Davido: His Rise to Fame in the Nigerian Music Industry

Davido Adeleke
Written by Omolola Akinyemi

Nigerian music superstar, songwriter, producer and philanthropist Davido is practically larger than life in popularity across Nigeria, and the entire globe. He is undeniably one of the most influential Nigerian music artists of the 21st Century. His creativity and passion is undeniable. Davido is also the third richest musician in Nigeria as at 2023, with an estimated net worth of 27.6 million US Dollars.


Davido has repeatedly combined elements of traditional Nigerian (and African) music with contemporary Western music genres. And his musical experiments have turned out very successful. His songs are so danceable and awesome, the beats combined with his voice are surprisingly exciting. Not only that, Davido’s songs have produced slangs that have attained insane popularity over the internet. He has experimented with Afrobeats, R&B, Dancehall, Highlife, Ragga, Amapiano – name it. And they came out quite meaningful.

For a son born with a silver spoon and abundant financial resources at his disposal, he could have otherwise squandered it. But rather, Davido took the wise route. He used his father’s wealth and his network of valuable, knowledgeable helpers to promote his passion for music. And the rest is history – a vivid success story for all to see.

Four factors may have contributed to Davido’s persistent rise to fame. First, he was born and schooled in the USA, and is well exposed to Western music. Secondly, he comes from a rich family, and even has a relative who knows about the music business – money is not a problem. Thirdly, Davido is notorious for his numerous collaborations with both local and international music icons. And fourthly – the music megastar does not hesitate to invest in others through philanthropy and career support. Passionate and visionary Davido, though not without his shortcomings, is an enthusiastic giver and helper. The overall result is massive worldwide patronage for his music. And all that achieved in just 11 years of a brilliant, hardworking musical career.

Davido: His Background and Musical Origins 

Born David Adedeji Adeleke in November 1992, Davido was born into the rich Adeleke family of Osun state (southwest Nigeria). He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, but raised in Lagos-Nigeria. Davido is the second son out of 5 children. His father was a business mogul, and his mother a university lecturer.

As expected, he was entitled to a good educational upbringing; and that was the case. However, Davido – who had ventured to study Business Administration at Oakwood University of Alabama, USA, did not complete his studies. He dropped out and meandered his way back to Lagos, Nigeria (after a bit of a spending spree actually). He was bent on continuing his music experiments, which he devoted himself to while in the university. Davido also sought to learn more about music production. 

Meanwhile, Davido’s father devised a way to keep him in school. He was enrolled in Babcock University to study Music. His father paid the school to create a Music department, while he was the inaugural student of the course. Davido eventually graduated in 2015. 

Davido started out as a member of the music group KB International, which he formed with two of his cousins. He was still a teenager (around 19 years old). However, it would not take long for him to break free into a solo musical career. His songs were at first the club-type songs fused with Afro-pop, and heavy but sensational beats. But then he went further to produce more songs that were truly appealing. There were unmistakable African vocals, beats and rhythms, sung with passion, carefully blended into his songs. 

Davido sang his first single ‘Back When’ in 2011, and the song got some attention from local music fans. However, his breakthrough came with the release of his second hit single, ‘Dami Duro’ – it was so hugely popular. The second song belonged to the music collection on his debut music album, ‘Omo Baba Olowo’ released in 2012. Along with ‘Dami Duro’, his debut album included singles such as Back When’, ‘All of You’, ‘Gbon Gbon’, ‘Ekuro’, ‘Overseas’, and ‘Feel Alright’. 

The song ‘Dami Duro’ would go ahead to win The Next Rated Award at The Headies of 2012. Similarly, the album ‘Omo Baba Olowo’ won The Best R&B/Pop Album at The Headies of 2013. The album also got 2 nominations – one for Album of the Year at The Headies in 2013; and another for Best Album of the Year at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards in 2013.

In the years that followed between 2013 and 2017, he continued to release highly popular singles. They included ‘Skelewu’, ‘Gobe’, ‘Aye’, ‘Tchelete’, ‘One of a Kind’, ‘The Money’, ‘Owo ni Koko’ amongst others. All the while, he collaborated with local and international music stars, and still continues to do so. His retinue of international collabo artists include Meek Mill, Lil Baby, NIcki Minaj, Young Thug, Chris Brown, Sauti Sol, Popcaan, Sunday Service Choir, and several others. Back home, Davido worked with popular music artists as well. Namely the likes of 2Face Idibia, Ice Prince, Naeto C, Shina Rambo, B-Red, Kizz Daniel, Peruzzi, Asake, Angelique Kidjo amongst others. 

