In Praise of the Timelessness of Davido
I’ve long believed that Davido might exit music before he turns thirty-five. It Might be because who knows the future for sure? And how can an outsider make an absolute prediction of something they don’t know besides what’s in the public space? Nevertheless, his career progression since he burst onto the scene leads credence to that line of thought, especially when juxtaposed with his father’s militant aversion to his child getting into the music industry. Davido has spoken many times of the dramatic start of his career, from absconding from school in the US to getting arrested in a nightclub in Lagos. Twelve years later, Davido is one of the most prominent African stars in the world, one that has had to contend with various odds every step of the way.
As 2022 drew close, it seemed that theory was heading towards happening. The worst tragedy of Davido’s life occurred. It’s been widely reported, and my thoughts are still with the Davido and the mother of his son. It is a pain that no one should endure, let alone publicly, where fans and friends were plastering the entire web with photographs of the child. There’s no doubt that they had good intentions, but how do the parents heal if every time they look at social media, they’re accosted by images of the child they just buried? Davido took time off. Deservedly so. Although he made a brief appearance when he performed at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, he entirely withdrew from the public; to heal and work on his fourth studio album. That hiatus was lifted this week when he announced a date for the release of the album Timeless.
The announcement was met with excitement from fans whose outpouring of love since Davido’s bereavement hasn’t stopped. If he wasn’t sure before, he knows how much he’s beloved by fans across Nigeria and the world. “There is a time for everything. A time to grieve and a time to heal. A time to laugh and a time to dance. A time to speak & a time for silence. Thank you to everyone out there for your love that has held me down,” he wrote.
Timeless indeed describes Davido’s journey to this point. As I noted when I profiled him in 2018, Davido has survived every obstacle life has thrown his way. His mother passed away when he was only ten years old. He would go on to lose more close friends, including three deaths in one week before the ultimate tragedy of losing his son – the same calendar year that two more of his friends demise. It’s almost as though the loss is a permanent feature of Davido’s life. That’s enough to break anybody. Yet, he’s not broken. He continues to soldier on while bringing generous amounts of joy into the lives of millions of fans whose lives are touched by his music and his own life. He has an incredible gift, and the world is better for it.
On March 12, South African rapper Costa Titch passed away shortly after he collapsed during his performance at a music festival. His death came just a month after the violent murder of rapper AKA and his friend Tibz Motsoane. South Africa is reeling from the tragic ends of some of its brightest stars. Costa’s death is reminiscent of the iconic Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba, who suffered a fatal attack while performing on stage in 2008. She was 76; Costa was 28.
Although his family has not released details about what caused Costa’s sudden death, the fact that it happened whilst he was practising his craft makes it a little more concerning. Entertainers are like athletes in one regard: they make a living by using their physical gifts. Many times though, unlike athletes, entertainers typically take their bodies and physicality for granted. Footballers, for example, are conditioned to the max: they have to watch what they eat and drink and have dedicated nutritionists, physical trainers etc., to keep in optimum shape. There are even times when they’re banned from having sex! Entertainers do not typically have these restrictions. When American singer Ray J had his laughable Verzuz outing, his sister Brandy first called him out for driving alcohol instead of the warm tea she’d instructed him to.
It is unlikely that anybody knows when they’ll depart the earth, but sometimes it’s helpful to take care of the moneymaker – one’s physical body. As it’s said, you only have one. Being a musician takes a mighty toll on one’s being, and running it as if indestructible is a surefire way of getting it there earlier than needed.
Jide Taiwo is a writer and media executive. He’s based in Lagos and tweets via @thejidetaiwo.
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