COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 was a testing time for all, but also served as sober period of reflection for some individuals blessed with the gift of the pen, who took it as a time to develop their artistry.
Despite its difficulties, home and abroad, it led to a year of massive cross-continental records that put Afrobeats more on the global map. COVID became a year creatives needed to find their magic once again. What were you doing during the Lockdown?
For 23 year old Treasure, she found ways to channel her energy in the right direction in order to create the success she has been yearning for. Since her unveiling with MAVIN as their newest artist, she has taken her audience on a journey fueled by her sound which has led to deep visceral emotions.
Her debut EP, “Lifesize Teddy” is an actual definition of breath of fresh air as it relays the rapper’s expressive nature and experimental blend of five songs which testifies to her impressive range and artistic intelligence.
In this interview, we sit with Lifesize Teddy who takes us on an artistic journey starting from her early beginnings and till date being the latest signee of the MAVIN.
Listeners are beginning to add your songs to their playlist, can you introduce yourself to us?
My name is Treasure Apiafi Banigo, I’m from Bonny Island, Rivers State but I was raised in Port-Harcourt.
Has music always been your primary focus or what we’re your other interests?
I have always loved music though I’m a Mechanical Engineer graduate which I mostly did for my family especially my mum. After I graduated, I decided to focus on music.
What were your childhood days like?
Music has always been in my home. My mum really loves music, she is a writer. There’s always music playing in the background at home ranging from Brenda Fassie, Lucky Dube, Osita Osadebe, Fela Kuti… in fact, we had a whole cabinet filled with music CDs.
How did you join the Mavins Crew?
I’m a big fan of Ladipoe and when he got signed to MAVIN, he did his first show; Ladipoe Live before that as a big fan of his work, I had sent messages to him via Instagram telling him how amazing his craft is. He was scrolling through his DMs looking for a fan to invite for his show and he went through my messages and he clicked my SoundCloud link and listened to my songs.
He was impressed and then invited me for the show. I went for the show but I had no idea that music executives were going to be on the lookout and after the show, I connected with Rima, followed her on Instagram and she followed me back. We would chat often.
Fast forward to 2020 when COVID happened and I was bored and I didn’t have any studio to record at so I texted Rima and asked if I could use the MAVIN studio since it was lockdown and I figured most artists won’t be there to record.
When I got there, I recorded for 2-3 weeks and I heard from people that there was an academy so I took another leap of faith by texting Rima and asking if I could join the academy and after she consulted Don Jazzy’s opinion,a couple of weeks later, someone from the team reached out to me and said I have been accepted, I was beyond thrilled to hear the good news.
“Look at me right now, I’m being received warmly by the industry just because of my talent which the academy helped me harness”
Sources say you were in MAVIN Artist Development Academy for 3 years, what were those days like?
The Academy was such an awesome experience, it was humbling and it shaped my life for the best. Look at me right now, I’m being received warmly by the industry just because of my talent which the academy helped me harness.
I got in as a learner who was still trying to figure out a lot of things concerning music despite it being my passion and now, I have become a fully developed individual that can create the type of music which evokes emotions from people. Everyone played a key role in my development. I’m officially a graduate of the MAVIN academy.
Let’s talk about your sound; how would you describe your sound
My sound is a beautiful blend of Afro-Fusion. My sound is a breath of fresh air.
Who are your major inspirations?
I’m influenced by a lot of people because I listened to a variety of songs growing up and now, I’m the embodiment of these artists I listened to. I’m inspired by Rihanna, Beyoncé, Brenda Fassie, Sasha P, M.I Abaga, Doja Cat, The Weeknd, Missy Elliot, Nicki Minaj and so many more. I take my inspirations from these people and redefine it to resonate with me.
“Lifesize Teddy” how did you come about the name?
I have always been called Teddy by my people, maybe because I look like one. When I was smaller I looked like one, I figured I needed a prefix to personalize the nickname so I looked in the mirror one day and I said, you know what, I will add “Lifesize” to “Teddy” and that was how I coined the name.
“I remember when London played the beats for “AIR”, I just felt the rush of breeze on my skin and I just knew”
In detail, can you walk us through your EP “Lifesize Teddy”?
My creating process is different, I never go to the studio with a major idea on what I’m going to sing, I just let the magic happen. I have never had anything in mind when I was releasing “AIR” “PROPHESY” “JOHN WICK” I just go to the studio and I immediately feed off the vibe of my producer; it’s a collaborative effort.
I remember when London played the beats for “AIR”, I just felt the rush of breeze on my skin and I just knew. From the beats of butterflies, you can hear gitters when you listen to it and that’s how I came up with the name “BUTTERFLIES” . It was produced by Andre Vibez. My creative process is playful and fun.
Asides Music, what are other activities you enjoy
I like to paint! I don’t sell them though but I look forward to giving them out to my fans someday.
What are your next plans moving forward?
Just to keep the momentum. Fanbase is growing and that’s the aim. People don’t just like the music but love my sound. They think it’s new, fresh and I owe it to them to keep the momentum going.