Tiwa Savage Makes a Bold Splash on the Silver Screen with "Water and Garri"

"Water and Garri" is not just a film; it's a celebration of resilience, creativity, and the power of storytelling. Through Aisha's journey, Tiwa Savage invites audiences to rediscover Africa's beauty and complexity while encouraging them to believe in the transformative power of their dreams.

May 14, 2024 - 04:22
May 14, 2024 - 05:53
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Tiwa Savage Makes a Bold Splash on the Silver Screen with "Water and Garri"
The Iconic Tiwa Savage

Grammy-nominated singer Tiwa Savage, a powerhouse in the Afrobeats scene, is embarking on a new chapter in her career. She's stepping away from the microphone and into the spotlight as the lead actress and executive producer of her debut feature film, "Water and Garri."

The film, premiered on global Prime Video on May 10th, follows Aisha, a successful fashion designer who returns to Nigeria after a decade in the United States. Aisha grapples with the profound changes that have swept through her homeland and the people she once knew. Set against the backdrop of a vibrant and evocative soundtrack (also titled "Water and Garri"), Aisha's journey unfolds, revealing poignant cultural shifts.

The soundtrack is a mix of afroppop and afrobeats, features live instrumentation, ambient effects, and Tiwa's signature vocals. It seamlessly blends Afrobeat and Afropop with influences from amapiano, R&B, gospel, and even hints of mainstream trap and pop. The project boasts an impressive line-up of collaborators, including Grammy-nominated artist Ayra Starr, Afro-reggae fusion artist Black Sherif, alongside established Nigerian stars Olamide and rising talent Young Jonn.

"Water and Garri" draws inspiration from Tiwa's 2021 EP of the same name, which explored themes of duality and resilience. The film also reflects on her own journey as a Nigerian-born British woman who ventured to Brooklyn to ignite her music career as a songwriter. Meji Alabi, a first-time feature film director, brings the story to life with a fresh perspective. The film's production marks a significant investment from major entertainment conglomerates, reflecting the growing global demand for African content.

"Audiences worldwide crave well-crafted, contemporary African narratives," says Ayanna Lonian, director of content acquisition at Prime Video. "Water & Garri delivers precisely that, offering a fresh perspective. Both Meji Alabi, in his directorial role, and Tiwa Savage, as the lead, have truly delivered a stellar debut alongside an exceptionally talented cast and crew."

The film also underscores a commitment to authenticity. A Nigerian production company collaborates with Prime Video and Tiwa's production team, fostering a truly cross-cultural creative experience. "We are thrilled to collaborate with Prime Video, who grasp the significance of this cultural milestone celebrating the intersecting power of film and music, especially emanating from Africa at this exciting time," says Jimi Adesanya, producer and Unbound Studios executive.

In a recent interview, Tiwa Savage discussed the film, her personal journey, and the challenges of venturing into acting. The film's title, "Water and Garri," a Nigerian staple symbolizing both sustenance and hardship, resonated deeply with her desire to explore themes of love and pain.

Originally conceived as a visual album inspired by Beyonce's "Black is King" and Kanye West's films, the project evolved into a full-length feature. "Water and Garri" provided Tiwa with a platform to challenge herself creatively. Having honed her acting skills in London classes, she embraced the opportunity to explore a new artistic dimension.

"Many of us, like Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy, have established ourselves as household names," says Tiwa. "At this point, we can explore new avenues and pursue creative passions." She credits director Meji Alabi, a previous music video collaborator, for his unwavering support throughout the filming process.

The soundtrack for "Water and Garri" pushes boundaries, incorporating elements of jazz, gospel, and even venturing outside of Afrobeats. "People expect a certain sound from me," says Tiwa. "The soundtrack gave me the freedom to experiment." This experimentation reflects her diverse musical background, which includes studies at Berklee College of Music.

Tiwa has consistently championed the global reach of African music while defying genre limitations. On her "Water and Garri" EP, she collaborated with the genre-bending artist Amaarae.

"I love that people expect me to be African, and I always will be," says Tiwa. "But I don't need to wear a specific costume to represent my heritage. Experimentation is key, but African culture will always be present in my work." This sentiment is particularly powerful given her experience growing up in London and facing prejudice for her African background.

The film's protagonist, Aisha, mirrors Tiwa's own experience of returning to a homeland that has undergone significant change. "I would always go back in December," says Tiwa, referencing the festive season in Nigeria. "But that's not the real Nigeria. Moving back for a few months opened my eyes to the everyday reality."

"Water and Garri" is not just a film; it's a celebration of resilience, creativity, and the power of storytelling. Through Aisha's journey, Tiwa Savage invites audiences to rediscover Africa's beauty and complexity while encouraging them to believe in the transformative power of their dreams.

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