TERRI: MUSIC, MENTAL STATE AND MOMENTUM


WORDS GRACEY MAE - PHOTOGRAPHY RAHMON - STYLING JOHN J ANGEL FOR DeANGELIC TOUCH







Grammy award nominated Terri is an Afrobeats singer and songwriter ready to take the world by storm! As the only artist to be signed by Wizkid to Starboy Records, the rising star found fame when he was discovered via Instagram. With the release of his sophomore EP, ‘In Transit’, Terri caught up with F Word Music Contributor, Gracey Mae, in Lagos, Nigeria. They unpack his music, mental state and momentum!


LISTEN TO IN TRANSIT HERE



Gracey Mae: Terri! Welcome to F Word, how are you?

Terri: I'm good. I'm just here, man. I'm just chilling.



GM: You've been on the scene officially since March 2018. Take me back to December of the year before! Wizkid had just seen a music cover of yours and that’s where your road to stardom really begins.

T: March 2018 was when ‘Soco’ dropped. We had recorded it back in December 2017 after one of Wiz’ concerts at Eko Hotel. ‘Soco’ was actually the first song we recorded. I had seen him about three or four times so on the fifth visit, he goes, “I want you to listen to something that I’ve been working on”. I just went to the studio to listen to it and Legundary Beatz’ Mut4y was the producer. He played me the music and was like, “Do you want to do something?” because I was doing a little freestyle. I was like, “Yeah, I wouldn't mind” and then I took the mic and boom, I recorded it. I think about a month later, he played me the full thing and then I heard Spotless and Ceeza Milli on it. That’s when I understood that there was a plan for it! It dropped and did what it did and give me a solid intro into the industry and people got to know me.



GM: The song went on to be an anthem doing crazy numbers. It was definitely a defining moment in music. I love that you even mentioned Mut4y. Am I right in saying he was the one that discovered you on Instagram?

T: Mhmm… I made a video and tagged all of them: Mutay, Wiz and them. I think Mutay saw the video and showed it to Wizkid. Then, I got the call up, we vibed, and it happened.





GM: That was most of our introduction to you but that wasn’t when you started making music. Tell us about your childhood, growing up as the oldest of four kids, studying Marine Insurance at uni, and how all of that led to you discovering your passion for singing.

T: My family's a very supportive one; my parents let us do whatever we want to do. Being the first child is obviously a lot of responsibility; I'm not sure I want my siblings to live the type of life that I live. Sometimes I want them to do it. Sometimes I do not want them to do it. Sometimes I want them to look at me as a role model and as an example. Sometimes I feel like I don't know if I'm doing it right or not. You know that type of feeling? That’s what's being responsible is all about, so I have to carry that feeling all along. I really started music in high school! Miming songs until I decided to record my own song. Back then, I knew that I needed a platform to take my talents to where people needed to hear me so I did a lot of stuffs. I won two competitions: one for Coca Cola around the area that I used to live, and one for a popular magazine in Nigeria. I had opportunities to perform at some big events so I was already out there. I just needed like the next big thing! So I thought to myself that if I went to a uni where you have a bunch of young people, with people that can give you the energy to really do… because if you notice, young people really have the energy to do whatever it is that we set our minds to… I thought, I can meet people that have an interest in music and really like my sound. I can do things to get me out there; I have an audience already who are students. Obviously in university, you are going to be a lot of social events. Honestly, I wanted to go to school because of my music. I really didn't want to school for school. I went to University of Lagos in my first year and actually, the first month after I got my admission, was when I eventually got signed. I went to school to study Marine Insurance, because I was a business student and that was one of the options of things to pursue so I just picked that.



GM: I love that you've given us all the details. You skipped past the fact that you were in a duo and the your first name was Stone Teezy but I’ve said it for you [laughs]

T: I'm surprised you know all of this [laughs] Yeah, I was in a duo with my friend. He was actually the person that talked me into going to record. I knew we could but in my head I felt like studios were very expensive. We were in high school and there was no way our parents were going to give us money for that. He was the one that said, “we can just put money together! I know one place run by a young guy and he supports young talent. Any amount of money you have, you can just give him so we'll put our lunch money together”. From when we did our first song, I knew that I just had to keep going. I knew nothing could stop me. I didn't even care where the money to keep recording was going to come from. It eventually came because I found someone that believed in my talents who was just going to record me whenever I had an idea. I didn't have to wait until I had money; money was my biggest limitation! Sometimes I had ideas that I couldn't record. When it comes to my name Stone Teezy, I was in like a gang of four. Not like that - music gang but I’m a bad boy still. We were called Stone Boys Gang that's how I adapted the name. Some of my real friends and fans still come to my comment section and my DMs saying “I knew you from where your name was Stone Teezy. I'm a Day 1!”



