Out of our curiosity of what defines an artiste’s success in an industry as competitive and unpredictable as it is in Nigeria, we decided to take a closer look at Davido’s journey to musical success and global dominance. One thing stood out: the presence of a team of creatives who believe in his craft and contribute their expertise. We also discovered several layers and components that make up his successful career. Dayo Umarudeen, a member of the ever-growing 30 Billion Gang (30BG), serves as Davido´s road manager. He’s the guy who makes sure Davido has a seamless tour experience by arranging for his flight and hotel bookings, liaising with vendors and show promoters, and ensuring that Davido’s riders are met and all arrangements are intact.
Who is Dayo Umarudeen?
My name is Dayo Umarudeen, I work for DMW and more specifically Davido. I am a road manager and ‘everything’ manager
Everything manager? What are four words that best describe you:
Four words? Hmmm, I’m cool, chilled, a gamer, umm and I’m fun to be around.
Where did you grow up?
I’m a road manager and ‘everything’ Manager. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. I grew up there too. This is only my fourth time in Lagos. My first time was back in 2002, then again in 2006.
What does a Road Manager do?
My own job is completely different. The road manager is just an official title I chose because I am more lateral. I basically get all the logistical stuff done. Let us say David has a show today, my job is to wake up before him and get all the essentials ready (clothes, toiletries, etc), find out the schedule for the day. If we have a show, that means it’s going to be a very busy day. I have to make sure he’s ready to go, the stage microphone is good at the show. While he’s performing, I’m also preparing his next outfit. I’m the brain box behind David’s logistics for the whole show.
How did you start working with DMW and being Davido’s road manager? How did you meet him and get into such a vaunted position?
It was in the summer of 2016. I went to David’s show in New York because my brother is Tycoone. He’s been with David since 2013/2014- it was summer and I just got out of school, so he said I should come. I literally saw David for just about an hour. By 2018, I had finished school and my brother had just gotten back from Lagos. He had been here (Lagos) for like a whole year and I hadn’t seen him for so long, so I hit him up to link up. When I got there, David was at the house. I just started following him around and helping with small tasks around the house. It was close to my birthday and David was just like, “Okay, follow me.” He booked my flight and sorted my hotel. Since then, I’ve become his go-to person. I always say that he didn’t have someone to do his normal day-to-day stuff. I just picked it up from there. From Asa to Bobo to Menace, they just all took me as a brother.
What is your relationship with Davido like?
He’s cool. That’s my bro. He knows that I can be better than where I am today. That’s why he be pushing me to go further, he sees it and he is always there. I’m the kind of person that likes to do things on my own. I only go to David when I encounter difficulties because I know he can help me fix it. He’s always there to put me through. I do all the dirty work. I’m a roadrunner.
What are the lessons you’ve learned from working with Davido?
I have been with David for 3 years. I have learned everybody around you is not around you for the good things, some are around to bring you down. I’m big on trusting people. David is an open person but for me to trust people is hard. I have learned to be calm. During this corona period, I have learned to take stuff one day at a time.
How has corona affected you?
This year has taught me how to be patient. I was the kind of person that would say “let me buy that, let me spend this money”. But I have learned to just chill. Like it’s okay not to spend money today, it’s not every day you have to go out.
What was the feeling you felt when the tour was cut short?
My heart just fell to my feet. I remember we were on the tour bus and I was just seeing articles that COVID-19 had hit a couple of cities. He was already in San Francisco and that was the first place COVID hit in America. That was also our first show in America, I was just like bruh! The day the tour was canceled, we had a show in Colorado, fans were waiting outside, confused. From there, we went to Atlanta to reset. The next day, we came back to Lagos.
How has it been for you to be in one place?
Nigeria is tricky for me. Everybody has their home, but I don’t think it’s where I love to stay or live. It’s where I come to relax.
What role did you play in the creation of A Better Time?
I was a behind-the-scenes brainbox. I’m not a music person. One of my friends wrote Shopping Spree. He’s going to be in the video when it drops. I introduced him to David. For all the music videos, I styled him.
Has being with David helped or hindered you from achieving your personal goals?
I haven’t been able to. I feel like at the end of the day God has a plan for everyone. At the end of the day, I want to open a music label-not like a money-based one. I just want to be able to put people on the map. People behind the scenes. Show people what people in the background are doing.
For example, with someone like Drake, there’s always 20 people behind him making things work. I want to be that person that shows that this is the person doing this or that.