Forgotten greats: Toyin Adekale, an in depth interview with one of UK’s greats.

UK Great - Toyin Adekale

UK Great – Toyin Adekale

When I was a youngster it was fair to say we grew up listening to only great singers and artist.  The music scene has a lot more fluff around these days.  There was hardly any back in the day.  You had to be amazing to make it, plane and simple.  Certain songs never die and if you are around my generation loving Reggae and lovers rock you would know anthems like Four Leaf Clover, Lets make love and here I go again.  All delivered with voice that could melt the north pole and stir a nation into battle at the same time.  All delivered by the one and only Toyin Adekale.
Toyin was a member of the instigators reggae band.

Toyin was a member of the instigators reggae band.

Adekale first had success as a member of London reggae band The Instigators, which also featured Mafia & Fluxy.She topped the British reggae charts with her single “Let’s Make Love”. She went on to form the group Pure and Simple, also managing the group. She was one of a number of reggae artists to contribute to the British Reggae Artists Famine Appeal, singing on the “Let’s Make Africa Green Again” charity single in 1985.

Toyin Adekale has graced the stage of Presidents and Royalty, performing at the Kremlin in Russia, the Palace in London, the Houses of Parliament to name but a few. Performing for HRH Prince Charles, the former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, also the Sierra Leon late President President Joseph Saidu Momoh, amongst other famous dignitaries and celebrities.

After Adekale’s 13-year stint with world-famous band Boney M featuring Maizie Williams, she left for the United States, taking time out of her successful 35-year span in show business.

Toyin has worked with many great artists such as Soul II Soul, Maxi Priest Music brought Toyin in the world of theater via, friend and Director Larrington Walker for the Afro Sax Theater company that brought forth many great names to the British Acting platform, such as Ellen Thomas and Treva Etienne to name but a few.

Since living in the US, Toyin has also penned her first book “I Do, Do You?”, and has since penned her first produced play taken from the book, called “It’s Not Over Til It’s Over”

So we caught up with the amazing lady herself in an exclusive interview for GlobalNewsInk and found out what she is doing now, where she is going and what has been going on.

 Hi Toyin.  
It’s great to speak to one of true great singers in the game.  we are now in 2017 what are your thoughts about 2016 and recent  years. were they good years for you? 
Musically, I’ve seen some changes in previous years.  I took intentional time out to get back to basics.  You can lose yourself in this business. They haven’t been the best years, but definitely defining years. I took time to gain a degree in my passion, and graduated with my BA in Entertainment Business Management. 2017 is going to be a good year.

Four leaf clover was a huge success for Toyin Adekale and became a lovers rock standard.

Four leaf clover was a huge success for Toyin Adekale and became a lovers rock standard.

You have been in this game for 3 decades now, working with some of the best, how do you feel the game has changed and how have you adapted to that change? 
Tremendously. The challenge today is we have better opportunities to be in charge of our own destiny.  You don’t need a deal to break through. But unfortunately, reggae music hasn’t moved as progressively as the other genres.  Some of us still doing the same old thing trying to get different results – Rebranding and becoming more involved in strategy is something I would say I’ve now applied to my current circumstances. Sad but true, reggae has a major influence on world music but they are picking it up and use it to its full potential.  We on the other hand are keeping it in-house.  WE (and I’m including me), need to have as much belief in our music and put it on everyone’s tables. By that I mean, target other markets with our music, collaborate, integrate don’t isolate.  Actually, to be honest I’ve had this philosophy from the beginning of my career, when I had less tools, but I had the belief that we deserved to be on any stage with the best and the rest.
You have been blessed to work with many great artist in your career and I am sure you have a lot of stories to tell can you share one with us?
Man this is such a difficult question to pick out ONE from so many great stories…lol. Man, which one would I consider a highlight….well, one for fun, on tour in Europe singing with Freddie McGregor, Gregory Issacs to name but a few, the private caterer wasn’t up to band standard we’d been on the road for a while, and wanted good food, Freddie McGregor, rolled up his sleeves, kicked the chef out of the kitchen asked for some flour, seasoning and whatever they had in the back and cooked us a great meal…that was a fun experience. But my highlight would probably be, on tour with Soul II Soul, dressing room next to Diana Ross, (my icon….i used to wonder what it would be like to embrace an audience the way she did, never dreamed I would meet her face to face). I step out of my dressing room and she steps out of hers and I (for the one and only time in my life) am star struck….I can’t talk.  All the things I thought I would want to say to her, just couldn’t come out…she could see that and just said “oh baby, it’s ok” and gave me a hug….lost for words…dumbfounded…I spent that afternoon at soundcheck just watching her in awe, thinking wow, this is where my hard work has brought me…priceless moment, treasure it for life.

