Darey: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” pretty much sums up my outlook on life. We all have to keep striving and trying to be the best versions of ourselves. To continue to hope and become better. Nobody is perfect but we can keep aiming for it. That is why I am always […]

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You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” pretty much sums up my outlook on life. We all have to keep striving and trying to be the best versions of ourselves. To continue to hope and become better. Nobody is perfect but we can keep aiming for it. That is why I am always eager to learn new things and continue to push the envelope.


As part of my series about the “Social Impact Heroes”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dare Art Alade, professionally known as Darey is a multiple award-winning and multi-platinum Afro Soul/R&B singer, musician, songwriter, music producer, showstopper extraordinaire and entrepreneur. He is also the son of the legendary African Jazz Musician and entertainer Art Alade. 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.

As a seasoned live performer, he has graced the stage alongside some of the World’s finest music acts, including Beyoncé, Wizkid, Jay Z, Ciara, Cardi B, Burna Boy, Sean Paul, Usher, R Kelly, Akon, Lionel Richie and many more. His albums “From Me 2 U,” “unDAREYted,” and “Double Dare” have sold several million albums cumulatively and helped him amass millions of fans across Africa and the diaspora.

He has released several hit singles, including the groundbreaking Afro R&b cut, “Escalade”; “Carry Dey Go” featuring Afro pop legend, 2Face (2 Baba), and the piano laced classic, “Not The Girl”. His critically acclaimed last album “Naked” includes the hit single “Pray For Me” featuring multiple Grammy award winning super group, Soweto Gospel Choir, and collaborations with Afropop mega star Olamide and international Afro soul songstress, Asa. He also has received 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.

In addition to his illustrious music career. Darey has also worked as a successful radio and TV personality, appearing as a coach, judge or host on several TV shows, including Project Fame West Africa, Nigerian Idol, and The Voice Nigeria. He is also a seasoned Master of Ceremonies, voice over artist and philanthropist. As a creative entrepreneur, Darey is the co-founder of Livespot360, a 360º creative collective responsible for some of the most innovative and disruptive ideas (and executions) in Nigeria. Under his creative direction, Livespot360 has delivered many successful campaigns and produced some of the most elaborate and groundbreaking concerts and festivals in

Nigeria, which have featured appearances and performances from African and international superstars alike, including Grammy award winners Kelly Rowland and Ciara, as well as global super influencer and TV personality, Kim Kardashian.

The Livespot X Festival which birthed in December 2019 across two African cities Lagos and Accra, saw rapper, social media sensation and Grammy Award winner Cardi B headline what was dubbed the biggest and best festival in Nigeria’s recent history! Cardi B’s performance was truly electrifying, and her personality shone beyond the stage as Darey also immersed her in Nigerian pop culture, showing her around and also paying a philanthropic visit to an orphanage, acting as the entertainment bridge that connects the world to Africa. All Cardi B talked about after hervisit was Nigeria!

Darey is a consummate perfectionist and despite already accomplishing a lot, he is determined to continue to elevate his game, with “World Domination” being the next logical goal. With a new international music project, collaborations with some of Nigeria’s finest and continuing to expand his media empire, Darey is indeed Nigeria’s Ambassador for the culture.

Both my parents were musically inclined. My Dad was the great Art Alade, famous Jazz musician and TV personality. He was a class act. He met my Mum in a choir and the rest as they say is history. There are many music greats from my lineage as well, so I guess it’s safe to say I was born into music. However, it wasn’t such a rosy journey for me. I only started taking music and entertainment seriously after my Dad died and luckily my Mum was very supportive and always encouraged me to chase my dreams. I sang in a children’s choir, then church choir and an acapella group before I became a radio & TV presenter, event host (MC/Compere) and an all-round creative engine. All my life I have been in entertainment and the creative business. Thanks to my wife, I have also picked up a lot of other entrepreneurial habits along the way that have shaped my career and that gave birth to Nigeria’s first true 360 creative agency, Livespot360.


Thank you for joining us Darey. Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or take away that you took out of that story?

I remember when I first started out singing on the live circuit locally. I got stage fright and forgot some of my lyrics to a song I was covering. Luckily it wasn’t a 5,000-seater packed-out venue with an impatient audience! They encouraged me to pick myself up and give it another go. Lesson learned; if at first you don’t succeed, as my late father Art Alade would say, “keep trying to try!!”

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

If you are planning on getting into the music or entertainment business, it is imperative to pay as much or even more attention to the business as you do to the music. I find that most artists or creatives really focus on their craft or art, and leave the business to managers, labels, executive producers, etc. The truth is whatever career path you choose, thoroughly understanding the industry will give you an edge, and ensure a greater chance of excelling in your desired field. With the music or entertainment fields, a lot of people think because it is creative in nature, there is no need to really develop their natural abilities through study or education of some sort. For me, studying music in University for example, was a really good foundation coming into the industry.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

