Who is TJAN and why are NIGERIAN music fans loving his new jam?

Tijani Fowosere, for that is his government name, has received quite a warm acceptance in such short time and without the heft of a PR machine too.

What TJAN does is unapologetic R&B. Photo: Thenetng

What TJAN does is unapologetic R&B. Photo: Thenetng

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You have probably heard one of his songs, grooved to it and thought it was nice. Nice and uncharacteristic of a Nigerian pop song. He might be Nigerian but he definitely doesn’t do pop.

What TJAN does is unapologetic R&B. Despite the infusion of local rhythms and his native language of Yoruba in his songs alongside the up-tempo beat, it is still undeniably R&B.

Which is strange in the Nigerian music scene where the received wisdom is that the only way to make it is to go the pop route. That is if you are not already a rapper.

Perhaps this is why Tijani Fowosere, for that is his government name, has received quite a warm acceptance in such short time and without the heft of a PR machine too.

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Born and bred in Surulere like a proper Lagos State indigene, to a family of four and a poet as a father, TJAN picked up music really early, enrolling in the Muson School of Music, where he studied Music and Vocal Training. He would later proceed to the North American University, Houdegbe, Benin Republic, graduating with a degree in Mass Communications in 2013.

While still in school, there was some initial success with music, as he found his way to the final 20 on the Nigerian Idol Season 3 music reality show.

TJAN would have probably arrived at the place he is much sooner if he had rejected the convention and not run away from his original vocation of being a vocalist. Initially his music failed to show that calling, probably because he was in hurry to ‘blow’.

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But Nigerian music has shifted in the past few years, opening up to different sounds and TJAN was quick to adapt.

’It was part of trying to quickly get to the top; so let us not slow the pace of the music. But there has been a drastic change in the industry, giving room to the likes of Adekunle Gold and Simi’, he admits exclusively to Nigeria Entertainment Today.

Part of what also makes TJAN popular is the gentle but deliberate introduction of Yoruba – his local language – into the lyrics of his songs. According to him, using Yoruba ‘enhances the beauty of the song, how I sing and the output. The contrast of me speaking and my local dialect, to me is a very beautiful combination.

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His latest song, ‘Aduke’, came by with the help of the genius of Cobhams Asuquo. The chance to have a song produced by such a talented producer was a dream come true for TJAN.

‘It was a wonderful experience because this is someone I have always looked up to musically and in terms of achievements. It was just magic, it was amazing. Working with him opened my eyes and mind in so many different ways. I’m so grateful I got the opportunity to work with him,’ he told Smash9ja Media.

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