The NATIVE Presents: NATIVE Now! With Adekunle Gold

Tio Tequila Time

Adekunle Gold is a master shape-shifter and an enigmatic personality in Afropop. Over the years, he’s offered consistently excellent frames of his celebrity montage. Having amassed a golden standard of hit songs and albums that are transcendental to the scope of Afropop, the artist’s star has exploded brilliantly at home and particularly abroad, where new audiences are catching onto his thrill. 

Earlier this year, the 36-year-old singer introduced Tio Tequila, his latest personality inspired by his time spent working on the new album. As AG Baby was before now, it was a character embracing aspects of who he was, and portrayed with the flamboyance befitting of his pop star credentials. If the May-released three-pack ‘Tio Tequila’ wasn’t revelatory enough, the forthcoming ‘Tequila Ever After’ would erect a mountain of belief in AG’s prowess as a creator of iconic moments. 

On ‘Tequila Ever After’, his fifth album, he invites a large but deliberate ensemble of features which includes his partner Simi, the American musicians Pharell Williams and Coco Jones, the legendary Malian griot Habib Koite and Nigeria’s brazen poet ODUMODUBLVCK. Speaking about the album, he shares: 

“It made me realise that I can outdo myself. I set out to write fifty songs and I wrote over sixty. And that was the first time I ever did something remotely close to that. My previous albums, I would just write a couple songs and I would settle for that. On this album, I was a lot of things; I had my rapper moment, I had a reggae star moment, I had my pop star moment, I brought my Highlife back. It’s different versions of me and I’m proud of myself for being able to pull that off.”

Following our premier cover with Davido, on the second edition of NATIVE NOW! we speak to Adekunle Gold about creating his fifth album and the high levels of artistry that greatness demands. Adekunle Gold captures his whole story: from his early performances and ascendance through the Nigerian music industry, the taste of  being on the receiving end of criticism and becoming a father.

The singer also talks about his awe-inspiring sonic evolution, and his sartorial growth as his superstar rose. In conversation, the practices through which he nourishes his private life are made clear, particularly those fleeting moments when he’s in his enclosed space and becomes, once again, Adekunle. 

Full Credits

Words by Emmanuel Esomnofu

Photographer: Elliot Hensford

Creative Director: Elliot Hensford

Stylist: Kennedy Clarke

Creative & Styling Assistant: Zena Giwa-Osagie

Editor-In-Chief: Seni Saraki 

Head of Content Strategy: Damilola Animashaun

Managing Editor: Tami Makinde 

Head Of Digital: Shina Ladipo 

Lighting: Kenneth Liew 

Art Director: Skye Halsey 

Photography Assistant: Finlay Gleeson 

Assistant Stylist: Lara McGrath and Qasim Oshokhara

BTS Video: Johnny Cooke 

Grooming: Ellie Durbridge 

Barber: Darren Greenway

Graphic Designer: Israel Ajayi & Elliot Hensford

Handprints: David Cheney

Read the full story here. 

Featured image credits/ElliotHensford