After an illustrious 16-year career, Timi Dakolo, Nigerian singer, songwriter, and music producer hosted his inaugural concert titled “The Chorus Leader Live: All the Things I Didn’t Say” recently in Lagos. In this exclusive interview with David Ijaseun, he shares insights into the concert’s success, various captivating moments and hints on his values as a musician. Excerpts:
What was the inspiration behind organising the ‘The Chorus Leader’ concert?
The inspiration for having the concert came from a realisation that the timing was ideal. It was an opportunity to engage intimately with my fans, family, and supporters, to have a candid conversation.
Did the event meet your expectations? How did the audience respond?
The event exceeded my expectations and was met with overwhelming enthusiasm. The energy and affection bestowed upon me made me feel cherished, like a beloved child. We shared a profound connection throughout the evening, from my entrance on stage until the final song; it was a momentous occasion for me.
The event centred around the theme ‘All the Things I Didn’t Say.’ Could you shed light on some of the messages you aimed to convey through this theme?
The theme allowed me to share aspects of my life that are not typically expressed. I wanted to delve into heartbreak stories, anecdotes from my upbringing, and other narratives that provide context to my songs. This theme offered me the opportunity to convey the inspiration behind each song and the stories that accompany it. There’s much more to share.
Could you highlight a special moment or memorable experience from the event that truly stood out for you?
Every aspect of the event was remarkable. The connection was there; The connection was there, it was like we were having a family meeting. The unity, the joyous sing-alongs to songs the fans hadn’t heard before, and the genuine enjoyment were heartwarming. Songs like ‘Hello,’ ‘Flying Without Wings,’ ‘As You Dey Go So,’ and ‘No Forget Me’ resonated; their energy was unmatched. It was a convergence of beautiful souls and an amazing experience.
Your live performance was captivating. Could you elaborate on the extensive preparation that went into delivering such a dynamic show?
The preparation process was intense. We spent almost three months as a cohesive working band, ensuring that every detail was perfected. The process involved continuous refinement, additions, deletions, and modifications. The dedicated practice paid off, resulting in an amazing performance.
Following the conclusion of ‘The Chorus Leader Live,’ what can your fans anticipate in terms of your next project?
The next significant project is the release of ‘The Chorus Leader Album.’ as well as more interactive events akin to this recent concert. These gatherings will take place in various locations worldwide, facilitating a deeper connection with fans.
Your songs often reflect current realities. What serves as your main inspiration for crafting your music?
My music is rooted in various aspects of life. It encompasses reality, relationships, and the ordinary experiences we encounter daily. These themes serve as my wellspring of inspiration, shaping the narratives I wish to share through my songs.
Did your family background influence your songwriting, and at what point did you decide to pursue music as a full-time career?
The realisation that music was my calling came after my victory in Idol West Africa. Prior to that, my focus was on education; you have to go to school and work in Shell. But after winning, I recognised that music was the path I was meant to follow.
Your songs and performances exude modesty. Have there been instances where you’ve declined to perform in certain shows due to your values?
Absolutely, there have been occasions where I declined offers that didn’t align with my values. I’ve declined to perform in shows that require certain attire or presentations that do not reflect my identity as an artist; I don’t want dancers not wearing full clothes’ as I want distractions on stage. My aim has always been to create an environment where my audience can focus solely on the music and the messages I convey.
Your lyrics are known for their family-friendliness. How do you maintain this approach in your music?
I prioritise creating music that appeals to a wide audience, including families and diverse age groups. A child can listen, you can bring a five-year-old, or 10-year-old into my concert and they will have fun, you do not need to be afraid that I’m going to say certain things so we’re good.
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What advice do you have for aspiring artists aiming to stand out in the competitive Nigerian music industry?
For upcoming artists aiming to stand out, be seen and be heard, it’s essential to understand both the fundamentals and the nuances of the industry; and build familiarity with what works and what doesn’t. Most importantly, create music that will transcend time, songs that will outlive you and resonate with listeners for generations, rather than fleeting trends or a flash in the pan.