Teni Apata, largely referred to as ‘Teni’ isn’t your regular, everyday celebrity. She is an amazing soul with a, well… BIG personality. Teni is first an Instagram celebrity, a songwriter and a musician with an amazing voice and prefers to be referred to as an entertainer, as her Instagram handle depicts.
She is indeed a breath of fresh in the Nigerian music industry and has enjoyed massive growth since her emergence into the industry.
Teni Apata: Education and Early Life
Teni was born in 1992 (December 12), to the Apata family in Lagos State; Nigeria’s most populous city. The super talented, fast-rising musician attended Apata Memorial High School, a popular school owned by her father in Lagos. She is the sister to Nigeria’s popular musician, Niniola.
Teni, whose state of origin is Ilésà, a popular town in Osun state, the South Western part of Nigeria, completed her primary and secondary school education at Apata Memorial High School, Isolo, before proceeding to bag a Bachelor’s Degree from American InterContinental University in the United States of America.
Teniola’s father, late Simeone Apata, a civil war veteran, was murdered by unknown gunmen in Isolo on January 8, 1995. Upon her father’s demise, Teni’s mum and her two stepmoms managed the Apata Memorial Schools.
Teni Apata’s Career, Rise to Fame
Before breaking out to become a sensation, Teni was an Instagram celebrity who took great pleasure in uploading her skits. She would freestyle and sometimes fuse different songs of Nigerian musicians; a practice which made her audience notice her versatility and talent. Her Instagram fan base grew as some popular Instagram handles reposted her videos, a way of showing their support.
In 2016, Teni released her first single titled ‘Amen’. The single didn’t receive much recognition as the ones that would come after. The big break came in 2017 when she freestyled over Chief Olisadebe’s ‘Osondi Owendi’ instrumental. The skit received massive attention and many of her audience advised she recorded the skit properly. The skit ‘Fagin’, was never her first but it was her most popular ever as many found it difficult to believe a young, aspiring singer conveniently transformed an old, respected ‘Igbo’ instrumental into a rather ‘unserious song’ using the Yoruba language. ‘Fagin’ is a Yoruba spelling of the word ‘Virgin’.
Teni, through her incredible wit, talked about how a playboy wanted to take advantage of her. Her delivery of the narrative using the first person caused a frenzy in most parts of the country. A few weeks later, ‘Fagin’ was released and it gained massive attention and airplay. It would be the stepping stone to define Teni’s rise to fame. She would later go on to record ‘Askamaya, Case and Uyo Meyo.
Teni was signed to Magic Fingers Records, owned by Shizzi while her debut single was released in 2016. In 2017, Teni left Magic Fingers Records and got signed to Dr. Dolor Entertainment record label where she has remained till date.
Teni Apata’s Awards, Nominations and Recognitions
Teni’s uniqueness is rooted in her love for blending her native language, the Yoruba language with the pidgin English, a type of ‘corrupt’ English language which is popularly spoken in Nigeria, particularly the Southern part of Nigeria.
Her versatility and incredibly unique singing talent earned her several nominations and awards, within and beyond Nigeria. Teni bagged Headies ‘Rookie of the Year’ Awards in 2018. She won ‘Best New Artist‘ at the Soundcity MVP Awards Festival and also won ‘Most Promising Act to Watch‘ at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards, all in 2018. Teni got nominated as ‘Best New International Act‘ at the BET Awards in 2019.
She was ranked eighth on Notjustok‘s list of ‘10 Hottest Artistes in Nigeria‘ and was recognized as one of the ‘Six Nigerian Breakout Stars, Viral Sensations of 2018‘ by Premium Times. She was featured on YouTube Music’s ‘Trending Artist on the Rise’ on February 12, 2019.
Teni’s emergence into the Nigerian music industry has been incredible. She has recorded a fair amount of singles since she made her way to the big stage. Below are Teni’s songs from 2016 till date:
- Amen (2016)
- Fargin (2017)
- Wait (2018)
- Pareke (2018)
- Lagos (2018)
- Askamaya (2018)
- Fake Jersey (2018)
- Shake Am (2018)
- Case (2018)
- Pray (2018)
- Uyo Meyo (2018)
- Party Next Door (2019)
- Sugar Mummy (2019)
- Power Rangers (2019)
She has worked with several artistes and has been featured in a couple of projects. Among them are artistes such as Davido, Shizzy, Phyno, Dr. Dolor among a host of others.
Teni’s Net Worth
Teniola is no doubt influential and very popular in the Nigerian music industry with a handful of endorsement deals hovering around her. Her estimated net worth is said to be around $200,000.
Remembering Late Simeone Apata
Teniola’s father, late Simeone Apata, a civil war veteran passed away on January 8, 1995, at the hands of unknown gunmen in Isolo. His influence, up until his passing was huge within Isolo that the environment which was terrorized by criminal elements became a safe haven, all thanks to the veteran who confronted men of the underworld when they came around. Late Simeone Apata’s three wives would go on to manage Apata Memorial Schools till date.
Teni never stopped talking about his father at every given opportunity. Teni once revealed that her single ‘Wait’ tells the love story between her parents. She stated that she got inspired to record the song after her father passed away and her mum would cry, wishing he stayed back.
Upon releasing ‘Uyo Meyo’, Teni confirmed she recorded the song for her graduation because it took her seven years to graduate from the university. While she also said she did the song for everyone who hopes to achieve something, she referenced her father towards the latter part of the song:
Olaoshebikan o gbodo sun eh eyeh
(Olaosebikan do not sleep – referring to the father)
Ko durotimi l’ojojumo
(…That you stand by everyday)
Ma je k’ota korin mi jo wo
(Do not let the enemy triumph and rejoice over me, I plead)
Ibikibi to ba ti hun mo mò pe inu re dun
(Wherever you are, I know you are happy)
Mo she rere n’aiye mi ah mo she rere
(I have been doing well in my life)
Mo yan fan da n’aiye mi ah mo yan fan da
(I swagger in my life)
Mo sh’oriire l’aiye mi o eh mo sh’oriire eeeh
(I am great in my life, I am great)
Mo she rere n’aiye ah mo she rere
(I have been doing well in my life)