Tiwa Savage’s “Water and Garri”: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Creative Revival

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Nigerian music icon Tiwa Savage is set to make her acting debut in the upcoming film Water and Garri, premiering on Prime Video on May 10th. In an exclusive interview with OkayAfrica, Savage opens up about her role, the film’s soundtrack, and the profound personal connections that drew her to this project.

Water and Garri Synopsis

In Water and Garri, Savage plays the lead role of Aisha, a young Nigerian woman who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and creative revival. Aisha, much like Savage herself, travels to America to pursue her dreams, only to return home after a decade abroad.

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“In a way, Aisha’s story is kind of similar to mine,” Savage shares. “She travels to America to pursue her dreams. My family moved to London when I was young, and that’s when I fell in love with music. After ten years, Aisha moves back home. After a long time, I too moved back home and discovered my love for Afrobeats.”

For Savage, the opportunity to portray Aisha was more than just a role—it was a chance to reconnect with her passion for acting, a passion she had long set aside for music. “Acting is what I fell in love with even before music,” she reveals. “I was in drama class in high school and I used to kill all my improv. Then I had a guy I had a crush on and he would hang around all the musicians. So I was like, ‘Acting sucks,’ and I shifted my focus to music.”

Despite her initial hesitation, Savage’s journey with Water and Garri has been transformative. Initially conceived as a visual project akin to Black is King, the film evolved into a full-fledged feature thanks to Savage’s enthusiasm for the script. “I saw the script and I was like, ‘Wow, we should do a short film.’ From there, we started filming and it became a feature film.”

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Central to the film’s evolution was its soundtrack, a project that Savage took on with zeal. “I did a whole new soundtrack — still called Water and Garri. Now I have Water and Garri the EP, and Water and Garri the soundtrack, which is dedicated specifically to the film,” she explains. The soundtrack features a diverse range of sounds and collaborations, including tracks with Asa, The Cavemen, and Richard Bona, showcasing Savage’s versatility as an artist.

Despite her nerves and the weight of carrying the lead role, Savage found immense support from the cast and crew. “I was quite nervous being the ‘non-actor’ and having the lead role. But everyone made me feel so comfortable,” she reflects. “Even when we were not on set, they would call me ‘Aisha’ to help keep me in character. Everybody was really supportive.”

Directed by Meji Alabi, Savage’s longtime collaborator in music videos, Water and Garri promises to be a poignant and visually stunning film that explores themes of identity, ambition, and the pursuit of one’s dreams. As Savage prepares to introduce audiences to Aisha and her journey, she is grateful for the opportunity to embark on this new chapter in her career. “It’s like a full circle moment,” she muses.

Water and Garri is not just a film for Savage; it’s a testament to her resilience, creativity, and unwavering commitment to her craft. As she steps into the world of acting, Savage is poised to captivate audiences once again, proving that her talents know no bounds.

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