GM: How did life change from hustling to get into the studio to your first solo single, ‘Bia’?

T: Before I recorded ‘Bia’, I used to worry about a lot of stuff. When I recorded ‘Bia’ I then had a lot of stuff I used to worry about at my disposal. For example, producers that I wanted to work with were hitting me up. For ‘Bia’ me and my friend, David Anthony, were at the house and we were just bored. I just felt like “Yo! I think I want to record” and my producer, the one that would normally record me, was not available. David was like “I know someone we can call. His name is Damayo and I think he’s good”. I had never heard of him but I said he should pull up. He played me a few beats then we heard one instrumental but it was just the drums. I'm like, “I like this” but he asked “Are you sure you want to do this? I’ve just started it?” I'm like, “Yeah, let's finish it up”. He loads it, and I start to sing. What I’m singing gives him the inspiration to finish up the beat. We recorded everything on the same day. At that time, I had recorded a couple of songs that were my favourites but it was up to the label to decide what song was going to be released. So when they choose ‘Bia’, I was like, “I think I have madder songs than this” but when it came out, it was amazing. It went straight to number one in Nigeria and I was grateful for it. After a while, I understood the reason for the selection.





GM: Let’s fast forward to 2022. Damayo is a great producer, but you've also got amazing producers on your brand new EP ‘In Transit’: P.Prime, Krizbeats, Runcheck and Princeton. This is a follow up to your first EP ‘Afro Series’. Talk to us about your sophmore project.

T: I've been making music all along but I haven’t dropped music for a long time. It was the second time in my career that I was taking a long break. The first time I did that, when I came back, I dropped a project [‘Afro Series’]. All the time I wasn’t putting on music, I was working, I was making music and experimenting with different producers. I just put together all the music that I feel is the best music that I've made from that period of time to now. The song with Runcheck is like the oldest song on tape – it’s two years old. Danger is the newest song recorded, I think I did it back in September last year.


GM: And what would you say is the difference between Terri of ‘Afro Series’ to Terri that’s ‘In Transit’?

T: So ‘In Transit’ is saying when I dropped my first project, I was in a mental state… or a music state where that was what I could offer - that was me. It was me being new! Before then I didn't know anything about the industry, I was just a young kid pushing music. The type of music, and the nature of how it was where I was doing music, is different from doing mainstream. I had to learn a lot of things, I had to take my time to understand my sound – experiment a lot, have a lot of studio time, see… try out stuff and then know more of my strengths. Now I realise that it's a journey and you're always going to evolve if you're conscious. A lot of people do not have the consciousness to know that they have to be evolving. So when I'm saying I'm in transit, I know that in this sound journey, there's this height that we are definitely going to get to and it's not even the end. I'm still going but this is where I am. I already see stuff. I already know stuff and I'm moving.


GM: I love that - there's beauty in the princess. The Grammys have been a hot topic, especially because there was a lot of commotion when your mentor, Wizkid, didn’t take home the awards he was nominated for. Are awards Grammys important to you?

I think everyone likes the idea of awards - being and being able to know that people actually see what you do. It makes you feel like for the times that I've put in work, it was worth it and then it just gives you the vibe to keep on going. Awarding people is okay but you start to have reservations when you things don't really add up. Like what's happening [with Wizkid] is clear that some things just don't add up and no one is explaining, or no one is saying anything that makes sense. Artists are humans, we have minds, we have emotions. No matter how you talk about it, emotions are always going to be involved so it's better not to even expect it. Like they don't even know the essence… they don't even understand the richness of what we do so how can you even award that? We've been trying to change the narrative and we'll keep trying. Congratulations to the winners and we have our Grammys in our hearts [laughs]





GM: I feel like your Gen Z generation are the ones that are gonna make Afrobeats a staple at award shows like this!

T: Yeah, exactly. We’re a force! If you notice, there's never been a rush of talent like the way we have now. It’s talent in different forms, like music in different feelings and it's just a rush. There’s so much - I don't feel like it can be ignored. This is what the movement is about. All of these things is just a matter of time. Everything that we think we are we're definitely going to get it!



GM: 100%! What do you want to leave our readers with – do you have any advice?

T: Everyone has something to offer, you just have to find it and give it out. It might take a process to find it but if you know that it’s there, you have to just be consistent, be confident, be the master of it, be in control of it. When you start to be in control of it, then you start to feel the essence of it. It's not easy to do but that's what you need to do. So yeah, just do it.



GM: You know how we wrap up every interview at this magazine, I have to ask you, what is your favourite F Word?

T: I honestly don't know. I'm quite clean. I try to keep it clean. So yes, I actually watch my vocabulary. I don’t have a favourite F Word. I only say fuck you, I dunno…



GM: So… what is your favourite F Word?

Fuck you. Fuck off!