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BN Saturday Celebrity Interview: “Financial Status Has Changed” | A Music ‘Idol’, Father and Husband, Timi Dakolo is Ready for His Second Album & Has Got a Lot to Share



Timi Dakolo - September 2013 - BellaNaija (4)

Timi Dakolo’s star cemented a place in the industry with his uniquely husky voice and immense passion for “Boyz II Men”-era R&B. Shooting into the limelight over five years ago when he won the first ever Idols West Africa reality TV show, Timi Dakolo won Nigerians’ hearts over the likes of Omawumi, Temitayo and J’odie.

But, even though his promised record deal fell through, the “Heaven Please” singer kept us entertained with lovely renditions of memorable love songs as well as inspirational storytelling. With songs like “Great Nation”, “Love Song” and “There’s A Cry”, Timi Dakolo has created a niche for himself where he sits comfortably at the top.

The Port Harcourt-raised star found love in church and soon married the mother of his two kids, Busola, after his son was born. Although his career has had its fair share of ups and downs, the talented song-smith and vocalist never ceases to remain positive and push her passion a step further.

Full of laughs and one of the most humble talents you will ever meet, Timi Dakolo sat down with Onos O in the lobby of Protea Hotel, Ikeja, G.R.A for a brief heart to heart. Chatting like old buddies, he spoke about his married life, his journey in the industry so far; what he’s got set to woo us with next as well as a few of the problems he has with Nigerian pastors.

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from you on the scene but recently, you dropped some dapper new promo shots that got people talking. Some even used the term ‘sexy’ to describe them. Is ‘sexy’ the new Timi Dakolo image?
Really? Me, sexy? (Laughs) Well, yeah, I want to do something kind of different. I’ve even started going to the gym, can you imagine? It’s my PR, Bolaji that is responsible.

Wow! So since you’ve started hitting the gym, how is it working out for you?
I want one pack; I don’t want six packs. Those people are mean mehn (laughs). He’s not a popular trainer. I just go to the gym close to my house. I always lie; if they ask me to do twenty push-ups now, they will always say add three, add two (laughs).

Since Idols West Africa put you into the limelight, it has been quite a journey for you. What is the difference between the Timi Dakolo then and the one I have the pleasure to meet today?
Everything has changed, you know – life. The way I look at life has changed. I’m married now, which is a blessing; one of my life’s greatest achievements. Financial status has changed; fame, but I’m the same ole guy that can still play videogames, my addiction. That’s just basically it. Back then, music was just something I used to pass the time, just learn it for the love, sing to girls and all that. But now, it’s a business – real business.

Timi Dakolo - September 2013 - BellaNaija (2)

How do you handle the fame and celebrity?
I’m not a celebrity. I prefer to be called just Timi. My fans just walk up to me and say, “Hey Timi, What’s up now? Wetin dey happen?” I prefer that.

Having both been finalists at the first ever Idols West Africa in 2007, a lot of comparisons have been made between you and 1st runner-up Omawumi, success-wise; most especially this 2013 with her multiple endorsement deals and successful sophomore album. Have the critics put any pressure on you?
There is quote that says, “…them who compare themselves to themselves are not wise”. Different strokes for different folks. I’ve never really listened to those comments. She’s doing her thing; I’m doing my thing. She’s making progress; I’m making progress in my own little way. I’m doing shows, trust me. They might not be ones they put on TV.

‘Endorsement deal fever’ has hit the Nigerian music industry recently; are you in talks with any companies for yours?
I don’t have any endorsement deals yet but by the grace of God, I will. You’ll know when you see it; just remember I told you so (laughs).

Since the Sony BMG record deal promised to the winner and runners-up of that season of Idols West Africa fell through, were you snatched up by a record label?
I have started my own company. I am building my own studio. I had named the record label, Lone Records before but I think I’ll name it ‘After Dark’.

Timi Dakolo - September 2013 - BellaNaija (3)

What does the ‘After Dark’ signify?
After darkness is light. Instead of just saying ‘light’ or ‘break of dawn’, it’s just another way of saying those things.

Back in 2008, you were involved in militant attack in Port Harcourt and got shot. Now that you have a rapper’s ‘street credibility’, how come you haven’t dedicated a song to telling us your ordeal?
I actually have. If you listen to my song, “There’s a cry” {click here}, There’s a little line that goes, “…it’s greed for men, giving guns to people and promising them hope that will never come…” It’s not like they came to shoot me; it’s just that I think they were angry about something and I was in the midst of something that was happening in that area. I was going back into church so it’s not like they were trying to shoot me or something. Who wants to kill me na? (laughs)

We heard you were involved in another near-death experience somewhere in Nembe, Bayelsa State recently, when a story broke out that you and your wife, Busola survived a helicopter crash –
-Don’t mind these people oh. I never told them that I entered any helicopter. I was there asking if I could join any available one that was going, because I was at the helipad and I remember all of us ‘gisting’ with the pilot that crashed. We even took a picture of him when he was going but ended up taking a boat. This was somewhere in Nembe, Bayelsa state when we attended a burial.

