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Tiwa Savage’s Global Message With 49-99

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By Glam & Essence

Currently enjoying a tour of her new release “49-99”, singer-songwriter Tiwa Savage has explained the meaning and idea behind the song.

The song, which was released on September 5, has recorded nearly two million YouTube views ,less than three weeks after its release.

At a listening party, TTiwa said “49-99” stands for “Forty-nine seating, ninety-nine standing,” a phrase coined by the late Afrobeat maestro, Fela Kuti, in his 1978 track, “Suffering and Smiling”, adding that a transit bus serves as a case study.

“It ought to have only 49 seated passengers,” she said, “however, due to poor economic conditions; we often have nearly twice that number of passengers standing. For those who are not Nigerian, we have these transit buses which we call ‘molue’ and it has 49 seats.

“So instead of it to have 49 people commuting to work and back, you have 49 people sitting and double that standing, hanging… That’s just a reflection of the economy and the imbalances with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. So, the song, even when you first listen to it – it’s a great record (laughs) – it’s one you can zanku to and dance to.”

Speaking on the motive behind the “49-99” campaign, Tiwa said: “I wanted my first global single to have a message that we are suffering and smiling, and music is a powerful tool. I wanted a title which could be a conversation starter like 49 people sitting and 99 people standing… like we’re suffering and smiling.”

Tiwa also said a phone call from Olamide and Pheelz led to 49-99.

Directed by Meji Alabi, scenes from the video show iconic portraits of Congolese schoolgirls taken in 1972 by photographer Eliot Elisofon. Another scene in which Savage is laid out with lengthy braids is reminiscent of Diana Ross’ flower-like look from the late 60s.

The 2018 MTV base Europe award winner further explained in details what the video portrayed.

“Everything was Nigerian, everybody was Nigerian, it was done in Lagos, Meji and Jimmy films shot it, overall creative direction came from Ibra Ake. It was important to showcase different elements of the song, Like I said, we have the school girls, I wanted that nostalgic feeling of college girls in uniform and the hair. The girls when they finish from school, people just think they would be hair dressers and tailors. Females are more than that; they want to be pilots, they want to be doctors. Also, the table with the older men, it is supposed to represent the ministers, senators, the politicians; some of them not all. Some of them are distracted by other things instead of them to focus on how to make Nigeria a better place so we kind of played on that a little bit, so those deep meanings; we had the monkey on my shoulder, that kept jumping off. You know monkey no get skills. Igi sumo gi. It’s a proverb. You know, you see a monkey jumping from tree to tree and you are like it has tricks, but you know they are just jumping from the closest tree to the next tree and they are not really doing anything spectacular. So, it is like telling you that when you are doing something or you ’re about to birth a huge destiny, you ’re going to have haters. But those haters are not doing anything, they are not coming out of their comfort zone, you can’t look at what they are doing. Monkey no get skill, Igi su mo gi, they are only doing what is necessary, you are doing something that is going to change the world. So, you have to step out of your comfort zone so that’s what that means.”

The 39-year-old singer made her film debut in 2011 with Joke Silva and Ireti Doyle in the stage adaptation of “For Coloured Girls.” And recently, she featured on “Keys to the Kingdom”, a track she co-wrote for Beyoncé’s soundtrack album “The Lion King: The Gift.”

Tagged Africa’s biggest female singer, Tiwa is signed to Universal Music Group for a seven-year publishing and distribution deal allowing her future music to be released through the label’s operations in more than 60 countries.

And expressing her vivacity, she took to Instagram to show off the new set of customised teeth with chrome “Savage” on the lower section.

The mother of one said despite the life of glamour and thrills she is living, she still struggles with low self-esteem and has always felt she was not beautiful most times. She disclosed that the life portrayed on social media was one reason for her insecurity.

Tiwa was formerly married to Tunji (Tee Billz) Balogun, in 2013, who was also her manager.  Their wedding hit the rocks when Balogun accused his wife of infidelity. On her part, Tiwa addressed her husband’s social media posts on their marriage, debunking the infidelity claims. She accused him of financial recklessness, drug addiction and abandonment.

Still separated, Balogun took to his Instagram account the day she dropped 49-99 to wish her well, he posted: “There’s no fulfillment greater than to watch your dream and vision come to live!! Proud of you, Mama J… I’ve not heard it. I’m not expecting anything but I knew what you were made off when they didn’t believe in you. Respect and greatness.” urrently enjoying a tour of her new release “49-99”, singer-songwriter Tiwa Savage has explained the meaning and idea behind the song.

