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Forget rose tinted glasses, Trill Tega sees the world in purple. “It’s always been my favourite colour”, the rapper, who made history after being the first Nigerian artist to perform at Wireless Festival, smiles. “I don’t usually do press you know”. It’s true, for the last eight years, Trill has been following his own path, choosing to self-release and self-promote multiple albums including ‘Purple Tapes’ and ‘Sound Exploration’. It’s this decision that he believe has got him to where he is now; “I’ll never conform for any sort of gratification”.

With the release of his latest track ‘Glory’ contributing to over one hundred tracks he has released, inspiration is not something Trill lacks. How does he stay motivated? Perhaps it’s the people he surrounds himself with, perhaps it’s by taking risks, but he would most likely tell you that if you’re living a life that’s true to yourself, you don’t need motivation. When we speak about the future, he mentions the States, but there is a quiet confidence that suggests that he has it all planned out, we just have to wait to watch it unfold. Trill might not usually do press, but you can bet that he’s in constant conversation with his higher self.

Rachel Edwards: ‘Too Real in Living Life’ is a good name in a world that feels like it’s becoming less real every day. How did you come up with it?

Trill Tega: Well first of all I love the word Trill because my name starts with T and it clicked instantly. The meaning of trill at the time in America was “true” and “real” and that wasn’t enough for me so I had to make my own abbreviation. I just said Trill meant ‘too real in living life’ so I call myself Too Real in Living Life Tega. I stand for authenticity, built from the ground up. I don’t even really do press, I put my thing out there and I like the real, organic feel to it.

R.E: There are so many influences bombarding us constantly, how do you manage to stay true to yourself and not get swept up in it?

T.T: There are a lot of influences everywhere. I was born in Ireland, I was in Nigeria for fourteen years, then I moved to Canada where I started making music. I lived in Calgary for six years, a crazy countryside place. I loved it, it was a whole different life type there! And now I’m in England. Besides music influences there were actual external influences, my accent could have changed, there were so many different things that could have affected any aspect of my grounding but it all goes back to why ‘Too real in living life’ means everything to me - no matter where I found myself I always stayed true to this one version of what I believed. I can take myself anywhere and I’m always just as grounded, I’ll never change or conform for any sort of gratification at any point… I have it planned.


R.E: Have you always had confidence?

T.T: I love to call it confidence because back then I didn't even know what I was doing. I invented this kind of imaginary metre where I was like ‘I’m on 30%’. I was very realistic with myself, I didn't lie to myself at any time or muddy my waters or deceive myself. That's one thing a lot of people do, they trick themselves. They find themselves in the ocean and they can’t even swim. I started slow, I was like ‘okay I'm on 10%, I’ve done this this and this… I’m at 20%, I’m at 30%’. At one point I told myself I was at 70% and I was like no bro you’re lying.

R.E: (Laughs) Hold on, what percentage are you at now?

T.T: Well if you ask me… I would say 65… There's still a lot! But the fact that I am more than halfway through is all that matters to me. I’ve done what I’m doing now for seven or eight years independently. One thing that always stands is that your name can exist through everything that’s constantly changing… Even if you’re in some weird scenario where you’re not able to find yourself or anything then that's the best testament ever, I literally still exist. That's the coolest thing! I was in school still doing this and now I'm out…

R.E: Yeah how did you find school?

T.T: I felt like Hannah Montana! I’d go to school and I’d be in class tapping my feet because I’m making songs in my head and because it was a boarding school I’d run to my room, make the song on my Macbook. I had this one Macbook for 10 years, and one blue Snowball mic for years… Obviously I’ve retired them now, but every time I got a song in my head I would just put it down. Even though I didn't release most of them I just had a whole lot to work with, it was just my day to day.

R.E: Have you always found it easy to make music? T.T: Yeah cos it’s real, it's my life. You know when you’re tasked to make music you’re there like ‘oh my god how am I meant to construct this?’ It’s not even a construct to me, it's like I have too much! I have to shave it! I have over 100 songs out right now.. When I started making music, going back to moving around and stuff, the whole thing with my accent and everything, at one point I didn't even know how my music sounded so I named my project ‘Sound Exploration’ cos I wanted to just put out a good sample amount of music that was different sounds, different feels. and see what people gravitated towards but people just liked everything! There were people who liked specific ones but it was like this is enough to expand on, so I just kept working on each and every one of those sounds. If you listen closely they’re different sounds but they’re very specific, the rhythms and stuff… Now I just expand on it! I’m about to release a project this summer, which is a continuation of one of the projects I released before. So that one’s called ‘Purple tapes’. Purple is my favourite colour.

R.E: Okay, you need to tell me, what’s behind your love for purple?

