When Did Davido Start Music and What Was His First Song?

Davido started his music career in 2011 at the age of 18 with the release of his first song titled ‘Back When’. The song came from his debut album, Omo Baba Olowo released on July 17, 2012. 

Davido has since the inception of his professional career in 2011 been responsible for numerous number 1 singles, albums, and EPs. His music career has lasted 11 years and has seen him rise to become a global phenomenon. His songs are very popular and have won him awards worldwide.

Davido Left School to Pursue a Career in Music in 2011

The 29 years old Atlanta-born Nigerian singer attended Oakland University, Alabama after his secondary education at the British International School, Lagos. While in Oakland studying business administration, Davido began buying musical instruments. His interest in music would propel him to leave school.

Davido subsequently returned to Nigeria to focus on his music career but was however forced by his father to enroll at Babcock University in order to get a degree. His wealthy father, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, paid the school to start a music department where its inaugural student being his son. In 2015, Davido graduated with a degree in music.

Davido was Inspired to Start Music by Don Jazzy and D’Banj

It was in 2008 when Davido was about 16 years old that D’Banj released his 3rd studio album, The Entertainer which was produced by Don Jazzy. The album has hit songs such as Fall in Love, Suddenly, and Entertainer. After Davido listened to it, it honed his interest in music, and he thought he could also deliver good music and reach global stardom.

The interest was further fueled by his cousin who had worked with the now-defunct Mo’Hits crew. Fast forward to 2011, his interest had already started turning into a professional career with his debut single, Back When with the help of Naeto-C.

Prior to all of these, Davido had a part of the influence of his lecturer cum singer mother, Veronica Adeleke who had a band, David’s band. He also accords the energy he possesses and expresses through his music to his mother.

How Many Albums Does Davido Have?

As of 2022, Davido has recorded 3 studio albums in 2012, 2019, and 2020; and an EP titled Son of Mercy released in 2016.

Omo Baba Olowo was the First Studio Album by Davido

Omo Baba Olowo (OBO), which in Davido’s native Yoruba language means son of a rich man, was his first studio album. It was released by the Adewale Adeleke-owned HKN Music on July 17, 2012, a year after he released his debut single off of the album a year earlier.

Different songs on the album were produced by scores of producers such as Jay Sleek, Maleek Berry, and Shizzi among others. The album contains 17 songs with hits such as Dami Duro (2012), Ekuro (2012), and All of You (2012).

Although the album recorded guest stars including 2Baba and Ice Prince, it received several negative reviews. The reviews attacked his voice, production, and lyrics among others. Regardless, it fetched him The Headies Award for Best R&B/Pop Album (2013) alongside nominations at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards for Album of the Year and Best Album of the Year.

Davido’s Second Album A Good Time Reached US Top Charts

Individually, the songs in A Good Time album topped several charts but as an album, it peaked at 6 on the US Heatseekers Albums and 40 on the US World Albums billboards.

The album was released on November 22, 2019, and produced by several artists, including Davido as the executive producer and his father Deji Adeleke, also an executive. Other producers are Tekno, Shizzi, Seyi, Teekay, and London on da Track among others.

The 17-track album features Peruzzi, Summer Walker, Popcaan, WurlD, Zlatan, Naira Marley, Chris Brown, and Yonda among others. Some top songs of the studio album are Assurance, Fall, If, and I Milli among others.

The second album of the billionaire’s son won the Rest of Africa award at the South African Music Award in 2020, making him the first Nigerian to win the category in the award. The album also led to his awarded platinum plaques. In addition, A Good Time gained over a billion streams on all platforms among other records it broke since its release.

A Better Time was Davido’s 3rd Studio Album and it Featured His Son as an Executive Producer

With the lead single, Fem, Davido released his 3rd studio album, A Better Time on November 12, 2020, about 9 days to his 28th birthday. Although the album owes its production to a handful of producers including Hit-Boy, Ckay, Napji, and Mayorkun among others, it listed Davido and his son, Ifeanyi David Adedeji Adeleke as the executive producers.

The 14-track album became another massive success in the career of the Atlanta, Georgia-born singer and producer. It made it to the top of many charts across the globe and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 6th ceremony of All Africa Music Awards in 2021.

It features artists such as America’s Nicki Minaj, Nas, Young Thug, and Chris Brown; Nigeria’s Mayorkun and Tiwa Savage; as well as South Africa’s Sho Madjozi, to list a few.

The Best of Davido’s Songs

Davido has recorded more than 30 songs since the ushering of his career and the term “best” may be relative since different reviews have contradicting thoughts about the works of one of the richest musicians in Africa.

From what is known, most of Davido’s songs have a good tune, performed greatly, great vocal technique, interesting lyrical content, beats, and rhythm. However, on a general note, some of his songs have recorded more success than others. For this reason, the best of his songs are going to be judged here based on the following criteria:

  • Critical acclaim
  • Commercial success
  • Acceptance and longevity
  • Awards and nominations

Fall is the First Afrobeat Song to Be Certified Gold in the US

Fall was released on June 2, 2017, as the second single from the A Good Time album. Like many of Davido’s songs, Fall is a classical infusion of rhythm that is imbued with his voice and energy.

The Afrobeat embedded song hit several local and international records.

Records, Awards, and Nominations of Fall

  • The song made Davido the first African artist to be certified Gold as a lead artist in the United States
  • It received another Gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) AND Music Canada
  • If became one of the top-100-most-Shazam-searched singles in America in January 2019
  • It became the longest-charting Nigerian pop song in Billboard history (2019)
  • It peaked at 3 on the US World Digital Song Sales, 13 at US R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, 21 on US Afrobeats Songs, and 25 on US R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Billboards
  • Fall was listed on the list of Pitchfork’s 200 Best Songs of the 2010s
  • It was the first Nigerian song’s video to cross 200 million views on YouTube

If Won 2 The Headies Awards

From its lyrics to its rhythm, video, and production, Davido’s song If remains a song to reckon with in Africa’s league of songs that pierce through as unapologetically great. Little wonder it did not take long for it to reach the heights that many Nigerian songs have not reached.

