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Meet Tobby Telly, The Afro Wavy Forerunner

By Chinonso Ihekire
06 December 2022   |   10:55 am
As Afrobeats continues to expand to farther regions and attain more heights, Nigerian acts continue to innovate with the sound and emerge with different pockets of sounds or sub-genres as hypnotising as the umbrella sound. Tobby Telly is one of these ambitious acts, forging a new path with African music that is notedly different yet…

As Afrobeats continues to expand to farther regions and attain more heights, Nigerian acts continue to innovate with the sound and emerge with different pockets of sounds or sub-genres as hypnotising as the umbrella sound. Tobby Telly is one of these ambitious acts, forging a new path with African music that is notedly different yet familiar and goes in line with the underlying paradigm shift in the tempo of the music sphere.

Interestingly, Telly had been on this path even before the shift became a roundhouse movement, going as far as to tag his sound “Afro Wavy” as a nod to its soothing, mid-tempo and chill feel.

Despite being a native of Ondo State, Tobby Telly, born Oluwatobi Egbalewon, has been making Afro Wavy music out of Europe which has been his residing continent for over a decade. With future plans on moving back to Nigeria to bring his sound closer to the motherland, the singer currently operates out of Sweden.

His European history had also given rise to his artiste name when friends, due to an inability to pronounce his name correctly, had flipped it into “Tobby Telly”, a play on the children show, Teletubbies.

For Telly, the genesis of his love for music had been right at home where his father and grandfather had both had musical backgrounds that spanned from the church to a band. In fact, like most talented stars, Telly had also paid his first music-making dues by being in the choir back in church and had remained an active member till his early twenties.

He’d however not decided to take up a career in music till 2020 when he released his first single “Calamity” to unforeseen acclaim. His fan favourites have since spanned beyond his debut to include “Friday”, where according to him he was at his most vulnerable as well as “Come Around” which go him got him a fair share of attention on the music scene.

With a preference to making music with the recurrent words on the chorus of Burna Boy’s “Last Last”, Toby Telly’s process creating songs ranges from random bursts of inspiration like the backstory of “Friday” and 4am in “Paris”. For “Friday” it had been a regular Friday night featuring Netflix movies while the latter had come to him over random beats from YouTube at a house party in Paris by 3:20am.

Telly cites music greats like Asa, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley and Wizkid as some of his earliest musical inspirations with Asa being the foremost one for him with whom he nurtures aspirations to one day work.

The Afro Wavy forerunner is set to release his debut EP titled “Wavy Wavy”, which was inspired by the uncertainty and unpredictable nature of life. The EP will be kick-started by his single “Spaceships” which will be out on Friday the 25th of November.