I am Piyano and I have come to bring Afro to Live In Ibadan and Nigeria
Tomiwa Babatunda a.k.a. Piyano is an Ibadan Afro-Pop artist. He is a writer, singer and an instrumentalist. Piyano is also a producer and a good one at that. The versatile artiste who describes himself as ‘Something Special’ recently dropped his single “Runaway.” which was famous and sold out fast everywhere around Ibadan and outside. This same single has stirred him into having an Afrovibe event in the city of Ibadan. He recently had a chat at Whatsupibadan.com office…
Can we meet you?
My name is Tomiwa Babatunde a.k.a. Piyano. I am a contemporary African Jazz and Afro-Pop artist. “I am Something Special”. I am a producer, a lyrics writer, and a musician.
How did you come about your stage name “Piyano?
Piyano is a name given to me by myself due to my skills in instruments. I started playing instruments way back from church, I used to play guitar back then; I later migrated to playing the drum sets and ended up to be a pianist. I am a church boy, my parents are pastors. I can remember everyone called me the Guitar-boy but unfortunately someone else got popular with the name Guitar-boy which discouraged me and led me into playing piano and now The Piano is my life.
What was your background like? How did you get all these skills in instruments?
I am from Osun state. I am the very first child from the family of 3. I have lived all my life here in the great city of Ibadan. I had my primary school at Concord Preparatory School, Ring Road, my secondary school was at Alayande Science School, and I studied Geology at The Polytechnic of Ibadan. I joined the choir early in life, my mother was the choir mistress then, so I had no choice than to be a part of it. That was how I was able to get my skills as an instrumentalist. I was able to have a taste of the guitar, drum set, piano and choir. Growing up was fun as I was able to choose who I wanted to be early enough.
Why music and not a Geologist?
Well, music is passion to me while geology is a course of study. If I cannot do passion which is inbuilt then I am not enjoying who I truly am. I enjoy music a lot, it gives me satisfaction, it is my life, my breath and music will forever be a part of me, but for geology I will end up retiring from it one day.
When did you start music?
I started music fully in 2010 here in Ibadan. I can also say I have started music since childhood.
Why is Ibadan important to you?
I grew up in Ibadan, so I obviously do not have a choice than to love this city. I also respect Ibadan because of the way Ibadan have been able to curb traffic even with our population. Ibadan is unique on its own. It is a standard for peace and calm life to many other states. Ibadan is part of my history so it is very important to me.
Talking about peace and calmness, where is your favorite area in Ibadan?
Hmmm… My favourite area in Ibadan is Oluyole, where my life started. I love Oluyole Estate a lot. It is an area that has my beginning at heart and every time I leave that environment and come back I have this special way of missing the place.
Looking at the fact that you are a very handsome guy, will you say you are in the Yoruba Demon gang, and what is your style of dressing?
I am a Yoruba Angel and not a demon (Laughs out Loud). My dress code most times is Vintage; I love to look like “WayBack”. For my native attire, I love to slay in Dansiki
Lets get a little personal, Is there a Bae or a wife in your life?
I am single and ready to mingle with the right woman who is portable, slim and has the natural thick body (Laughs out Loud)
Who are the people you look up to in the music industry?
I look up to great Icons that have true startups stories like 2face and Sound Sultan. These are men to look up to in the industry.
Talking about 2face and Sound Sultan, these are artistes whose uniqueness speaks for them. What is your Uniqueness as an artist?
My Uniqueness is my style of music which is Afro Pop and Jazz. I am a Lyrics writer. I write all my songs. I am also a producer. I am an artist. I play instruments. There is nothing as unique as all those. I am a brand and I am expensive. “I am something special.”
Talking of the industry how has Ibadan industry been like? And how has the growth been like for you?
Ibadan is a big family of people from different clans. Everyone got your back if you know what it takes to be a part of community. The industry is growing fast; this is very encouraging for every artist. The industry has been able to put Ibadan on the map, some Ibadan artists are recognized in the industry now. The only pending problem of Ibadan is the financial part and getting one’s music to the right places, but still I give it to Ibadan.
About Ibadan been a nice platform for artist to rise, how has Ibadan been helping your career rise?
Everyone is obviously working very hard to get their brands to the very top. Ibadan media is really becoming a standard; every media company has one or the other uniqueness that makes their brand different from the other. I must really say thanks to both traditional and new media houses in Ibadan for always been ready to help and partner at all times. Ibadan the home of 100% supports.
