The Nigerian music industry boasts of superstars who are widely recognised across the globe, many of whom are with stories of humble beginnings before fortune smiled on them. Yet, a certain Nigerian music artist beats this stereotype with a different trajectory.
His name is David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido.
Coming from a home of affluence, he has ascended and stayed at the top of the music industry without the unilateral interference of his wealthy parents. Davido has not only made a name for himself, he has also redefined the music industry with his style and persona.
Before stepping into the limelight, Davido displayed a passion for building a career in music at a young age. At age 16, he was sent to Oakwood University to study Business Administration but chose to invest his time pursuing his lifelong musical interest. With his $2000 pocket money, Davido purchased musical equipment and began to make beats in his dorm room at Oakwood University.
Unable to juggle his music with the demands of his academics, he later dropped out of school after three semesters. He then left for Atlanta where he spent some time visiting clubs and observing how disc jockeys made their beats. Then he moved to London where he spent time working on his vocals.
A few years later, a much-evolved Davido decided to return to Nigeria to launch his musical career, but what he met on ground nearly put a halt on his dreams.
Unlike the prodigal son whose father received him warmly, Davido was welcomed by police officers who had been sent by his father to pick him up at the airport. According to his father, he had failed to bring home the Business Management degree he had gone abroad for, and for restitution, he would have to get a degree from a university in Nigeria.
In 2015, Davido earned his first degree in Music from Babcock University. When people refer to Davido as a rich kid who was handed everything he wanted on a platter, they fail to mention the setbacks he experienced early on. They fail to highlight his sterling work ethicone that sets him apart in the park and places him ahead of the curve the curve.
Davidos launch into the music scene was in 2012 when he released his first album titled Omo Baba Olowo, a tune that was inspired by peoples predisposition towards him as the child of a wealthy man. This song quickly became a rave, featuring equally talented artistes like Naeto C, Shina Rambo, 2 Face Idibia, Ice Prince, among others.
Omo Baba Olowo became a household anthem, and it won several awards like Best Pop Single and Song of the Year Award at the Headies in 2013.
That heralded Davidos rise to stardom.
In the years that followed, rather than relent and relish in his fame, Davido released subsequent singles like Skelewu, Gobe, and Aye in 2013, 2014, and 2015 respectively, receiving public recognition for their musical excellence and finesse. His hit song, Skelewu, was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Dance Video awards by African Muzik Magazine, while Aye won Music Video of the Year award from Ben TV.
With his heavy and synthetic sounds, he was nominated for several awards ranging from African Young Person of the Year by The Future Africa Awards to Best Male Artist by BEN TV Awards, Best African Act by MOBO Awards, and Best African Act by MTV Europe Music Awards.
After different nominations but no victory, Davido eventually won the Promising Artist of the Year award by Dynamix All Youth Awards. He also won the Best Male West Africa Artist of the Year and Artist of the Year by African Muzik Magazine Awards.
Without a doubt, Davido has done well for himself. As he celebrates ten years in the musical industry, no one needs a soothsayer to establish the greatness that is Davido. His results speak for themselves.
What makes Davido stand out is his ability to release songs that connect to his audience. When he released the hit song, FEM, which is a Yoruba term for shut up, he did not anticipate that it would be used as an anthem for the #EndSARS protest that rocked Nigeria in 2020. The song became a viral sensation, as the youths chorused its lyrics to demand their rights from a government that had oppressed rather than protect them.
From 2012 till date, Davido has released more than fifty musical compositions, all of which have either been nominated for or won an award.
His single, Fall, became the longest billboard charting Nigerian pop song. The songs video also became the first Nigerian music video to reach 100 million views on YouTube, making it the most-watched Nigerian video on YouTube.
It takes boldness to carve ones path and walk in it without paying heed to naysayers. Davido has not only carved his path, he has thrived in it and paved the way for other young African artists. He has shown the world that even with a background of great privilege, it is possible to chart a unique path for oneself and build your own name.