Silverbird Entertainment have met with a female Nigerian, French Canadian Singer, and Songwriter Michelle Oluwatomi Akanbi, well known as TÖME.
“I am enough. I am TÖME”. With these powerful words you acquire more than just the meaning of the artist’s middle name (Tomi) but you gain access to the essence of the artist Michelle Oluwatomi Akanbi. Born in Montreal of Canadian- Nigerian heritage, the artist recalls her early musical influences to be; Fela Kuti, Erykah Badu & Alicia Keys among others.
As she progressed in her craft, the need to create something different and more personal found TÖME combining the upbeat, commercial vibe of early influencers with the sound of Lauryn Hill, The Beatles, Wizkid Wande Coal, Sade and many more. It was within this newly woven tapestry of inspiration where she found her personal and unique sound. With this TÖME says,
“I want to change the game musically in the mid-American industry by creating a genre slowly being recognized, Afro- Fusion”. TÖME is also boldly committed to giving an empowering voice to women through her songs, exuding the spirit of confidence and pride in her artistry.
Throughout 2019, TÖME had the pleasure of joining award-winning mega Afro-beats artist, Wizkid, on his 2019 Canadian Tour and legendary Mr. Eazi in for his 2019 Europe Tour , performed at the Wembley SSE, London at the Burnaboy Concert as well as exciting performances at Afrofest 2019, Uppsala Reggae Festival 2019 in Sweden and SXSW 2019 in Texas. 2019 also saw TÖME tour parts of North America, Europe and Africa to a very positive reception.
Tome’s current single and music video, THE MONEY, dropped in February of this year. Of course with the global coronavirus pandemic, Tome has added her voice to the many stars using their various platforms to help the less privileged within the community.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a Nigerian, French Canadian Singer and Songwriter born in Montreal; raised in Toronto, Canada. I truly put who I am into my music giving you a fusion of sound vocally, with my mix of English and French lyrics and tones of hiphop, Rnb, Soul, sometimes Reggae(dancehall); which is what I grew up around. With a core similarity within majority of my songs which is afro-beats.
All my songs are a little different from one another. However, there is a mix of genres in each one that really resonates with me as an artist and lets you know that this is “Tome’s” work.
When did you discover your passion to make music?
It has always resonated with me; I honestly can’t say there was any specific influence for my love of music. However, a movie named “Super Star” starring Molly Shannon, was the movie that made me realize that I’m going to be a super star one day. Then once I got my guitar when I was 10 years old, I started composing and writing my own songs and never stopped.
Are there any persons you look up to or your influencers in the music industry?
I never thought about any artist specifically as my general influence to keep going in the industry. But I noticed that artists such as Fela Kuti, Rihanna, Erykah Badu & Alicia keys, to name a few, are artists who have influenced my sound and execution on some of my songs.
Which global artiste could you collaborate with and why?
A dream collaboration I believe could do very well, is Rihanna. I think with both my Afro-fusion/pop sound and her Caribbean/pop sound, we could make something that would either HIT HOME and get you in your feels or make you dance like you can’t dance no more. All I know is that whatever we make, it would be crazy good.
Why do you look up to Fela Kuti?
He is the start of Afrobeats. Almost every afrobeat song you hear now, Fela has influenced at least in 45% of them (inaccurate fact, but I hope you catch my drift). I truly believe if anyone is pursuing to take on afrobeat in any way, they should listen and study the multi-instrumentalist. He is part of history in the music scene of Africa and his music transcends him. It’s beautiful and timeless. How can you not be a fan?
How are you trying to empower women across the globe with your music?
Women are shamed upon many things that men can AND do at any time but we never chastise them. My mission is to represent the confident, bold, unapologetic energy a woman carries and should never be ashamed of.
I want women to feel good about EVERYTHING they are and think of themselves; without being humiliated by what men or women anywhere think.
Where do you see yourself in the next five?
Selling out world tours and winning multiple awards.
This way I can start building a major label or company that is all about supporting artists/creatives from all levels to reach their goals and find opportunities.
Would you describe your brand more global or solely Afrobeats?
I would describe my brand to be global. Most definitely.
When did you first perform? Besides this, whats your one favourite stage
First performance was in a living room in my dad’s house, with my guitar. Favorite performance so far, Birmingham, UK 2019 at the O2 theatre, the crowd and energy was amazing to say the least and one of my strongest performances in terms of execution.
What inspired your current single “The Money”?
The money is all about celebrating the “everyday” hustle. Before I went full time in music, I used to work a full time job as a customer service rep and I just wanted to make a song that made me and so many others feel good about waking up every morning to do what they have to do to get the money.
Tell us about your COVID-19 Food Drive Challenge and why you partnered with MEDIC?
Thanks to “Ofakindcreatives” who brought this idea to me to partner with an organization named “MEDIC” based in Nigeria. We were able to utilize my platform to raise awareness and create a challenge for others to spread a little bit of good during these troubling times.
The plan is to raise money so we can give an even amount of food and personal care items to kids back home who are suffering from this pandemic.
It was only right that I involve myself and I’m glad I did!
We’ve been able to reach over $1000 USD so far! The deadline is the 30th of April so its incredible to see how far the reach has gone already.
Right now, so many of us are so privileged to be where we are.
We have food in our fridges and roofs over our heads but we need to lead by good examples for our generations to come by showing love and uplifting the community now.
Look below for more stunning photos of TÖME