In November 2022, Afrobeats superstar David Adeleke, better known as Davido, took a break from public life to deal with the tragic loss of his three-year-old son, Ifeanyi.
After almost six months away – except for a performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup closing ceremony – the American-born entertainer has released a new album saying he is healing and “ready to stand up again.”
The 17-track album called “Timeless” is Davido’s fourth studio project since he ventured into music 11 years ago. The title, he says, is a manifestation of his goal for the album to remain a classic for decades. “I know in years to come, if you interview me, we are still going to be talking about this album,” he recently told CNN’s Larry Madowo in Lagos, Nigeria.
“Timeless” features multiple artists including British Nigerian rapper Skepta, Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo and Jamaican performer Dexta Daps.
The album explores multiple sub-genres of music including Afrobeats, Amapiano and Dancehall. According to Davido, the mix of sounds was to ensure that anyone who listens has a song that suits their tastes.
“Every time I play the album for somebody, there’s two, three tracks they like personally that they can take home with (them). And I feel like that’s how an album should be,” he explained.
Over the course of his career, the singer-songwriter has reached multiple milestones: earning dozens of awards and nominations within and outside Africa, selling out shows at London’s O2 Arena, and closing the 2022 World Cup with a performance seen by millions.
His previous albums “Omo Baba Olowo” (released in 2012), “A Good Time” (2019), and “A Better Time” (2020) have also seen commercial success.
“I haven’t put out an album in almost three years. And I feel like the world needs that Davido energy. I want them to feel a breath of fresh air when they listen to the album,” he said, adding that he hopes his new tracks appease fans who have missed him.
The 30-year-old also promises that the album will have some of the “goofy and fun” energy his 26 million followers on Instagram are familiar with. “Everybody knows when you wake up, you want to go to Davido’s Instagram story to see what he is doing today and stuff like that,” he said. “I just want them to feel like that love and energy is back.”
The performer says that before settling on the final version of “Timeless,” the album went through at least three different phases.
And while there are tracks with a lot of high energy and “good vibes,” he says grieving the loss of his son had some impact on the project. “Before my son passed, we had finished the album. But it was a tragic situation and I really had to calm myself down and take a step back,” he explained.
“On the album, you will hear a couple of songs that might take you back and into some emotions … you will definitely hear me talk about a couple of things I’ve been through personally,” he added.
The artist credits his return to the music scene to the overwhelming amount of support he received from family, friends, fans and well-wishers.
“At some point I couldn’t open my Instagram for weeks. One day, I just checked it and I saw messages from every kind of person in the world. I was like ‘you’re fine, you see everybody is rooting for you.’ That was one thing that really made me strong enough to stand up again, get back in the studio and do what I love,” Davido told CNN.
And now that he is back doing what he loves, the goal, he says, is for him and his team to continue to make music that resonates with people.
“That’s what we’re here to do, that’s what we were brought to do in this world. I’m just ready to get back, I’m ready to just go back on the road. A lot of things are going to be different.”