Dare Art-Alade: Reinvented
By Linda Orajekwe
Dare Art Alade, professionally known as Darey is a multiple award-winning and multi-platinum Afro-Soul/R&B singer, musician, songwriter, music producer, and entrepreneur. Since gaining exposure across Africa as runner up in the 2004 season of Music talent search reality TV show, Project Fame, Darey has made an indelible mark on the Nigerian and African music scene.
He has released several hit singles, including the groundbreaking Afro R&b records featuring legendary artistes like 2 Baba. His critically acclaimed last album “Naked” includes the hit single “Pray For Me” featuring multiple Grammy award-winning supergroup, Soweto Gospel Choir, and collaborations with Afropop star Olamide and international Afro-soul songstress, Asa.
Darey is the recipient of multiple awards and nominations including MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAS), Channel O Awards, World Music Awards, The Headies, Nigerian Music Awards and a host of others.
After his break from the music industry since “Naked,” Darey is back with another promising record, “Jah Guide Me.” In this interview, he talks about his come back and more.
After years of being in front of the screen, to moving behind the scene, how would you say Darey has evolved? Are you the guy we used to know?
I am still the same guy o! In front or behind the cameras, I remain consistently creative across everything I have been up to over the years.
So how has the experience been like taking a break from music?
I’ve not really taken a break from music. All the while, I have been recording in the studio on and off. Shifting goalposts as I go along due to external matters like, the work we do at livespot360. The great thing about it is that I get to be creative which is what I love!
Was the break an intentional decision? To stay off the screen as an artiste and come back at this time?
The break was not intentional. These things happen sometimes; but, I am glad to be back to share my music with the fans.
Your last project was ‘naked’ in 2015, thinking back to that project, is there anything you would’ve loved to do differently?
Well, I wish I shot a music video for the song I made with Asa titled, “inside of you.” I also wish that we had dropped a music video we shot but recently realized we forgot to release. All in all, no regrets. It was a wonderful album to create and the feedback till this day, has been remarkable.
You recently released ‘Jah Guide Me’. What is it about the song that brought you back on the scene?
It is the first single from an upcoming body of work. It talks about our human frailties not just in this pandemic; but, as people affected by the economic downturn locally and internationally. The emotions we are currently going through is very present in the song and felt like the right song to promote first.
How would you say the reception of this project has been since its release?
The feedback has been phenomenal! Not just in Nigeria but around Africa and the world: in places like, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, south and North America and parts of Europe too. It’s been truly overwhelming and this is still early day!
I would attribute this to the efforts of my team and the grace of God. The song itself is speaking to people on so many levels- spiritually and musically. So, it is a thing of joy to see the amazing reception so far.
Can we say you are changing genre with ‘Jah Guide Me’ or this is just a one-off and Darey is still the B&B guy we used to know?
Haha! I am still the Darey you used to know although I am a new and improved version. Just call me Darey now! My genre is what I call afro & b and you can be sure to hear more dynamic sounds from me moving forward. I keep reinventing myself!
‘Pray For Me’ and ‘Jah Guide Me’ is there a similarity in the creative/production process?
The similarity is in the style of messaging. The production and creative process between the two songs are quite varied. The former was produced by Oscar Heman-Ackah and the latter was produced by Pheelz.
What was your thought process when you decided to drop ‘Jah Guide Me’ considering how the industry has changed especially with the rise of social media?
You have to remember that I have been on the scene; so I am well aware of all the growth and changes. It is beautiful to see so much progress made over the years, and I am excited and even more gingered to bring my drive and work ethics which is missing in the industry.
How has being off the centre stage as an artiste helped you as a father and a husband?
A slightly more relaxed schedule affords me some more quality time to spend with family. Bonding time is great for a close-knit relationship.
What was your family(wife)’s reaction when you decided to hit the studio again?
There was no reaction as I did not just come and announce that I am back in the studio. My family is there with me at every juncture so they know what’s up.
What do you love the most about being a father and a husband?
Just being there for them is one thing I really love. My family doesn’t judge me even though they hold me to high standards. I am all that I am today because they love me unconditionally, and for that, I am grateful.
For the past years, through Livespot, you have brought a series of international A-list artistes to Nigeria, what informs your selection of artistes aside their popularity and fan-love?
It is always important for us to ensure they fit into whatever experience we are trying to create for our audiences. It is also important for us when engaging their crews, to ensure we get skills transferred in order to build local capacity. otherwise, what is the point of all the hype?
For an artiste who has been part of a reality Tv show both as a participant and a judge, what do you think about the ongoing BBNaija reality Tv show?
Truth is, I watch it in bursts; mainly via social media as updates. But I think it is a nice platform to engage TV viewers and gives a chance to young people hoping to make it in entertainment, by giving them some level of popularity. When some people complain that the show does not promote values, etc. they need to understand that it is just entertainment. The drama in the house is quite gripping and it seems the winner may emerge between Laycon, Kidwayya, Nengi and Erica. Tolani Baj is also one to look out for. What will be interesting is to see what they do with their newfound ‘fame’ upon eviction and completion of the show.
Who’s your favourite housemate?
Because I always root for the underdogs, my fave is Laycon, but lowkey (Laughs).
How has working behind the scene helped you understand the music business better and how does that understanding help you relate with other artistes especially during Livespot shows?
Working “behind the scene” like you put it has made it easy for me to bridge the gap when dealing with artistes. This can be attributed to my unique skillsets and experience garnered over the years while playing various roles.
Is ‘Jah Guide Me’ just a visit or a return to the centre stage in the industry?
Jah guide me is the first single from a forthcoming body of work so yes, this a return, not a fleeting visit.
If you have to collaborate with any of these young artistes coming up, top artistes and international artistes, who would that be and why?
Well, I have a couple of songs already recorded with Teni, Patoranking and more. You have to wait and see what other surprises we have in-store.
If you have to advise a younger Darey, what are you going to say?
I’ll tell him to work hard and trust God. Do not be in a hurry. Greatness awaits!
What’s one thing, aside from family, Darey cannot do without?
Hmmm… I cannot do without a decent phone and a high-speed internet!