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Ayodeji Rotinwa: Forget D’Banj, Darey is the True Entertainer & 6 Other Things From LLAM3



Love-Like-A-Movie-3 (15)

Forgive my title; this is not to compare both acts (you can remove your troll-ready fingers from the keyboard, D’banj STANS) but to put it to us the consumers of music that we need to raise our standards of what we expect of entertainment. In which case, Darey is at the very summit. His performances took me back to his days as a contestant on Project Fame Africa – the first (and best) season where he (rather unjustly) came third. Accompanied by dancers on stage he started with non-Nigerian ballads, his singing faltering. However, once he started singing his own songs, his confidence ballooned, his body language changed, his voice peaked and he started hitting that glorious baritone. His delivery of ‘Inside of You’ from his recent ‘Naked’ album took it straight to church and in my mind’s eye, what was sprinkling was not holy water. That his music doesn’t get the due it deserves is an only-in-Nigeria kind of wonder. He is criminally un-DAREY-ted.

If we all never heard another ‘Hello’ by Adele cover till the Last Trumpet, it won’t be soon enough.
I found it surprising that for such a well put together show, with experts imported, sound coaches employed, no one had the bright idea to say, ‘No. This has been overdone, let us leave it alone.’

And even if they were going to perform this song, same song which the original has been seen A BILLION TIMES on YouTube, no one had the bright idea to say, oh let us do this in a new way, with a different sound.

Finally, if they were performing this song, in a different way, with a new sound, give it to someone who can actually SING IT.

Ruby Gyang, darling… NO!

Olamide & Yemi Alade Winning at the Lip Synching Contest
If the Headies wanted to be petty and introduce a Lip-synching award, Olamide won’t have to worry about anyone else winning or have to ask anyone to #LeaveTrashforLAWMA. At #LLAM3, he delivered a masterful performance brilliantly moving his lips over his own song playing in the background – all the while ensuring not a whisper of his own voice found its way from his vocal cords to the microphone. Such a baddo!
A close second was Yemi Alade. Only that she fell short by actually singing some parts of her song – though it was hardly on the beat. With better practice, she should get better at not doing any singing at all. I will be paying close attention at her next gig.

Technology was one of the Best (Unannounced) Performers
One of the major reasons why LLAM is an experience and other concerts, sing-alongs, is technology. The use of visual effects and lighting design was simple, uncluttered, and well thought-out. They enhanced each performance and at least three of the five senses were well teased, titillated and satisfied.
P.S. This really shouldn’t be big deal as its par for the course in other countries; but seeing as Darey is the only one taking the initiative in Nigeria…

Senior Statesman, Sound Sultan CAN NOT Sing
It is with great regret that I have to include this. I grew up listening to Sound Sultan. His hit track of old, Jagbanjantis remains evergreen in my memory. Its lyrics is still so relevant today – a testament to the foresight of this artiste who cleverly leveraged critical social commentary into a mass appeal song. But now that I look back on it, Mr. Sultan didn’t really sing on that track, and all of these years I haven’t really paid attention to or questioned whether he could or otherwise. I got my answer yesterday night and boy, was it an earful (read as earache) Covering UB40’s ‘(Can’t Help) Falling in Love With You’ Mr Sultan’s voice and the song’s / band’s notes were not in the same room, never mind the same key. I’m not sure at whose door to lay blame – whether the producers for burdening Sultan with a song that very clearly overpowered his sonic ability or for Sound Sultan for not rehearsing enough (if this could have helped) to tame the song.

Simi is a Mega Pop Star in Waiting
Where a veteran croaked and street favourites lip synched their way across their set list, this newbie SHONE! Not only did she sing (and very well) she danced. Then, she dramatized her song’s narrative with stage props, all the while not out of breath or missing a beat. It was with great pleasure I wondered what she would have delivered if she was allotted more performance time. With great care and management, she could be a pop version of Asa.

