Known across the globe for his unique Afro RnB sound TAVES is the first artist, putting his hometown of Ibadan firmly on the musical map. Get familiar with this VIPER interview…

What five words define your sound?

Unheard, Timeless, Nostalgic, Refreshing, Sincere.

Tell me something unique about your creative process

A lot of the time it takes a while for me to write songs ‘cause I get inspired at the weirdest moments. I could be driving and I’d remember an idea I started three weeks before and I’d finish it on my drive home or something. It gets frustrating at times but I think it’s what makes my music as special as it is. 

Which song of yours would you like people to hear first?

Definitely ‘Folake’. I picked this song because I’m all about never being put in a box and I feel like it’s my most diverse song that’s released right now. It’s a very very special record. 

What inspired you to make that song?

The song was actually inspired by a car conversation I had with a friend of mine some years ago. We spoke about life and our problems at the time. It was the most pure thing. I loved it so much that I made a song off of the emotions I felt. It’s crazy how something so simple led to such an amazing and timeless record. 

What’s the most vulnerable you’ve allowed yourself to be when writing/making music? 

Normally I write all my songs based on my personal experiences, and usually time needs to pass after an experience before I can sing about it. The only time I’ve made a song fresh off an experience was immediately after my last relationship ended. It was the first time I experienced real heartache and I had to process it somehow. Making the songs I did at that time helped a lot. 

What’s the best/worst experience you’ve had on stage?

My best experience on stage would have to be when BNXN (Buju) brought me out at his ‘Sincerely Benson’ release concert in Abuja last year. It was so much fun and the energy from the crowd and BNXN himself made me feel like I was on top of the world. It’s always a crazy time whenever we get to perform together. I think my worst would have to be a talent show in my secondary school in 2017. I froze up on stage at the start of my performance for like three solid minutes. I still sang eventually, but it felt so weird having everyone see my nerves get the better of me, even if it was just for a few minutes. 

What is your favourite song to perform?

Definitely ‘Eleyele’. Cause it’s always a surprise when i get on stage and people are singing the song back to me with so much passion. I’m never fully aware of how far my songs reach until I get on stage. It’s amazing. 

Which artist/song/album made you want to make music?

Asa. Just Asa. I remember being eight years old in the back of my dad’s car listening to her album ‘Beautiful Imperfection’ which she dropped in 2011. My favourite song to hear was always ‘Bamidele’. I don’t know what it was about that song or about her in general, but it just touched my soul. So much so that it inspired me to teach myself how to play the guitar because I wanted to be exactly like her. 

What’s the meaning behind your name?

When my brother and I first came up with the name ‘Taves’ in 2019, it was the most random thing ever [laughs]. We were just hanging out and thinking about what would sound the coolest. It was a while after that I found that Taves meant “The great one” in a language I can’t remember. But it put a lot of perspective on it for me because, in a sense, it made me feel like I had to live up to the name. It’s the reason why I added “the great” behind my name on social media, so everyone knows I’m coming for everything.

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing instead?

Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve wanted to make music for as long as I can remember. I never really gave room for anything else to be honest. I guess if I had to choose something it would be something related to Computer Science cause that’s what I studied the year I was at Uni. 

What’s success to you?

When I was younger I felt like all I needed to be fulfilled was just to have as many people as possible hear my music. I didn’t really care about fame or money because I genuinely had love for the craft. I still do. Don’t get me wrong, all that’s different now is that I have an actual frame of reference. I feel like my music is so different from everyone else’s around me, and usually when there’s an artist that stands out as much as I feel I do, they go as far as you can get into this music thing and I feel like I won’t be satisfied until I reach the peak of that, honestly just because I want to be able to do a lot of cool shit but also as much as I can for the people around me. They’re the only reason I am where I am. 

What moment in your life/career forced you to change direction?

A defining moment in my career was definitely when I met BNXN (Buju). I did a cover of his song ‘For Days’ and posted it up on socials. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting anything to come out of it cause I’d done covers in the past that never really went anywhere so at that point I was just doing it for fun. This time it was different because he saw the cover and loved it so much that he decided to take a chance on me. The cover, BNXN and everything else that came as a result of that really shifted my perspective on a lot of things. It made me realise that if I wanted to do the things I’m trying to do for myself and everyone around me, I had to take myself seriously and be more intentional about decisions regarding my career and my life in general. I can’t put a price on the lessons I learned from BNXN for real. 

Where can people keep in touch with you? 

You can find me on any social media platform @tavesthegreat and on streaming platforms as “Taves.” Definitely check my music out cause I can guarantee you’ve never heard anything like it before. 

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