In this episode of African Voices Changemakers, CNN’s Larry Madowo meets Nigerian superstar Davido. He opens up about his return to music after the tragic loss of his son and discusses the inspiration behind his new album Timeless. Timeless is the 30-year-old’s fourth studio album since he ventured into music eleven years ago. Davido shares that this album represents many different phases he has gone through in the past year.
The title, Davido says, is a manifestation of his goal for the album to be a classic, “It’s really just an album that I know in years to come, if you interview me, we are going to be talking about this album.”
Davido started off as a musical engineer, then worked as a producer and now is a full-time artist and has earned many accolades including winning multiple local and international awards. He took time away from music recently to deal with the tragic loss of his young son in October. He explains how this grief has impacted his latest album, “You don’t really hear bad things in Afrobeat African music. It’s always love, joy and just excitement. With this record, you definitely hear me talk about a couple of things I’ve been through personally, but you are also going to dance, you’re also going to smile, you’re also going to hear some cheeky songs.”
The goal going forward is to keep the ‘Davido energy’ going, “People tell me, my family tells me. I’ve been at home for almost six months, so it’s crazy. Everybody knows when you wake up, you want to go to Davido’s Instagram story, see what he’s done today and stuff like that. But I just want them to feel like love is back, energy is back. And I might not be able to fill the void to heal everything in the world, but I feel like the album is going to do its part.”
Award-winning director T.G. Omoriis working with Davido on music videos for the new album. Since he started professionally shooting and directing videos, he has achieved multiple awards and hopes to garner more recognition, “With this particular video, I want people to see change, to see a certain level of improvement cause if you look at the storytelling and everything, it’s so intentional, you know. It’s like I’m trying to make a difference. I want people to see this and have this as a reference. Like, I want to be that video that people use as a reference. This has to be the standard,” he says.
Davido’s friend and long-time manager Asa Asika has been working professionally with Davido since 2012. Together they have achieved milestones such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup performance where Davido became the first Nigerian artist to perform at the event. Asika speaks about what they’ve learned over the years, “Obviously, we’ve been able to use our blessing to help a lot of other people now. So, while building our legacies, I always want to look back and be like, wow, minus being successful at this music thing, I was able to impact this many people’s lives in a positive way, and that’s something I learned from David for sure.”
Since its release, Timeless has garnered public acclaim internationally, being the first afrobeats album to have all its tracks debt in the Top 100 Apple Music Top Songs Chart. Davido tells Madowo he wants to be remembered for his legacy of impacting the lives of others, “One of the things that make me proud is just what I’ve done in that amount of 10 years, the people I’ve helped.”