Photo: Matteo Vincenzo (right)
Herbal Tea & White Sofas: Akon And Teemanay's Favorite Tour Meal Is So Iconic That It Has Its Own Festival
Over plates of Nigerian jollof rice, global superstar Akon and Afrobeats mainstay Teemanay explain the finer points of this staple West African dish — which is also their staple meal on the road.
When it comes to music, R&B giant Akon and rising Afrobeats star Teemanay (aka Young Icon) have a lot in common. Not only are they both from West Africa — Akon's family roots are in Senegal, while Teemanay hails from Nigeria – but the two teamed up on the four-song EP Konvict Kulture Presents Teemanay, which came out on Akon's label earlier this year.
The two acts have similar tastes when it comes to food, too — though they might disagree on the finer points. Jollof rice, a staple throughout West Africa, is a dish that both artists grew up loving, even though they hail from different countries within the region.
"For a meal, if they have jollof rice for me, I will give them an extra 15 minutes of free performance," Teemanay jokes in the newest episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas.
"So the rice is actually smoked, almost like when you cook barbeque," Akon details, explaining what it is that makes this particular dish so special. "When you look at jollof, it ranks in the top five of those things you just can't forget. It's a part of the meal, every meal."
The dish is so essential that Akon hosts an annual Jollof, Music & Food Festival in Atlanta, which features a lineup of music and food trucks. But the pinnacle of the event is the jollof cook-off, in which recipes from different countries compete to see which region creates the best version of the dish.
"This year, Senegal won. But we kinda expect that, because Senegal is really the creators of jollof rice," Akon proudly explains, as Teemanay shakes his head in disagreement.
"I'm in a very aggressive, fighting mood right now," Teemanay shoots back with a smirk. "Nigerian jollof is the best jollof in the world."
Whichever regional version they prefer, Akon and Teemanay can agree on one thing: There's no better post-show meal or tour bus snack out there than jollof rice.
Press play on the video above to watch the two stars duke it out over their favorite jollof, and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Herbal Tea & White Sofas.
Photo: Andrea Asibor
Herbal Tea & White Sofas: That Mexican OT Brings Mexico To Every Live Show With This Beverage
Some might prefer water and tea while on tour, but Texas-based rapper That Mexican OT gets all of his energy from a cold bottle of Mexican coke.
If there is one thing That Mexican OT will do while on tour, it's stay hydrated. But not necessarily with water — he prefers an ice-cold glass of Mexican Coca-Cola.
"This bad mama jama right here is a go-to for sure," he says in the latest episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas. "A big part of me loving this is the Mexican heritage, but it also goes down perfectly."
Compared to American Coke, he says the Mexican version has a better taste because it uses natural cane sugar and no high fructose corn syrup.
When That Mexican OT wants something healthier, he opts for cranberry juice. "It's good for your kidneys," he shares. "Those antioxidants will keep you clean and running good, baby."
In his dream world, he would love to have a giant water slide in every green room. "I'm talking about a 20 to 40-footer," he quips with a smile. "Something simple. Easy to hit those dips."
You can catch That Mexican OT live on the Lonestar Luchador Tour through the United States, which ends on Oct. 4 in Oakland, California.
Press play on the video above to learn more about That Mexican OT's two favorite drinks to have while on tour, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Herbal Tea & White Sofas.
Photo: Thanisorn Thitikhunrat, @smoothaum
Herbal Tea & White Sofas: DABOYWAY Reveals His Favorite Sweet Treats For Tour
As someone with a major sweet tooth, Thai-American rapper DABOYWAY can't go on tour without a few guilty pleasure items: red wine, Sour Patch Kids, and even a sugary cinnamon-scented candle.
While many artists might ask for healthy foods and tea on their tour rider, Thai-American musician DABOYWAY unapologetically requests three specific confections: red wine, Sour Patch Kids, and a cinnamon-scented candle.
"The red wine has to be from Chile," he says in the latest episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas. He doesn't care which brand it is, but as long as it's Chilean, he's happy, because it's never done him wrong.
The rapper loves Sour Patch Kids because they remind him of his childhood. "I've eaten so many Sour Patch Kids at one time that the whole side of my mouth hurts from eating all that sourness ... If anyone wants to win my heart, bring me a bag of Sour Patch Kids," he reveals.
DABOYWAY says cinnamon is hard to find in Thailand, but that makes it all the more special when he can get his hands on it. He says it reminds him of home and his favorite time of the year: football season. And he always appreciates that it makes "the room smell nice before I get on stage."
Press play to learn more about DABOYWAY's favorite items to have on tour, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Herbal Tea & White Sofas.
Photo: Andrew Rose
Herbal Tea & White Sofas: Dermot Kennedy Can't Go On Stage Without This Sentimental Cup
After several years of touring, Irish singer Dermot Kennedy has had so much honey and lemon juice he now has taste aversion — but it instantly tastes better if he drinks out of his trust affirmation mug.
If there's one thing Irish singer Dermot Kennedy will always make sure of on tour, it's that he'll have a selection of "extremely boring" healthy foods on his rider.
"Veggies, green juice, all that stuff," Kennedy says in this episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas. "For my voice, I've got manuka honey, ginger, and lemon, and that's something I'm drinking all day." In fact, he's had honey and lemon so much that he says has PTSD from the flavors.
Thankfully, he's got one guilty pleasure that gives him a break from his clean eating — Irish whiskey, which he calls "non-negotiable" and "the most exciting thing on his rider."
When Kennedy actually hits the stage, one of the most important items is a mug of affirmations he wrote. "I am the best. This is easy. I sing like a bird. My breath is limitless," the cup reads. "if you're having a difficult show, it's a reassuring thing to see on the side of the mug."
No matter the size or location of the performance, Kennedy sees each one with equal importance. "There could be a 17-year-old version of yourself who's going to be inspired to [make music] themselves ... I like to believe those are the type of people who have been attracted to my music, too, so there's just this very real relationship there," he explains.
Kennedy has been on tour all year in support of his sophomore album, Sonder; in June, he issued an extended 2023 edition that features his latest single, "Don't Forget Me." He’ll perform at a few festivals in Europe to close out the summer before heading to Canada in October, and will wrap his world tour in New Zealand and Australia in November and December.
Press play on the video above to learn more about Dermot Kennedy's relationship with live music, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Herbal Tea & White Sofas.
Herbal Tea & White Sofas: Catie Turner Reveals The One Fruit She Must Include On Her Tour Rider
When it comes to tour necessities, indie pop singer Catie Turner doesn't need much other than water and throat coat tea. But the one thing she must have is her favorite fruit — which is also her good luck charm.
When it comes to building her tour rider, indie pop singer Catie Turner says she hasn't mastered the art of asking for "diva things." For now, she keeps it simple with throat coat tea, water, and, most importantly, a lot of blueberries.
"I don't know why," she reveals in this episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas. "I just love fruit so much. I think I could only eat fruit for the rest of my life and be content."
At first, she requested blueberries out of habit. But after a few shows, she realized, "This is my new favorite berry." Now, she enjoys them so much that she'll accept them in their standard form, and she even considers them to be her good luck charm.
Even when she thinks of "diva things," Turner's mind still goes to fruit; she beams over the idea of an Edible Arrangement in every green room. "Fruit shaped like a flower tastes better! I would love to see that every day. It makes me happy. It's whimsical," she giggles.
Press play on the video above to learn more about Catie Turner's fruit love, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Herbal Tea & White Sofas.