“Here we stand as a people
With one song: with one voice
We’re a nation: undivided and poised
We will take our stand: and build our land
With faith: to defend what we love
Here we are as a people
With one heart: for one cause
We’re determined: to rebuild and restore
Where freedom reigns: and truth prevails
A land where there’s hope for us all (2x)
We’re all we have, we’ll defend our land
We believe in this nation, and we know we’ll get there
We’re all we have, we’ll defend our land
We believe in Nigeria and the promise she holds
And that one day we’ll shine like the sun
We’re a great nation”
Listening to and watching the live performance of this masterpiece by the maestro complete with a huge flag held over one shoulder made my eyes a little misty, and I can assure you that it wasn’t just me. Year after year, this song continues to evoke a warm feeling of patriotism and hope in the heart of young Nigerians everywhere.
I believe this is a great way to start a new month; bursting with hope, faith, inspiration and purpose. Welcome to September!
The chords and soul from which this and other great pieces pour forth is none other than the now legendary Timi ‘the Voice’ Dakolo.
Born on 20, January 1981 in Accra, Ghana to a Nigerian father and a Ghanaian mother, the native of Bayelsa State, Nigeria lost his mother as a young teenager and was raised by his Grandmother in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Music came naturally to the young Timi and he burnished his talent with stints in the church choir and even co-founded a singing group- Purple Love- in Port Harcourt. Therein he might have remained- although with his vocal capabilities that would most likely not have been the case- when the West Africa Idols Singing reality show opened for auditions in 2007.
He reportedly wowed the judges during his performance and immediately became a favourite across the nation. At the finale, he emerged victorious, battling off a horde of equally strong contenders including ‘If You Ask Me’ crooner Omawumi Megbele and Jodie of the ‘Oh Baby’ fame.
Unfortunately, the promised recording contract- the prize- fell through and it seemed as though Timi had faded into oblivion. Tongues wagged and people, yours truly included wondered, ‘Whatever happened to that fellow with the powerful tenor?’
Needless to say, a powerful comeback re-assured West Africa that it had voted wisely during the competition. Despite his disappointments and flailing around the music industry trying to find his footing, the resurrected Timi was self-assured, mature, unapologetic and unfazed by the fact the he seemed to have lagged behind in the race to stardom.
In 2011, Timi released his debut album, ‘Beautiful Noise’ a great collection of love songs, and ballads to great acclaim. The bulk of the album was produced by Cobhams Asuquo with audience favourites like ‘So beautiful’, ‘Love song’ and ‘There’s a cry’. Earlier, he had released a single, ‘Heaven Please’ a tribute his late Grandmother. The song featured rap from M.I and won the Best Recording at the Hip Hop World Awards (now Headies).
Other hits have followed, including Great Nation in 2012, and most recently, a stirring love song, ‘Iyawo Mi’ [My Wife] guaranteed to make even the coldest heart melt and fall in love. He is presently working on his sophomore album ‘Love and Consequences’; what can we say? The man loves to love! Need I add that he is ecstatically married to the love of his life Busola and they are blessed with a bundle of three!
Timi is a constant presence at highly rated Shows and Concerts, including those organised at the very highest echelons by the nation’s presidency. Such is the pull and power of his music and his performance. Those slow, uncertain days? Gone with the wind I am sure!
In an interview with YNaija! Magazine, Timi stated, “The reason I am doing music is not because of instant money or fame; I want to be here a long time, evergreen…I look at Onyeka Onwenu, I look at King Sunny Ade and I want what they have…”
Nigeria’s King of Soul has taught us a valuable lesson this September morning: “Life is not a competition; you are running a race solely designed for you; focus! Don’t get pressured or distracted by what other ‘athletes’ are up to. Your race is yours, solely yours.