The song, which was released on September 5, has recorded nearly two million YouTube views less than three weeks after its release.

At a listening party, TTiwa said “49-99” stands for “Forty-nine seating, ninety-nine standing,” a phrase coined by the late Afrobeat maestro, Fela Kuti, in his 1978 track, “Suffering and Smiling”, adding that a transit bus serves as a case study.

“It ought to have only 49 seated passengers,” she said, “however, due to poor economic conditions; we often have nearly twice that number of passengers standing. For those who are not Nigerian, we have these transit buses which we call ‘molue’ and it has 49 seats.

“So instead of it to have 49 people commuting to work and back, you have 49 people sitting and double that standing, hanging… That’s just a reflection of the economy and the imbalances with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. So, the song, even when you first listen to it – it’s a great record (laughs) – it’s one you can zanku to and dance to.”

Speaking on the motive behind the “49-99” campaign, Tiwa said: “I wanted my first global single to have a message that we are suffering and smiling, and music is a powerful tool. I wanted a title which could be a conversation starter like 49 people sitting and 99 people standing… like we’re suffering and smiling.”

Tiwa also said a phone call from Olamide and Pheelz led to 49-99.

Directed by Meji Alabi, scenes from the video show iconic portraits of Congolese schoolgirls taken in 1972 by photographer Eliot Elisofon. Another scene in which Savage is laid out with lengthy braids is reminiscent of Diana Ross’ flower-like look from the late 60s.

The 2018 MTV base Europe award winner further explained in details what the video portrayed.

“Everything was Nigerian, everybody was Nigerian, it was done in Lagos, Meji and Jimmy films shot it, overall creative direction came from Ibra Ake. It was important to showcase different elements of the song, Like I said, we have the school girls, I wanted that nostalgic feeling of college girls in uniform and the hair. The girls when they finish from school, people just think they would be hair dressers and tailors. Females are more than that; they want to be pilots, they want to be doctors. Also, the table with the older men, it is supposed to represent the ministers, senators, the politicians; some of them not all. Some of them are distracted by other things instead of them to focus on how to make Nigeria a better place so we kind of played on that a little bit, so those deep meanings; we had the monkey on my shoulder, that kept jumping off. You know monkey no get skills. Igi sumo gi. It’s a proverb. You know, you see a monkey jumping from tree to tree and you are like it has tricks, but you know they are just jumping from the closest tree to the next tree and they are not really doing anything spectacular. So, it is like telling you that when you are doing something or you ’re about to birth a huge destiny, you ’re going to have haters. But those haters are not doing anything, they are not coming out of their comfort zone, you can’t look at what they are doing. Monkey no get skill, Igi su mo gi, they are only doing what is necessary, you are doing something that is going to change the world. So, you have to step out of your comfort zone so that’s what that means.”

The 39-year-old singer made her film debut in 2011 with Joke Silva and Ireti Doyle in the stage adaptation of “For Coloured Girls.” And recently, she featured on “Keys to the Kingdom”, a track she co-wrote for Beyoncé’s soundtrack album “The Lion King: The Gift.”

Tagged Africa’s biggest female singer, Tiwa is signed to Universal Music Group for a seven-year publishing and distribution deal allowing her future music to be released through the label’s operations in more than 60 countries.

And expressing her vivacity, she took to Instagram to show off the new set of customised teeth with chrome “Savage” on the lower section.

The mother of one said despite the life of glamour and thrills she is living, she still struggles with low self-esteem and has always felt she was not beautiful most times. She disclosed that the life portrayed on social media was one reason for her insecurity.

Tiwa was formerly married to Tunji (Tee Billz) Balogun, in 2013, who was also her manager.  Their wedding hit the rocks when Balogun accused his wife of infidelity. On her part, Tiwa addressed her husband’s social media posts on their marriage, debunking the infidelity claims. She accused him of financial recklessness, drug addiction and abandonment.

Still separated, Balogun took to his Instagram account the day she dropped 49-99 to wish her well, he posted: “There’s no fulfillment greater than to watch your dream and vision come to live!! Proud of you, Mama J… I’ve not heard it. I’m not expecting anything but I knew what you were made off when they didn’t believe in you. Respect and greatness.”

Glam & Essence Magazine

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