David Adedeji Adeleke (born November 21, 1992), better known by his stage name Davido, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born in Atlanta and raised in Lagos, Davido made his music debut as a member of the music group KB International. He studied business administration at Oakwood University before dropping out to make beats and record vocal references. Davido rose to fame in 2011 with the release of “Dami Duro”, the second single from his debut studio album Omo Baba Olowo (2012). The album also contains six additional singles: “Back When”, “Ekuro”, “Overseas”, “All of You”, “Gbon Gbon”, and “Feel Alright”. In 2012, Davido won The Headies Award for Next Rated. Between 2013 and 2015, he released the hit singles “Gobe”, “One of a Kind”, “Skelewu”, “Aye”, “Tchelete (Goodlife)” featuring Mafikizolo, “Naughty” featuring DJ Arafat, “Owo Ni Koko”, “The Sound” and “The Money” featuring Olamide.
In January 2016, Davido announced via Twitter that he signed a record deal with Sony Music. His announcement was met with mixed reactions. The record label put out a press release to confirm the deal. A few months after signing with Sony, Davido founded the Davido Music Worldwide (DMW) record label. Dremo and Mayorkun are currently signed to the label. In July 2016, Davido signed a record deal with Sony’s RCA Records. He released the 5-track EP Son of Mercy in October 2016, supported by the singles “Gbagbe Oshi”, “How Long” and “Coolest Kid in Africa”. The EP features guest appearances from Simi, Tinashe and Nasty C. Davido revealed to Pulse Nigeria in April 2017 that he renegotiated his contract with Sony due to creative control issues. He released five singles in 2017 after restructuring his contract, including “If” and “Fall”. The former generated worldwide social media activity, while the latter became the longest-charting Nigerian pop song in Billboard history.
I’ve been doing music for like 1 year but I took it seriously in March 2011. I was formerly in a group called KB international in America. It wasn’t working out so I thought I should just do this on my own that was when I moved back to Nigeria. I was around people that were musically inclined. I love music, and why not do something you love and are happy doing and making money at the same time. -Davido, on his decision to venture into music
Davido was born on November 21, 1992, to Adedeji Adeleke and Vero Adeleke in Atlanta, Georgia. His father is a Nigerian business magnate and his late mother was a university lecturer. He attended the British International School in Lagos. Davido studied business administration at Oakwood University prior to relocating to Nigeria. Davido’s interest in music started during his time at Oakwood University. He bought musical equipment and started making beats, in addition to recording vocal references. He dropped out of Oakwood University when he started getting bad grades and relocated to London, where he focused more of his energy towards vocals as opposed to production. When Davido returned to Nigeria in 2011, his music career was sidelined after he agreed to honor his father by enrolling at Babcock University. In July 2015, Davido earned a music degree from Babcock after his father paid the university to erect a music department for an inaugural class of one.
Work on Davido’s debut studio album, Omo Baba Olowo, began in 2011. On May 7, 2011, Davido produced and released his first musical recording “Back When” which was a major hit. The song served as the album’s lead single and received frequent airplay. The music video for the single, uploaded onto YouTube on May 9, 2011, was shot and directed in Nigeria by Clarence Peters. Davido told Factory 78 TV that he recorded “Back When” in London. Davido co-produced “Dami Duro” with Shizzi and released it on October 30, 2011. The music video for “Dami Duro” was released on January 8, 2012. It was shot and directed in Lagos by Clarence Peters, and was released during the Occupy Nigeria protests. In an interview posted on NotJustOk, Davido spoke on the release and composition of “Dami Duro”. He said he recorded “Dami Duro” in August 2011. Three months later, the song got leaked after he sent it out to some friends. On May 6, 2012, HKN Music released “Overseas” as a single off the album. The unfinished version of the song leaked prior to the official release. On September 28, 2012, HKN Music released the music video for “All of You”. The song was produced by Gospelondebeatz. In an interview with Factory 78 TV, Davido said he recorded the song with Gospel after meeting him at a mall. To further promote the album, Davido released music videos for “Ekuro”, “Gbon Gbon”, and “Feel Alright”.
In early 2013, Davido began recording his second studio album. On February 25, 2013, he released “Gobe” as the upcoming album’s lead single. The song was produced by Shizzi. Charles Mgbolu of Vanguard commented on the release of the single, saying: “It’s a beautiful song with a tremendous video running along. In Gobe, Davido is beaten up by thugs after winning the girl. It’s a song that exudes fun from start to finish.” The music video for the single was shot in South Africa by Godfather Productions. The song was ranked second on Premium Times list of the Top 10 songs of 2013.
Davido announced via Twitter that the second single “One of a Kind”, from the upcoming album, would be released on May 13, 2013. The song was also produced by the aforementioned in-house producer. The music video for “One of a Kind” was shot and directed in South Africa by Tebza of Godfather Productions. It visualizes a united Africa rich in culture and music.
