The debut album from Teniola Apata—better known as Teni—showcases the Nigerian singer’s talents for songwriting and masterful ease with subgenres from Afropop to emo-trap and house to highlife. Performed in Yoruba, English, and pidgin, WONDALAND is a manifestation of Teni’s strength and confidence as entertainer-in-chief; it features just one guest artist, Davido (“FOR YOU”). “I wanted to do an album that anyone from my mother’s hometown in Ondo, or my dad’s in Ekiti—even to Osaka, Japan—can pick up and be entertained, inspired, and educated,” she tells Apple Music. “You can’t record your debut album again, so I ensured WONDALAND will be that album I would listen to in 20 years, and it would still sound just as fresh.” She is routinely impressive on diverse subject matter—ranging from bawdy sex to the travails of stardom, expressing affection or enjoying her “triple-X life”—yet also deeply personal when she reminisces and pays homage to her late father, retired general Simeon Apata, who passed away when the singer was just three years old. (Representing her roots forms a big part of her work on this album—roots that also bore other musically inclined fruit in the form of her sister, fellow singer-songwriter Niniola.) Completed during 2020’s COVID-19 lockdown, the album illustrates Teni’s bold, playful nature in both its high-octane artwork and its title, which is inspired by her love for amusement parks. “It’s a labor of love meant to take you through a rollercoaster of emotions,” she explains. “I want to see old and young people shed a tear, laugh, dance, and see themselves in the songs.” Here, she reveals the inspiration behind key tracks from the album. MAJA “I grew up in a big extended family and they have supported me all the way. It made sense for my aunt, who performs the Oriki [an oration of praise associated with one’s lineage] on “MAJA,” to usher me into the next phase of my career. Oriki is really important when it comes to Yoruba culture. It comes with a sense of pride that you are from an illustrious lineage, and keeps you motivated to continue from where your predecessors have stopped.” FOR YOU (feat. Davido) “‘FOR YOU’ is a record I made to celebrate the essence of love, sacrifice, and the reaffirmation to always be there for that special someone who means the world to you. I really like Davido’s love songs, especially “Aye.” He is a father of three, and he lives the essence of what this song means. He gave me an opportunity with writing ‘Like Dat’ [in 2017] and he has always been a big supporter.” MOSLADO “This is me bigging myself up like a pop star. ‘Eru baba eru, egbe baba egbe, Oja baba oja, Teni power ranger.’ This is me saying how much of a boss I am after dropping this album; how much I have worked hard to earn that superstar status.” HUSTLE “When you find success as a musician, people [become] entitled and feel they have access to your whole life. I got back home from a show one day and someone was really furious at me online for not saying hello at the show. I probably wasn’t in the mood for a chit-chat, but in the end you can’t satisfy everyone. Protecting my peace and happiness is my number one priority. I guard everything and anything or anyone that causes me to lose sleep; I cut them off.” TOXIC “This song is about living a fast-paced life, where you don’t have time for commitment because you don’t have time to dedicate to things like love. I invited a couple of producers, and we were in a house together, locked down for a few months; P.Priime was one of them. For someone to do what he does at 18 years old is outstanding. He is highly versatile, and when he played that beat, I knew I wanted it.” 100 METERS “Fun fact: This song was a seven-minute freestyle before it was cut down. I really just wanted to do something pure and unadulterated, like a musician just singing to entertain people in their local community.” ON “I think we Nigerians like to explore sounds and then do a fusion of other genres. This song is a mix of amapiano, dancehall, South African house, and Afrobeats. I like how smooth and energetic it is at the same time.” OKOCHA “As well as being one of Nigeria’s greatest footballers, Austin Okocha was a brilliant dribbler. I hope he listens to it, and that he enjoys it.” DADS SONG “I always wish my dad were here to see and celebrate with me. I took time out to watch his funeral videos just to reminisce, because I was three when he passed away and I wanted the emotions to come alive in the song. He was everyone’s warrior, a man that fought for his country and for people he cared about. He had a very big heart.” XXXL “I’m plus-size and I love it. I just love me. Self-love and self-worth is important to me.” BLACK (BONUS TRACK) “This song is dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against police brutality in Nigeria.”

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