T.K is a talented sibling duo consisting of Tai and Kenny Afolabi, originally from Nigeria and currently based in São Paulo, Brazil. With a passion for spreading awareness on pressing social issues through music, they have just released their latest single, “Speak Peace,” which highlights the devastating effects of war and violence in countries like Ukraine, Yemen, and Colombia. We had the opportunity to interview the talented sisters about their music, their message, and their plans for the future.
The duo, consisting of Tai and Kenny Afolabi, are no strangers to tackling pressing social issues. Their multifaceted creative talents have been credited in various pathways, including composing, music, and video production. T.K. started their career in 2015 with the intention of spreading awareness of the world’s most pressing issues, including gender equality and environmental concerns.
In our conversation, T.K. shared their inspiration behind ‘Speak Peace’ and their ongoing commitment to promoting causes and inspiring people of all ages to face issues that are not generally discussed in open spaces. It’s clear that T.K. is a remarkable duo who are more than deserving of success in this challenging industry. Check ou the interview below and be sure to stream ‘Speak Peace’ afterward.
Can you tell us about your creative process in crafting ‘Speak Peace’, both the song and the accompanying music video? How do you balance the emotional weight of the subject matter with creating a piece of art that is also enjoyable to listen to and watch?
Tai and I were discussing world issues, and this led to talking about the Book Haram terrorist group in Nigeria. This group defends their cause not considering the results and repercussions of their actions, so we thought “if only they would just stop to think, maybe they could find an alternative way to fight their cause”.
The music video was just us trying to pass this message, while at the same time, keeping the audience’s attention, in this way, our message can be passed across. The message is this: there can be an alternative way of fighting a cause that does not have to involve the spilling of blood. Though, it’s a very serious topic, we needed to try our best to keep it as simple as possible, while still making sure that the reality of the subject is seen by everybody.
Your music often touches on important social issues, such as gender equality and environmentalism. How do you approach creating music that speaks to these issues, and what do you hope to achieve through your music in regard to these topics?
Composing the songs is the toughest part of the job. We have to try to write uncomplicated lyrics, easy-to-sing melodies, and arrange easy-to-remember hooks. We hope to achieve only one thing: AWARENESS
You’ve mentioned that T.K.’s mission is to spread awareness of important social issues through your music. Can you speak to any specific causes that are particularly important to you and why? How do you hope your music can inspire others to take action and make a difference in these issues?
We are already speaking to most of them. Gender Equality, Environment, and World Peace are definitely top on the list, but if we’re considering another, it would be the Eradication of poverty. This topic is because, coming from Africa, societal inequality has become a norm. Everyone seems to accept that ‘it is what it is’, but we believe that with a collective contributive attitude and actions, poverty can be eradicated and equality can be attained. We hope that our songs can inspire people with good intentions, that can really cause a change, telling them that they are not alone. We all can do something to make the world a better place, no matter how small it may be.
What do you see as the role of musicians in bringing attention to important global issues and inspiring action toward change? How do you hope your music will impact your audience and inspire them to take action?
Many artists are influencers and role models, a word coming from the right place and at the right time can make a whole lot of difference. We aim to make quality videos and that is why it took a while to make ‘Speak Peace’. This is the beginning of many others to come, and hopefully, as our audience watches, the message will become real.
Can you talk about how your upbringing in Nigeria and your current home in São Paulo have influenced your music and the messages you aim to convey through it?
Living in Sao Paulo is a far cry from living in an African country. Growing up in Africa exposed us to many social ills that end up staying with us. In Brazil it’s different. We grew up in Lagos, a very large city with a dense population, the society is not friendly and there’s a scarcity of everything, everywhere. Living in Brazil makes you aware that you came out better than most, this way, you have a good eye to compare and address the issues in the songs that we have been composing.
Can you talk about how your Nigerian heritage has influenced your music and creative approach?
African music always begins softly before it reaches a climax, we try to do this in the music video; begin slowly while gradually climbing to its peak. This way, at the end of the song, you can appreciate all the elements introduced at every phase of the song.
You’ve been creating music together for several years now, how has your sound evolved over time and what do you think sets you apart from other artists in your genre?
We consider ourselves artists of various genres. We began sampling with Hip-Hop as it’s Tai’s original style, then we included R&B which is Kenny’s. Today, there is no particular dominant style as we pitch in a little bit of both styles. We’re twins and each personality has to be represented and this gives each song a different reflection. Some songs focus on Tai’s genres, while others use Kenny’s style.
As artists who have already accomplished so much, what are your future aspirations and goals for T.K in the music industry?
We hope to release more songs and continue making impact through quality videos, and maybe inspire other artists to do one or two songs that will address real societal issues, that’s all.
What do you hope to achieve with your music and message, both in terms of making an impact and advancing your career?
Like we said, making music is not all there is to it. We need to influence lives, make positive changes and generally, make the world a better place. In the light of advancing our career, we will continue to search for opportunities that will increase our visibility so that we can do what we love, doing the best we can in the best way possible.
As a sibling duo, how does your dynamic and relationship with each other play a role in your creative process and the music you create?
We’ve always been really close and though we argue a lot, we agree on a lot of things, so it makes it easy to work together. Our objectives and conclusions are always similar, so it’s not too difficult to evolve once we begin a project. Tai has force while Kenny is very calm; a perfect fit we are.