BET and MTV Africa Award winner, Davido, born David Adeleke, is an American-born Nigerian recording artist, performer and music producer. He burst onto the music scene in 2011 with the hit single ‘Back When featuring Naeto C’ and since then he hasn’t looked back. Following the success of his debut album titled ‘Omo Baba Olowo , Davido’s electic performance and high-tempo music has continued to thrill music fans across the world with more recent singles which have landed him on the worldwide map, and led to numerous international awards and recognition. Davido’s growing influence extends beyond music. His charity work with under-privileged kids has led to the Universal Peace Federation and Youth Federation for World Peace recently honouring him as the Young Ambassador for Peace. Recently he had a chat with Konye Chelsea Nwabogor and he talks about his recent EP album ‘Son of Mercy’ and the price of fame .
How long ago did you start working on your “Son of Mercy” EP?
I’ve been working on it for a while now, let’s say from about last year. Some of the songs were meant to be on my sophomore album, which was supposed to be released last year.
Was it quite a prolonged process? Or did it come together quite quickly?
The recording process wasn’t necessary prolonged or difficult. For me it was more about the time, effort and other inputs we infused to make sure the sound was right, seeing that I am no longer making music just for Africa alone.
I have been curious about the origin of the title actually? How did you come up with it?
God has blessed so much and has been so merciful to me within a short period of time in my career so I coined the title from my experience from God’s mercies.
When you go into the studio, where does the inspiration come from? Do you have firm ideas already, or is it an organic process once in there?
I get my inspiration from a lot of places, experiences and people around me. So basically I will say it’s an organic process. Regardless of this though, my music producers also have an influence on this process.
While recording, do you cut yourself off from other people’s music? Or do you think it’s important to stay submerged – keep an eye on what everyone else is doing?
No. I always focus on my own music, simply because I want mine to be different from what every other artiste is doing.
Also when it comes to the subject matter of a record, is that you speaking or do you assume a character?
It’s definitely me. All the time, just me. I focus on things that happen in my everyday life, and so there are no characters involved.
Tell me about the Sony record deal? That was a really huge feat right?
It was really huge I tell you . You know, it’s a good look for me as an artiste and for African music. It gives me the leverage to able to break into other music markets internationally. It came at a perfect time considering the fact that Afrobeat is gaining recognition worldwide. My Sony music team is very excited to be working with me on this project.
When you were growing up, was music an important part of your life?
Yes, it definitely was. Growing up, my mother threw lots of parties at home and so we had lots of good music to listen to. Music has been a very integral part of my life growing up. I started doing music from about age 13.
Who did you look up to in terms of artists at the time and why?
I looked up to the likes of Usher Raymond, Dbanj and Chris Brown. Their music is beyond amazing and they have impeccable talent that intrigues me to want to be like them as an artiste.
Now you’re becoming one of those who will make history musically, do you watch out for new talents who obviously see you as a mentor?
Yes I do watch out for talented newcomers. As a matter of fact, to support and nurture them musically, I signed a couple of artistes to my new record label DMW ( Davido Music Worldwide). We have Dremo, Mayorkun, Danagog, Ichaba and recently Dammy Krane. These guys all look up to me as their mentor. Dremo and Mayorkun have top charting songs and are currently making waves in the music industry. Danagog also has been on for a while and he has some good music out there. We are currently working on new materials for Ichaba and Dammy Krane. My team and I are putting in a lot of work to push their career musically.
There’s no current affair bigger than the President at the moment . How do you think he’s getting on now he’s into his second year as president?
I believe the country is going through a lot of reforms at the moment. I certainly don’t believe that two years is enough time to fix Nigeria considering all we have being through. All President Buhari needs is a lot of time, dedication and most importantly, support from the people and God willing he will succeed in making Nigeria great again.
As an artist, do you believe it’s right to use your voice to represent the people and be outspoken on certain subjects that you believe in?
Definitely, I do believe so. I love to speak to people through my music on certain subjects that I believe in. There are a lot of young people out there that look up to me, so I try my best to use my music to speak to them positively.
You have been involved in a few social media dramas? Do you feel exposed as an artist putting your emotions out there for people to dissect and experience? And how do you cope with the backlash?
Most fans forget sometimes that we as artistes are humans like them as well. The backlash doesn’t come off as a surprise, it comes with the fame. People will always criticise you, it happened in the bible as well. So it really doesn’t bother me, seeing that it is what I signed up for as a public figure.
Some say that music can connect to a person on different levels. Yes, it can sound good in the club but do you think it can have the emotional richness to see a person through hard times?
Music for me is the best therapy ever. It speaks to different people in different ways. Music can heal and it’s the best companion when going through hard times. It all depends on how you interpret the sound and how the lyrics speak to you .
Can you remember the first record you bought?
Yes I do . It was Michael Jackson’s Thriller album.
Is there any musical act you’d really like to collaborate with?
I would love to work with DJ Snake, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Simi and a couple of other artistes.
So what’s coming up next for Davido?
My sophomore album is dropping next year. I am also going to be on a tour for the greater part of 2017 and I am looking forward to launching my own line of branded merchandise.
Music for me is the best therapy ever. It speaks to different people in different ways. Music can heal and it’s the best companion when going through hard times. It all depends on how you interpret the sound and how the lyrics speak to you.
THISDAY Style Vol. 21, No. 7844 Sunday, October 16, 2016
THISDAY Style Vol. 21, No. 7844 Sunday, October 16, 2016