Taves: The Future Of African Music

The singer has recently been dubbed the future of Afrobeats by many.

Taves:  The Future Of African Music
Taves [PHOTO CREDIT: Scoop Universal]

Basking in his prime is 20-year-old Aluko Toluwanimi better known as Taves; a new school alternative singer, and songwriter from Ibadan, Nigeria. The baby-faced heartthrob currently signed under TYE and Atlantic Records is notable for his clear-cut yet familiar sonic fusions that cross contemporary pop music with popular West African sonic influences.

The Port-Harcourt-born singer’s catalogue is tenuous, however, filled with gems that highlight his promising gravitas as the next big thing in African pop music. Taves already has an extended play to his name titled 18, released in 2021, and several emo-pop-centric singles including 2023’s Eleyele.

The latter track contributed to his ascension from a budding singer to a fast-rising star. Èlèyele unveiled Tave’s tendencies of being a musical export in a burgeoning musical scene that is increasingly fixated on fresh talents rising from Africa. 

The singer has recently been dubbed the future of Afrobeats by many and his potential has been appraised by a number of African music enthusiasts including label CEO and mentor, BNXN.

With the backing of Atlantic Records, Taves is set out to forge a successful music career bejewelled by loving fans and formidable musical success.

In this interview, over a virtual call, the rising star talks about how he got into music, meeting Bnxn, musical inspirations, love for the city that he grew up in; Ibadan, and more.

The Brown Roof City

Long before he marauded hearts via the microphone, Taves’ dream artillery was a stethoscope.  Young Taves was gunning to become a medical doctor and was threading on the path until the music came calling in 2018/2019.

Taves, alongside a pal named Michael, were two bored teenagers fresh out of high school. Looking to use their time productively, both friends banned idle shenanigans for creative explorations.

Taves [PHOTO CREDIT: Scoop Universal]

With an outsourced dynamic mic and piqued zests in possession, the then teenagers splurged themselves into a pattern of recording music until the wee hours of the morning. 

At the time, Taves was merely having fun and had clocked little of the spirited endeavour. Only when his clairvoyant elder brother had booked a full recording session did he begin to receive clarity of purpose.

The recording session provided Taves with an epiphany and ever since, nothing has been the same for him.

Having spent his most formidable years residing in the beautiful city of Ibadan; a city known for its historical brown roofs, and extravagant land mass amongst other things, Taves finds himself betrothed to this serene city that he calls home. 

Trust me, there is nothing I can’t do. Like let people just enjoy the music. Genres and all that don’t really matter to me.

Taves, 2024.

 Ibadan gave Taves a plethora of amiable peers who made life bearable. In this city, Taves once lived away from the spotlight; a reserved and shy albeit likeable teenager who inhaled the cool breeze propelled by the humane scenery provided. 

He would tell of how the more acclaimed “mega cities” paled in comparison to Ibadan. 

“Ibadan is a pretty interesting place, to be honest. It is better than people try to make it out to be. It is a pretty nice place. Especially if you have friends and I had a lot of Friends. Growing up, it was less of the place itself and more of the people there that made it comfortable. I know Lagos is known to be more turns and all that, and please don’t get me wrong I love Lagos too but Ibadan was just very peaceful. You hardly experience traffic and all of the stressful things you find in Lagos”

To show that his love for the brown roof city is no fluke, Taves has overtime transcended word of mouth into an art form. Two of his singles ‘Eleyele’ and ‘Bodija’ take their titles from places in Ibadan. The after-effect of his decision to name songs after popular places in Ibadan has proven favourable. 

Musical Heroes

Taves refuses to be under the umbrella of a music genre, as he opines that it limits his creative reach and feels the need for genre classification is becoming stale, using Beyoncé’s country-themed album Cow Boy Carter as a reference to the defiance that he hopes to adopt. 

My first love is Asa. She was the one that made me fall in love with music in the first place. She is a legend undeniably.

Taves, 2024.

“ I mean, to be honest, I don’t like labels. Trust me, there is nothing I can’t do. Like, let people just enjoy the music. Genres and all that don’t really matter to me. That’s why I like what an artist like Beyonce, who has been in the game for so long, and for a long time has been put in a box but is now coming out fully with a different sound. You know, it sort of leaves a lasting statement. If I am being real”. 

While he finds Beyoncé’s bravado inspiring, Taves accrues his love for making music to other famed superstars.

“My first love is Asa. She was the one that made me fall in love with music in the first place. She is a legend undeniably. Then there is Bnxn, just because of his melodies and top-tier songwriting. Also, Omah Lay. I love the way Omah Lay writes. Like I really really respect the guy. Now if we are talking about foreign influences, there’s The Weeknd, Post Malone, and Khalid. These are the people that I used to listen to before I started making music. Even now as a full-time musician, doing my thing I still jam to their songs all the time”.

Drawing an extraction from Taves list of musical heroes, only one has he met in real life yet. 

Meeting Bnxn was unplanned for the singer. The more experienced singer took a liking to a cover of his song made by Taves and has since been like a “big brother” to the fast-rising act, showing this affinity beyond behind the scenes, to the digital space of trolls and naysayers. 

“So, how I met Bnxn was quite funny because I did a cover of one of his songs called ‘For Days’. This was in 2022. That was my favourite song at the time. And usually, when I do covers like that, I am not expecting anything to come out of it. I was just doing it because I really loved the song. I did that for a lot of songs that I liked and nothing happened, you feel me. So like for me to do that cover and he sees it, and goes the extra mile by reaching out to say that he loved it, that I should pick him up cause he wanted to get studio equipment for me, obviously, it went past getting me equipment. I am still really grateful for the experience.

Taves’ Ikigai

Recently, Taves featured in a cameo appearance for a fellow new-gen singer, Qing Madi’s ballad, American Love. In the song, he played the former’s love interest. Taves’s performance in the visuals was a pretty good debut attempt at acting, but when inquired if he had considerations to divert into acting, he simply shrugged and said he wasn’t looking at exploring film or other talents at the moment. He says he prefers to keep a laser focus on his music career- a music career that is fast-growing. s

With a majority of his fan base being young girls, Taves has had his fair share of fan encounters. He cherishes these moments and says it leaves a surreal aftertaste. He hopes to be known for his avant-garde contributions in the music space, as he never wants to be seen making mediocre music. Taves believes this will make him a stand-out act.

Ultimately, Taves envisions himself in a world where everybody around him is “eating good” as this is his primary vision; creating a channel of wealth for his loved ones through music.

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