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Monday, June 11, 2012

A singer who lives the life he dreams

If you haven’t heard of him, you probably haven’t heard good music. Every young person in Nigeria at the moment – and probably, every young Nigerian in the United Kingdom, knows him. Or maybe heard of him.  He is getting universally recognized as a strong voice in the music industry. He takes his time to write, produce music and also sing what others have written. He is very melodramatic in a society where people continue to produce all sorts of music – strong and watered down lyrics that keep surprising us.

David Evans does everything when it comes to music. He is multitalented in that sphere. He studied Pop Music at University of Northampton and he practically understands the business of music. He lived as a young Nigerian trying to build a strong career in the United Kingdom; he became famous for recording in the countryside with his friends; he is a close friend of some of the great musicians of his day; he travelled round the world like the rich kid he is and has a broadened mind. When he speaks, there is so much wisdom gushing out. Along the line, he has written over 90 songs – and he will write more and more.

Most musicians sing of their experiences. As we noticed in For my Home Town, Evans might be reversing the process; he tries to experience what he’d already sang about. He began doing music at a very young age, before he fell in love, but he has written songs on love and affection. He wrote about marijuana, then sang out in Mr. Marijuana. We are yet to know if he smokes marijuana, but the joy we get in listening to Evans is something strange, something beery, and something amazing. He has the kind of voice no musician in Nigeria possesses and his style of music could simply be tagged different and absolutely afro-pop. For the most part, Evans continues to trail the blaze of modern music, suffused with old-fashioned beats.

Who is this young man?

Born in Imo State, in 1989, Evans is the second child of his parents. His father is an engineer who works hard just to make sure his children live a good life. “My dad is only concerned about our comfort and happiness,” Evans confessed when I visited him in his large mansion in Akabo village in Imo State. In that mansion, proudly situated in that bushy village, there is a standard recording studio built by his father for him. It is well-equipped and has everything a good studio should have. There is a funny thing too: his father built a stage for him in the compound. Would he perform for who? That is the question. The truth is that he has set aside his time to make his children happy. Few parents are like that, especially in this era where parents want their kids to become doctors and engineers.

“My dad is weird, because I’m not sure there are many fathers like him,” he boasts. And then, we will all get jealous and look for his head.

Evans’ mother is a tireless educationist who owns a very expensive school in Owerri town. So, when I visit the school, I realize something surreal about it: it is a school for the rich. The school-children are very neat, they stare at you shyly and they respond politely when you talk to them. They are well-trained. And they are beautiful children too.

Evans takes me to the music class and we sit there, talking about music and his life. He finds some serious joy in talking music. He is a happy man. His life is beautiful. He has little things to worry about. Maybe all that he worries about is his music – he has a long sheet where he pens down his plans for the future. He scripts his tomorrow. He will release songs, now and then, but an album should be out in 2013. And you want to know what happens if these plans fail?

“I prefer to plan,” he says. “That is how my dad brought us up. You just have to plan things out.”

He may not have said that he is a fan of Angelique Kidjo, Evans simply sounds like a male version of the African songstress, but both have different ideologies, as Kidjo sings in We are One: “As you go through life you’ll see/there is so much that we /don’t understand/And the only thing we know is things don’t always go the way we planned/” Yet, he plans all the time, which will amaze you. He has some willpower which he believes so much in. He sometimes knows what is going to happen to him. When he is scared of something that hasn’t happened, it happens.

The young musician is a budding celebrity who is also interested in filmmaking. He would love to be in some movies with good storylines. His humility to accept his weakness is what has endeared him to a lot of people. His mindscape is very broad. “I would love to be in good films,” he says and adds that he is not looking for major roles, as he needs to start from somewhere.