Tjan, Crooning his way to Success

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As far as the Nigerian music space is concerned, Tijani Olasunmbo Fowosere a.k.a Tjan is a unicorn. This is made obvious by his vocals, which is perhaps the first thing that calls attention to his songs. What he does is unadulterated R & B in a distinctly honeyed voice many have come to adore.

In an industry where the loudest and most up-tempo sounds easily become hits, Tjan’s rare brand of music is thriving excellently. He has managed what was once unthinkable by converting ardent dancehall Nigerians into fans of his sometimes slow but nonetheless melodious sound.

It’s not just the silky smooth vocals that stand him out; Tjan also has the good looks to go with the ‘lover boy’ persona – a label that has firmly stuck after his nationwide hit, Aduke.

Tjan was born in Surulere to a family of 6. The third of four Fowosere children, he reveals that his family is very musically inclined; his father especially raised them on an assortment of foreign gospel music. His elder brother who took up rapping for some time had to stop to concentrate on other pursuits.

For Tjan, going professionally into music had never been an agenda even though he knew he had a distinct voice. Back then, he felt satisfied with just singing around the house or sometimes to entertain friends and family. His father however thought otherwise and ensured he enrolled into the MUSON School of Music to study music and vocal training.

But Tjan still had not made up his mind about music. The motivation didn’t come until after university – He studied communication skills at the North American University in the Republic of Benin – and that was during his 3-week National Youth Service Corps orientation in Delta State, where he won the camp’s music contest. Before this, he had emerged as one of the final 20 on the popular music reality show, Nigerian Idol Season 3.

After a couple of attempts at pacifying the streets by dropping up-tempo songs with limited success, he eventually retreated and began accentuating his songs with his distinct vocals. This earned him increased recognition and in 2015, he won the Fresh Act of the Year at the Scream Awards.

Tjan attributes his success to the divine, his father as well acknowledges his aunt and boss, Alhaja Adetoro for empowering him with the right dose of motivation and support.

His songs are almost always underscored with an infusion of Yoruba names and phrases, which rather than contrast, complement his music handsomely. Tjan is yet to release a debut album but he has a few singles that are already household hits. His first known single, Ire was released on airwaves in 2014 and was followed by Hey Mama! I Love You So, Te mi and Tu’re in 2015.

These songs got him some more recognition and a following, which spurred him on to record Meji, One plus One and Aduke in 2016. The big break came with Aduke – Tjan, Omolara and Cobhams wrote the song while Cobhams Asuquo produced it. Aduke received massive airplay and majorly positive reviews from music lovers and critics. The video for the hit single Kemi Adetiba shot, cemented Tjan’s place among the stars of the Nigerian music sphere and got the whole country talking about him. Aduke officially became one of the most beloved wedding/love songs in Nigeria.

This year, Tjan has released only one song, Your Smile, an instant hit and firm favourite. It is already poised to join Aduke in the ranks of top Nigerian wedding/love songs. From the first second, it is clear the genre of Your Smile is pop. However, Tjan finds a way to incorporate his trademark vocals and signature Yoruba epithets. It is a feel good song anyone would appreciate and gladly rock to.

Tjan is signed to Right Entertainment – his first and only label since he launched his musical career. With his antecedents over the past two years, the least one can expect from him is a stellar debut album.


Tomiwa Yussuf has a background in History/International studies. With a strong bias for fictional art of varying forms, he contributes to a couple of literary blogs and is an in-house editor at nantygreens.com. When he’s not writing, he pursues other interests like digital marketing, social work and sports.

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