Temi Dollface: A Star On The Rise

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Temi Dollface is an artist to watch out for in the Nigerian music scene. Though not new to the music industry, she is a fresh face with a brand of music that is jazzy, energetic and theatrical…I could go on. Eden Lifestyle had the opportunity to sit down with Temi to discuss music, lifestyle and her fitness background.

Having studied performing arts before signing with Sony during her years in the UK, this Nigerian singer, songwriter and drama soul artist has introduced us to a new brand of music, ‘Drama-Soul’. It is best we let her explain things in her own words, here are excerpts of our interview with her.

What Is Drama Soul?
Drama soul is influenced by different genres, Afro beat, jazz, funk and electro. It is from a progressive angle with theatrical elements, almost like playing a role, one with a lot of energy. Temi is shy but on stage I come alive (I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true), Temi Dollface is what music does to Temi.

You Have A New Single Out, ‘Pata Pata’, Explain The Song.
It basically means it’s over, like when you’ve checked out of a relationship emotionally but are still in it. Most people have experienced this at some point in their lives, not necessarily me.
The song was born in the studio, the producer played the horn riff while i hummed George Benson. The music informed the words and the song came to life. Classics like The Carpenters ‘It’s Too Late’ told similar stories of relationships. Artists like Fela Kuti have been a big influence, I particularly like his backing singers, and the classic jazz influence of Shirley Bassey.

When Will You Release An Album?
I will be releasing an EP (Extended Play) first, which is a collection of songs, possibly in the summer. I’m very strategic about what I release, but I have 3 albums worth of music ready.

Tell Us A Little About Your Time With Sony Music.
I was signed to Sony in the UK for 5 years which at the time was huge for me, though it turned out to be a difficult experience in a very controlled environment. I was initially elated when I heard, after an audition that involved me singing to the Sony board with just a keyboard. It was wonderful at the start, especially being tagged as the new Lauryn Hill, but I eventually had to walk away as I learned the hard way to relish creativity and control.

How Has This Experience Influenced You Today?
It’s helped me understand the importance of controlling my music and career and made me more strong willed. Though right now I wear all the hats, composer, producer, songwriter, creative director etc. The experience has definitely made me stronger.

What Other Interests Do You Have?
Art, music and styling are at the forefront right now, the rest I would prefer to keep a mystery. I did use to have clothing label called Hadassah, I’ve always loved fashion and always style myself. In fact, before people here in Nigeria found out about my music they thought I was a stylist or fashion designer.

Styling is everything in music and photoshoots and I do it all myself. I even make some of the clothes my band members wear…yes I make stuff too (I made the hat I wore to the recent Chris Brown concert).

Tell Us A Little About Your Background And Growing Up. Did You Have Support From Family?
I grew up in England and only child, and you could say my love for music started early. I wrote my first song at age 7, teaching myself to play instruments. Obviously at that age it was a little chaotic but somehow there was structure. My mother saw my music gift early and she was a big influence as all the music I wrote and played at that time was about God and the Bible. My parents typically wanted me to go the gospel way so I focused on my studies thereafter.

Music can be very academic and I’m very much a visual person so had a moment in my life where I felt I couldn’t do it. So I went and got a degree in Food Science and Nutrition, though for some strange reason I initially wanted to become a dentist! After my degree I went on to Art school as music was always my first love.

Let’s Talk About The Decision To Study Food Science And Nutrition, Why?
I caught the fitness bug because I was a bit of a chubby kid, though the decision to study Food Science was more of a ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ decision, it just sounded interesting. While in university I did a YMCA course for fitness instructors and it had a positive influence on me. Teaching fitness classes gave me the confidence to deal with stage fright as I am a shy person.

How Important Is Fitness To You?
I have to be healthy and fit for the stage as my performances are very energetic. I workout in the mornings as it sets me off for the day, in fact if I don’t workout in the morning I can end up eating badly in the day.

Describe A Typical Workout.
My trainer Ponle Dekalu-Thomas (Eden Writer) has changed my entire outlook on fitness. I would typically burn myself out by pounding the cross-trainer then straight to spin class, hectic. Ponle introduced me to compound training which gives me a better workout over a shorter period of time. It is basically mixing up your exercises resulting in ‘muscle confusion’. I still love my spin classes and Pilates but my schedule makes it harder to attend classes. I also absolutely love Urban Rebounding (trampolines) and Plyometrics.

As A Music Artist What Sort Of Music Do You Listen To While Working Out?
Music is very important to my workouts, I love listening to Gangster Rap, Nigerian music, especially Fuji Praise as of late.

People Complain Of Time To Exercise, How Do You Fit It Into Your Busy Schedule?
Time is a problem for me with my schedule but I’ve had to find the discipline because it’s important to my career to be fit. I struggle like anyone else and have fallen off the wagon a few times. For the last 3 months I have been working out 6 days a week, which on some days has been very difficult indeed, I’ve had a lot of bad days where I’ve had to call my trainer for extra motivation.

Do You Pay Attention To Diet?
Diet is a constant struggle as there’s a fat kid inside, I love carbs! I usually have egg whites for breakfast with grapefruit, paw paw or watermelon. For lunch it’s chicken or fish with vegetables and boiled plantain. For a typical dinner I boil okra with prawns and have it like soup. I do generally stay away from carbs though it doesn’t always happen, and I always have loads of vegetables. I love sushi, enough said. I avoid anything with too much oil and enjoy avocados, moin moin and beans (not combined).

Thank You For Reminding Me To Ask About Supplements, Do You Use Any?
Yeah I do, I use Protein Whey and Nitric Oxide for the edge. After workouts I stick to Amino Acids and Conjucated Linoleic Acid (CLA), I always try to be careful with my caffeine intake.

Thank you so much for your time, any last words for our readers?
Think of exercise as a lifestyle, think of all the benefits, you will feel so much better.

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