After dominating airwaves and with his 2011 smashing hit “Dami Duro” and staying on top of his game for about a decade now, CEO DMW and Afrobeats heavyweight Davido has indeed become a global household name.
Davido chats with Guardian Life about his new album “A Better Time“, challenges, his thoughts, legacies and more as he covers the magazine’s latest issue.
“In life, change happens and you have to take risks, for me I’ve always just been about family and that is what it was for HKN, I co-owned it with my brother who was the chairman at the time and I signed my cousins so it was really a family thing. After a while, everyone wanted to do their own thing, and I wanted to work with other people as well, then I met Mayorkun and it was from meeting him that I decided to start my own label and see how I can groom new artistes.” Says the singer
Read excerpts from the interview
On the vision
At first, I just wanted to watch myself on tv even if it was just once, I dropped my first song and I went to school for like two weeks [I wasn’t even in Lagos]. It was my friends that were calling me that my song don dey blow.
I didn’t want to go to school, I wanted to be alright enough to be just okay but over time, I wanted more and more because it [fame and success] was just growing and getting bigger. As you grow you want more, as you get there you want more because one day you feel you’re there and you wake up two days later and it feels like you haven’t achieved anything.
In life, change happens and you have to take risks, for me I’ve always just been about family and that is what it was for HKN, I co-owned it with my brother who was the chairman at the time and I signed my cousins so it was really a family thing. After a while, everyone wanted to do their own thing, and I wanted to work with other people as well, then I met Mayorkun and it was from meeting him that I decided to start my own label and see how I can groom new artistes.
I tried it [signing a new artiste] for the first time and it worked out amazing. From there, Dremo came and then other artistes came, Peruzzi, then the producers. We just became one big family and it worked out for us.
On the challenges
I think that [impostor syndrome] is the worst thing that happens to artistes, feeling like you have to prove something even after you reach a certain point that many people are still trying to achieve a quarter of what you’ve done and you’re still trying to prove something. But I feel like that’s also the challenge you need to keep going and sustain because if I always felt like cos I’m Davido everything I record will enter, I’d fall but I don’t record like that, I record like it’s my first song every time.
On the music
My last album A Good Time was made up of songs that I actually recorded overtime but because I was touring, doing shows for like straight 8 years on the go so the album was a compilation of all the songs that had already dropped and I added a couple of new songs and dropped it due to my obligation with my label.
During A Good Time, I was in America most of the time talking to my producers over email and WhatsApp, but for A Better Time I was in Nigeria, it was during the pandemic [COVID-19] I was on tour in America before but when it hit I had to cancel the whole tour and move back to Naija. There was nothing we could do [no clubs, no shows] so we stayed home and made music. For this new album, we call it a masterpiece because we really took our time with it.
I honestly just have grace. I’ve recorded that song [Fem] since May and I dropped it in September like who would’ve known?! I was even somewhere, and they came to meet me and say I went to make a song for them [politicians] so I had to explain that the song has actually been out since September but it relates to what was happening.
On his thoughts and legacy
I would want to be remembered for a lot, not just music to be honest. That I served for humanity, I served the people and a lot of people gained from my blessing. I gave my family a good name, I gave my country a good name, I gave Africans a good name.