Nigerian-Canadian Singer-Songwriter, TolumiDE (pronounced toe-lu-mee-day), describes her music as “Suya Soul” a phrase she coined herself to describe the fusion of Contemporary R&B with African Pop music. Suya, being a popular Spicy Grilled Shish kebab (skewered meat) indigenous to Nigeria and some West African regions, represents the alternative music flavour she offers her listeners and her debut album, ‘My Love’ reflects the term as a sonic cross-cultural blend of World Afro-pop Inspiration and Neo-Soul with mainly English lyrics and the touch of African Spice in the form of native language and rhythm. Influenced by acts within R&B, Gospel and Classic Soul genres such as Sade, Stevie Wonder, and Africa Pop stars as, Onyeka Owenu and Christy Essien Igokwe, TolumiDE whose name translates as “Thank God” in Yorùbá, has evolved as a female vocalist with audience grabbing performances, rave reviews and multiple awards.
Born as Tolulope Olumide, in Toronto, Canada, to Nigerian parents studying at the University of Toronto. They moved to Sacramento, CA to complete Graduate studies before migrating back to Nigeria with Tolulope also known as Tolu.
Growing up in Nigeria, TolumiDE was born for music. She was a member of a number of choirs and cultural dance groups at her primary school, University of Lagos Staff School and secondary school, Atlantic Hall. Deciding to pursue Graphic Arts instead of the occupation of her father, an architect and engineer, she journeyed to Toronto and enrolled in York University’s Fine Art Program. “My faculty was filled with art, music, dance, film, television and multimedia specialties, all of which I had always wanted to explore,” shares the songstress. Immersed in the arts fully, she became part of an all-female Reggae band called “Women Ah Run Tings.” The group, producing a collage of music with Dancehall, Roots, R&B, Rock and Hip-Hop influences, caught the attention of many and ultimately became four-time Canadian Reggae Award Nominees. Not only did the group open up for artists like Burning Spear and Beenie Man, their videos debut on Much Music, Canada’s #1 Music Video Channel. In the group, Tolu was known as “Tini” and she gain an extensive opportunity to hone her songwriting and singing skills, as she soon became the ensemble’s lead soul vocalist.
Simultaneously while pursuing her music career, she obtained her Bachelors of Fine Arts Honors Degree in Visual Arts Communication Design from York University in Toronto, Canada. While in school her mother passed away after several cancer treatments in Baltimore, Maryland. TolumiDE continued her studies and upon graduation she sought employment in Baltimore to be with her immediate family and soon enough secured a position as a Graphic Artist for Baltimore’s FOX and Warner Bros affiliate Television Station and began to design motion, still graphics, on-air promotions, marketing and public affairs projects. Shortly after being settled in her design career, TolumiDE joined the nonprofit group, Nigerian Youth Association (NYA) currently known as Afropolitan Youth (AYA) and became part of the team to establish FestAfricaUSA, formerly known as Naija Fest – an African Festival that celebrates and showcases African culture. The artist never strayed too far from creative arts activities, she began to attend open mics and singing engagements within Maryland and Washington, D.C. to fuel her first love for music. She received an invite from Harrison Nwozo C.E.O of Tribe X Entertainment to feature on the Green October Project: Volume I. and with the introduction of Big Lu – a DC based producer, TolumiDE released ‘Because You Know’ as the feature track for the project. The single gained much recognition within the African Entertainment industry and earned her the award for Best Female R&B Artist at the 2006 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. In 2007, TolumiDE released the EP titled ‘Specialty’ with six tracks including the hit single ‘Because You Know’.
Today she’s been recognized for her contribution to the Nigerian Music Industry with numerous awards and media features. Excited about her brand and future she determined to continue t
By Fall 2009 – Spring 2010, TolumiDE was in the studio working on a debut album project with producers and musicians – Blaise Tangelo, Terry Poindexter, John Bashengezi, Ngouma Lokito, Erik Dennis, Mark Baker, Alan Gaffere, The Ogunfiditimi Brothers. The full length project, My Love, was released May 2010, as an Urban RnB/Soul project with elements of World (Afro-Pop), Gospel, Jazz and Reggae. Throughout the twelve tracks, all penned by the artist herself, TolumiDE bares her musical soul and takes the listener on an emotive and telling journey of her life and her love.
The accompanying video, for the title track ‘My Love’ directed by Tayo Abereoje from Black Royal Pictures received rotation on MTV Base, Channel O (South Africa), Trace TV (Europe), Gospel Music Channel (USA), MBOA TV, Nigezie and ONE Gospel TV and many online outlets. The video earned numerous award recognitions including Channel O Music Video Awards (South Africa) Most Gifted R&B nomination, Artscape SOUND-OFF Competition Winner, MOAMA – Africa Music Video Awards Nomination for Best Diaspora Song and WAMA (Washington Area Musicians) Nominee for Gospel/Inspirational Vocalist & Recording. The Album packaged as an enhanced CD with bonus screen Savers, Karaoke – Instrumentals also received a nomination at the Covenant Awards nomination from the Gospel Music Association Canada in the Urban/R&B/Soul Album of the year.
With national success of her releases; Specialty and My Love, for Valentine’s Day 2012, BET International 106 & Park exclusively premiered the ‘For Me’ music video, which was the lead single from forthcoming release. TolumiDE’s follow up single & music video release “More Than You’ll Ever Know” – featured award winning Ghanaian Hip Hop artist, D-Black – Da Ghana Bwouy. A sultry love song declaring true love ‘Me Do Wo’, in the midst of common challenges couples face every day.
TolumiDE’s Performance repertoire continues to soar locally and internationally as a solo act with her band of musicians at a number events hosted by Non-profits, Educational Institutes, Government Agencies and Embassies, Festivals, Conferences, Church, Jazz Lounges and Private events.
Dedicated to community enhancement and youth development, TolumiDE serves as a board member of the non-profit group Afropolitan Youth Association (AfropolitanYouth.org) and an Entertainment Director for FestAfrica (FestAfricaUSA.com) – The largest African Festival in Maryland tasked with creating a diverse multi-cultural experience and a place of new discovery, fun memories and great contribution to the quality of life. As a voting member of the Recording Academy (The Grammys), she participates with numerous Washington, D.C. chapter activities.
Currently in production for her second studio album, TolumiDE continues to share her message of Love & Culture while expanding on the fusion of Urban Contemporary Soul and African music genres for old and new audiences.