Tiwa Savage’s Groundbreaking Debut Album Turns 10

Nigeria’s music sensation, Tiwa Savage commemorates a significant milestone in her career as she celebrates the 10th anniversary of her groundbreaking album, Once Upon a Time.

The debut album did not only mark the beginning of her successful career but also showcased her exceptional talent, paving the way for her ascent to becoming one of Africa’s most influential artists.

In a tribute to mark the anniversary of the album, rising Nigerian musician and Spotify RADAR Africa artist for 2023, Ria Sean has released a special Spotify Singles version of one of the iconic tracks, Kele Kele. The Spotify Singles, available exclusively on Spotify, is an alternative-inspired take on the classic decade-old Afro-pop banger by Tiwa.

Kele Kele is one of 21-tracks on Once Upon a Time that captures the essence of Tiwa Savage’s artistry and introduces her unique sound to the world. The song is familiar to just about every Afrobeats fan and it’s still a staple at Afrobeats raves and club nights across Africa.

Speaking about the importance of the song, Ria Sean says, “Kele Kele love was the first time I discovered Tiwa. She is a big inspiration to me. When I saw that video on TV, the song, everything just spoke to me like Yooo! The original version was more Afro-pop but I tried to switch it up to be very alternative. The track is for everytime, for everywhere and for everybody.”

Spotify’s Artist and Label Partnerships Manager for West Africa, Victor Okpala says of the Spotify Single: “With Ria Sean’s distinct talent and style, fans can expect a fresh and captivating rendition of the song, which breathes new life into the timeless classic.”

To celebrate Tiwa Savage’s decade-long career and her debut album, Spotify data gives a glimpse into just how popular Once Upon a Time has been since release.

Among the tracks featured on the album, the standout hit that continues to captivate listeners is Eminado featuring the legendary Don Jazzy. The song is the first song by Tiwa Savage to surpass 1 million streams on Spotify.

Tiwa Savage’s music transcends borders as evidenced by its  presence on user-generated playlists with her tracks having found their way onto over 4 million user playlists. Ma Lo, a chart-topping collaboration with Wizkid, topped the list of most playlisted tracks and also became the first track in her discography to reach an impressive 10 million streams.

Stamina tops the list as her most exported song among listeners in the 18-35 age group, followed by Loaded, her collaboration with Asake, and her track Koroba rounds out the top three.

Several countries stand out as major hubs for streaming Once Upon a Time in 2023. Nigeria, Tiwa Savage’s home country, demonstrates a strong connection to her music, with a significant portion of her global fan base located there, accounting for 23% of the streams. This is followed by the United States at 20%, the United Kingdom at 15%, Canada at 6%, and France also at 6%.

“Once Upon a Time marked a significant turning point in the African music landscape and it showcased Tiwa’s undeniable talent. Over the past ten years, Tiwa Savage has played a significant role in expanding the global reach of African music,”  says Okpala.

According to data shared as part of Spotify’s Afrobeats: Journey to a Billion Streams project, Tiwa Savage ranks among the top ten most streamed Afrobeats artists on the platform.

To check out Ria Sean’s interview on the Spotify Singles, music lovers can visit here 


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