Busola Dakolo - September 2013 - BellaNaija

How is married life treating you?
Oh mehn! It’s sweet oh! You have to get married soon (laughs). It’s a sweet experience. Marriage is an awesome thing. It comes with extra blessing. To say the truth, my life has not remained the same since I got married. Now, you don’t think for one, you think for everybody. You can’t drive out and do anything you want to. It comes with a lot of responsibility and you thinking for the future. Like now, my son talks and he asks every type of question. He can ask in the middle of an important call, so it’s just fun. I’m learning; I can’t say I know it all but I think it’s all blessings It’s been a wonderful experience so far.

Your son, Alex just turned a year older, he’s becoming a man. Was there ever any pressure to get married to Busola because of him?
No, there wasn’t any pressure. I married because I love. Love is the reason why people should get married and every other thing. It isn’t the only reason why people should get married because it isn’t the only thing that sustains a marriage. You know they say love is not enough.

How did you meet your wife, Busola?
I saw her in church one day and walked up to her. There was a program in church, a Valentine’s Day ball or something like that and I asked her to be my date. She did not end up being my date oh! She gave me a number and the phone was not going. Then, I saw her again like three weeks later and said, “I will shout in this church today that you will marry me” and then, she gave me her real number. So, that’s how we started talking.

Now you two are married, how do you make it work? Are you both income earners?
She has her own stuff she’s doing (laughs). My wife has a lot of things. She has her own hair brand and many other things.

Timi & Busola Dakolo

Timi & Busola Dakolo

Stars find it hard to stay out of the news but you haven’t managed to keep quite a low profile. How and why do you do it?
It’s because I don’t like trouble. Na night bus I use come Lagos; I no want wahala. I just stay away from it all. There’s no point getting into trouble that won’t lead anywhere. If you have created a niche for yourself, just stay there. Time is too short to be wearing boxers (laughs).

How about the music? When are we getting some new Timi Dakolo jams?
Yes, I’m working on something – “Songs I Love To Sing”. It’s a compilation of covers. It can be covers of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” or some old classics by Majek Fashek, like the “Send Down The Rain” I already did. I can say I want to do “Redemption Song” or Westlife. I’m just calling my favourite songs that I love to sing at any time, like “Queen of My Heart”, one of my favourite songs ever. It will also feature some of my new songs which I really love to sing that I haven’t put in an album yet.

 Timi Dakolo - September 2013 - BellaNaija (1)

How has the industry been for you, especially with your unique genre of music as opposed to most acts?
It’s been a wonderful experience. There are ups and downs, standstills and turnarounds but what is it? – we’re men. I always look at the positive side of life. People always say “Hey Timi, don’t do this sort of music in Naija” but I tell people to trust me. Don’t you listen to music you have no idea what they are saying? Like you’re just listening to a song and enjoying it and you have no actual idea what these people are saying, even when it’s not an English song. Don’t you just love that “Khona” song even though you don’t know what they are saying? But, we enjoy the music. That’s how music is; it’s universal. Everybody must not do the same thing. I stay on my lane in my part of town; I’m there and I’m enjoying it. People that are telling me to do popular music are the same people that would say, “What’s wrong with you? Why have you left?” The people that are shouting “Hosanna” today are the same ones that will say, “crucify him” tomorrow.

In light of your analogy, you made a statement via social media website Twitter lambasting Nigerian pastors. What inspired those tweets?
Trust me, if you see what happened that day, you would understand. It’s not like pastors shouldn’t have anybody protecting them from people trying to mob them but it didn’t have to be that much. I saw this at that connection between the Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal 2 car park and the main building. I had just parked my car and was trying to roll my bag and move to the departure lounge. I’m scared of heights so I was trying to roll past the bridge very quickly when someone just screeched a car in the parking lot. A lot of people came out and started pushing through all the rest of us. Then, they started yelling, “move fast a bit, sir, our flight will soon take off. You are delaying him”. Oh-gah! Even me, if I saw him on the line, I probably wouldn’t know him or anything. That’s why I tweeted – “Oga na wetin? Who wan kill pastor?” It’s not like I’m saying pastors should not have someone to cordon off people that know him but twelve, thirteen members of security? Ah Ahn! What is it? It’s just my opinion; it’s not like I’m hating on anybody in particular.

Timi Dakolo - September 2013 - BellaNaija (5)

Speaking about pastors, what’s your opinion on the trending topic of Ese Walters and COZA‘s Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo?
The thing is that there’s always the other side of the truth. If it’s true, I can’t say the girl is right and I can’t say she’s wrong entirely but it’s sad. It’s a sad story if it really did happen. Something keeps telling me that it might not completely be a lie but that’s just me. I’ve been following the story and watching the interviews. If someone accuses me, I would come out and say if it’s true or not. It’s not my business talking about these things but… c’mon!

