Once Upon a Time (Tiwa Savage album)

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Once Upon a Time
Official Cover For Tiwa's Once Upon A Time.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 3, 2013
Recorded2010-2013
Genre
Length77:00
Label
Producer
Tiwa Savage chronology
Solar Plexus
(2012)
Once Upon a Time
(2013)
R.E.D
(2015)
Singles from Once Upon a Time
  1. "Kele Kele Love"
    Released: November 4, 2010
  2. "Love Me (3x)"
    Released: October 10, 2011
  3. "Without My Heart"
    Released: December 5, 2011
  4. "Ife Wa Gbona"
    Released: October 8, 2012
  5. "Folarin"
    Released: December 13, 2012
  6. "Olorun Mi"
    Released: June 3, 2013
  7. "Eminado"
    Released: October 8, 2013

Once Upon a Time is the debut studio album by Nigerian singer Tiwa Savage. It was released on July 3, 2013, by Mavin Records and 323 Entertainment.[1] The album was made available for purchase on iTunes a day before its official release.[2] It features guest appearances from Don Jazzy, Flavour N'abania, Leo Wonder, Iceberg Slim, Sarkodie and General Pype. Don Jazzy, Tunji "Tee Billz" Balogun and Tiwa Savage executive produced the album, along with contributions from Warren Oak Felder, Sauce Wilson, Harmony Samuels, GospelOnDeBeatz, Del B, Raydar Ellis and Spellz.[3] The album was supported by seven singles—"Kele Kele Love", "Love Me (3x)", "Without My Heart", "Ife Wa Gbona", "Folarin", "Olorun Mi" and "Eminado". Once Upon a Time was nominated for Best Album of the Year at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards and for Best R&B/Pop Album at The Headies 2014.[4][5]

Background and recording[edit]

Once Upon a Time was initially scheduled for release in 2011, but problems with clearance made Savage pushed back its release date.[6] The album comprises 21 tracks, including two bonus tracks.[7] Tiwa Savage named the album Once Upon a Time in order to portray the positive stories about her life. She wanted to motivate other upcoming artists by telling them that, once upon a time, she was a little girl in Isale Eko who dreamt of being a star.[6] During an interview with Berklee College of Music's Brenda Pike, she hinted to possibly recording songs with Chuck Harmony, Warren Oak Felder and Sosick. Moreover, she said the album would embody pop, R&B, soul, and yoruba sounds.[8]

On May 26, 2013, Savage revealed the album's cover and track listing during a private album listening party held at the Wheatbaker Hotel in Ikoyi, Lagos.[9] Guests in attendance included Banky W, Waje, Tunde Demuren, Eku Edewor, Dolapo Oni, Tosyn Bucknor, Noble Igwe, Osahon Asemota, Nwachukwu Uti, Linda Ikeji, DJ Spinall, DJ Jimmy Jatt, Lynxxx, N6, Ice Berg Slim, General Pype, IllRymz and Franca Asindi.

Singles and other releases[edit]

The album's lead single "Kele Kele Love" was released on November 4, 2010. The accompanying music video for the song was shot and directed in Los Angeles by Jerry Chan; it was also co-directed by Savage and Tee Billz.[10]

The album's second single "Love Me (3x)" was released on October 10, 2011. The music video for "Love Me (3x)" was shot and directed in Los Angeles by Sesan Ogunro.[11] Savage won Best Vocal Performance (Female) and Best R&B Single for "Love Me (3x)" at The Headies 2012.[12]

The album's third single "Without My Heart" was released on December 5, 2011. It features vocals by Don Jazzy and peaked at number 37 on Afribiz's Top 100 music chart.[13][14] The song's music video was directed by Mark Hofmeyr.[15] It was nominated for Best African Act Video at the 2013 4Syte TV Music Video Awards.[16] The music video was also nominated for Most Gifted Female Video at the 2013 Channel O Music Video Awards.[17] Furthermore, the song earned Savage and Don Jazzy a nomination at the 2013 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.[18][19]

The album's fourth single "Ife Wa Gbona" was released on October 8, 2012. It features vocals by Nigerian singer Leo Wonder and peaked at number 66 on Afribiz's Top 100 music chart.[13] The music video for "Ife Wa Gbona" was directed by Bolaji Kekere-Ekun.[20] It won Best Highlife and was nominated for Best Use of Costumes, Best Indigenous Concept and Video of the Year at the 2013 Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA).[21]

The Spellz-produced track "Folarin" was released on December 13, 2012, as the album's fifth single.[22] On June 3, 2013, Savage released the album's sixth single "Olorun Mi". Its music video was directed by George Guise.[23] Savage told Ebuka Obi-Uchendu of Channels TV's Rubbin' Minds the song pays tribute to the Dana Plane Crash, Goldie Harvey and Justice Esiri.

