ShineTTW Is in Pursuit of Global Stardom

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ShineTTW has burning ambitions to captivate massive audiences, headline major concerts, and earn recognition for his vocal talent. Raised in Anambra, a state that had a handful of recording studios back then, he soon realized that Lagos held the key to realizing his dreams. More than that, Shine felt certain his unique sound was destined for global appreciation. He continued his journey to recognition, driven by years of musical exposure through his DJ father. In 2022, he released No Religion, an infectious track that painted Lagos as a secular land of no religion. Now, two years later, Shine (born Chukwuma Ferdinand) has truly announced his arrival with The Chosen One, a seven-track EP that explores various themes while centering on a core concept: the journey of his personal growth.

In this interview with The Culture Custodian, the artist opens up about his musical voyages, motivations, and inspirations behind his newly released EP. 

What does TTW stand for?  

It means to the world. 

You’ve said your sound comes from growing up in a creative household. What was that like? And what type of music did you listen to? 

My dad was a DJ, it was one of the things he did while I was growing up. In a space where I could hear music all the time, I found that it was easy for me to be influenced because I was putting my ears in the right places. Even when I wasn’t paying attention to the song, my subconscious was digesting the music. It wasn’t intentional, I just figured I could make music over time.

I listened to a little bit of everything: hip hop, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Bob Marley. I listened to many songs because, you know, DJs play different variations of music since they have different events they attend and play at. So my dad played every kind of music, even High Life. My favorite at that time was Hip Hop and Pop, I especially liked Bob Marley.

So that means your dad is supportive of your music?  

I wouldn’t say supportive, but he’s supportive now. Initially, it was school and becoming something else. My dad didn’t see the point of being a musician because he felt like I wanted to go astray or something. But now, my dad is all in.

How did you get into music professionally, and who influenced your style?

When I started making music in secondary school, I was always trying to get into studios and write my music. That was like from primary to junior secondary school, I was in Anambra State. We had like two studios in my whole town. So getting into one was so hard, and I never knew I could easily get a speaker, a laptop, a sound card to make my music. I moved to Lagos in 2015 or 2016. I’ve gone back and forth from Anambra to Lagos a lot of times but I moved permanently in 2018.

In 2018, I met a producer. My uncle who was managing his account in Stanbic Bank linked me to him. He produced some of Tiwa Savage’s records and other artists as well. I started staying with this producer. Every day, I’d be in the studio with him till 2022, when I put out my first song. 

Okay. And who influenced your music style? 

I think it’s a little bit of everybody that I’ve listened to because there was no time I listened to a particular person back to back. Sometimes, I woke up to Bob Marley playing, and tomorrow it was somebody else. Plus, my God-given talent. I think it’s a combination of everybody. 

I listened to Glory from The Chosen One. What inspired you to sing that?

I made the first track, Glory, telling the story of my journey and what I seek to achieve while on this journey. So it was me talking about my plan and motive. That’s why it’s the first track you listen to. What I tried to do was make sure that I had different records that connected with different people. I have Hiii!, it’s vibey and people can dance to it. I have Amazing Grace, AMG, which is all loved up, talking about how love from a woman can give you peace and amazing grace. Then, I have Standing Ovation, which is saying the whole entertainment is to entertain my fans. So why not give me a standing ovation? For Sakura, it was anime-related. A character in Naruto is called Sakura, who is the most hated girl in the show.

What are you telling the world with your EP?

I want them to see how versatile I am, how deep I can go with the music and the writing. Also, I want them to see that I can stand the test of time.  

In your own words, how would you describe your music?

I make Afrobeats music, but I call my style Afro-Sentio.  Sentio is a Latin word that has to do with feelings. So I would say authentic and easygoing if that makes sense.

What sets you apart from other rising Nigerian artists?

Until I grow into a household name and all that,  I will just keep tapping into my originality, and who I am generally. I’ll stay true to myself till my talent is noticed and everything is going according to God’s plan. I can’t sound like someone who lives in Benin, because I’m not from there. I have to say things connected to who I am. What sets me apart is my style, my story, and how I grew up.  I have songs I made from songs that my grandma used to sing while growing up. Nobody else can have that because we don’t have the same grandma. 

You came to Lagos to build your music artistry in 2018. What has the experience been like and what experiences stand out? 

I said to someone once, when we sell out big venues and we celebrate backstage after a huge concert or something, we will have discussions about the story of how I came to be.

It’s crazy. It’s like you wake up every day and know that you should expect anything. It’s tough in this music thing, for both genders. I don’t know how to explain it, every day I wake up and I’m wowed by how crazy it is. I never knew it was this way, I thought I would just make music and that’s it. But from the music to the business part, every aspect is so tough. You just have to pray that God puts you around the right people, growing and going about your journey. And it’s tougher for people that know what they are doing. If you’re a mumu, anything goes. But Lagos was where I defined my sound. 

Since you released The Chosen One, you’ve been listed as Apple Music’s latest Up-Next Artist and the face of Spotify’s New Music Friday, what are your plans? 

Right now, I’m trying to start my music marketing for real. So it’s like, I have to find out what people prefer so the marketing can focus on it. If I see that people listen to Bebito more, obviously every promotion will switch to Bebito because that’s what everybody’s listening to. That is my focus for now. 

We’ll promote till we’ve seen results, then check if it is healthy to put on another body of work. Before next year, I plan on putting out another EP.  

Who are you looking to feature in your future projects?

I have a couple of records with many people. One with Phyno, some with Taves. After The Chosen One does well, it’ll all fall into place. 

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