Sorry Ciara, (VVIP) Nigerians Who Seat By the Stage Don’t Get Up to Dance
Ciara did her very best. She tried a call and response. She leapt off the stage. She even went into the crowd and danced with a few guests but after paying 200K and above for a table, God forbid a VVIP Nigerian, get up and dance like they have no home training. Actually, how dare Ciara ask them to have a good time? To her credit though, she delivered a great performance nonetheless, disregarding the floor / stage-side audience’s refusal to connect with her like a true pro. Meanwhile, immediately after she performed Body Party which features her baby daddy Future, she followed with I Bet…”I bet you start loving me, soon as I start loving someone else, somebody better than you…”

Do we need to call her into The Shade Room?

Ayodeji Rotinwa is a writer with a keen interest in documenting, reviewing and critiquing the arts / (pop) culture of our time. He also comments on how technology and business play into these fields. He is a columnist, the lead features writer at THISDAY Style (Newspapers) and a contributor to Forbes Africa magazine.


  1. Prec

    March 1, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Life is too short for you to go an event and put your nose in the air, i will never get why some Nigerians think that way. In fact if you stand up to have fun then “she or he is a busy body.”

    This Mentality also affects Nigerians asking for better performances from our artist, if you’re not going to enjoy the show why should they perform better? Regardless, We do need to raise the standard for Nigerian artists performances, to be quite honest.

    • nene

      March 1, 2016 at 6:19 pm

      the TRUTH!!

    • Tolani

      March 1, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      I’ve always thought about this.. Even at comedy shows, the “vvips” don’t shake. Like everyone around you is laughing and you’re just sitting there like you dislocated all funny bones in your body! Why? Granted what might be funny to one person might not be to another, but for music? Why would you pay 200k for table of five only to sit and try to act unimpressed? ?

  2. Missy J

    March 1, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Awwww… Sister Yemi just broke my heart? Bet why??!!! that lady can hold down the whole mainland with her voice. Remembering her stellar performance on Project fame. LLAM3 is a big concert to mess it up with lip sync. One reason I respect Omawumi.
    Sound Sultan,,,, I guess it was the song because Daddy can sing oh.
    Well done Simi!! teach them how its been done. To our musicians: As Simi sang well and danced, did she die?

  3. bcha

    March 1, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Apart from 2baba, Asa, Timi Dakolo and perhaps Omawumi, other Nigerian artists suck at live performances. I agree with you, Olamide is the worst of them all, closely followed by Reminisce (it took me couple of shows to come to this conclusion).

    I’m happy for Simi (my wife frowns everytime I mention her name or sing her song, boy! I like the young lady & her craft).

    Sound sultan is a great artist but everyone gets their off days so he’s excused.

    Back to regular programming: IM3 The Finale, no one comes close to Mr. Abaga on this rap street.

  4. Dolly

    March 1, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I love this write up, very well written with constructive criticisms. We need more of this no ass kissing article so all these celebs, davido, wizkid etc sitting on a high horse can see they are not too far from the ground yet.

  5. nene

    March 1, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    i don’t and will never why nigerians can’t stand up and dance at a freaking CONCERT! It’s not a wedding or church, it is a CONCERT! Anyway i guess they paid a lot of money to come and sit down. As a performer, it reduces your confidence, but then the “other” guests who pay little money and sit at the back are always turnt the fuck up, so i guess it balances out everything.

    • Mama Caro

      March 1, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      Catholics don’t even stand to praise God, everybody dey form levels, this was nicely written.

    • been there

      March 1, 2016 at 11:20 pm

      I don’t get how catholics came into d discourse. Which catholic church did u visit biko?

    • Somborri

      March 1, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      Mama Caro, take your meds before coming online and if you must comment please ask your caregiver to approve your comment first.

    • Adaeze Writes

      March 2, 2016 at 12:55 am

      Says who? Please do not say what you don’t know. I repeat, get your facts right before concluding. There’s beauty in research!