T.T: As long as I can remember I loved purple. And 23. The number 23. I’ve always seen 23 everywhere. Someone told me about angel numbers at school but before then when I saw 23 I used to be terrorised, I was like what’s going to happen when I’m 23? What does this even mean? Then I thought you know what, I have to turn this into something good! Someone told me what it meant and it basically means that when you make a meaningful and conscious effort to go for something it will come your way. The universe grants these things to you. That's the basic meaning of it. All my fans know I love purple.

R.E: Do they wear purple to your shows?

T.T: They do! It's so cool! Purple bandanas! Crazy stuff!

R.E: Would you say you’re a spiritual person? T.T: Yeah, I would say I'm very spiritual. A lot of what I do on this level is more of a funnel from my higher self… A tiny percentage of what I want to tell people. Beyond the music I want to explain a whole experience, it’s such a unique experience. Music isn’t enough but it will be my first through the door.

R.E: Do you have a ritual that keeps you grounded?

T.T: It’s just praying, It's God. I pray to God every single day. Every single time. It's stuff I've known since I was a kid, it's stuff that is embedded in this work, it's just my life. I don't even see any other way to get to where I'm going without praying, without God. That's my solid foundation in my work.

R.E: How did you get into working in fashion?

T.T: It's funny, I was thinking about fashion in 2019 and I did a bunch of campaigns. The first one that came to me was Farfetch and they DM’d me on Instagram and I thought it couldn’t be real so I didn't reply. Then I got another DM from Marni and I was like you know what I’ll go for it. I went there and it was real and I was like this is cool. It was a runway, it was a catwalk. After that the jobs just came. I did Diesel, I did Burberry which was so cool, eight hours of people putting beads on my head.

R.E: Eight hours! Actually do you ever get bored?

T.T: Nowadays it's hard to get bored because I'm trying to be busy all the time, I'm not trying to be idle. There was a time when I felt idle or comfortable because stuff used to just come, and I thought this is cool, maybe more stuff will come. I used to just want to chill, but then I realised if I let myself do that it would be the biggest disservice I could do to myself. Nowadays, my boys are always here to check on me. Every single time. I’m never chillin’ and I'm never bored.

R.E: Do you feel like your style has changed in terms of the music you’re about to release?

T.T: Yeah a little bit,. Every time I'm working on a new project, I’m also listening to the old one, layering them. You can never predict the next thing, it'll always be something outta the expected.

R.E: Where’s one place you particularly want to play live?

T.T: Current day, I would like to perform at Rolling Loud, that would be crazy. I did Wireless which was crazy, I kinda knew I was gonna end up doing my first big festival that year. Big shoutout to the trapstar family who gave me the opportunity on the trapstar stage alongside a lot of the other great artists in the UK and US. I’m the first Nigerian rapper on the wireless stage, that sounds about right in the history books.

R.E: Okay so you come across as being cool, tell me is there anything nerdy about you?

T.T: Oh my god you know before all of this stuff literally any of my friends would tell you i would game more than anyone. I’d play C-S Go, COD. I was a gamer, I love minis, I love toys, I was such a big fan of Lego. Lego was my entire world. Being from Nigeria, you have so many ambitions, you don’t even know where you want to dive in but my first ambition ever was to be an architect. I used to do a lot of design, a lot of interior design and modelling, I used to mess around a lot with lego, I nearly built the Sydney Opera House for my design project. That was crazy back then! I love all that stuff!

R.E: Who do you call for advice?

T.T: My friends, that's the only thing I didn't really have, a lot of times being the person who presents a lot of your work to people as well as being the artist, it is like minesweeper! A lot of advice I got was just people dropping stuff and I took what was important and what meant something and made sense, I’d take that and work with it. I never really had just one person.

R.E: More men in music are talking about mental health. Do you feel like you’re open with your friends in talking about mental health?

T.T: That's what's so cool about my friends, I don’t have blood brothers but I literally have brothers! Not even just friends, I'm able to talk to these guys about anything, anything! Down to whatever mushy mushy emotional type shit, and it would never be like ‘oh bro you’re being-’ it would actually be solid information that you'd be able to use and help yourself get through stuff. They’re always there, my friends, so crazy… That’s the best thing that ever happened to me, I wasn't ever restricted to one place with one set of friends, I have friends all over.

R.E: Who was your support growing up?

T.T: Back then, my momma! I’d say my momma. But I’d mess up and my friends would be like ‘Yeah so you do it this way instead, you rectify it. Done!’

R.E: Do you have regrets? T.T: Sure, but what is a regret without progression? Any time I regretted something it wasn't like ‘oh damn I'm defeated’, it was more of a learning point.. Any time I regret something I'm like okay cool I know what to do, bara bara boom, do it better next time! I'm all for progression. Regrets are not even a thing.

R.E: Have you always been close to your family?