Toyin also hit the mark with 'Here I go again'

Toyin also hit the mark with ‘Here I go again’

The last decade has seen several greats pass away.  Who do you miss the most and why? 
There sure have and some of them too close for comfort.  I’ve lost friends and peers in this business, Louisa Marks, Ruddy Thomas, Lucky Dubie, Flip Frazer, Jazick (poetess and backing vocalist), too many to mention.  The one that left the biggest hole I would say is the legendary producer Lloyd Charmers.  Lloyd was a friend and father figure.  He wasn’t happy when I moved to America, and I was planning a surprise visit to him a few weeks before he passed.  Our last conversation was him being very upset with me.  The hole is still painful for me.  We worked together, we laughed, we fought, we made up, he consoled, he advised, he chastised, he loved, he supported, he told stupid jokes, sang me silly songs and I miss him terribly.  I get comfort in the listening to one of his voicemails (that I’ve kept on a CD), of one of his silly songs to me.  Ok I’m done…
You left the UK and set up in America, you were successful here.  Why did you make that move and do you have any regrets?
I didn’t choose to move to America, it was never in my plans, it somehow just evolved through my marriage and thereafter divorce.  As for my perceived success, and note that I say perceived. “All that Glitters Isn’t Gold”.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my lifestyle, travels all over the world, experience different things, performing at such a high level for dignatories, Kings & Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers, singing at the Houses of Parliament or performing at the Kremlin…who wouldn’t want to travel all over the world.  After all it was me who said, I want to do this, but no one told me of the sacrifice for such a lifestyle.  No one told me that I’d probably miss school recitals, or New Year celebrations with your family, or that you’ll have beautiful presidential suites with on-hand security but you would do a lot of that alone. That you would experience depths of loneliness in a crowd sometimes, or feel isolated from meaningful relationships….life would however, get on without you.  So [to take] 5 years out of my career to embrace those things were good on the one hand, but at a heavy financial sacrifice, which is ok.  My regrets coming to America, was that I hadn’t prepared a better nest egg to protect my children from the lack we experienced. Now in hindsight looking back though, coming to America (though extremely hard and painful), was the best thing I had done.  I still stand by that.

