It is no surprise that there are so many creatives trying to make a name for themselves whilst also doing it independently. Tosman is one artist that has caught the eye with his hardworking nature. Continuing to dish out quality music on every release which has made him one of the best amongst his peers.
Tosman, a talented singer and a knowledgeable personality in the music business gets the nod for our monthly exclusive spotlight interview.
In this piece, our correspondent sits down with the talented Tosman to discuss in detail about his music career so far. What it means to be an independent artist as well as revealing his future plans and providing an update on his forthcoming project.
Q: Tell us about yourself and background, Tosman.
A: My full names are Anigioro Oluwatosin Paul. I’m from Abeokuta in Ogun State. I grew up in Ogun State. I am from a large family, you know what I mean by large, cousins included.
Q: Growing up, can you share a little insight on your early influences that determined your career till date.
A: I started writing music when I was in secondary school. Back then, I listened to more of Faze, P-Square, 2 Face, Banky W, Wande Coal, Akon to mention a few. These artists were the ones making waves at the time. It was easy to get inspired by what they did. So I kept trying to improve my skill. When I got to the tertiary institution, my music career grew. I joined a forum which provided a platform for talented creatives to show off their skill. So, I had the chance to write as well as perform my songs to an audience. From there, I built the confidence to chase a career in music and it’s not been the same ever since.
Q: Talking about the aforementioned influences, tell us how they influenced your current sound.
A: Honestly, I got schooled musically by those artists. When I listen to their music, I try to get information on what makes their song so relatable and accepted by listeners. For me, it’s more than just listening to their songs; I jot down the lyrics, dissect them properly, study their rhymes and melodies. Some of those lessons I’ve learned from them which also includes how to make a proper or hit song. I learnt a lot from them, so when I say I got schooled, this is what I mean.
Q: Wow, so has it been easy applying everything you learned from them to your music?
A: Yes, but you know we keep learning and keep getting better daily. African music keeps advancing by the day. We all know that African music has evolved massively from what it used to be years back, so many things has changed so it is important to embrace change and growth.
Q: Personally, What have you learnt so far at this stage of your career?
A: Over the years, I’ve learnt a lot and I’m still learning. One thing I’ve learnt is that music is a business. It is common knowledge that as a business, there are good days and bad days. So one shouldn’t be really disappointed but instead focus on bouncing back.
Q: What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far in the music business?
A: It would be financial support. When I started, the system was usually an artist waiting for a record label deal mostly by trying to have one or two hit songs to catch the eye. Those years of waiting taught me a lot of lessons. I’ve come to the realisation of waiting for nobody, just do you and stay true to yourself; if it’s gonna bring shows, deals and partnerships, it would. Instead of waiting for someone to invest in you, invest in yourself by improving. Right now, I’m an independent artist, I signed myself (laughs) and that has helped me so far. In any project that I try to execute, I ensure that it is done properly and in the end there are results for it. This has encouraged me and keeps motivating me daily because I’m aware of my growth.
Q: You talked about staying true to oneself, has that affected your releases?
A: No. As an artist, when I want to record, I do not only record based on my feelings or experiences, sometimes I think about the audience that would be listening. I consider what they would get from actually listening to the song. No matter what I put out, I always make sure it has an element of me regardless.
Q: It has become a thing in recent times that many artists don’t like to express the vulnerable part of their personalities. So how do you control the amount of emotions you let out in your songs?
A: Artists are also humans, and as humans, we know how much we can control our emotions. I control my emotions by trying to stay professional and only displaying them when necessary. Sometimes, I write some songs that require all my emotions to pass the message to listeners while some songs do not even require that much. So I try to balance things up.
Q: So, let’s talk about your music. How has it been gathering your own audience? Have you been intentional about this when releasing songs?
A: As an independent artist, music is a learning process for me. I try things, if it works, I stick with it and if it doesn’t, I move on. Music has always had a business side to me which needs to be studied. For example, a owner of a restaurant you don’t cook based on what you feel, you cook based on what people would buy. This is relative to music as well. When I want to release music, I consider what I would like to record, the critics, people who actually love my song and also the market, and then I try to balance things.
A: I am always intentional when releasing my songs. The fan and critics opinion actually matters as well as the market. So to please all sides involves striking a balance and so I consider everything before any releases.
Q: I see you’re knowledgeable about the music business. There are few creatives possessing so much knowledge like this in the music business. Has there been any help that has done to your career?
A: My knowledge of the music business has helped me a lot as an independent artist. What I’ve learnt influences the decision I make about what I want to do with my music. Although, that’s not to say I haven’t made mistakes, I have made mistakes and I’m learning again from them.
Q: Can you share with us your plan about the future?
A: The plan is to be here for a very long time while dishing out good music. Quality music that the next generation would listen to and as well relate with the messages embedded in them. I don’t want to just create evergreen songs but with messages that would transcend across times. For example, some messages from Fela’s songs sound like they were recorded based on what’s happening today. So, the ultimate plan is to create my own chapter in the history of African music and well leave an everlasting footprint in global sand as far as good music is concerned.
Q: This is a good plan, Tosman. To create good music sometimes requires collaborating with some other artists, which artists would you like to work with in the Nigerian industry.
A: Honestly, there are a lot. The industry is large and there is a large pool of creatives. I would like to work with the likes of Oxlade, Asake, Buju, Rema and so many more of those good guys. The ultimate plan though would be to work with Wizkid, Olamide and Burna Boy. If I have the connection to these artists right now, I believe all other collaborations would definitely work itself out.
Q: Do you feel you are prepared and have what it takes to work with them if you get the contact now?
A: (Laughs). I feel like I’m ready to work with those guys right now if the opportunity comes knocking. Being ready is not about how long you have prepared but how hungry you are to make it happen. As far as I am concerned, I believe I have what it takes to work them and in fact it would only help me get better and improve.
Q: So, any update on your project?
A: Actually, there is a single coming soon. The acceptability and success of the song determines whether the long term plan which is an EP comes into play soon. My next single will determine a lot of things, so watch out for it.
Q: Tosman, any messages for your fans out there?
A: To my fans out there, you need to know Tosman is not a perfect being. Although, one thing is certain, I would not give you anything that is less than 100% of my energy and talents. I’ll keep getting better. This is a journey and I believe we’re together, let’s stick together and make good memories and create beautiful stories and histories. I’ll be here for a long time creating good music for you all, that I assure you.
Raving act, Tosman is set to release new single, titled Stay on Friday 30th September.