Afrobeat artiste, Davido said he had to leave Nigeria after his hit song “Fem” became the unofficial soundtrack for the #ENDSARs movement last year.
The award-winning singer featured on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”, on Wednesday and spoke on different issues, including his recently released third studio album, “A Better Time”.
“I did not record that song thinking that was going to happen. Honestly, it is amazing how I saw my voice be an instrument for the people. It was amazing…I got into a lot of trouble, I got into a lot of trouble. I had to actually leave the country; it was that bad because I got into a lot of trouble,” Davido said.
During the protests, the artiste himself joined the peaceful marches and was vocal on social media.
“They listened, they heard us. They might not have changed anything, but they were shaken. I see a lot of young future leaders coming up – things are gonna change,” said Davido.
Nigeria has produced acts, Fela Kuti, in the ‘70s, and with rappers like Falz who sing about socially conscious issues. Afrobeat has been used to draw attention to the country’s experience of politics, corruption, terrorism, and abuse of power.
Now popular around the world, the genre has the power to draw global attention to issues affecting African nations.
Speaking on the growing cultural supremacy of Afrobeat worldwide, Davido told Noah about his first contract with Sony in 2016. “I told them, you guys might not understand now, but in a couple of years this is going to be one of the biggest genres in the world,” he said.
For Noah, Davido and other Afrobeat artistes’ rise to fame has cured the “inferiority complex” that he says he always felt towards American pop culture. “We were like, oh America is better than us, the UK is better; everything was better than us in Africa,” said Noah.
Davido also reminisced about schooling in Alabama where he will play some DBanj, P Square, Freshly Ground (a band from South Africa), and a couple of Nigerian artistes that were popular then and will get reactions like, “What’s that? Those drums are going hard! They sound good. So, I always knew that, eventually, it would be appreciated.”.
“What do you think it is about Nigerians that made them take over the music scene?” Noah asked, and Davido gave huge credit to the Nigerians in the diaspora who insisted that only Naija music be played when they were in clubs saying for instance, “Play Davido’s music when my bottles are coming out”.
He also attributed some of the success of the genre to the fact that “Everybody in the world has a Nigerian friend”.