P.M. News (Lagos)

20 February 2004

Nigeria: Dele Bravo: New Juju Star Takes Conquest Formula to Lagos

Lagos — His kind of music is spreading like wild fire in major South-West towns.

Since achieving his musical breakthrough via Benson & Hedges Grab The Mic Competition in the year 2001, Dele Bravo's fame has continued to soar.

Recently, he became the event maker when City People's publisher, Seye Kehinde, was hosted in Ibadan.

Then came the series of lobby to move Bravo to Lagos.

The lobbyists have succeeded and Bravo will begin to dish out his stuff in Lagos, the stuff that made him thick in other states of the South-West area of Nigeria. With a promise to re-enact the brilliance which made him the number one slot winner at the B & H competition, Bravo is surely set for a new experience. He does not, however, see it as a new experience because he had performed in Lagos before, but not on a regular basis.

He cuts the image of a Hip-Hop artiste. One who raps like the Idrees Abdulkareems of this world.

Dele Bravo raps no doubt, but he ekes out a living as a singer of a variety of genres.

"I play Ju-Fuji-Makosa with Kennery touch," Bravo quipped when asked about his kind of music. He was, however, quick to add that he has something in common with the Kennery Father, Dr. Orlando Owoh.

Real names, Dele Ajetomobi, Dele Bravo who controls the social scene in Osun-Oyo states axis, is fast making an inroad into the Lagos social circles.

Though a household name in those two states, especially in Ibadan where he is based, Dele Bravo came into music with little hope of surviving the foggy terrain. But the horizon began to get clearer for him after a major musical feat which gave him a big lift into stardom.

A Music degree holder from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Bravo confessed he was not sure of the future of his musical career when he graduated in 1997.

"I must be honest with you, after I graduated in 1997, I was not sure of what I was going to make out of music, but I had to do it because that was what I studied in the university" he recalled.

But fate has a way of playing its own role. In fact, the opportunity to "shine" came when he registered as a contestant in the Benson & Hedges Grab The Mic Competition in the year 2002. Victory at the competition boosted Bravo's confidence and since then, there was no stopping him.

"It was indeed a turning point in my career," Bravo said of the Benson and Hedges competition which won him a Yamaha keyboard, having grabbed the first position in the keenly-contested competition.

"The result of the competition gave me an insight into how well my music is appreciated, and that was the tonic I needed to have come this far, he noted." Declaring that he has succeeded in maximising the qualities of Orlando Owoh in him, the Efon Alaye, Ekiti State-born musician said though he sings a variety of music, the Kennery flavour in his music is limited to the voice similarity alone.

"Orlando is my mentor. I love him so much. I fell in love with his music back in my secondary school days," Bravo said. He attended Oranmiyan Grammar School, Ile-Ife.

So, it was a great joy for the musician to meet for the first time, one-on-one with the Kennery Father, just late in 2003.

But how did they meet? "I was at home that day when a friend of mine told me Baba was in town, that we should go and see him.

"When we met him and I introduced myself, he said 'Ah! se iwo lo nko orin mi ni Ibadan?' (Are you the one who sings my song in Ibadan?) "I quickly told him that I don't sing his song, that I only have the same voice as his, and he prayed for me".

But are there other things Bravo has in common with Orlando Owoh? "What do you mean," he quipped, feigning ignorance of the import of the question.

Stern-looking Bravo would for instance, spend a considerable length of time convincing a doubting Thomas that he doesn't smoke Indian Hemp, while his solid fashion sense and cute looks would make it hard for him to be exonerated from the class of skirt chasers.

All of these, his mentor relishes.

But Bravo says he is a different person. "I don't womanise, neither do I smoke," he offered.

Desperate to sound convincing, he divulged that he is even about to take a wife, while he shot down insinuation that like other musicians, he may have an illegitimate child, even as he is not yet married officially.

His response was sharp as it was revealing.

"I don't have any child yet. May be those flirting musicians are not educated enough to realise the implication of their action. I won't do anything like that," he emphasised.

Having succeeded in becoming the toast of party freaks, Bravo who showcases his talent at Lyrics Nite club, Ibadan, every Friday evening, has gone totally corporate.

This he demonstrated recently when the Publisher of City People magazine, Mr. Seye Kehinde, was honoured in Ibadan.

"That show afforded me the opportunity to meet some of my fans in Lagos who had been yearning to watch me live.

"They were desperate to see me perform in Lagos and that has been taken care of".

According to Bebeto, Dele Bravo's Manager and Marketer, the artiste will be on the band stand at the popular Roots Nite Club, Ikeja every Wednesday.

Vowing to make the best of the Roots' opportunity, Bravo promised to shake Lagos musical scene to its foundation with God on his side.

With two albums to his credit and his favourite being ZRAYA, Bravo disclosed that his greatest and most useful fans are women. "I care a lot about them. They are my very useful to me" he declared.

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