How Teni is redefining the style of the quintessential popstar

Before Teni speaks, her sunny disposition says a lot about her, and when she speaks, we are always reminded of her larger than life personality. She’s maintained relevance on the afropop scene since she broke out with “Askamaya”, a vibrant and catchy party anthem that took over the radio and our social media timelines at the time of its release three years ago. Since then, she has continued to infuse her personality with her music, commanding the Afropop world with dance-ready bangers that have expanded her acclaim over the years. 

In a scene largely dominated by braggadocious men, Teni presents a refreshing counterpoint and a wanted evolution, as the genre continues to shed skin and take on new life. She constantly sticks to her guns, by betting on her originality to get her ahead and from her comedic skits to freestyles and colourful lewks, it’s clear why she’s a favourite. 

Never taking her foot off the gas, the self-proclaimed “one take god” has taken us through the different stages of her career through her social media, up until her most pivotal effort so far – the release of her debut album ‘WONDALAND‘. The 16-tracker that found her humbly praising God and her family for encouraging her on her journey so far, while recognising the strides she’s had to take to get to where she is today. 

As far as debut albums go, ‘WONDALAND’ is remarkable because it brings everything we know about Teni as an artist together. We get to see glimpses of her close relationship with her family, particularly on the opening track “Maja” where her aunty sings her praises in their Ondo dialect. There are also moments of pain and reflection such as on “Hustle” where she passionately opens up about the crushing weight of expectations placed upon her since she broke out in the industry. ‘WONDALAND’ serves as a reminder that Teni is a musical darling. Though she largely dabbles in Pop, making earworm tracks that fans can enjoy long after the hype fades away, Teni also subtly widens the scope of her ability.

Over the 17-track project, she’s only joined by one feature on “For You” which is Davido, allowing her to go the whole range on her own showcasing her lyrical chops and her sweet-sounding voice. While these certainly help in piquing any listeners’ interest, it’s the visual world surrounding the album that has truly stood out for its uniqueness. So far, Teni has orchestrated an immersive album rollout, complete with a virtual reality (VR) experience, crossword puzzles, and an inflatable life-sized action figure, the first of its kind by any Nigerian artist. As much as her music is the pull to get listeners keyed into what she has to say, she’s also communicating through her visual aesthetic which has always been vibrant and colourful since her debut.

Teni’s unflinching personal style is as refreshing to experience as it is dynamic. Across the beauty, fashion and music industries, people who society considers to be plus-size are notoriously left out of popular conversations and even worse, they are forced to live in a society where their experiences are not catered for and one which endlessly demonises fatness. Teni’s success is a form of respite in the face of such barriers, through her music, and style, she has always shown that she’s rooted in an inspiring sense of awareness, and from the jump has championed messages of self-love, body positivity and striving to the best version of yourself you can be.

When you see her, she’s typically without a beat face, which is not a usual thing in Afropop. She’s usually donning baggy, comfortable clothes that represent her quirkiness, and true personality and this is very important, as it sends a message that women don’t have to cater to a certain aesthetic to make their music appealing. She’s redefining conventional ideas of sexiness, which shows that things are evolving past unwritten rules, and Teni is breaking down the doors by just being.

Scrolling through her feed gives you the greatest examples of her vibrant sartorial universe, and from multicoloured durags to ridiculously cool pants and an impressive jersey collection you can see why we’re endeared to her style. Here are a few of the best looks Teni has worn throughout her . Enjoy.

Featured image credits/NATIVE


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