After 2 years of dropping singles that have shaped pop music by female artistes in Nigerian music, Tiwa Savage finally drops her highly anticipated album ‘Once Upon A Time’. Spanning over an hour, Tiwa Savage takes us on a fairy tale of mostly about love and other things.
The first lady of Mavin Records is first and foremost an R&B artist and she doesn’t hide her natural comfort zone on quite a number of tracks. “Olorun Mi” is a somber track dedicated to the ones we’ve lost to the cold hands of death. Tiwa’s voice evokes tear jerking emotions. On “Written All over Your Face” and “Get Low” she sings about sexual trysts with her lover (T Billz anyone?).
On ‘Once Upon A Time’ she strays from her traditional R&B roots and tries her hands on new sounds. Tiwa Savage goes neo-soul on “Middle Passage” which is surprising pleasant. The opening song on the album “Wanted” is a dancehall track which borrows Damien Marley’s ‘Jamrock’ vocals. She enlists the rap services of Ghana’s finest Sarkodie and Iceberg Slim on the ultra cool and classy party track. Thanks to Tiwa Savage using mostly American producers, ‘Once Upon A Time’ is largely devoid of standard Nigerian production which tends to be predictable and one dimensional. Her writing skills make sure the album doesn’t get tiresome to listen to and makes it compact.
‘Once Upon A Time’ has an international edge to it but Tiwa Savage constructs some pop ditties not to alienate some of her core listeners. “Ileke” and “Eminado” are the crown jewels of this populist approach. “Baby Mo” featuring Flavour is an Eastern-centric highlife track that gets the work of getting people to the dance floor done. There are some blank shots on the album such as her collaboration with General Pype “Stand As One” and “Folarin” which suits Wande Coal more because of the freestyle approach of writing.
Despite the slight errors, Tiwa Savage’s debut effort in the Nigerian market was worth the wait. She has been able to produce an album that accommodates her song writing skill and pop ambitions.