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An Exclusive Interview with Timi Dakolo – April Issue 2019 Cover Story

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It was a bright and hot Tuesday morning, the breeze of Eko Atlantic City, ships horning from the Atlantic ocean; we had a great time shooting Timi Dakolo at the Pearl Café, Lagos. The mood was great, the pictures kept going from Kunmi Owopetu’s camera and the blue Agbada made and styled by SlyMonay attracted the Africans and Non-Africans in the environment to the phenomenal musician who sang at every other sentence! His consistency in delivering quality experiences as a musician and performer has made him become one of the most sought after artistes to make a great wedding happen. I could go on with phrases describing the quality of brand Timi Dakolo is but I doubt how authentic I would be. Everything about being a global brand to being a great husband and father is what you are about to read. Get comfortable, enjoy it and don’t forget to book him to make your event memorable!

What is your idea of a great wedding?

My idea of a great wedding is happy audience, beautiful ambience, free-flowing event, joyous bride & groom, plenty food, good music, an unending excitement, and happily ever after.

What do you consider the highlight of a wedding ceremony?

The highlight of a wedding ceremony is “You can now kiss the bride” “You are now pronounced man and wife” which is the most important part in the eyes of the society and the eyes of God and the fun that comes after that.

What is your most memorable experience while performing at a wedding?

The bride’s face full and filled with joy and saying “Thank You. Thank You” to her husband, “I Love this, this is the best gift you have given to me yet. You had this in mind. You told me he is not around, he is not in Nigeria, See, see you you you you, I Love You I Love You…” (that is when I perform). My heart was oozing with so much joy, to bring so much joy into someone’s life.

How do you see the value of the wedding industry in Nigeria?

It’s a big business, it isn’t what it used to be before, now it’s a big business, the budget for weddings are bigger, people now factor a lot of things into the wedding from the wedding planner’s commission, to the sound to the hall to the stage, pre-wedding shoots are lucrative for photographers, they factor a lot of things into it, the pictures, the album, the catering, it is big, it can only get better from here.

What potentials do you think African weddings should develop to become a global narrative?

In my opinion, African weddings should be African. Just like you can never see an Indian wedding being an English wedding, so we can be able to distinguish between an African wedding and which other wedding there is. An African wedding should have an African theme, and if it’s an Arabian wedding it’s an Arabian theme so when people show up they know they are coming to have an African experience at a wedding.

With your experience at weddings, how much value do you see the Nigerian/African entertainment industry getting from it?

One can’t go without the other because weddings are not moments of mourning. They are times for excitement and entertainment. People want to come and feel joy, share and feed off the energy of the bride and groom and have a great time. They usually go together except something goes wrong. They go hand in hand. There is a synergy they bring working together.

Can you share one of the weirdest conversations you’ve had with a couple trying to get you to perform at their wedding?

“Come and surprise us o, we don’t have any money.” “Where is the wedding happening?”. “Yola! Just come and surprise us, we are your biggest fans!”

Kindly describe your sound.

I wouldn’t put myself in a box to say I am an R&B singer, I’m a soul singer. I sing as I feel it, I sing as I hear it in my head. It depends on how the music comes. I never get to force creativity. When the music comes, I go with it.

How did you build your brand?

I built my brand intentionally. I have always loved Love songs. I have always had a thing for Love songs. It grew in me and I discovered that my thoughts and ideas always gravitated towards those kinds of songs. Common place, love song, say the things that people say normally but say it in my own way. I discovered that this is my strong point, whenever I say such things, it has a heavy meaning in people’s eyes and they go with it, we get on the same page so I told myself it’s always nice to put your best foot forward.

As a musician and an artiste, what do you think artistes from Africa should pay attention to today?

We should be true to our own sound. We should be unique. You can mimic but not copy entirely. I don’t think there is an end to creativity. I think it’s like an endless pit. We should always be quick to say we are Africans no matter how you sound, be quick to say you are African and you are from this part. There is nothing wrong with being black, there is nothing wrong in being African. Follow the sound, African music has so much soul, it has so much truth. I think because we have been through a lot, we are very close to our soul. Most of our sounds from ancient times are truth.

As a Nigerian artiste who has been successful with an alternative sound, what business advice would you give a budding artiste in your genre on growing her/his brand?

My advice will always be stay true to you. Stay true to what you feel. Stay true to what is YOU, what you are, because you can only fake it for so long… and if it doesn’t work you become frustrated. Don’t doubt what you have. People will come around and criticize you but once they realize this is what you want to do, they tend to welcome the idea that this is you and there is noting anyone can do about it.

Your music has an essence of its own – well balanced with lyrics, musical excellence and an often African (-ish) content, can you share with us the important things you consider when working on a track?

I like the taste of words so I would say I am a “lyric” person. When I sit down to write, my thoughts are basically lyrics and then rhythmwhat I want to say and how I want to say it. I am more of a lyrics person and I try to make it a common idea so even if you are not there, you tend to experience my music rather than just memorise it.

Our readers would like to know if you would be crashing weddings soon.

It depends on my mood; it depends on how I feel. I won’t say Yes, I won’t say No. Let me not “koba” myself.

We know ladies would appreciate having Timi Dakolo perform at their wedding, can you share some plans you might have to help get wedding ceremonies more interesting from 2019?

I think the most interesting thing for me is to create as much fun as I can and carry the audience along as much as I can with the song. I’m going to let them feel that I share the same Joy which they share on their special day

How long have you been married?

I have been married for 8 years.

As a husband, can you share 3 qualities you think a husband should possess in 2019?

Understanding. Have the mindset of family first. Give the woman the freedom to fly.

Can you share something that gets you laughing anytime, anywhere, about the Yard People?

My children are quite interesting. In fact, too interesting. They all have their different personalities. They are all word opinionated, independent and it’s something I’m consciously building in them- their ability to speak their mind at every point in time. Sometimes, they all want the same thing but want it in different ways. For example, when we are getting pizza, one wants it really thick, one wants it burnt and everyone is telling the person at the counter what they want. They want Ice cream, the big jar but they all want different flavors and arguing about it while I’m just there by their side watching them pick.

On parenting, tell us something great about it.

Parenting is an interesting job; you learn on it, it’s a job you learn while you are on it. You don’t come with a lot of experience. Parenting brings about the quality of responsibility, your ability to think for more than one person, your kids make you start thinking about the future; I’m talking from my own perspective now. Kids make you want to save, they make you not want to take decisions in a hurry.

This might not be a question but an open message to Busola can go here

I love her… I love You Busola!

Interview by Tomi Wale
Cover Photography by Kunmi Owopetu
Styled by Sly Monay