Apart from my Dad, one of the most iconic figures for me while growing up was Fela Kuti. His music genius was unparalleled and his stage presence, mind-blowing! His uncanny ability to blend traditional Jazz with African beats and create a whole new genre called Afrobeat really set him apart from the crowd. When he tickled the ivory keys and cued the rhythmic horns section to further crescendo the “African orchestra” that would be his massive band on stage, it was pure magic. And as if put under a spell, his music would transport even the most unwilling audience to faraway places. I remember vividly when he stormed into my Dad’s club Art’s Place in Yaba, Lagos back in the day and yelled out for him in his inimitable tone and swagger “Art, Art…where are you??!!!!” I witnessed first-hand, his larger than life personality, playful yet firm and always lively. For a long time during my formative years, his music, lyrics and passion for the masses and for African unity would inspire not just me but my entire generation and beyond. My wife Deola has also had a tremendous impact on my life and career as we work closely together across our various businesses. With her background in graphics and interior design, I have had the opportunity of learning a lot from her point of view and vice-versa. She has made remarkable successes within our field of expertise and she continues to be a huge inspiration to not just myself but African women in general. She is also extremely passionate about women empowerment and loves to help people. The impact is still ongoing!

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?

After achieving a certain level of success as an artist and entrepreneur, coming from pretty humble beginnings, it is gratifying to be in a position to provide employment opportunities for a few hundred people, who in turn have been able to feed their families and even impact their communities. This has been a natural process, but as the business grew, we wanted to do more. Through my company Livespot360, which is a full-service creative, media and entertainment enterprise, we have been dedicating resources to mentoring and empowering the next generation of artists, creatives and entrepreneurs across experiential marketing, production, entertainment, digital, tech and more. We have been reaching out to the wider community, trying to contribute in our own way to addressing the huge youth unemployment problem in Nigeria, by providing skills development programs for young people interested in media, entertainment and technology. In Nigeria, the music, film and tech industries are creating massive opportunities for millions of freelancers, artists and entrepreneurs.

When we produce some of our other large-scale events, such as Livespot X Festival or the Born in African Festival, we historically recruited our international celebrity guests like Cardi B, Kelly Rowland, Ciara and our African superstar headliners to participate in these programs by meeting with some of the young people we work with. It is a motivational and life altering experience for some of these kids, who come from disadvantaged backgrounds to meet their heroes in real life, who have overcome hardship to achieve great success.

We are hugely popular when it comes to skills transfer across all our productions. We have also conducted free technical trainings for freelancers and experts in a bid to increase local capacity in Nigeria.

We have also held coding workshops in Lagos, Nigeria through our unCODE platform where we gathered hundreds of youth to sit, learn and associate with some of the brightest tech minds in Nigeria and beyond including Iddris Sandu from Los Angeles, California.

Furthermore, we are in the beta-phase of development of a new platform that we hope will impact many more young creatives in Nigeria, across Africa and beyond.

Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

My Dad passed away when I was barely 12 years old. This left my late Mum with the sole responsibility of fending for the family. I could see how tough this was for her and it definitely did take a toll on her. I had to grow up quickly, earn my keep and do what I could also do to support the family. I was quite fortunate to come across a gentleman by the name Chris Ubosi who took a chance with me and gave me my first major break in entertainment as an on-air radio personality. This afforded me the opportunity to learn a tremendous lot, meet incredible people and also complete my University program at the time. These shaped part of my outlook on life when it comes to encouraging and developing home-grown talent. It is important to not just spot talent but to guide and aid the same to achieving full potential. This has guided everything my team and I have achieved over the years.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

This story would best be told by people who have been direct beneficiaries of my involvement in various capacities over the years. We usually just get on with the task at hand *smiles*

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

That’s a great question. I was recently appointed to be part of a presidential committee setup by the Federal Government of Nigeria to come up with ways to address challenges in the creative sector, particularly with the impact of COVID 19. Being an integral part of this project did provide an opportunity to make some much needed recommendations.

I think young people in Nigeria are enterprising, and known for their resourcefulness which is what drives the booming music, film and tech industries here; however, the Government can do more to bolster their efforts by;

  1. Making a concerted effort to Include younger people in pivotal positions in Government, so policies can better reflect the needs of the youth, especially considering the fact that we are indeed the future.
  2. Investing more in education, especially vocational schools for arts, tech, tourism and entertainment.
  3. Investing more in innovation hubs or funding to support young inventors, coders, etc.

There are many more detailed recommendations embedded in the committee’s final report.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

Weirdly, nothing comes to mind.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

That’s another great question! Earlier this year, I actually became part of a movement, along with some of my peers in entertainment and the arts. Though I didn’t start it, the #Itstartswithme campaign is all about motivating people, particularly young people to take strides in order to take the future in their hands and be the change they would like to see in our dear country. We cannot solely rely on the Government, even though we do need to hold them accountable, and be a part of the political process. There is also a lot we need to do as private citizens in our own communities to move things forward so we gather to brainstorm, discuss publicly, proffer solutions and lead by example, thereby inspiring others to follow suit.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” pretty much sums up my outlook on life. We all have to keep striving and trying to be the best versions of ourselves. To continue to hope and become better. Nobody is perfect but we can keep aiming for it. That is why I am always eager to learn new things and continue to push the envelope.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

This is a tough one, but I would settle for Barrack Obama or Oprah Winfrey. I’ll let them in on it when we have that sit down. We have to do what we can to further shape the future for Africa through our youth! A collaboration is important and we must continue to preach African unity.

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

Thank you!!!

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