The Nigerian music industry is experiencing a major renaissance as a whole new generation of Afro hip hop, soul, r&b and pop acts rise to establish a new age in our music culture with major international appeal. From among these emerge gbolahan, an inspiring yet versatile singer and songwriter with a flair for rock and R&B juiced with a strong rhythm from ‘dante’, his acoustic guitar which he plays with thoroughbred skill.
Gbolahan (pronounced ‘gbor-la-hawn’, which means, show off my wealth!) is a native of the Yoruba tribe in South Western Nigeria and was born in Lagos to a chartered accountant father and an entrepreneurial mother. Along with his 5 sisters, they were a close knit and highly musical family as he learnt to play the piano at the age of 7. He recalls, “I learnt to sing 3-part harmony during family devotions as everyone could sing beautifully, so I knew what soprano, alto, tenor sounded like long before I even knew what they were called.” He eventually became the choirmaster at Command Secondary School Jos. He adds, “I wrote my first song when I was 14 and sang it at the school chapel, all my friends couldn’t believe I wrote it yet kept asking me for the lyrics. This trend has followed me ever since.”
As a freshman economics undergraduate at the University of Lagos in 1996, he was encouraged to learn to play the guitar by a neighbour during a 6-month Academic Staff Union strike (that plagued all Nigerian Universities!). With the aid of the book given to him, he began his journey to becoming a versatile guitarist, pianist, singer, songwriter and guitar tutor to over 200 clients including the world acclaimed guitar playing songbird, ASA.
Gbolahan has released singles with critical acclaim such as ‘Agbanilagbatan’ (ultimate deliverer), ‘Seni ma dupe’(I’ll always give thanks) and ‘Valentine’; all produced by the highly acclaimed producer, Cobhams Asuquo. These tracks reflect his spiritual, soulful and romantic sides. He confesses, “I see myself as a Contemporary Christian artiste, who is just an ordinary guy with a gift for writing heartfelt songs on my guitar that the regular guy on the streets can relate to: and the positive response from people is proof of this connection.” He has graced the stage on Spirit of David’s Celebrity Takes 2 and with artistes such as KUSH, Cobhams, Rooftop Mc’s, Nikky Laoye (at The Experience IV), Lara George, Yinka Davies and recorded along with names like TY Bello and Sound Sultan.
He recently teamed up with Wole Oni, another highly acclaimed producer to record his new single ‘Lojojumo’ (Everyday), an upbeat Rock classic which is receiving good reviews and airplay from radio stations. He has shot a new video “Oba T’on Gbo Adura” directed by Yinka Davids and is promoting his work vigorously after the double album launch of his 14-track album titled, ‘Seni ma dupe’ in Sept.30 & Oct.7 2012. He assures his growing fans to expect & enjoy great music, deep lyrics, heart-warming vocals and lots of quality guitar work.
Gbolahan is married to Ademilola, and they live in Lagos. He is a self employed guitar and voice tutor and continues to share his love for music with his many clientele most especially, the children.
Twitter Handle: @gbolahanodukoya