Davido is probably the most excited, hyperactive human being I’ve ever met! In the middle of a room full of people, Davido had a “Hi” and his trademark, dimpled smile for me. Not one for standing still, he joked, “Are you sure you don’t want to do the interview over Snapchat?”
Still playful, but Davido has come a long way. Who can possibly forget the legendary “Dami Duro” tune, which took the world by storm in 2011? At the time, the 17-year-old David Adedeji Adeleke also known as Davido started off his music career with a bang after releasing his debut album Omo Baba Olowo, meaning son of a rich man, in July 2012.
It’s no secret that Davido comes from a wealthy family. While his multimillion-dollar father, Dr Deji Adeleke is known for his lucrative investments with net worth of about $700 million, so he is not in need of a hand out anytime soon. Davido managed to make a name for himself. He has stacked up several notable awards including a total of 29 awards from 74 nominations. He is a recipient of a BET Award,a Channel O Music Video Awards, two MTV Africa Music Awards, two African, five Headies Awards and many others
Following his deal with Sony, the musician began to experiment with different styles of music. His recent song title How Long with the American artist Tinashe presents a house music vibe, quite different to his usual afro beat tunes, which his fans are accustomed to. Davido reveals that Sony tried to make him “change” his style of music to fit the American audience. He says, “They tried to change my music, which I wasn’t happy about.” He further explains, “Tinashe is a talented artiste but it wasn’t my style.” Although the American entertainment industry is the world’s most sought after, the artiste emphasises that his main focus remains making his own “style” of music. Furthermore, he highlights Africa as a place of value particularly with regards to music, because as an artist in Africa, you have a whole continent to explore. He explains “I had to look at what I had, which was a whole continent. That is what all of those guys in America want. When you’re over there all of them want to be here. We need to just know what we are worth.”
A few months down the line, his fans got exactly what they were asking for when his single titled If, written and produced by Tekno hit the roof. Just the other day we caught Omarion, a well-known American musician enjoying the viral tune on Snapchat! According to Davido, Duncan Mighty also motivated the Lagbaja inspired song and word on the streets is we should be getting collaboration soon. Furthermore, Davido fans are looking forward to his performance at the upcoming annual Gidi Culture Festival scheduled to take place on the 15th of April. Although the artist has been booked to perform at the festival previous years, he never made it on stage. This year we have our fingers crossed!
Besides the festival, the artist has a lot going on, he talks about releasing his new album this year. Following his deal with Sony, we should be expecting some interesting collaborations with the likes of Trey Songz, Coldplay, Young Thug and Rae Sremmurd. Plus when it comes to his personal life, Davido is about to be the father again for the second time; he’s excited to welcome another girl and still no news of the star getting hitched any time soon. Davido calls out his haters as he says, “All those people out there saying I have too many babies, do you know how many babies they have killed? At least I can confidently say I have never told any girl to have an abortion. I am not saying having a baby without marriage is good, but to me babies are blessings.”
Although Davido’s private live took centre stage with his baby mama drama all over social media, he’s turning the tides and changing the conversation back to his music. Guardian Life caught up with Davido as he talked about life after signing with Sony and his future career plans.
What do you think about the growth in the Nigerian music industry?
The industry is growing, I just feel like sometimes we don’t know how much Africa is worth. Last year I was in America because of all the deals, after just being there for a while, and I said f*** it I’m going home. I no fit sing Yankee music pass Yankee people. The same way Yankee people no fit sing Naija music pass Naija people. That was why I had to look at what I had, which was a whole continent. That is what all of those guys in America want, when you’re over there all of them want to be here. We need to just know what we are worth.
Since you’ve signed to Sony, has your music perspective changed?
They tried to change my music, which I wasn’t happy about. First of all, I didn’t even want to take the deal because I didn’t need it. I was doing tours all over Africa with 50,000 to 80,000, people so it was like why am I signing the deal? They tried to fix me up with a producer and I decided to come home, but I’m still signed to them, it’s going good. They have realised how much potential is here, because even when I am all over the world it is my African songs that even the oyibo people f*** with.
What are some major highlights and lows in your career?
I have so many, but any good thing that comes my way, sometimes you just don’t notice you achievements till after. Sometimes you just want to go up, I like to look at it as natural. It is God’s doing. I have had a lot of down moments. When I was fighting with my baby mama I was depressed.
How did you get to collaborate with Tekno in your new single?
I was actually the first person to do a song with Tekno. I met him in Abuja when I was recording a song for my first album in 2012. When he blew up he called me to come to the studio. We worked on about four songs, If was one of them and Erima. He is a very talent guy and blessed.
Your latest single If has been so successful, what was your inspiration behind the song?
Lagbaja inspired it, remember “no do gra gra for me”? But to be honest my main inspiration was Duncan Mighty.
Recently you have really been experimenting with your music, how did your collaboration with Tinashe come about?
The collaboration was as a result of the Sony deal. Don’t get me wrong, Tinashe is a talented artist but it wasn’t my style. My style is just the Nigerian style, like I said before, I can’t sing American music pass Chris Brown and Chris Brown cannot come and sing Nigerian music pass me.
What does 2017 have to offer in terms of international collaborations?
My new single with Young Thug and Rae Sremmurd is dropping next month, I am really excited about it. Other collabs with Trey Songz, Cold Play, there’s a lot but to be honest that’s not really my main focus. I just want to make my music and whatever happens, happens.
So this is going to be your first performance at Gidi Culture Festival taking place at Eko Atlantic next week? Or have you performed before?
I have been billed to perform there twice, but I haven’t actually made it to the festival because something always happens. The first time, I was sick and the second time I missed my flight but this time, we dey! Gidifest is coming up and it’s going to be crazy, this is one of the high points in my career so I’m really excited. Burna Boy is going to be there so it should be mad.
Are you planning on going any tours soon?
I am going on a nationwide tour; the first of its kind. It begins in Nigeria with about eight states, then I have a show in London at the Wembley Arena, we have so much! Australia, America and my album is done, it should be out August or September.
What’s the craziest rumour you’ve heard about yourself?
You know they always attack me, people always say s*** about me but I always hit them back with the music, which is the most important thing. People always say my dad is giving me money, when was the last time my dad gave me money? All the kids came together, we bought our dad a N409 million car for his birthday.
What is your ultimate goal as a musician?
My goal would be to keep doing what I am doing and get to that legend status. I want bring up other artists like Mayorkun, who dropped his single Sade. I am 24 now, I cannot be doing music when I’m 30, I’ll probably drop two albums after this but I want to be done by the time I’m 29 or 30. I want to have a big media house and go into other things like filming. I know eight presidents personally so you can imagine what I can do, like youth empowerment.