deliver a baby and it might take another one year or two to get back to that original shape. I visit the gym regularly.
Men often complain that their wives pay more attention to their babies. Are you experiencing that too?
Initially yes, I am not going to lie about that. He wakes up every two hours, you are going to devote all your time to him and your sex life might not be interesting as before. You would have stress, stretch marks too. But eventually for the sake of your marriage I would encourage all women to look after their husbands, especially after having babies. It is very important.
What has stardom changed about you?
I was a little more out-going but I am now a bit more reserved. Some people like saying they haven’t changed a bit when they start making more money, but that’s a lie. I think you change because you’re more wary. You want to be careful and trust less easily. I think people around me have changed too. They expect more. I’m under a microscope always. I might make a normal mistake but it will get blown up because it’s Tiwa Savage. So, I am more wary of what I do and say in public than I was before.
Back to before you had your baby, what was the entire experience like during pregnancy?
It was very difficult. Yet, a lot of people did not see that side of it. While I was pregnant, I still had to put my artiste face on! I had to work, perform and attend events, but behind closed doors, the people close to me; my husband, my mum and the label, saw the struggle. In fact, before I came on stage, at the event where I revealed I was pregnant, I had just been throwing up in the car and I threw up for the whole 9 months! I also had pre-eclampsia towards the end of the pregnancy. It was a very tough pregnancy.
What does pre-eclampsia entails?
Well, it’s a condition some women have towards the end of their pregnancy. For me, it was a period where I had high blood pressure, my feet got terribly swollen and I could hardly walk. Plus my baby was overdue by about 7-8 days! At the end, they decided to induce me to labour because they were worried about my condition. It was a very painful ordeal but I thank God everything went well.
What has marriage changed about you?
The good thing is that we were really good friends before marriage and we are still good friends. I think you just have to understand that you now live with somebody so you cannot make soledecisions anymore. For instance, if I need to make some important decisions about my life, I need to consult my husband. He is also the head of the family, so ultimately I need to give him that respect. He has the final say.
How many months did you do breastfeeding?
I did breastfeeding; I did it for about four months. I had to mix it though because my son wasn’t sucking properly and he was losing a lot of weight. Because of my schedule sometimes it is a bit difficult for me to do exclusive breastfeeding since I have to travel a lot. At times, I am not around for weeks. If you can breastfeed exclusively, I would advise you to. I think it is natural, that is why God created it and it definitely has a lot of benefits from my own understanding.
What’s your source of inspiration?
A lot of things inspire me; life, happiness, heartbreak, Nigeria as a country and circumstances. In that ‘Olorun Mi song’, I felt sad for a few days and the Dana crash inspired me to do that song.