"I do not have a long discography, nor do I boast an impressive stage experience, but I bring my life experience to the stage and to my music".
There comes a time when every artist must shed their fear, and step into the spotlight. Singer/songwriter Tutu Westerhoff is taking the leap, and finding herself in the process.
Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa to diplomat parents, Tutu grew up in the United States and England before finding her roots in Germany. By the age of 17, she began singing in studios, and allowing all of those vibrant cultures to influence her sound. 3 years later she landed her first solo record deal, but in the process, lost the essence of what made her love music in the first place.
“Something was not right,” Tutu explains of her initial foray into the professional recording business. “I realized that much of what was being produced had nothing to do with me. So I quit the industry.”
While her love for music persisted, it took her nearly 2 long decades, 3 beautiful children, and 1 leap of faith to find the courage to pick up a microphone again. And this time, she’s doing it on her own terms.
“Back when I was 20, I did not understand how the world rotates,” Tutu explains, of the whirlwind that was her early days in the industry. “I always tried moving along with it, thinking it was the right thing to do, but I only found myself getting dizzy – until I realized that I am the axis of my world. I get to decide how fast or slow, how big or small, or how high or low my world is. No matter where it finds itself.”
Tutu’s new music is acoustic, and authentic, like herself. Her melodies are infused with modern African folk and distinct, minimalistic sounds that she mixes with English and smatterings of Sierra Leone’s colorful patois.
She is a storyteller who ingests the emotions, experiences, and impulses of people around her, and shares them through songs. Through the experiences of others, she deftly takes on the issues of womanhood, love, friendship, society, and everyday life.
There is no record deal. And for Tutu, it has been the most freeing aspect of her return and new-found love for musicianship.
“Every single detail has my fingerprint somewhere in it,” she says. “Starting from the seed of the idea, to the final product: the writing, the live performances, the packaging, and planning of the forthcoming album. I finally get to decide, what, when, where, and how my music should be. My tree is going to grow!”
Tutu does not have a long discography, nor does she boast an impressive stage experience, but she brings her life experience to the stage and to her music. She is passionate about being a mother and until she started writing music again 3 years ago, lent herself to a children’s daycare.
“I am simply enjoying myself. That’s the greatest happiness, beauty, love and life-secret ever. If you treat yourself right and enjoy yourself, it’s all going to be alright.”