PAUSE MEETS: TEEZEE
Talks Alté Culture, Being Lagosian & Becoming a Father…
“Whether it’s Alté, Teezee or Native – it’s all about legacy.”
Hi Teezee! Welcome to Pause Magazine. You are the crowned Prince of Las Gidi, coming more like the crowned Prince of London. Talk to us about your 2021 summer festivals!
The summer festivals have been really exciting – it’s been amazing. I’ve done Parklife which was epic. Obviously, I always used to go Wireless as a kid. The first time I went, I actually watched BBK and Drake – this was maybe 2015. You always dreamlike “Damn! One day I’d love to be on even the small Pepsi stage” not even ever really thinking mainstage, but you know, God has His way of making things work for you. Fire vibe, I loved it.
Jumper: Feng Chen Wang, Boxers: Supreme, Trousers: Maharishi
Talk to us about connecting with the African Diaspora in Cuba, when you were doing the Havana campaign.
Yeah, that was fire. It’s another thing that was really close to me. I like exploring Nigerian culture, or African culture – specifically Yoruba tradition because I’m Yoruba. I’ve always been interested in knowing how we translated our religions and our language to every part of the world. The first time me and my partner, Grace, went to Brazil, we went to explore the whole thing of the orishas and Yoruba culture. It spread over 500 years ago from this small West Africa region of Nigeria and now, it’s a predominant thing in other parts of the world. It’s just so exciting and it really connects me with my music. It was also really part of this new musical journey of understanding one’s roots and the importance of where we’re from and what you’re doing, because just thinking that some of our ancestors took a ship to these places, and the culture is still prevalent today, that’s the legacy I’m trying to instil in what we’re doing. Whether it’s Alté, Teezee or Native – it’s all about legacy. I want my son in 30 years to look back and be like “Damn, Dad you guys did some cool shit!” I think legacy is most important to me more than money or clout or those other things. It’s really about how do we impact the future generations to see that there were some young Nigerians at a time, who did stuff that impacted the world in their own way. That’s really the mission that I’m on.
From CDs to Limewire, from Limewire to email blast, from email blast to Soundcloud, to YouTube and now we’re at “Arrested by Love” – the EP dropping soon. What was the creation process like and what can we expect from the project?
The email blasts – oh my God! Well, it’s a very versatile sounding project. I definitely spent the last 12 to 18 months really delving into my new sound; exploring different sonics. It’s super eclectic. I have guys ranging from Backroad Gee to Pa Salieu, Lancey Fouxx to Teni the Entertainer and Davido, so you know that you’re gonna hear a wide range of sounds. That’s the beauty of Alté. The new wave of Afro is a bit of everything and that’s definitely what I represent – being Lagosian and also a London boy. That’s the dichotomy of the character that I am and I really try to channel all the different angles of what I’ve been going through in my life. From the rager-party-boy side of Teezee, to the soft-lover-boy, daddy side. I’m just trying to channel as many emotions as possible. I really want people to feel really connected to the music. It’s a vulnerable project; the most vulnerable music I’ve ever made. It’s stories and narratives that I haven’t really told musical stories from that angle before. I think that it’s gonna be really exciting for people to take a look into Teezee’s world for the first time properly.
Sunglasses: Hot Futures, Suit: Tokyo James, Vest: Stylists’ Own, Slippers: untitlab™
Sunglasses: Loewe, Top: Qasimi, Shorts: Kapital @ Mr Porter, Shoes: Dr Martens
I’m interested in getting into the stories. “Arrested by Love” is a very definite statement. What does that mean to you?
It’s kind of like a double entendre because when we started lockdown in 2020, I was binging – I love Nollywood. I’m one of those people who it’s been part of my aesthetic since we started this Alté thing with Odunsi. We had so much free time so I was watching a lot of Nollywood [Nigerian Hollywood] movies – whether it be on YouTube, or just downloading them. There was this one in particular that stood out to me that had Jim Ike and Genevieve. I really enjoyed the craziness of it all. When I was working on the projecs, I felt like love was the most overwhelming component to everything that was going well for me. Growing up, [I didn’t] really understand love languages or how people connect. When we grew up in Nigeria, everything’s very different. You’re not really on the “Daddy, I love you” – do you get? So just getting over a lot of things, helped me get to a place that love is the most overwhelming and the most present force in my life. Whether it be with my girl, my son, my family or with my passion for what I’m doing… Literally and metaphorically arrested by love and it’s the best feeling ever. Since I actually took that path of self realisation; the importance of love and giving it/receiving it, kind of transformed me in the last 12 months. I just felt like it was just an apt title plus it sounds like a Nollywood film as well. I like the fact that it has that title, and you’d expect the music to be some moody love songs, but that’s not what it is. So yeah, it has a close place in my heart.
Aww, you’re letting love lead! On the topic of Nollywood, are we gonna see you in movies or acting anytime soon?
You know, what by God’s grace! I’m planning to. New Nollywood is fire – I really like it. It’s definitely interesting and really something that I want to do in the near future. See my guy Damson [Idris] acting up and down now, it’s gingered me. Let me see what I can act! [laughs]
When I see it on Netflix and on the big screen next year, I’m going to say I prophesied it from here. Before I let you go, if I want to find out your favourite selfie angle, what you had for breakfast or what you and Grace are getting up to with my baby boy, where can I find you online?
Last message to your friends, family and following?
I’m so glad that everyone is going to come on this journey with me. I feel like I’ve worked on a lot of stuff. I’ve built a lot of things up and now I’m really delving into bringing people into my world and my mind. It’s daunting but it’s exciting at the same time, and I’m just so happy that I’m going to lead with love and I’m going to get everyone to feel the Teezee energy – worldwide. This is a global pee! It’s not a Naija pee or a London pee – this for the whole world. I’m excited to let you guys have this!