Tonye Aganaba. Photo by Kriss Munsya.
Tonye Aganaba. Photo by Kriss Munsya.

Meet Vancouver-based performer and singer-songwriter, Tonye Aganaba.

20 Questions with Tonye Aganaba

1. Your first job.

Beach shack attendant in Weymouth Beach, UK. Aged 13? I pulled soft serve ice cream, and made cotton candy.

2. The job you always wanted as a child?

I always wanted to be a journalist or a writer. I remember deciding that at around age ten, and was probably weeks deep in writing what I thought was going to be my first best-selling novel, but slowly realized that I was just ripping off the plot my favourite book at the time, “The Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Heartbreak.

3. Your pet peeve.

Having to do unpaid emotional labour for people who don’t “get it” and can’t be bothered to do research about why Black and Indigenous lives and the issues that affect them, matter. It happens, it’s annoying, and I don’t like it one bit.

4. Your hero.

My parents. I put them through hell as a child, a youth, and as an adult. Somehow, they still manage to adore the living daylights outta the kid.

5. Your biggest indulgence.

A bulletproof coffee made by my husband is my daily indulgence. Coconut oil, dark chocolate, almond coconut milk … perfect.

6. One thing no one knows about you.

I find it impossible to stick to one file naming convention.

7. Three things you would want with you on a deserted island.

My family, my friends, instruments. That’s a cop out answer, but I’d transport all those babies over.

8. The one word your best friend would use to describe you.

Avoidant.

9. If they made a movie about your life, who would it star?

Tracy Chapman.

10. Hero or villain?

Non-binary.

11. Your life’s motto/mantra.

Those who love are strong, those who are strong are loved.

12. What’s getting the most play on your Spotify playlist right now?

Shafiq Husayn’s “The Loop”. This is one of my favourites of the year.

13. The last book you read.

“Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit” by Jeanette Winterson.

14. If you were a superhero, what superhero would you be, and why?

Promethea. Almighty, all powerful, and utterly magical. Promethea is a goddess at heart – bringer of knowledge, wisdom and illuminator of minds. That is the kind of hero that I like, the kind dedicated to eradicating spiritual darkness, not rooting out bad guys.

15. What will it say on your grave marker?

I will not be buried in a grave, that is a waste of valuable space. I hope that I’ll be reused or recycled or something.

16. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

I would love to have dinner with any member of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. That show was so ahead of its time in terms of the themes they were tackling. I want to know what it was like for them to be so ahead of the curve, and to see these themes emerging in society.

17. Your idea of happiness.

Is to live in a state of nurturance, to be filled up by the work that I do, and nourished by the gifts I receive from community.

18. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your twenty-year-old self?

Chill.

19. The one thing in your life that makes you most proud.

Lily-Ann Karina Hayes. She is the best thing about me.

20. To be or not to be?

To be, of course.

Meet Tonye Aganaba

Tonye Aganaba is a powerhouse performer and accomplished singer-songwriter born in London, England, raised in Northern Canada, and now based in Vancouver.

In 2011 she gained notoriety within the electronic world following her #1 Dubstep track “So Good” with Vancouver’s “Hirshee”, released on Beatport through Big Fish Recordings.

Fast forward to today, and Tonye has released over thirty singles with various producers from Canada and beyond, opened for such heavy weight acts as Ziggy Marley, Ky-Mani Marley and Yellowman. Tonye’s style, described as ​Soul/Neo-Folk/R&B​ and so unique recalls ​Lauryn Hill, Ani DiFranco ​and​ Chaka Khan​.

Tonye is a ​Much More Music​​ Video Award ​recipient, a steadfast fixture in the arts community and is soon to release a new album “Something Comfortable”.