TÖME: SOARING IN MUSIC
TÖME, born Michelle Oluwatomi Akanbi in Montreal, and of Canadian Nigerian heritage is an exceptional music artiste.
As she progressed in her craft, the need to create something different and more personal found TÖME combining the upbeat, commercial vibe of early influencers with the sound of Lauryn Hill, The Beatles, Wizkid Wande Coal, Sade and many more.
It was within this newly woven tapestry of inspiration where she found her personal and unique sound.
Throughout 2019, TÖME had the pleasure of joining award-winning mega Afro-beats artist, Wizkid, on his 2019 Canadian Tour and legendary Mr. Eazi for his 2019 Europe Tour performed at the Wembley SSE, London at the Burnaboy Concert as well as exciting performances at Afrofest 2019, Uppsala Reggae Festival 2019 in Sweden and SXSW 2019 in Texas. 2019 also saw TÖME tour parts of North America, Europe and Africa to a very positive reception.
Her new single “The Money” has been received with rave reviews.
She tells Allure Vanguard more about herself.
Tell us about the 9 to 5 job you worked?
It was a software company named “Tran score” who created a application where truck drivers and brokers could come together and find business. I was a bilingual customer service representative. My day consisted of assisting customers with technical difficulties, advise and information as well as up-selling our products and services.
At what point did you tell yourself that the 9 to 5 was not for you but music?
We started getting a much busier schedule with shows and interviews.
We decided its either I quit or they fire me cause we were traveling a lot.
So I quit my 9-5 , went full-time and it was the best decision I could have made for my self growth.
Were there family members that were scared you are making a mistake by quitting your job?
It was my father who actually brought up the idea! (Laughs). My mom was just worried about how I would keep a steady income.
However, she is happy I am following my dreams. My brothers and sisters were cool about it.
There’s a belief that pretty girls don’t work i.e. just smile at rich guys and get paid. What’s your response to this notion?
That’s a ridiculous belief that I have no other comment for.
Are you glad you gave up you 9 to 5 job or have you nursed any regrets?
Not one single bit of regret.
With your physique and looks have you ever considered modeling or acting?
I used to model. But when I was trying to apply to an agency a few years back, they told me I was “Too Big/curvy”. Honestly, wasn’t going to allow myself to get any skinnier than I was, so I left that road behind and do it occasionally now, as a freelance side job. I am actor, which I absolutely love. Although, If I may add, acting is about a lot more than your physique.
Quite frankly they don’t care much about that.
Has the current lockdown slowed you down some or have you had more studio time and creative ideas?
It did slow me down at first. Just because, I find my best ideas and creative thoughts, come to me when I’m out and about. I was used to being in the studio with my team and just having fun making music. For me its all about vibes when creating songs so being stuck at home has definitely taken a toll. However, I’m starting to find different things that get me back into the groove. I’ve also reconnected with my guitar and plan to broaden my skills a lot more as a musician.
Do you have other career interests besides the music?
I definitely want to be an entrepreneur in entertainment. Music and Acting are my strongest passions and to create my own brand/business out of it would only benefit myself and my family as well as generations to come.
Which music artists inspire you?
Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu, Fela Kuti.
Meeting and working with Mr Eazi must be a big deal, how did you meet?
It definitely was a big deal so early in my career. My manager is well connected with his people so after the first show in Toronto in May 2019, they invited us to come on the Europe tour with them and we definitely couldn’t turn that down!
What was touring with him like?
It was a lot of fun being able to perform in places I wouldn’t have imagined in my first year.
We weren’t with Eazi all the time, we saw them during shows and that was about it. The rest of the time, we were on our own but hey, I’m just grateful to do the whole tour with him.
The music industry is big and broad. Do you have fears about the cost of fame and fortune?
Definitely a little nervous about the amount of fame that could be thrown my way and maybe not being able to cope as well as I’d like to tell myself I will but I’m not scared. My manager is my father and he’s grooming me to be prepared for anything that comes my way. I’m confident I’ll be able to take the industry by storm and still be level-headed.
Have your parents ever seen you perform on the big stage with bright lights and all the works?
My dad has plenty of times. My mom caught the end of one at a venue called Rebel, for the Wizkid Tour in Toronto.
What is their opinion of your chosen direction?
My mom just has to see it to believe it.
and my dad believes in me and my music and he is all game to go as far as we can go in this industry.
What’s next for you?
We have our next single releasing April 24th 2020 & The album releases end of May. To Covid-19, as of right now there’s no saying what our future really holds but all I know is when this is all over I will make sure that we keep our momentum strong and consistently growing.