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My Battle With Mental Illness, Being Gay And My Music – Ex-YBNL Princess, Temmie Ovwasa Opens Up


After hitting the limelight a few years ago as YBNL Princess, the name Temmie Ovwasa still rings a bell in Nigeria’s music industry.

Moving on from YBNL to a new musical journey of challenging the Status Quo, Temmie will be releasing a body of music work titled “E Be Like Say Dem Swear For Me” on the 29th oF November 2020.

The album will be revealing a lot about her battle with mental illness, gay lifestyle, and her music.

In a recent interview with Media personality, Enitan, the Ex-YBNL Princess talks about her album, sex life, spirituality, and lots more.

READ FULL INTERVIEW BELOW:-

Enitan: Who is Temmie Ovwasa?

Temmie: Temmie Ovwasa is a Radical Queer Feminist, a thinker, a person who constantly questions and makes a point to challenge the status quo. Art just happens to be an outlet.

Enitan: The album title ‘E be Like say dem swear for me,’ What inspired the title?

Also, can you mention one or two of your favorite tracks and how autobiographical they are?

Temmie: At a point in my life and sometimes I still feel like “dem swear for me”.

I’m a hypersensitive thinker, living in a society that has constantly refused to update its philosophies, I’m an empath in a violent country sometimes also contributing to the mess because you need a certain level of privilege to totally detach from the mess.

A Non-binary Queer (woman) person living in Nigeria, living with mental illness in a country that still stigmatizes mental illness.

It’s just a lot of things, to be honest. Sometimes “E be like say dem swear for me”.

My Favourite is ‘Osunwemimo’, I love black women and singing about one was the most liberating experience.

Enitan: Eroticism is a central theme on this album, your flawless depiction of sexuality, sex as the art that it is, is celebratory.

I personally must commend your brilliant depiction of this form of intimacy.

Can you shed light on why this was a major theme on the album?

Temmie: I think it was important for me to sing from the perspective that women hardly ever sing from.

A place of being in charge of my body, my sexuality, owning the fact that I’m a sexual being and my sexual decisions are mine alone.

Men have made sexual music forever and that’s normalized. As I said, I’m challenging the status quo. Taking up space.

Enitan: Quick one, what role do you think porn plays in how people understand, consume, and express self, & sexuality?

Temmie: Porn… as much as I think the concept is beautiful, the way the system is set up, that industry has been nothing but violent towards women.

Most times the content is for the male gaze and women are fetishized, they’ve normalized poorly disguised pedophilia and the industry has, in turn, shaped our relationships with our bodies and others.

Enitan: What Is your definition of self-love?

Temmie: Self-love for me, means showing up for yourself as much as you can. Extending grace to yourself. Being kind to yourself and others.

Enitan: Every track on this project differs greatly from the kind of music you made before now, can you shed a bit of light on your journey to being?

Temmie: I’ve always loved to play with different sounds, words, my voice, so I was basically just doing that.

Enitan: What were your first musical steps? Was there music in the family?

Temmie: Most of my family on my mother’s side are into music and I grew up around a lot of musical influences.

Enitan: The song ‘Ayanfe’ spoke on forbidden love, a similar theme to the song ‘Adehun’, what inspired that song, was it created with a sole aim in kind?

Temmie: I wrote ‘Ayanfe’ for my future partners, what I’d imagine an ideal relationship to feel like. Understanding that it might mean having to fight just to be able to love these women, understanding that the world hates people like us.

‘Ayanfe’ is a big middle finger in the face of the world and Nigerian queer love. Deal with it.

I didn’t intend to achieve anything, I was just mostly tired and angry, I’m a vessel… the music uses me.

Enitan: ‘E Be Like Say Dem Swear For Me’ bellied this robust sound deeply rooted in soul, rich, illuminating music, how was this achieved on the project?

Temmie: Again you’d find that I can be pretty vague about questions involving my process because I don’t necessarily have one.

I have a message I want to pass and I write or imply it in a song. That’s the only thing my songs have in common.

Enitan: Spirituality came into play on many of the songs on this project, so let’s talk spirituality, what’s your take on it?

Temmie: When it comes to spirituality, I believe it’s your personal relationship with whatever keeps your spirit grounded.

I don’t necessarily have a doctrine I follow, I’m not religious and I think that preaching belongs to religion.

My spirituality is my personal relationship with the universe and whatever system is out there; for others, it’s a form, for some it’s nothing, for me, it’s limitless, boundless.

I don’t know it, I’m just questioning and listening to my blood, my ancestors, my gut. I can’t preach what I don’t know.

Enitan: Elejo wewe is a broad and deep song, and you channeled that ejo wewe spirit, what were your feelings while recording the song?

Temmie: I wrote the hook after rapping for close to 3 minutes and realizing that I was saying a lot. I always say a lot, there’s so much to say (and do).

Enitan: How did you decide on the producer(s) who worked with you on this project? What creative process was employed for this project?

Temmie: ‘Type A’ understands my voice and it’s easy working with him. He recorded most of the songs.

The process seems stressful to talk about for some reason, so I’ll skip that.

Enitan: There were no collaborations on this project, is there a reason for this?

Temmie: I didn’t collaborate with anyone because this particular project is my story and nobody can tell my story for me.

Enitan: Is there any artist out there you feel their energy will work perfectly with yours to create another masterpiece?

Temmie: Yess! Her name is Majesty Lynn and her music is beautiful.

We have a few songs together already (unreleased). Same with Rolay Bondo, I think we make beautiful music together and I can’t wait for people to hear them.

Enitan: ‘37 times’ saw you vividly painting a sensual scene with a female lover. I’d like to know, which part of a woman’s body do you find most beautiful?

Temmie: I think women, black women are beyond their bodies, I’m in love with black women, they’re God and you don’t disrespect God by reducing her to body parts.

Enitan: What was your best and worst day in the last 4 years?

Temmie: Everyday is just the same day with different activities, the world feels like a time loop so I can’t say.

Enitan: For people out there who relate totally with your brand, musically and personally, can you share with me one thing you failed at and what you learned from it?

Temmie: Adulting. I’m failing at adulting. I haven’t learned anything yet. When I do, I’ll let you know.

Enitan: Tell me something you have done that you are particularly proud of?

Temmie: Getting rid of social conditioning and becoming my authentic self.

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