How was Ibadan’s response to your single “Runaway”?
Ibadan really surprised me on that single. The song hit every stage and area of Ibadan. I had over 15k downloads of Runaway, the support was great and very much encouraging, it gave me hope for a better future. I love my city. Ibadan Thank You for your immeasurable support on that one.
When is your next single?
I am not dropping any single yet, but I am having my event titled “Uncloaked” this July 20th, 2017 at Plat’num Lounge and Bars at 6pm with different Afrovibes artist like Taiye Currency, Folarin, M.O.T, Bimbo Oshin, Young Oche, Small Doctor, The Expandable, Muyiwa Ademola, Portah and many more will be coming to make the day Afrovibe. Regular is free while Table is for 25k, 50k, and 100k.
What is your dream for your next show?
I want Ibadan to not just show love but be there with their beautiful presence. Ibadan please and please stomp the yard and make the day about Afrovibes. I want the show to be remembered for good and Ibadan should ask for more of Afro/Jazz music.
Talking of Ibadan entertainment industry, what is your future projection for the industry?
I started out as a baby artist, I am still growing, but I now understand what starting out means because I have been a victim of it. I have always promised myself that whatever it will cost me I will help Upcoming artist grow into who they wants to be when I finally reach the peak. Many made artist out there do not remember they have their start up stories but because they are made they tend to see upcoming artist like they should rise at once. Even if I leave Ibadan today, I owe Ibadan because Ibadan is where it all began. I know Ibadan will grow and blossom very soon. Ibadan will turn out to be where artist will want to come and reside.
About startup stories. Can you share a memorable experience that once happened to you?
My story is a special case o. I have a lot but I think my Ile-Ife trip is better. Few years back, I and my band were called to perform at a show; we agreed to perform knowing fully well that they were not going to pay us for our service. We left Ibadan late in the evening and got to Ife late at night, when we got to the event center we were asked to pay gate-fee before entering, I was in shock for few minutes before telling the bouncer that I am an artist from Ibadan and I am a guest if he does not know; the guy looked at me and cared less, I called the guy that invited me he said I have to pay gate-fee (Who does that), after much argument I had to drop all I had to pay for the fee of everyone on my team. We entered and joined the show till midnight; we could not eat anything for hours until hunger almost griped our throat, we were scared of not collapsing while performing , I had to use the last 2k on me to get us something to manage, we all ate and got ready for the performance. We were called upon, we got to the stage and did awesomely, and we were more like the best band that night. When it was 3:00 am, I told my band that we cannot stay till the end of the show as we were already known and liked; people were coming to commend us already we knew it will be a slap on our faces to start begging for transport fare and free ride. We sneaked out at 3:00am and started an endless journey to Ibadan. We walked with our instruments from Ife pass OUI, Akinlalu to Gbongan junction, we got to Gbongan Junction at 7:00 am, tired and weak, we sat to rest, then my manager decided to give us a shot by stopping an empty bus, we got in without negotiation and slept from that very spot to Ibadan, it was the driver who woke us at Iwo road. He asked for his money and then we explained our plight to him and begged him we will bring it for him the next day, after much pleading and explanation he allowed us go. From Iwo road we all rode bikes home and collected money when we got home.
That day is a journey I will never forget forever, walking that distance but it did not shake me it only made me stronger.
Waoh! That was an experience. Ok, People say you act like Sean Tizzle. What do you have to say about it?
Laughs… No! No!! No!!!, I act like no one. I am Mr. Piyano. I am unique on my own so is Sean Tizzle unique too.
What is your short term and long term goal?
My goals are quite simple. My short term goal is to bring Afro to live in Ibadan and Nigeria. Many bars do not play jazz like many foreign country, our parents do not have where they can go and cool off except the normal pop club, and I want to revive the old-Pop live to every race.
My Long tern goal is to help aspiring upcoming artist become who they want to be. I have been there I understand what it’s like to have passion but no way to it. I do not just want to sponsor financially but in all sphere of life.
What is your advice to people out there?
Never give up. Even a ghost does not give up. You will still see them in dreams sometime. So why give up when life still has more to offer. Just figure out who you truly are and face that man in you. Stay Alive. Stay Connected. Listen to Good Music.
Social Media Handles:
Facebook: Michael piyano Spen
Google: Piyano Martini
(Complied By Olamide Michael)