A blend of sultry serenading R&B vocals combined with a touch of Francophone flare, over top of Afro-Caribbean beats.
That is the sound of Canadian Afro-R&B artist TÖME.
The Toronto based artist has been on the music scene for a few years now, working tirelessly, releasing songs and opening for major acts including Afro-fusion artist Burna Boy.
Recently TÖME released her debut EP TÖMESROOM: Chapter 1. The project is seven tracks on which she exudes unapologetic confidence and positivity over seven tracks.
“[TÖMESROOM] is an evolving project because it kind of represents different phases I went through throughout two years,” TÖME says in an interview with Urbanology Magazine. “I kind of just wrote it all out and that’s why I call it chapter one because it’s just one side of me, not all of me and what I represent. I just wanted to be open; which is why I call it TÖMESROOM because you’re invited into my privacy here and welcomed into a side of me that really wouldn’t be told.”
I felt like now people are ready to hear my music because it was a blend of what everyone already knows and what people are now starting to open up to and embrace.
As an emerging artist on the scene, TÖME, born Michelle Oluwatomi Akanbi, invested over a year fine tuning her sound before releasing her latest project. Staying true to her Nigerian and French-Canadian roots TÖME takes listeners on a cultural journey channeling her wide range of musical influences, which include artists like Beyoncé, Wizkid, Rihanna and Burna Boy, and delivering an infectious blend of Afrobeat, reggae, hip-hop and R&B.
With her lead single “Kickback” garnering over 39,000 views on YouTube since its release and comments like ‘love the vibe’ and ‘been on repeat’, it’s clear that TÖME’s music is resonating with listeners while simultaneously contributing to the growing sub-genre of Afro-inspired R&B.
TÖME notes that she was apprehensive about attempting to explore her Afrocentrism in her music because it wasn’t formally accepted in western mainstream society just a few years ago.
“You weren’t able to hear Afrobeat play on the radio literally two years ago, that would have never happened,” TÖME says. “Now we are hearing Davido and Wizkid playing in clubs and in radio stations and there’s so many different places because we’re finally starting to accept all cultures and all societies as one and really embrace it.”
TÖME says her goal is to formally establish Afro-R&B as a subgenre.
She adds: “It’s great because I felt like now people are ready to hear my music because it was a blend of what everyone already knows and what people are now starting to open up to and embrace.”
Now that the EP is out on all streaming portals, TÖME says her next point of focus is creating visuals for each of the tracks.
“I think that visuals make the message of the song be a lot more present and a lot more meaningful,” she says. “I have taken acting [classes] for two years and I am an actor so I like to be theatrical and I would like to put on a performance.”
With no plans of slowing down or peaking, TÖME is using her cultural heritage and infusing it to create a multidimensional sound worth paying attention to.