The Saxophone, Journeys and Visual Delicacies
Though Adetuke Morgan is a graduate of economics from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, she made a career change to music where she is creating a name for herself as an accomplished saxophonist. She has performed at many weddings, romantic dinners, churches, parties, restaurants, corporate events and with bands and ensembles in the United Kingdom and Nigeria and in recent times, at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) auditorium, with renowned trumpeter Nathaniel Bassey, and at an Old Boys’ meeting organised by the vice president of Nigeria Professor Yemi Osibanjo.
Released in March 2015, Morgan’s debut single, Trust, is available on iTunes. She is also a Lifestyle blogger at Tuke’s Quest where she writes about her experiences and shares pictures and tips in a conversational manner people can relate to. Through this platform, she has worked with various indigenous and international brands to create campaigns that influence her readers to make better decisions about beauty and hair, style, music and food. In addition, Morgan is an award-winning food photographer, a content provider, aspiring actor, natural-hair enthusiast and theatre aficionado. Her wanderlust has taken her to several countries within and outside Africa. She seeks to inspire people with her life, showing them the possibility of living their dreams even though they may seem unconventional.
You studied economics and now you have a career in music. Is this a side job?
No, it is not a side job; it is my primary source of income. While at the university, I interned in asset management, investment management and financial research. After graduation, I barely practiced my economics; some weeks later, I worked in consulting on a social media governance project. My last paid employment was in advertising, and I still do a bit of digital marketing through my blog.
How did your family react to your shift in career, and are they supportive?
My family – parents in particular, had to approve of my shift in career. I wrote a 16 slide-PowerPoint presentation to them with 14 reasons why I needed to leave my paid employment. It took them 3 months before they finally agreed. They are now quite supportive, though my mother always says she thinks I need to come to my father’s office at least once a week to help out because it is business that sent me to school.
Is there any other musician or creative in your family?
My parents are entrepreneurs, though my father used to sing in Steve Rhodes Voices. However, no one in my family except me does music professionally. I have cousins that can play the violin, piano and trombone but for most of them, it was an extra-curricular activity at school.
Adetuke with Professor Osibanjo the Vice President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria at one of her performances
How did you get interested in playing the saxophone because it is an instrument that strains the lungs?
I started playing the saxophone in 2009. I was privileged to go to England in September 2008 for my A-Levels and was shocked but impressed by the wide range of extra-curricular activities available at my school. I decided to fully take advantage of the opportunities that were available and immersed myself in a variety of activities. By the end of the first term, I decided to learn a musical instrument. The school culture and the achievements of my fellow students inspired me and fuelled my decision. The first time I blew into a saxophone was on February 26 of that year. I initially didn’t want to learn one as guitar was preferable but my father suggested it. After 2 trial lessons in both instruments, I chose the saxophone.
Do you have any Nigerian and international influences and mentors?
Yes I do. Beejay Sax, Pastor Kunle Ajayi and Nathaniel Bassey, in terms of their playing style, tone, relationship with God and love of the gospel. Asa, Lupita N’yongo and Yemi Alade in terms of their international reach and African touch. Yolanda Brown is my favourite black female saxophonist.
What was your first performance?
My first performance was with the Woldingham School Jazz Band on November 4, 2009 at the Guy Fawkes Night. We played jazz standards like The Look of Love and Heard it from the Grapevine. My first solo performance was on March 19, 2011, when I took part in the Inaugural Face of Africultural Beauty Pageant.
What inspired your first single Trust and how was the reception?
I love hymns and some of my favourite are Pass Me Not O Gentle Saviour, All Hail the Power of Jesus Name and In Christ Alone My Hope is found. One Saturday towards the end of 2014, I was sitting down at a choir rehearsal and the music director of my church at the time came to tell me he was led to produce a song for me. Some months later, Trust was born! The reception was great and it was a learning experience. It was also me coming out to say I not only play with the National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) band but I am also on my way to becoming a professional saxophonist.
Are you self-managed and if so how do you get gigs?
Yes, I am. Most of my gigs come through referrals, Instagram and people who have seen me play at events. Each gig usually leads to one or more because people ask for my contact details.
How did you get to perform at the Old Boys’ event organised by the vice president?
My father was his classmate, and I had performed some of their school songs at 2 of their Old Boys’ events during the year. Thus, it was only natural that they invited me to play at the Old Boys’ meeting at the vice president’s house. They have now crowned me the official musician of their set!
Do you have any original solo saxophone numbers in the pipeline?
Yes I do, keep your ears peeled!
How and why did you get into blogging?
I always liked taking pictures and had a small ‘‘point and shoot’’ camera in secondary school that I loved using to capture moments. It was stolen in July 2008 and I got a second one 2 years later, which was also stolen in December 2010. In my second year at the University of Nottingham, I won a scholarship to go to China to learn how business is done. I received a DSLR camera as a birthday present in June 2012 which I took with me as I thought it will be bad to travel halfway across the world and not have a good camera to document those moments. As the publicity officer of my youth fellowship in university, I had to write a lot and promote our events on social media. When I moved back to Nigeria in July 2013, I always knew about interesting events happening in Lagos. I formed a group on Facebook for 100 ‘corpers’ who were serving in my batch to share tips and information related to the NYSC as well as, details of upcoming events. At different times in 2013 and 2014, a couple of friends and acquaintances suggested that I start a blog. I also used to write articles and send to my close friends to read and give me their feedback. A friend of mine already had a blog so I spoke with her too. She encouraged and showed me how easy it was to set up. Tuke’s Quest was then born and I initially wrote about non-clubbing events in Lagos and my experiences. The blog has evolved to include food, hair, travel, beauty, music and style.
What sparked your love for travel and sharing those experiences?
Reading about Kemi Onabanjo and how she completed Project 30 by 30 has ignited my desire to visit 30 countries before I turn 30. I have only been to 9 countries so I am actively seeking travel opportunities where I can play the saxophone, take food pictures and create content. The experience in China opened my eyes to other cultures and the amazing experiences we can get when we step out of our comfort zone and visit somewhere unfamiliar.
Can you share a memorable travel experience in an African country?
I did hot air ballooning, made chocolate and climbed to the top of Orlando Towers in South Africa on the #JoziWithGoogle trip for BellaNaija.
What interested you about food photography?
I write many restaurant reviews on my blog as I love eating good food and sharing my experiences at restaurants. In 2015, Nigerian Breweries Limited commissioned me to create content because they liked my blog. Two-thirds of the content I created for them was food related so my interest in food photography grew from there. Perfection drives me when it comes to photography so I keep honing my skills and only publish work that impresses me.
You won an international award for your food photography. Can you tell us about it?
Foodelia is a monthly international food photography competition in which I entered 3 photographs early last year. Winning the award served as validation because I use an entry level camera and had not received any intensive formal photography training at the time.
What is your advice to people who would like to do something different outside their field of study?
Do not let doubt or fear stop you from fulfilling your dreams or taking that step in the direction you are most interested in.
What are you working on?
I have several projects in the pipeline. This is the first year of my life that I am neither in school nor in paid employment, and so I am in control of my time. In 2017, a year of no limits, I am chasing all of my dreams and cannot wait for them to be realised!
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