With your peculiar style of music and niche sound, is it easy for you to make money in Nigeria?
Trust me, I go for shows. They might not be everyday but the ones I do get are good. I’m doing very well. I’m trying. I will not say I’m where I want to be but I’m far from where I was. And, the reason why I do music is not because my sole aim is to make money and be popular, but because I want to leave a sound; I want to leave a legacy. I want my music to be played when I’m eighty and people say “Ah! It still makes sense”. I don’t want to be just a flash in the pan. I believe in long term investments. I don’t want to show up and vanish… no!

I’ll do this thing, trust me. I can do this, no matter what anybody says. I’m one guy that everybody can be wrong.

Timi Dakolo

The types of shows you do are more private events so one can tell that you travel a lot. How do you handle always being on the road and how does it affect your wife and kids?
I love them. They are the most understanding people in the world. God just picked them perfectly for me. But, I always have to be a gift when I come back (laughs). Sometimes, the day you’re supposed to come back home, something will just happen and you won’t be able to make it. We talk a lot. Communication is the life line of any relationship so we say it as it is.

We recently saw photos of you and the family in the UK. Was that for work or for holiday?
A guy needs to chill a bit. You can’t hustle and die.

If in a few years, one of your kids wants to be in the entertainment industry, what would you advise?
There’s no way I can stop my child from doing what they want to do. If my child says he wants to draw and I see that he has the talent to draw, I’ll push him to the extreme. If I know that my son likes to just jump, I’ll get him a bouncing castle. Every Saturday, when he has finished his homework, he can jump till he’s tired.

We loved chatting with Timi and from BellaNaija, we wish him the very best!

Heaven Please Feat. M.I

Love Song

Great Nation

Photo Credit: Timi Dakolo | BellaNaija


  1. x factor

    September 7, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Nice one!

  2. Oby

    September 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Nice interview

  3. Godslove22

    September 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    God bless Timi….He’s one of naija’s best talents, I like his songs and the way he carry’s himself…….

  4. Partyrider

    September 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Nice interview.. God bless your hustle.

  5. goldfinch

    September 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Love you Timi

  6. Somebody..

    September 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Timi n praiz should sing together.. Would be too sexy!

  7. Pat

    September 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Comes across as a well-bred young man. Thumps up. Keep doing wht u,re doing!

  8. Roxanne

    September 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    he is such a cutie. I loooooove his HUSKY voice!! Makes my heart melt.

  9. Spring

    September 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    This guy is so cool,love your style jor

  10. Ada

    September 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    I just love Timi n u r do gonna sing on my wedding day

    • lotadiamond

      September 10, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      exactly the same thought that came to my mind

  11. Bella Noire

    September 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Such a nice interview. He comes across as truly genuine. I wish you all the best in your career and wish you the strength and courage to do you.

  12. rubies

    September 7, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    i love love Timi and i marvel when people say they dont feel him. i mean look at his lyrics and his style. dude is in a unique class of his own

  13. Joshua

    September 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Great Nation got me Timi…thank you

  14. aunty

    September 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    “If I know that my son likes to just jump, I’ll get him a bouncing castle. Every Saturday, when he has finished his homework, he can jump till he’s tired.”

  15. Tintin

    September 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    He is unique and definitely has what it takes to stay on top, with perseverance and hard work, I also like that he values family and love I wish him all the best, I’m a fan

  16. Tsbabe

    September 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    His interview sounds just as subtle as his voice over d microphone on stage! Real…….. Original! God bless U boy!

  17. chicadimples

    September 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Dis guy is humble!
    God bless ur hustle Timi!
    Ur wife is fine!

  18. Onye

    September 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Wow he sounds good! Very surprised. To be honest I thought he looked like a comedian when I clicked on the link. He sounds amazing. A bit like Lemar (the British Nigerian artist)

    • Msunderstood

      September 8, 2013 at 5:33 am

      You should ve heard when he sang one popular Lamar song(don’t remember d name) on Idols, wow. Goose bumps.

  19. tatafo!

    September 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    This Timi is so humble. God bless your hustle! cannot wait for your second album, I’m still playing the first one like it’s going out of style.

  20. ILoveGenevieve

    September 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    His wife is beautiful and he is down to earth. I like him. However, he should improve in his song writing, he has an amazing voice.

  21. Anonymous

    September 7, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    will go buy his C.D cos of this interview.

  22. natty

    September 8, 2013 at 12:08 am

    I have met him a couple of times and he is so down to earth and humble

  23. Msunderstood

    September 8, 2013 at 5:22 am

    My guy, I so love him from idol days. Humble, intelligent, talented

  24. xoxo

    September 8, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Timi rocks and is so mature. I wish him success.

  25. R2bees Rock! love the Nigga songs

    September 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    After 2 and the wife still look smashing hawt..They won’t allow some one to hear about Omozexy…

  26. Truthfulsoul

    September 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    This guy has some ‘mad’ talent!!! I cant get enough of his voice… TOO GOOOOOODDD! Timi God bless you….
    Please where can I buy his music?


    September 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I actually like this guy after this interview. Didn’t know much about him till now. Kudos to you my brother, keep your head up!

  28. Tosky

    September 14, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Wow! Mr Timi Dakolo, a geniue role model. I’m still hoping to meet you one on one someday. I love your unique style. Simply different and classic. God bless you!

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