By Gabriel Ewepu
TK-SWAG (Torkuma Davies Nyior) is a vibrant Nigerian born songwriter and performing artiste that produces his music along with the genres of Hip Hop, RNB, Dance Hall and AfroBeat. In this interview bares his mind on why Abuja artistes are to be considered and hired first by event organizers to entertain Abuja residents and also be given the platform to showcase their talents and grow big as expected including other issues.
Who is TK SWAG?
I am Torkuma Davies Nyior, I am Tiv and Idoma from Benue State, and I speak Tiv, Idoma, Hausa and English fluently. My stage name is TK SWAG. I have been doing music since 2009 when I started officially. I launched that career while I was in university, precisely in 2006.
I have released a couple of songs. In 2009 my first song was ‘Tears’, I sang it because of the emotional attachment I had and where I was coming from and that was Jos, Plateau State capital. All my growing up days were in Jos. I wrote the song in regards to the crisis than in Jos. In 2010, I released another track, and then I have to come fully into the pop scene and was titled ‘Symbols’. Symbols were the spot people like going to relax opposite the Benue State University, where I studied Chemistry and was the rave of the State as at that time and I coined that into my song and it was a hit for me then because everybody could relate with it.
In 2015 I got signed to a label here in Abuja, Mayfair Records. In 2016 I was the winner of the Dbanj C.R.E.A.M Platform. I was in Lagos for that duration. It has been a great experience because you learn from people who are high ups, and then learn a couple of things from Dbanj in terms of coordination and how to be a proper artiste, under the music business and how to set the two aside because there are music and music business, which is trying to live off your profession, and that is what I do as an artist.
We have been for a couple of shows. I was in Dubai for the One Music, One Sound Fest. I headlined with Praiz, Dbanj, Kranium, and some other artists, and later this year I will be in the United Kingdom, UK, for another performance and that is in relation to my song, ‘Fairly Used Boyfriend’ which is out now.
Can you speak on ‘Fairly Used Boy-friend’?
On ‘Fairly Used Boy-Friend’, the fact is that most ladies like someone who is experienced, what they need and also is any woman who likes a man who knows what she needs. Most times for you to be a fairly used boy-friend you must have been into relationships, heartbroken and seen the highs and lows of a relationship and understands women better. So ‘Fairly Used Boy-friend’ is someone who is experienced than the regular guy. It is an upbeat afro-pop sound. I had a radio talk for the song here in Abuja. I toured about six radio stations and concluded it two weeks ago.
What is the patronage of your songs in Abuja and do you have penetration in Abuja and neighbouring States?
Yes. When I dropped ‘Check Your Alert’ the university communities were after it. I have followership for all my songs because when I record songs I record them with the intention for it to be big. I have penetration in Abuja and in my State, I am an elite artiste because everybody knows TK SWAG.
What have been your challenges since you delved into music?
Challenges come in stages. At one point in time it is family not relating with you on your chosen field especially for me who studied sciences in school they will feel like you are getting distracted, they won’t be seeing the bigger picture, but after a while when it takes off they move on to support. When you are in the field where what you are expecting is not what you are getting and often everybody feels you need to go to Lagos and become big.
I was doing a campaign at Gwarimpa, Wuse, Banex and then Wuse Market, where I was saying every time you want artistes to go to Lagos, why is it that only artistes here that need to go to Lagos, why is it not everybody because everybody needs money and every artiste want to be big, but if you have entertainers here and events happening, there will be artistes here who are benefiting from exchanging services.
Now you want to bring down Lagos based artistes and you spend huge sums of money on them, and after the show, they collect money and move back and there is nobody to relate with as an artiste here to say this is a video here and that is because there is no support. I mean there is a disconnect between event organizers and artistes based in Abuja.
Are you speaking the minds of other Abuja based artistes?
Yes, I am. The truth of the matter is you can stay in too long in someone else’s space. Lagos has their own artistes and they make use of them and have the kind of music they enjoy. You wanted everybody to learn a particular style of music that does not make unique artiste because everybody is unique and they dish out unique music and now you want everybody to go Lagos then everybody will sound like Wizkid, Davido and others, which people will be asking is it Davido and they will say no, but one new artiste. So there is a need and there is that hunger to blow quick, the competition is in Lagos that makes you want to sound like someone else. So there is that disconnect and you begin to hear music sounding repetitive and no room for originality anymore.
Do you have a body that brings Abuja based artistes under one roof to really tackle this issue you just mentioned?
There are bodies here in Abuja that are incognito or are not active as it should be. Bodies start from the affairs of artistes who can tell an event organizer to first carry the Abuja based artistes in their plan or show before thinking of bringing artistes from Lagos or elsewhere. But you now have Abuja based artistes begging to perform in the capital.
You mean event organizers are saying you are not up to their standard that is why they go to Lagos to bring artistes?
I think is a federal character, which everybody feels this is where it is happening now if I do not bring in artistes from Lagos we may not have the kind of rave that we want, but these artists were given opportunities, platforms to stand out and showcase themselves. Now if you do not give artistes here to showcase themselves how do you garner fans? It is now left for the artiste if he fails to deliver after given the opportunity and then can ask and judge for yourself if you are good enough or not.
I have been with people where this came up and other interviews and I tell them that I am based in Abuja doing good music. Some will say if I blow I will run to Lagos but I answer them no because this is my place and city. I am here. I am pushing the motion that everybody says go to Lagos and blow but Lagos is full and as an artist, I will tell you that there are artistes in Lagos who have not blown. I also understand that there is no queue, but blowing comes independently. But is better that you are in an enabling environment that sees and recognizes you there is a higher chance for you to become who you want to be than just clustered up in an environment, go our own, the politics there and all that and that is why the East is holding their own and you start to names like Phino, Flavour, Goro, and others. Artistes in the East are now putting themselves together.
You want Lagos to be decongested as far as the music industry as far as fans are concerned?
Exactly! I could move to Lagos and still survive there and come out the way I want to come out but is me wanting to push for a revolution that you need to believe in yourself and make use of resources available to you.
Do you have the pedigree and all it takes to entertain Abuja residents?
Of course, I have it and have the talent to entertain anybody anywhere. I have heard artistes that blew my mind and I am an artist that will blow anybody’s mind. The more people crowd Lagos the less the competition in other states.