T.T: Yeah always, I see all my family today - my dad, my mum, my two sisters, I’m a big bro.

R.E: If you had a robot, what's the first thing you'd ask it to do for you?

TT: That’s a tricky one,I have a lot of tasks…Roll my blunt. Sort out my beatpacks… you know all that techy stuff. I’d name him Benjamin Boofpaks as well.

R.E: (Laughs) Who’s that?

TT: So Benjamin Bookpaks is a character I created in Grade 6. I used to have an afro before but when I grew my hair I changed it to this. He exists right now.

R.E: I like the Buzz Lightyear artwork for ‘Sound Exploration’. What superpower would you have?

T.T: Ohh that’s a good one, I’d probably wanna fly! I just wanna get up and go! So that’s it or super strength, just chillin’ like this and then lift the table with one finger.

R.E: What would you say to someone aspiring to make music?

T.T: It is possible, you just need to be real. Never muddy your waters because even when you think it's real you're never going to believe it's real. Just always keep going, everyone says that. I’m saying that because I’ve literally done this for years and I'm nowhere near where I want to be yet but you’ll see for a fact something, you need to just be real. Stay Trill as well!

R.E: What inspires you outside of music when you’re making music? Is it interactions, places, love?

T.T: Oh my god, yeah, love, everything has little sprinkle towards my music. If you listen to my music, I talk fast, I dabble in everything. Experiences are the best because I'm like okay I already have a name for the song. I had this experience so i'm going to rap about that, then I’ll sneak in another experience, you know? Put a little bit of desire in there… that's it! The formula for music when you're real is not hard, it’s really cool.

R.E: What's the way to your heart?

T.T: Can I give that out? Purple stuff. Purple items.

R.E: So someone just has to buy you a dairy milk?

T.T: (Laughs) Real talk, ask any of my friends, dairy milk was messing me up! And eclairs.

R.E: What animal would you be if you were an animal?

T.T: A penguin! Penguins are the most adorable animals ever. I love penguins to death. I tried to adopt a penguin at one point, but all you can do is adopt one and they can take care of it for you.

R.E: I did that too! I adopted a dolphin and it was just a photo of it I got in the post!

T.T: Hell no! I need that penguin waddling in my crib.

R.E: You need to perform in an aquarium. Are you going anywhere this summer?

T.T: Oh I could do that, maybe in Canada! I want to start my American adventures this summer and go to L.A… You know what’s crazy, most of the people who listen to my stuff are in America, I see the stats and everything so I know where to take myself! I’ve never gone out there to do anything so I'm going to try that this year, next year, start heading out to New York! I know so many people out there. Everyones trying to drag me out there.

R.E: I see it! How often do you count your blessings?

T.T: Every morning, every day

R.E: What was the last dream that you remember?

T.T: Oh shit, last dream I remember… I’ve barely been dreaming anymore, I kind of just dream in real life. It’s so weird, that's what's crazy, shows and all that stuff, I'm literally doing a show that I’d be dreaming of. When I dream I dream about weird shit, penguins and all that, waddling towards me…

R.E: (Laughs) Okay last meal you cooked?

T.T: It was pasta and stew from Nigeria cos my mum’s been cooking that stuff so that was nice. I came back from Nigeria recently…

R.E: The last song you had stuck in your head?

T.T: Probably my song ‘Glory’ … glory days ahead.

R.E: The last time you did something that scared you?

T.T: I’d say three weeks ago but I’m taking risks every day. If it doesn't scare me I wont do it. That means I'm not growing. I just took a big leap three weeks ago… God’s with us, let's see.

R.E: Actually do you have any phobias?

T.T: I guess I'm scared to fail. But no… do I have any real phobias?

R.E: What about penguins becoming extinct?

T.T: Yeah, real talk! Real talk. Imagine - okay at that point I don't mind adopting them in that manner. What if I adopt enough and they’re like ‘okay you know what, come to this facility real quick, in this facility you can have 23 penguins’. Come on, that's my next move, okay I’ll keep that in the pocket.

R.E: (Laughs) Yeah you can keep them hidden in your bath. Do you have any hidden talents?

T.T: I play the violin, and the piano! If someone has a grand piano, I bust it out.

R.E: So what are you most excited about?

T.T: Every day is actually a progression, it's so rapid. I find out new stuff every day, I do stuff every day, I do new stuff but stuff i did three years ago unfolds now too. This moment I love, I wouldn't trade it, even when stuff happens the way I wanted it to happen, even at this point right now which is the best moment for this whole scenario… time to keep to myself, that's kind of what is exciting. Living in the moment. I’m too real in living life!

R.E: On that note, what’s your favourite F word?

T.T: Let me say… faith.

R.E: That makes sense!

Trill Tega’s latest single 'Glory’ is out today and available to stream on all platforms.


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