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

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