'I'll be moving on' by Toyin Adekale

‘I’ll be moving on’ by Toyin Adekale

As a black female artist, and also looking at some of your recent videos you are very sensitive to the troubles in the world today, Perhaps especially from a black point of view.  How do you feel about how society has changed and the political landscape that is now before us?
The sources of information are so vast, so even if you don’t experience  certain lifestyles hand-on, you can still feel the effect of them.  The political climate was something when you were younger, you were oblivious to, apart from the odd racism you encountered here and there. But people are so much more informed and diverse and vocal in their opinions.  I try to maintain my lane, my role in society without being dragged into political drama, because the bottom line is every leader is 1 person….Margret Thatcher was 1 person, Martin Luther King 1 person, Hitler 1 person, Bob Marley 1 person, Trump is 1 person, Obama 1 person.  You and I too – 1 person.  I/We can create a landscape or affect a landscape with the little I/We do, that can transcend into a whole lot.  So I’m not too moved by what is before us (a little irritated yes, even troubled), but I’ve got to do my part to bring about some change that I’d like to see, every little helps and can have major impact. That goes for music or politics.
Do you feel that life has improved for people of colour or have things pretty much stayed the same in your experience?
Opportunities have certainly improved for people of color but we have to recognize first not the limitations that people put on us, but the limitations we put on ourselves.  Some of us are free, but imprisoned in our mind.  Some of us can obtain wealth, but we’re poor in our minds – ‘as a man thinketh’.  But yes we’ve come a long way.  We see our likeness on the TVs in commercials, in movies and also in a positive light, thanks to likes of directors like Tyler Perry to name but one.  So now we have to go out and knock the doors and push them down, with the knowledge and confidence of what we have to offer.  After all if we don’t believe in ourselves, why should anyone else believe in us?
Getting back to the music what are you working on and what can we expect from Toyin Adekale in 2017?
So there’s the New Single for the New Month, New Year “Open Up My Heart”, mothers day single “Thank You Mama” both available on iTunes, Amazon and all good download sites.  Also just finished writing my play, and now looking for funding to launch it in the UK.  It’s a play which incorporates the singles above and more.  It’s a play that affects absolutely everyone…a play about CANCER and the devastation to a single mother and her teenage daughter.
How would you describe yourself and your music? 
Limitless and reflective of the life around me.  My passion is now to touch people in a way I’d never thought I could musically.  Bring an awareness of love, healing….if I have a painful song, it must reflect a resolve, it must have a happy ending.  I didn’t realize how powerful this gift I was blessed with, is.  I didn’t think people remembered me, let alone were impacted in some way or form by my past music, so now I’m aware, and even more purposeful.
 In closing we like to put a difficult question,  so here it is:
Toyin lists Stevie Wonders 'Ribbon in the sky' in her top 10

Toyin lists Stevie Wonders ‘Ribbon in the sky’ in her top 10

A.     Your top ten songs of all time. (in no particular order)
1. She’s Royal – Tarrus Riley
2. Freddie McGregor – Jogging
3. Baltimore – Heptones
4. Hello Stranger – Yvonne Elliman
5. Paradise – Jean Adebambo
6. Ribbon in the Sky – Stevie Wonder
7. That’s What Friends are for – Denise Williams
8. Yes You Can Can – Pointer Sisters
9. Happy – Pharrell
10.Just Fine – Mary J Blige

Toyin list Tyler Perry's 'Diary of a mad black woman' in her all time top ten movies

Toyin list Tyler Perry’s ‘Diary of a mad black woman’ in her all time top ten movies

B.    Your top ten movies of all time (in no particular order)
1.Diary of a Mad Black Woman – Tyler Perry
2. Harder They Come – Jimmy cliff
3. Pursuit of Happiness – Will Smith
4. Daddy’s Girl – Tyler Perry
5. Good Deeds – Tyler Perry
6. Left Behind Series
7. Jaws – Steven Spielberg
8. Blood Diamonds – Djimon Hounsou
9. To Sir With Love – Sidney Pottier
10.Fatal Attraction

Toyin lists Anita Baker in her top ten favourite artist list

Toyin lists Anita Baker in her top ten favourite artist list

C.    Your top ten artists of all time. (in no particular order)
1. Anita Baker
2. Angela Winbush
3. Dennis Brown
4. Luther Vandross
5. Tarrus Riley
6. Berris Hammond
7. Michael Jackson
8.Diana Ross
9. Etana
10.The Whispers
Toyin Adekale will always be one of the UK’s greats and she is by no means done.  you can listen and watch ‘The storm is over – Sunshine’s here’ by clicking the image below.
The storm is over - Sunshine's here By Toyin Adekale (Click to watch)

The storm is over – Sunshine’s here By Toyin Adekale (Click to watch)

You can see Toyin with Boney M here. or click on the image below.

Toyin also sang with Boney M for many years

Toyin also sang with Boney M for many years

Watch Toyin’s brilliant and complelling interview with the mother of Bob Marley below:

Toyin interviewed the mother of Bob Marley

Toyin interviewed the mother of Bob Marley

Follow us @GlobalNewsink


One comment

  1. […] Fashion showcase in Wales along with Stephan Dante, Tubsy Dholki Walla, and legendary reggae star Toyin Adekale wore one of Agnes Szepligeti dresses for her performance.  She fell completely in love with the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: