Davido: 10 Years A King
It was in May 2011, a decade ago, when a young man was hopping around on our TV screens singing with so much energy that he strengthened to bust out of the screen. His excitement, passion, and energy were a stark contrast to Naeto C’s classy and laid-back demeanor. The young man was Davido and the single was ‘Back When.’ His catchy voice, passion, striking look, and childlike excitement caught our attention and it left everyone wondering, who was this kid that scored a collaboration with one of Nigeria’s biggest rappers?
The answer to our question was to come five months later when he released a single titled “Dami Duro” the single would go on to become a monster hit, a street anthem, and an evergreen club banger. ‘Dami Duro’ would be Davido’s proper introduction to the Nigerian music scene, as well as, his induction into the superstar club.
Since 2011 when he stepped into the game, different fancy and respectful adjectives have been used to qualify the talent, influence, power, and person that is David Adeleke AKA Davido. A decade later, we believe that the world has run out of adjectives to qualify an artiste that has spent ten years at the top of the game.
Pray tell, in what words do we describe a man that can legitimately and justifiably lay claim to the title of Nigeria’s biggest ever artiste and Africa’s biggest music export? What words can capture a breathtaking career that has span a decade and filled with numerous hits and countless awards?
Davido was the teenager signed to a family label and surrounded by friends. He was regarded as the pampered silver spoon kid who never had to spend a day in the sun. Davido accepted this status. It was his reality and he embraced it at a young age when he described himself as “Omo Baba Olowo (OBO)” which means The Son of the Wealthy Man. However, this wasn’t enough to get people off his back.
Davido was still viewed as the kid who had millions to throw around and enough to buy his way into the industry to gain access to opportunities that artistes who were more talented, but were less fortunate couldn’t access. This was a prejudice Davido had to battle with. It was a shadow that followed him around for many years. One which might have overshadowed his music, but Davido’s talent and hitmaker status were undeniably phenomenal, and it was such that even his biggest critics and detractors couldn’t deny.
People might live in denial, but talent speaks for itself. Money can only take you so far, but talent and hard work will take you to the very top. When it comes to hit songs, Davido is Primus Inter Pares (First Among Equals). When it comes to hard work, he worked tirelessly. This was a combination that positioned him for greatness and upon which he built his stellar career. It is undebatable that OBO earned his place based on nothing, but the merit of talent and hard work.
In the ten year in view, Davido has made a steady and speedy ascension to the top of the game. His music broke every ceiling and benchmark set by his predecessors. Davido became a walking hit song machine. And he did it all with so much grace, panache, and ease that he became his standard and the standard by which the performance of other artistes is judged.
In 2012, when Davido won the Headies Next Rated Artiste Award which was an award dedicated to the next big talent in Nigerian music, some had doubts about his potentials and ability to live up to the hype. However, not for one moment since Davido walked off the stage did anyone had a cause to question if the Headies got it right. The award was to be the first of many notable awards, and ten years later, Davido is one of the most awarded artiste in Africa.
Davido hasn’t only attained superstar status, he also successfully transitioned into a multi-dimensional brand promoter whose image and endorsement are priceless. He also went on to become a successful label boss. Not many gave Davido a chance when he launched a record label. Not many expect a rich kid and a flamboyant artiste such as Davido to possess the business acumen and shrewdness needed in running a label. Davido, however, displayed that just like his father who’s a business magnate, he can hold his own in a board room and he knows his way around the Nigerian music market. Davido surrounded himself with intelligent people with whom he built a striving record label with a fancy collection of artistes on its books.
During his career, Davido has brought joy, pride, and recognition to his country and continent. Davido has gotten to the peak of the music industry and he did it all without losing himself nor changing who he is.
We say congratulations to Davido on this phenomenal milestone. Ten years after it all began, Davido can look back at an incredible career. Ten years later, he can say: I have seen it all. I have done it all. I’m still doing it.
In the final analysis, we maintain that words can’t do justice to the journey that has unfolded and is unfolding before our eyes. All we can do is sit back and take in the moments. Close our eyes and meditate on the greatness that we are privilege to behold.