"Eminado" was released as the album's seventh single. In the aforementioned interview with Vanguard newspaper, Savage said she and Don Jazzy came up with the song's idea while rehearsing in the studio. The Clarence Peters-directed music video for "Eminado" was released on November 4, 2013.[24]

Savage dedicated the song "Written All Over Your Face" to her fiance for the role he played in her life. "Written All Over Your Face" was criticized for having lewd and explicit lyrics.[25] The Moe Musa-directed music video for "Wanted" was released on May 27, 2014.[26] The release of the video triggered an angry backlash among critics.[27]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
TayoTV8.75/10
Hip Hop World Magazine4/5 stars
Nigerian Entertainment Today4/5 stars
TooXclusive2.5/5 stars

Once Upon a Time was met with generally positive reviews from music critics. Ayomide Tayo of Nigerian Entertainment Today awarded the album 4 stars out of 5, praising Savage's songwriting skills and commending the production team for bringing "depth and range to the album's production."[28] Ronke Adepoju of TayoTV assigned a score of 8.75/10, applauding Savage for "showing her versatility by working with different artistes from different genres".[29] Adepoju also opined that Savage "managed to pull it off with the minimum help possible."[29] Hip Hop World Magazine granted the album 4 stars out of 5, acknowledging Savage for "producing an album that accommodates her songwriting skill and pop ambitions."[30]

In a less enthusiastic review, Ogaga Sakpaide of TooXclusive gave the album 2.5 stars out of 5, adding, "Despite the involvement of different production "heavyweights" on the album, the total body of work lacks an actual identity." Sakpaide also stated that the record is "lacking the organic sound an album should possess."[31] Wilfred Okiche of YNaija extensively said, "At 21 songs, there are just too many fillers, too much autotune, too much Don Jazzy and an over dependence on the gloss. One has to dig deep to find the real substance. It plays like Ms Savage is just pandering, surrendering to market dictates while throwing a bit of her true self in between."[32]

Accolades[edit]

Year Awards ceremony Award description(s) Results
2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards Best Album of the Year Nominated
The Headies Best R&B/Pop Album Nominated

Track listing[edit]

Once Upon a Time – Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Once Upon a Time"
  • Tiwatope Savage
  • Marcus McCauley
  • Rahima Balogun
  • Zakira Ousley
1:54
2."Wanted"
  • Savage
  • Tiffany Fred
Warren Oak Felder3:30
3."Ileke"
  • Savage
  • Tunji Balogun
GospelOnDeBeatz4:00
4."Middle Passage"SavageRaydar Ellis5:01
5."Olorun Mi"SavageSauce Wilson3:52
6."Why Don't You Love Me"Savage
3:56
7."Fela Interlude"Fela Anikulapo KutiSauce Wilson1:23
8."Love Me (3x)"
  • Savage
  • Richard King
Harmony Samuels3:39
9."Eminado" (featuring Don Jazzy)SavageDon Jazzy3:50
10."Folarin"
  • Savage
  • Oluwatobi Wande Ojosipe
Spellz4:11
11."Oh Yeah" (featuring Don Jazzy)SavageDon Jazzy3:24
12."Shout Out" (featuring Iceberg Slim and Sarkodie)
  • Savage
  • Olusegun Olowokere
  • Michael Owusu Addo
Spellz3:50
13."Written All Over Your Face"
  • Savage
  • Tiffany Fred
Warren Oak Felder3:31
14."Get Low"SavageSauce Wilson3:46
15."Ife Wa Gbona" (featuring Leo Wonder)
  • Savage
  • Leo Wonder
Sossick4:48
16."Eji Ma Fia"
Spellz5:05
17."Baby Mo" (featuring Flavour N'abania)
  • Savage
  • Chinedu Okoli
Del B3:34
18."Stand as One" (featuring General Pype)
  • Savage
  • Olayiwola Ibrahim Majekodunmi
Spellz4:28
19."Thank You"
  • Savage
  • Aluko Timothy
Don Jazzy2:33
Once Upon a Time – Bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
20."Without My Heart" (featuring Don Jazzy)
  • Savage
  • Fred
  • Balogun
  • Michael Collins Ajereh
Warren Oak Felder3:53
21."Kele Kele Love"SavageHarmony Samuels3:42
Total length:77:00
Samples

Personnel[edit]

  • Tiwatope Savage – primary artist, writer
  • Michael Collins Ajereh – executive producer, featured artist
  • Tunji "Tee Billz" Balogun – executive producer, writer
  • Warren ‘Oak’ Felder – record producer
  • Sauce Wilson – record producer
  • Harmony Samuels – record producer
  • Gospel On D Beatz – record producer
  • Del B – record producer
  • Raydar Ellis – record producer
  • Spellz Magik Boi – record producer
  • Sossick – record producer
  • Chinedu Okoli – featured artist, writer
  • Leo Wonder – featured artist, writer
  • Olusegun Olowokere – featured artist, writer
  • Michael Owusu Addo – featured artist, writer
  • General Pype – featured artist, writer
  • Oluwatobi Wande Ojosipe – writer
  • Richard King – writer
  • Chigul – writer
  • Altims – writer
  • Trafik – writer
  • Marcus McCauley – writing credits
  • Rahima Balogun – writing credits
  • Zakira Ousley – writing credits

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Various July 2, 2013 CD, Digital download Mavin Records, 323 Entertainment
Nigeria July 3, 2013

References[edit]

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  3. ^ "ALBUM REVIEW: Tiwa Savage – Once Upon A Time". tooxclusive. Archived from the original on 9 September 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  4. ^ Abimboye, Micheal (31 May 2014). "Pop duo, Skuki, reject Nigerian Entertainment Awards nomination". Premium Times. Archived from the original on 5 June 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  5. ^ Ochugba, Mary (10 October 2014). "The Headies unveils 2014 nominees". Business Day. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  6. ^ a b "My fiance wiped away my shame – Tiwa Savage". Vanguard Nigeria. Archived from the original on 23 August 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
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  21. ^ "NIgerian Music Video Awards (NMVA 2012 ) Full Winners List". tooxclusive. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  22. ^ "New Music: Tiwa Savage – Folarin". Bellanaija. 14 December 2012. Archived from the original on 3 March 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
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External links[edit]