One unique thing about the Lagbaja Gra Gra sampled song is its ability to last long without fading as fast as it rose. Instead, it finds its way to the nook and crannies of the entertainment industry while still maintaining its presence in TV and radio stations, as well as clubs and other public spaces.

The Tekno written and produced song reached more than 150 million views on YouTube alone. This would make it one of the most-streamed Nigerian songs on YouTube. Also, it was certified diamond by the Recording Industry of South Africa.

Other Records, Awards, and Nominations won by If

  • If was sampled by Kanye West and The Sunday Service Choir in a Christian gospel manner at the City of Refuge Church
  • 2x The Headies Awards for Best Pop Single and Song of the Year (2018)
  • The song became the origin of 30 Billion Gang (30BG)

Assurance was Performed in Hollywood Film – Coming to America 2

A love-themed song aimed at celebrating his then-girlfriend Chioma Avril Rowland. The release of Assurance on March 30, 2018, coincides with Chioma’s birthday. The positive reviews of the song became enormous just right after its release. It has been reviewed by Echo Nigeria to be a song that grasps you within seconds and keeps you interested throughout its slightly above 4 minutes duration.

While there is a great applauding for the rhythm and beats of the song, it has also been praised for its lyrical rhyme scheme. Little wonder it became an anthem in the list of best Nigerian wedding songs of all time.

Important Records, Awards, and Nominations of Assurance

  • He performed the song in the sequel of one of the most revered American films, Coming to America
  • The same year the song was released, Davido the Best International Act at BET Awards (2018), thereby becoming the first African artist to receive the award on the main stage
  • The song has been viewed more than 80 million times on YouTube

Aye Became the Most Viewed Nigerian Song on YouTube in Nigeria

Aye is one song that got Nigeria and Africa buzzing. The song is a love song that aimed to capture the 14th February Valentine’s Day. While at that, it told the story of a woman who chose love over “Ferrari” and “designers”.

Despite 8 years since its release, the song still makes itself relevant when it comes to pointing out Davido’s best songs in time.

Accolades of Davido’s Aye Song

  • Google’s YouTube’s Most-Watched Music Video in Nigeria (2014)
  • Aye is one of YNaija’s 10 Best Songs of 2014
  • The Fader listed it as The FADER’S 116 Best Tracks of 2014
  • It won The Headies Song of the Year and a nomination for Best Pop Single (2014)
  • 4x nominations from Channel O Music Video Awards (2014)
  • Nigeria Entertainment Awards for Hottest Single of the Year (2014)
  • City People Entertainment Awards nomination for Most Popular Song of the Year (2014)

Dami Duro Skyrocketed Davido to Fame 

It is the second single of the deep-dimpled singer and a song in the album, Omo Baba Olowo (2012). Dami Duro was released in 2011 and became one of the hottest songs of 2012 in Nigeria.

A year after its release, the Dami Duro remix (2012) was released and features the international music act, Akon.

Awards and Nominations won by Davido for Dami Duro

  • Nominated for Channel O Music Video Awards in the category of Most Gifted Dance Video of the Year (2012)
  • Won Channel O Music Video Award for Most Gifted Newcomer Video of the Year (2012)
  • Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA) for Best Video by a New Artist (Live Beats Choice, 2012)
  • 4Syte TV Music Video Awards for Best African Act Video (Nomination, 2012)
  • Nigeria Entertainment Awards for Hottest Single of the Year (2012)
  • 2x The Headies Awards nominations for Best Pop Single and Song of the Year (2012)

List of Other Davido’s Best Songs

  • Stand Strong (2022)
  • FEM (2020)
  • Risky Ft. Popcaan (2019)
  • Blow My Mind Ft. Chris Brown (2019)
  • Fia (2017)
  • Dodo (2015)
  • Tchelete Ft. Mafikizolo (2014)
  • Skelewu (2013)
  • Gobe (2013)
  • All of You (2013)

Who Writes Davido’s Songs?

Davido is credited with writing many of his songs. He also produced a lot of his songs at the earliest phase of his career. However, some of the songs of the artist, including the big hits, were written by other songwriters.

Although he has not attested that some of his songs were written by other artists, some singers and songwriters have claimed to have written some of Davido’s songs. Some of the songs include:

  • Gobe (2013): It was co-written by Password, a singer, songwriter, and producer, and produced by Shizzi
  • Blow My Mind (2019) was co-written by Chris Brown and WurlD, born Sadiq Onifade, and produced by Shizzi
  • Stand Strong (2022) was co-written by The Samples and produced by Pheelz
  • If (2017) was written and produced by Tekno
  • Fall (2017) was co-written by Kojo Funds and produced by Kiddominant
  • Like Dat (2017) was written by Teniola Apata “Teni”
  • Aye (2014) was said to be co-written and co-produced by Runtown
  • 1 Milli (2020) was written by Adekunle Gold which earned him a Headies nomination for Best Songwriter of the Year
  • So Crazy (2020) was written by Peruzzi
  • Gbagbe Oshi (2016) was written by General Pype and Davido was said to have bought the song for a million Naira
  • Pere (2017) was supposedly written by Dammy Krane
  • Flora My Flawa (2018) was said to have been written by Mayorkun
Nenpan Ngwan
Nenpan is a linguist, reader and writer who can spend hours thinking of the right words. She believes that with each thought comes words, and with each good word comes a great writing that can change how we see things.

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