Davido was first signed up as a music artist in 2016 by Sony Music. And in the same year, he set up his own record label, Davido Music Worldwide (DMW). Amongst such artists that rose to fame through discovery and signing deals with Davido include MC Galaxy, Victony, Peruzzi, Mayorkun, Idowest, Yonda, Dremo, Zlatan and Liya. By July 2016, he signed another music contract with Sony Music’s RCA Records. 

In all, the prolific singer has released four studio albums: Omo Baba Olowo (2012); A Good Time (2019); A Better Time (2020) and Timeless (2023). He also released about 38 singles, including hit songs such as ‘Fia’, ‘Assurance’, ‘Fall’, ‘Blow My Mind’, ‘FEM’, ‘Champion Sound’ and ‘Stand Strong’. Davido has booked and sold out the prestigious O2 Arena in Brixton, United Kingdom for a concert in 2019. He also went on a tour of North America between 2019 and 2020. Davido also sang the single ‘Hayya Hayya (Better Together)’ alongside Qatari singer Aisha and American singer Trinidad Cardona. ‘Hayya Hayya’ was included in the album for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Soundtrack. Naturally, his local and international awards are a hefty bunch indeed.  

Davido and His Juicy Endorsement Deals

Davido has benefitted from over 20 juicy endorsement deals. In fact, he has the highest number of endorsement deals for any celebrity in Africa (according to reports). They include the following.

  • Endorsement deal with MTN Nigeria in 2012 to the tune of 30 Million Euros
  • Endorsement with Guinness Nigeria in 2013 (undisclosed amount).
  • Endorsement deal with beverage giant, Pepsi in 2016 to the tune of 100 Million Naira (undisclosed amount).
  • Endorsement deal with telecom manufacturer, Infinix Mobile in 2018 (undisclosed amount).
  • Endorsement deal with sportswear giant Puma in 2021 (undisclosed amount).
  • Endorsement deal with Nigerian bank Wema bank in 2021 (undisclosed amount).
  • Endorsement deal with Martell Blue Swift in 2021 to the tune of 5 million US Dollars
  • Endorsement deal with sports betting company, 1xBet in 2021 (undisclosed amount).
  • Endorsement deal with Playstation in 2022 (undisclosed amount).

He also signed endorsement deals with MuchIt, Viva Plus, Pennek, Travelbeta, Bitsika and several other brands. 

Davido: Awards and Nominations

There is no doubt that Davido is one of the highest recipients of local and international music awards in Nigeria to date. Some of the awards he received are as follows.

  1. Best Newcomer Award, KORA Awards 2012
  2. Best International Act, BET Awards 2014
  3. Ben TV Awards 2014: 1 win, and 3 other nominations
  4. Dynamix All Youth Awards 2011: 2 wins
  5. African Muzik Magazine Awards 2014: Two wins, and four nominations 
  6. MTV Africa Music Awards 2014: 1 win, and 1 nomination
  7. Channel O Music Video Awards: 1 win (2012), and 7 nominations (2012-2014)
  8. Nigeria Music Video Awards: 2 wins (2012, 2014) and 6 nominations (2012-2014)
  9. Ghana Music Awards: 1 win (2014) and 1 nomination (2013)
  10. City People Entertainment Awards: 1 win (2014) and 6 nominations (2013-2014)
  11. The Headies: 8 wins (2012, 2013, 2014) and 9 nominations (2012-2018)
  12. Nigerian Entertainment Awards: 7 wins (2012-2014) and 3 nominations (2013-2014)

Davido’s Personal Life: A Bitter-Sweet Experience

Davido has been praised far and wide for his philanthropy, and his eagerness to help upcoming music artists. 

A record move in November 2021 saw Davido requesting for One Million Naira each from his fans and friends. That is, if truly they were his friends as he insisted. This was to mark his 29th birthday. He not only amassed 200 Million Naira, he also added an additional 50 Million Naira of his own. The entire money was donated to orphanages across Nigeria. 

However, there were serious controversies surrounding his personal life. Davido has fathered two sons and two daughters from four women. It took him several years to finally settle down and marry Chioma Rowland, a long-time girlfriend, in March 2023. Unfortunately, the only son of Chioma, and Davido’s second son (Ifeanyi) died before the marriage took place. 

Davido also lost 6 of his friends and crew members to the cold hands of death between 2017 and 2021. And for that, suspicions were rife as to his actual involvement in the entire issue. 


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About the author

Omolola Akinyemi

A Computer Science graduate of UNILAG, I hail from Ekiti state of Nigeria. An astute teacher, learner & admin assistant of many years experience. I love technology, innovation, and Nature. A problem solving mentality is important to me. The future is only seconds away, and I believe I can define the future now. You can also.