    • ElessarisElendil

      March 2, 2016 at 4:19 am

      Some of us believe that church should be a contemplative experience. Its a new month, but Protestants really should not be tossing stones you know..

    • Mama Caro

      March 2, 2016 at 7:34 am

      Hmmm, ejo ma binu, I am catholic and its an observation. Apologies if the comment came out wrongly. @somborri ill assume you are catholic too, the fact that you are hiding behind an anonymous handle doesn’t mean you can come tell people they are mad. It is not appropriate and not catholic to attack even the protestants. Defending yourself and contradicting yourself. Apologies again to all

    • Otunba

      March 3, 2016 at 10:43 am

      This thing you wrote is incredibly stupid sha but don’t let me distract you…

  6. Teju Tj

    March 1, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Who is the manufacturer of Ola Ola iyan?

  7. Marc Francis of Chelsea

    March 1, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Awesome article. Yemi needs to learn how to use backing tracks instead of just singing over a tape. The VVIP is sad because there are people that want to groove badly but then they are scared of looking like JJCs and balance to look cool.

  8. Niyoola

    March 1, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Those VIP tables should be upstairs at the back, especially at Eko Hotel. They’ll have all th privacy they want, they won’t be on the same floor level as the broke regular ticket holders.

    Those tables usually make the venue look scanty sef, all the space between tables.

  9. Olori Tari

    March 1, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    No, I’m not going to remove my troll ready fingers from the keyboard. Leave D’Banj out of this…what an attention seeking headline. This is what I don’t understand about people, you know damn well that there was no need to bring D’Banj into it yet you did and tried to convince yourself that it was okay and that it was serving a purpose. Hence, the defensive beginning…like your points (whether sensible or not) wouldn’t still be there if you left him out. KMT.

    • IG:franfurler

      March 1, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      Sweetie…he’s a writer.Its d headline that made you read it.Its called sensationalizing the story.Grabs your attention.Plus,he’s right…unless u’re d’banj’s relation.

  10. IG:franfurler

    March 1, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    I agree with the writer about simi..

  11. jhennique

    March 1, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    mtchewwwwwwwwwww! Nigerian celebrities are living in the bondage of pride and many will die there. Feeling like demi gods, they forget how to live normal anymore,

    After wearing 6 inch heels, even pregnant lami how will they get up and dance???? nansense!

  12. Theurbanegirl

    March 1, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Lmao deji I saw your snaps during LLAM3, they never get up to dance!! ??

  13. Tosin

    March 2, 2016 at 5:59 am

    Thanks for this report, Honey.

    Simi, hope you’re listening. You are very very charming and your voice is simply a gift from above. Please record, folk songs, classics, get in the studio with Cobhams or something, and give us music to always always remember. Don’t get distracted with all this everybody must do pop stuff. Be our sweetheart now. (haha, it’s an order.) If I had your talent I’d be going the Edith Piaf, Ella Fitzgerald, Umm Kulthum route, just pick the best existing songs and make the best ever recordings possible.

    Respect, Darey and crew.

  14. Nwanma

    March 2, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Don’t forget Flavour of Africa.
    I can pay anything to watch him. He is not just a singer,he is a performer.

  15. An angry musician

    March 2, 2016 at 10:57 am

    It’s sooo annoying that they pay this musicians millions of Naira to Lip Sync.
    Meanwhile, talented musicians who can actually play instruments get a lower monetary compensation
    People, Stop celebrating the Mediocre.
    Celebrate Excellence
    Celebrate Excellence

  16. Christycel

    March 2, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    I love this write up. Leave the VVIP na Instagram picture they come for and dulling their self.

  17. Otunba

    March 3, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Death to lip syncing! I suspect Nigerian musicians don’t even realise its unprofessional

  18. Sage

    March 3, 2016 at 10:50 am

    A couple of things Nigerian male artistes need to do;
    1. Stop wearing shades all the damn time
    2. No need for all those tattoos. Its almost like an unwritten code*drops first album, tattoos both hands*
    3. This baby mama thing is tired. Move on

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