Davido, OBO

By Agbonkhese Oboh

Isaac Amune Muyiwa. He rocks a microphone as a child does lollipop. And he never complains when instrumentalists decide to (mis)behave.

If, for example, a keyboardist suddenly decides to climb a higher mountain or descend into a valley without warning, Isaac follows without missing a beat.

In a single stretch of solo or chorus, Muyiwa would do anything.

Anything from modulations, falsetto to minors and everything in-between in as many breaths.

But the beautiful thing and point of this nostalgic recall is he sings with so much SOUL.

And does any part — but is master of tenor.

And he dances. Not the choregraphed mechanical steps of the our churches’ “Kingdom Dance”.

I’m talking about the type of dance Rafael Infante described to Ruby Sinclair in ‘Dance with Me’ — the dance from where the music speaks to your soul.

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He doesn’t do those voice training or those care-for-your-voice-routine.

Yes, he was a friend like a brother. We ate anything and everything. In fact, he makes his money from cooking and baking now.

Oh! Davido?

I saw a video of a little boy swaggering after his father, flicking his nostrils and talking in a hoarse voice.

Then there was a young chap dropping singles like a hustler and doing different videos for one song, just to make fans happy.

Then he had “friends” appearing in the videos.

Then he became a self-made man. Made good use of family wealth as foundation.

Many speak highly of his humility and down-to-earth readiness to lift others.

But then, the world would be boring without different voices.

Some voices said he bought all he got. Does anything come for free?

Many spoke of low register; he shouts, he mimes, the audience sing for him. Many voices.

But the one I can’t hear clearly says he can’t sing.

We know those with predictable pitch and rhythm. We know the creatives that have gone far with appropriating and redefining sounds of old.

The Nigerian creative space is filled with an embarrassing assortments of talents.

And it just needs a little structure to take the world in deed.

However, in that mixed multitude, only a few sing with so much soul as Davido does.

It’s not in his voice; he has a unique one with which he has done pitches and keys his contemporaries only attempt in the bathroom.

It’s is in singing every song like it’s his last. It’s in wanting someone to know “I’m sing for you”.

Muyiwa once did a song and before he finished he shook the hand of everybody in that hall!

I was livid. For I was on the drums!

But the joy on his face is something my aching joints can never take away.

And then I saw that look on Davido’s face. It was not joy. It was raw pain, disappointment and regret.

Not for himself. But for those who can’t just look beyond how fate gave him a bed of gold and see how he has spread it out in words and action. And sounds.

My mother told me there will always be voices. If you are in front, they will say you’re walking too fast.

Stay behind, they will say your are too slow.

Settle in the middle, I daresay they will accuse you of crowding the spaces.

Watch Davido’s face as he sings “FEM” in the BBC Radio 1Xtra Live Lounge and The Hennessy Artistry.

Vanguard News Nigeria


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