Davido’s vibrant voice comes through the speakers echoing, ‘All my le le le le’ as he fully enters Tchelete a song which features South African super-group, Mafikizolo. Fast forward about 20 months later, the young singer walks out of an office in New York with a multi-million dollar global distribution deal with Sony BMG, the same company that handled Michael Jackson’s music distribution.
The singer came into the limelight in 2011 with a statement worthy debut, Back When featuring veteran rapper Neato C. He has since made his way up the ladder to become one of Nigeria biggest new-age artists
But Davido’s isn’t the conventional grass to grace story where the soon to become mega-star hustles through studio sessions and low income only to rise to glory at the end. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The singer’s career was basically bank-rolled by an eager parent, willing to do anything for his son to become successful. This involved lobbying for airtime, studio sessions, shows and multi-level marketing so extensive, only someone with deep pockets could manage.
The privileged premise for Davido’s career has raised questions about his validity as a talented artist. Most voraciously raised in such arguments, is how Davido didn’t have to work for his fame since he had it handed to him on a platter of gold. Though some of these arguments make solid points, especially when mirrored against peers like Wizkid and Olamide who fought through blood and tears to succeed against odds, it is also plausible to drive some of the arguments against Davido as a cliched Nigerian disdain for privilege in a poverty-ridden country.
The salient point worthy of note in Davido’s career trajectory so far is his ability to have remained at the top for so long, while simultaneously reaching new career frontiers. Since he emerged in 2011, the singer has headlined concerts around the world, spun one full LP and numerous chart topping singles. Davido has also charted an international outlook for his career by parlaying with international acts and labels.
This strategic outlook has been symbolic in his career since his Neato C feature on his debut single Back When. Neato C was one of the few Nigerian artistes at the time with a large fan base in South Africa. This duet was consequential to establishing Davido as a pan-African brand from his early days.
Without a doubt, Davido’s father may have created the platform for him, but the singer himself has taken major career moves to ensure he retains this privilege. Besides, Davido is not the first person who had access to a career start-up fund. The Lagos Island is littered with numerous spoilt rich kids and yahoo-yahoo boys convinced of their own proficiency in music until they dived full throttle into the industry. Then there are the one-time A-list artists who fell off the map despite initially being at the top of their game.
In a simple coda, being born at the top doesn’t mean you won’t have to work to keep it and that is surely something worth commending. The Biblical prodigal son did ask for his share of his father’s wealth didn’t he? And we all know how that story turned out.