Dare Art Alade – popularly known as Darey – is a Nigerian multi-platinum selling and award-winning musician, singer-songwriter, and Idol series judge. He is the son of the renowned Nigerian entertainer, Art Alade.
Dare (pronounced Da-Ray) Art Alade was born in Lagos to legendary Nigerian Jazz pioneer Art Alade and Olapeju Alade. Dare, as a child, used to rummage through his father’s extensive jazz collection and tag along with him to his concerts. These early experiences gave him his first taste of ‘showbiz’.
Dare honed his skills at an early age, singing with several choirs, including the National Troupe of Nigeria Choir and then the Cathedral Choir. From the age 15, he began performing extensively in clubs around Lagos, Ibadan and other cities in Nigeria. It was during one of those late night sessions he met an executive at Cool FM, a major Radio station, who appreciated his voice, and his ability to interact with his audience. The determined teenager began shuttling between Cool FM and the University of Lagos where he was studying for a degree in Music, and sang with the a cappella group The Chordwebs. During his time at Cool FM, he had the opportunity to acquire the basic knowledge of radio production and marketing.
Darey has over almost the past decade been a disc jockey, TV presenter, entertainment consultant, voice over artist and performing/recording artist. He has also hosted a lot of notable events and awards.
As a philanthropist and humanitarian, Darey supports several causes close to his heart including Cancer charities, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and several foundations in Africa. He also set up the Art Foundation, whose main goal is to keep music education alive for kids in primary and secondary schools in Africa.
Apart from his accomplishments as a recording artist, music producer, TV/Radio personality and Master of ceremonies, Darey is also an accomplished businessman and philanthropist with backbone support from Livespot; an event production, digital agency and media company where Darey serves as a Chief-Creative Director.
2004–06: Project Fame
Darey’s big break finally came during the 2004 edition of Project Fame Academy, a well renowned Reality TV show and continent-wide talent hunt and emerged third in the contest.
2006–07: From Me 2 U
After an unfruitful record deal with Sony BMG Africa, his debut album ‘From Me 2 U’ hit the Nigerian market two years later on Storm Records. The album was laced with several hit singles, including ‘Fuji’ and ‘Escalade’ which enjoyed massive airplay in the Nigerian and international media. The top selling album also included the song, ‘Original Naija’ which was used as the theme song for the first ever edition of Big Brother Nigeria. Darey’s album, ‘From Me 2 U’ won several awards including the Awards for Musical excellence in Nigeria (A.M.E.N) and the 2006 Channel O Music Video Awards for best R&B Video in Africa.
2008: Project Fame West Africa
In 2008, Darey spent several months as the host of a music based reality show ‘Project Fame West Africa’ from where he first hit continental fame in the South Africa edition in 2004.
Two years after the release of his successful debut album, Darey released his highly anticipated follow up entitled ‘unDAREYted’, on the new start up label, Soul Muzik. The album sold over 150,000 copies across Nigeria in just two months. The album features appearances by Darey’s contemporaries and friends: Cobhams Asuquo (Aṣa’s producer), 2face Idibia, Naeto C, 9ice, Tee-Y Mix and the up-and-coming R&B crooner, Pheel, to mention a few. The critically acclaimed work features the smash hit ballad “Not The Girl,” which has been nominated for several awards and won video of the year at the 2009 Nigerian Entertainment Awards held in Washington DC.
unDAREYted caught the attention of the African American Music business legend Dick Griffey, who is credited with discovering and influencing the music careers of artists such as Shalamar, The Whispers, Babyface, L.A. Reid and Dr. Dre. Dick Griffey offered to executive-produce Darey’s third album which was to break Darey further into the U.S and international markets but unfortunately he died before the project could be completed.
2010–2015: Double Dare
In 2010, Darey performed at high-profile shows in many cities across the World including Nairobi, Johannesburg, Abuja, Lagos and other major African cities, including a special concert with R&B legend R. Kelly in South Africa and the This Day Peace Concert Tour in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, which had 50 Cent and Ciara as headliners. On request of the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, he was invited to perform at the presidential villa in an exclusive dinner to commemorate the Country’s 50th independence Anniversary. At the event, which was broadcast live to over 200 million viewers across the world, he performed a medley of 50 songs with his 15-piece band, “Soul band” to a room filled with several African presidents and past world leaders.
Darey was the main host of both the Gulder Ultimate Search and Glo Naija Sings reality shows in 2011 and in February 2013, put together alongside his Soul Muzik team one of the biggest shows Nigeria has ever seen, Darey Presents: Love Like A Movie in February 2013 which had the red carpet hosted by Kim Kardashian as well as the highly successful release of the music video, “Asiko” featuring Jozi and Ice Prince.
In May 2013 Darey released a new single, Special Fever, produced by internationally acclaimed producer Harmony. In June 2013, hosted the launch of media mogul Mo Abudu’s multi-broadcast network Ebony Life TV alongside Dolapo Oni and most recently signed on as an ambassador to Unilever’s popular beverage drink – Lipton.
Darey also became a judge on Nigerian Idol, replacing Jeffrey Daniel.
2015 – Present: “Naked”
October 2015, Darey released his fifth studio album titled Naked. The 13-track album made up of afrobeat, soul and R&B features collaborations with Asa, YBNL Nation rapper Olamide and multiple Grammy award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir. Ten of the thirteen songs on the album were produced by Oscar Heman-Ackah. There are also production contributions from Cobhams Asuquo and Vtek and Dare himself.