“Skelewu”, the third single from the upcoming album, was released on August 13, 2013. It was ranked 5th on the aforementioned list of the top 10 songs of 2013. The song peaked at number 1 on Afribiz’s Top 100 chart. A dance competition with a cash prize of $3000 (₦480,000) was announced days after the release of the song. Davido uploaded an instructional dance video onto YouTube and asked fans to upload videos of themselves dancing to “Skelewu”. On October 10, 2013, Davido declared Bello Moshood Abiola the winner of the competition. A week after announcing the winner of the Skelewu dance competition, a Sesan directed music video was released to the public. Shortly after the release of the video, Davido took to Twitter to debunk the video and said that someone betrayed him by releasing it. He also said he’ll re-shoot the video with Moe Musa, a UK based music video director. Sesan commented on the release of the music video and said that Davido was satisfied with his contributions to the music video. He also said that it would be immature for Davido and his management to release inaccurate statements in order to defame his brand. On October 21, 2013, the official music video for the single was shot and directed in London by Moe Musa. It was uploaded onto YouTube at a total length of 3 minutes and 56 seconds.
On February 2, 2014, Davido released “Aye” as the fourth single from the upcoming album. The song was produced by T Spize. The music video for “Aye” was released on February 7, 2014, and was directed by Clarence Peters. According to the music video’s synopsis, “Davido plays a poor farmer who falls in love with the prince’s love interest.” On April 30, 2014, HKN Music released the upcoming album’s fifth single “Tchelete (Goodlife)” featuring South African duo Mafikizolo. The song, which translates to “Money”, was produced by Oskido and Shizzi. Upon its release, the song was distributed by MTN’s Play and Callertunez platforms. The collaboration between Davido and Mafikizolo came about as a result of them networking at MTN Nigeria’s Elite Night event in December 2013. The music video for the song was shot and directed in South Africa. It was uploaded onto YouTube on May 1, 2014. Oskido and Uhuru made cameo appearances in the video.
In June 2014, Davido collaborated with Mi Casa, Lola Rae, Sarkodie, Diamond Platnumz and Tiwa Savage on a song for DSTV’s Africa Rising campaign, which was designed to inspire Africans to partake in community-based social investment projects. The music video for the song, released on June 24, 2014, was shot and directed by South African production house Callback Dream. The aforementioned artists performed the song at the Africa Rising launch ceremony in Mauritius. In July 2014, Davido told The New Age newspaper that he plans on collaborating with American rappers Rick Ross and Meek Mill.[ In June 2015, Davido dropped his long-awaited collaboration with Meek Mill titled “Fans Mi”.
2017 to 2018 international fame
On November 30, 2017, Davido won the best African act at the MOBO Awards and also became the first African act to perform live at the awards.
On June 24, 2018, Davido became the first African-based artist to have received his award on the BET Awards main stage. His award was presented by Hollywood actor Omari Hardwick and actress Tika Sumpter. In his acceptance speech, he urged patrons and American artists to visit Africa and also enjoy the food.
On April 6, 2012, Nigerian Entertainment Today reported that Davido signed a ₦30 million endorsement deal with MTN. The deal unveiled him as the face of MTN Pulse, a marketing campaign for Nigerian youths. On October 24, 2013, Pulse reported that Guinness Nigeria signed Davido to an endorsement deal. As part of the deal, Davido performed at the Guinness World of More Concert alongside P-Square, D’banj, Wizkid, Ice Prince, Burna Boy, Olamide, Phyno, Chidinma, Waje and Tiwa Savage, among others. On May 9, 2018, Guardian Life reported that Davido signed an endorsement deal with Infinix, a smartphone manufacturing company in Nigeria for an undisclosed fee. The deal is expected to be worth millions of Naira actually.
In May 2014, Davido attacked the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) after missing his flight to London. He accused them of pestering him for money. On 11 May 2014, the Public Relations Officer for the NIS denied Davido’s allegations and said that they didn’t issue him an exit permit because he didn’t have the proper travel documents with him at the time.
In December 2015, the Vanguard reported that Davido and his baby’s mother, Sophia Momodu, were embroiled in a fight over the custody of their daughter Imade Adeleke. The newspaper reported that it all started after Sophie and her family filed a petition against Davido and his family for alleged child trafficking. In a petition sent to the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Davido and his family were accused of keeping Imade away from her mother as well as trying to flee Nigeria with the baby. Davido has since insisted that the allegations against him are false, but apologised to Dele Momodu, the cousin of Sophia Momodu.
Awards and nominations
- Omo Baba Olowo (2012)
- Son of Mercy (2016)
|2011||“Back When” (featuring Naeto C)||Omo Baba Olowo|
|“Overseas” (featuring Sina Rambo)|
|“All of You”|
|“Feel Alright” (featuring Ice Prince)|
|2013||“One of a Kind”||Non-album single|
|“Tchelete (Goodlife)” (featuring Mafikizolo)|
|“Fans Mi” (featuring Meek Mill)|
|“Owo Ni Koko”|
|“The Sound” (featuring Uhuru and DJ Buckz)|
|“The Money” (featuring Olamide)|
|2016||“Gbagbe Oshi”||Son Of Mercy|
|“How Long” (featuring Tinashe)|
|“Coolest Kid in Africa” (featuring Nasty C)|
|“Pere” (featuring Rae Sremmurd and Young Thug)|
|2018||“Flora My Flawa”|