I want to conquer Africa with my songs
Fast-rising singer, Toby Grey has established herself as one of the sought after artistes that are currently rocking the music industry. With more than six hit songs to her credit, Grey said she was not surprised about her fast rise and was quick to add that her best is yet to come. She speaks with SEGUN ADEBAYO in this interview.
Since you broke into the industry a few years back, many people expected that by now you would have raised your game to the next level but you seem to have slowed down, what is responsible for this?
Nothing is slowing me down. Everyday I keep making sure that I am putting in a lot of work so that I can give my fans the best of me. I apologise to all my fans if it seems like I’ve been away but trust me I am very much around and active.
You did the cover of three songs before you started releasing your own songs like Omo Olope, Gbona, Laleyi, to mention a few, why did you start with the idea of doing the cover of popular commercial songs before hitting the ground running with your songs?
I had released about two songs before the first cover I did but many people don’t know that because they got to know me via the first cover I did. So, I had already released my personal materials before covers.
Gboju cover called a lot of attention to me no doubt, but since then I have been dropping good songs and my fans appreciate me. When a song is good, sometimes I appreciate it by doing my own version.
Will you say that did not place some kind of restriction on your rise in the industry as people already had the idea of the songs you could do?
Covers didn’t place any restriction, it brought me a lot of fans worldwide and I leveraged on it. Mind you, it’s not a new thing to cover a song, millions of people do it world wide.
You did drop some songs last year that put you out there as a different person, how were you able to convince your fans to accept your own identity?
I have always been the same person “TOBY GREY” and people know that my art is dynamic. I am not a one way artiste so I can’t be boxed. My fans know this and they accept me for who I am.
How has it been pushing your brand all by yourself without the support of a record label?
I have a group of spirited and dedicated people I work with so, despite the fact that there’s no record label, we still keep pushing and working to reach the ultimate goal.
What major achievement would you say you have recorded with your music over the years?
Firstly, putting the brand Toby Grey out there is an achievement, because there are many artists out there with bigger platforms and sponsors who are still trying to achieve the little I have achieved so far. However, I am still working towards achieving greatness in my career and I believe God and time will tell. Every artist knows that the competition is higher because the music business is a serious business right now in Nigeria, I will be here for a long time and I will achieve greatness gradually. I urge my fans to keep supporting.
Nigerians want to start seeing you on the big stages competing with your females contemporaries, when is that going to start happening?
Everything in life is in stages, so far so good I have headline shows and currently I am headlining shows outside nigeria. I am working harder to headline bigger shows. No one can tell when it’s going to happen, but I believe God and hard work will make it happen. Some artists headlining shows today started their career longer than I started, I will keep working and I will get there too.
From 2014 till now, it has been singles all the way, when are you dropping an album?I’ve been working endlessly to give the best to my fans. I am working towards that. Expect an EP probably before the year runs out.
What exactly can you say about the messages you preach with your music because you seem to always want to experiment with your sounds?
I preach happiness, laughter, love and in more works to come, you will see a lot of work inspired by life lessons.
Are you not being weighed down by the burden of expectations from your fans and lovers of good especially when one considers your near rapid rise?
No, I’m not being weighed down because I know my fans want the best from me. They know I always give my best hence their expectations. I convert all of that into motivation and energy to deliver the best to them.
With the year already entering the second quarter, how would you rate your chances of being rated one of the female artistes that rocked 2017 with their sounds?
Since the year isn’t over yet , there are still a lot of grounds that I intend to break so at the end of the year it will be very obvious to everyone. Right now my chances are really high.
You are about the only artiste that can also sing in French, how has that helped you to conquer some of the French speaking African countries?
My knowledge of French has really helped me and I am very grateful to God for that. It has gained me more fans from other African countries especially the Francophone speaking ones because I add French to my music. It’s super amazing.
You are young and beautiful, are you not being distracted by male advances?
Thanks for the compliment. Of course there are male advances but it’s not a distraction. My work is my utmost priority so I stay focused.
Your recent song, Applaudize was dropped this year, what’s your conclusion about its acceptance?
The acceptance has been overwhelming. I’ve gotten calls and messages from French speaking countries because they love the sound and want to see me perform in their country. I feel blessed.
At this point in your career, what are your greatest fears?
My greatest fear is being afraid. I never want to be afraid of anything or anyone so I stand strong and conquer all challenges that may lead to fear.
I learnt you had a foreign collaboration recently, could you share with us who the person is and why do you think that’s best dimension for your career now?
The collaboration was with a Francophone artiste and I don’t want to spill the milk yet by telling you who it is but I will also add that it is the best dimension for my career at the moment, considering the fact that I am also trying to expand my fan base across Africa including the French speaking countries.
What’s next for Toby Grey after Applaudize?
Currently, I have a video and a song titled Na u ft soma of Big Brother Naija 2017, the video for Applaudissez drops soon as well as some collaborations I have worked on. So my fans should look forward to that. More music, more promotion, more greatness.
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