Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Darey: Going Global

Darey Darey Darey Darey

“I admire Neo for the work that he has done but I would not say that our music is extremely similar because my music is deeply rooted in my African culture but it is great comparison.”

My journey to meet Darey involved the irritation of going to the wrong hotel at first (ED: Doah!). Cue resourcefulness by his UK contact who sent a cab one of those ones with the tinted glasses so joe public will not know who is being transported. For 15 minutes I was a star, which is longer than a Big Brother Contestant!

I enter his room with the usual apologies but Darey is about the most laid back guy I have seen. He is talkative but not in that loud manner. Darey offers me a drink and we ease into the interview. Darey’s laid back Nigerian self was over in the UK to begin promotion for his first UK single with Grammy nominated Chamillionaire featured, 'The Way You Are'. Already a huge success in Nigeria and other African countries Darey is the poster boy/man of Nigeria and conquering Africa in many respects means that his journey for global recognition is a given.

SEMPER: So how has the shopping been, I heard you have been shopping like mad since you got here?

DAREY: Well not much of a spree I only get windows of time to get some of the shopping done.

SEMPER: I heard your schedule has been crazy what have you been up to?

DAREY: As soon as we got I it has been interviews, PA’s in the clubs, radio, TV and I also managed to go to church as well so that was good. I also had a meeting as well this morning in fact just trying to work out some plans for the UK and strategy in taking on the UK.

SEMPER: You must be used to it?

DAREY: It is hectic and it is only going to get more but it comes and goes but this is what we sign up for when we are artist so it is to be expected.

SEMPER: Definitely and indeed how long have you been involved in music now?

DAREY: Well if you count my first album then it would be 2006 but I remember doing gigs, pubs and performing since I was fifteen it has been a long time.

SEMPER: Starting in Nigeria did you have visions of wanting to be where you are now or was it just the love of music?

DAREY: Initially it was the love and the passion and then you begin to dream and think bigger and work towards those dreams and indeed work towards those dreams. I am still on a journey anyway and I do not think that I am close to where I want to be so it is about working harder.

SEMPER: And your family were important in your early music aspirations?

DAREY: Well my father passed on before and my mum was a really strong pillar of support when I was growing up and advicing me on the auditions to go for and so I definitely had support there. From a musical background, my dad was a jazz musician and he made high life as well and my mum was a broadcaster and she did some singing as well. My uncles and other relatives are involved in music as well and so there was a strong family influence of music.

SEMPER: So now you are really the poster boy of Nigerian music...

DAREY: Well yes you are right in many ways and it is really humbling because all I am trying to do is do what I feel is right and you hope people support you and so far they have been supporting me.

SEMPER: With you making this push as an African artist into the UK, I have to ask, what is the state of African music as a whole?

DAREY: Well it is so vibrant at the moment and this is due to the big strides that Nigerian music has made in the last five years or so. Back in the day you would probably have to play some Jigga at a party to get it going but now they do not want to hear anything else at a Nigerian party now. Nollywood as well is huge as well. We are now more about the content and the quality so our music videos are a higher standard and our music production is much better and Nigerian music has now taken over the continent.

SEMPER: Why do you think that African culture and music is now being embraced and celebrated more?

DAREY: I expect what goes around comes around and so right now the world is looking at the essence of Africa. When something is in style it is in style and so it is about time. I think there is now more of an appreciation of African and Nigerian music and culture and that is without a doubt. Programmes like MTV Africa have really helped in that change and so that is great.

SEMPER: It is great really with artists like Nneka bringing African music to a global audience.

DAREY: Nneka is interesting and she really fights for the struggle. It is good because she brings a balance because for some of us we talk about love and relationships and others talk about social oppression and so it is good.

SEMPER: So how did you and Chamillionnaire hook up because you still have not met him?

DAREY: Well it is interesting because I still have not met him but it is great because it shows that with technology you can break barriers. Well I am always pursuing links with others and we just hooked up over the social media sites and I sent him over the files and he liked the track and the rest is history.

SEMPER: Why did you decide to go with this as your first break out track?

DAREY: It is partly due to a culture shock thing. Parts of the track has pigeon English but not too much that it will alienate the audience and you can still understand what is said and most of it is in English. Also with Chamillionaire being a Grammy award winner it seemed right.

SEMPER: Any plans then to actually meet up and work on other projects?

DAREY: Oh definitely we will be hooking up on some other projects and we have already made plans in truth.

SEMPER: You are the poster boy of Nigeria and you have been compared to Neyo...

DAREY: I admire Neo for the work that he has done but I would not say that our music is extremely similar because my music is deeply rooted in my African culture but it is great comparison.

SEMPER: So you have a self titled album coming out soon...

DAREY: The album is self titled and obviously the songs on the album there will be 'The Way You Are' but there has got to be some songs for the ladies and there will be a couple of collaborations with some big artists.

SEMPER: Like who?

DAREY: Well we have not secured them yet so I cannot say but my fingers are crossed.

SEMPER: Any plans to collaborate with some African artists on this project?

DAREY: I have already worked with a lot of the African artists already but I would love to work with some of the older artists that paved the way for us and artists from South Africa and Ghana just loads of artists from around the African continent.

SEMPER: Any last words to your UK fans?

DAREY: The album will hopefully drop very soon and so with the help and support of you guys it will be a great success. At the end of the day I hope to be more established in the UK and other countries and become a household name really.

'The Way You' Are feat. Chamillionnaire out now.
Words Semper Azeez-Harris

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