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2017 Essence Black Women in Music

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Tiwa Savage celebrates her 42nd birthday today.

It may be hard to believe, but the Nigerian star first rose to fame back in 2006 as a contestant on the UK edition of The X Factor. Though she didn’t make it past the round of 12, her talent helped her nab a Sony deal that saw her write for Babyface, Monica, and Mya.

From there, she went on to host Nigerian Idol and eventually got a deal with Roc Nation and tore down stages at Made In America and Wireless Festival. Of course, the Nigerian star always had stateside appeal, but since the world (finally) caught on to Afrobeats, she’s been deemed one of the genre’s pioneers.

She even recalls reconnecting with her African roots musically as her star began to grow.

“When I started my career I wasn’t embracing who I was fully yet because I was just trying to crack into the market,” she told Allure in 2021. “My first two singles were very American and it wasn’t very African. But then, as time went on, I just started seeing how powerful my platform was and how mothers would say, ‘My little girl really looks up to you.’”

Savage is a natural beauty, so why she always makes sure to look put together; she has no problem with keeping things simple.

“I have a platform and I’m digging more into my responsibility for younger people,” she says. “And I feel like there’s so much pressure now and it’s going to get even worse with social media and there needs to be a balance. There needs to be some people that are not too perfect. I know we want to look good. I don’t want to be out there looking jacked up, but I also want to look relatable.”

In honor of her 42nd birthday, check out the most gorgeous moments from her Instagram.

1. night lights

2. Black Barbie


4. on the wake up


6. Selfie


8. Stepping out

9. jet life

10. a chill night

11. classy

12. masked up