Teno is a fun song about being driven in life. Teno literally means “step on the medal/pedal to the metal/GiNGA”. The lines “Kokoro da (Where are the keys?), start the car. How’s the engine, cause we’re going far” came to me, and I built on it. I had a wonderful producer in Spankie Doodle and the synergy was as great as it was when we worked on my previous single ‘Aboko Ku’. I also had a great recording process with the Knighthouse Studio 51. The result has been and is a remarkable blessing!
Who are your musical influences?
Honest and true. Handel’s “Messiah”, Rodgers and Hammerstein Musicals, Reggae Music (Roots and Dancehall), and a lot of pop music. I love The Kuti’s, The Marley’s, and women who push the envelope. Shout-outs to Gwen Stefani, Madonna, Lauryn Hill, Jessie J and other divas who rock.
What are your thoughts on the evolution of African music and on music emerging from the African continent presently? Where do you see it going in the future?
The music from our continent has always been great. I am excited we are recently getting more love from the rest of the world. I do worry that we might remain boxed in the ‘Afrobeats rock’ spirit, and then fizzle out. I hope that we continue to attract the right kind of attention from the world and I can not wait to see more ‘non-commercial’ artists from Africa shock the World in a great way.
Your musical style is pretty eclectic. Are there any artists from different genres that you would like to work with?
Why thank you! I would love to work with the Femi Kuti, Bez, Spaceshipboi, Asa and Terry G from Nigeria, and Fokn Bois (Wanlov and Mensa) from Ghana. Internationally Janelle Monae: that would be so exciting.
Lets talk fashion and style. How would you describe your personal style?
I am in the process of allowing my personality shine through my dress sense. If I were to describe my style, the words – afro-chic-grunge-pop would come to mind.
African designers have exploded onto the international scene and are generating a lot of interest. African inspired prints have been en vogue for the last ten or so years. Who are your favourite African designers and why?
I have never been into labels or brand names but I love the recognition our African designers are getting. Beth Elis, a Nigerian Couture Bridal Designer based in the U.S. has a vision that I think is heavenly and her work is impeccable. I also love Mai Atafo; I love the way he plays with colours. It would be fun to rock some of his menswear. Grey and Chichia London’s work shine to me as they are not afraid to be different, fun and playful.
You moved back home after a stint in the States. What are the pros and cons to life in Naija vs. life in the States?
We need constant electricity, good water, drainage systems, better roads, hospitals, schools (I could go on)? But being around my family is something that I can not replace.
What can we expect to see next from Zara Gretti?
I recently just wrapped up a shoot for the Teno video in the U.S. with Champion Studios and the BEST Glam Squad! I can not wait to unleash the video and a new website www.ZaraGretti.com. I have not released an album yet, but I am now at a point where I will always be true to myself with guidance from the Spirit. FAB readers can always keep up with me on Twitter, and on Facebook.
Was great hanging, Stay FAB AND PROUD and always love YOU for who YOU are.