Davido’s Dreams Will Come True In Madison Square Garden, Where He Promises A ‘Timeless’ Experience


A three-year hiatus may be a big obstacle for some artists to recover from, but not Davido. The afrobeats star returned in 2023 with his fourth album Timeless, a 17-track effort that lived up to its name as it thrust Davido back into the spotlight — a place he’s called home for the better part of a decade. Davido’s legacy as one of afrobeats’ best artists is undoubtedly cemented in stone, but — in true African fashion — it should also be celebrated. That’s exactly what Davido will look to do when he takes over the legendary Madison Square Garden for a show that kicks off another run of Timeless performances.

“No rest!” the afrobeats star exclaims via Zoom call after I note his continued work amid a 12-month run of success. “These opportunities don’t come like that. So when God gives you a platform and gives you his blessings, you can’t take it for granted. [There’s] no time to waste at all, the world is looking at us. This is not the time to relax, I feel like there’ll be a time to relax. For now, we’re going hard — go hard or go home.”

Davido’s newfound focus follows a time where he admits “time was wasted,” but all of that is in the past. The future looks very exciting for the singer who is just as, if not even more excited to fulfill his lifelong dream of performing at Madison Square Garden. Ahead of that show, Uproxx caught up with Davido to hear about his plans for the MSG show, reflect on the Timeless, and dive into what the future looks like once he steps off the MSG stage.

It’s been a year since you released Timeless. What are your thoughts about the album when you look back at everything that’s occurred since its release?

2023 was crazy, man. A little hiatus [and] coming back with Timeless — a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to come back with a bang like that. I was fortunate to have a great team of producers, engineers, and writers who helped me with Timeless. After that, we did a six-arena tour, and sold every city out — it was crazy. [We] did shows around Africa, did a Timeless show in Nigeria, Timeless was nominated for three Grammys, my first time being nominated. It’s been a great year, I debuted for the first time [on] the Billboard Hot 100.

Is there anything in this Timeless era you wish you achieved that you haven’t yet?

I’m grateful so far for what God has done. I’m in my creative space right now. I definitely want to just keep dropping. I felt like, in the past, a lot of time was wasted, but now I’m focused. Timeless gave me that ginger and vim. It would have been amazing to have more time to do more with the Timeless album because it’s such a great body of work. I picked 17 songs from 80 songs. I’ve recorded at least another 40 [songs] now. I can’t just have all this music sitting. This is my Bitcoin, this is my cash. So yes, I wish I had more time. I’m doing better now, but I wish I had more money [laughs].

With your arena run last year, what was your favorite part of it that might’ve been new to you?

One show that was special to me was the Atlanta show. As a kid, my big brother used to take me to Hawks games all the time. Just walking in that building like, “Damn, I used to drive past this arena almost every weekend.” I used to go to school outside of Atlanta, close to Alabama. I’d come to Atlanta on the weekends, that’s where I was born. Atlanta is my family’s base outside of Nigeria. So I think that show was special [and] dope to me. One of the first shows where my whole family was in town. My dad, my aunties, it was just great to see people that saw me grow up in Atlanta look like, “Damn, that boy really did it.”

You’re the latest afrobeats artist to take the MSG stage. What are some things you plan to do differently to make this show the true Davido experience?

First of all, every artist has fans who like their music. So this is an opportunity for my fans to finally see me in The Garden. I want it to be on a very emotional night. I want us to party, I want us to cry, I want us to dance, I want us to talk [and] reason, and just celebrate the culture as a whole. I’m trying to see people in their African clothes. I don’t want to see the Dior, I want to see people come to celebrate Africa. I’m even trying to talk to the venue to get some African food — some jollof rice, some puff puff, some akara — just to give fans the whole African experience apart from the music.

Can we expect any special guests at the show? Any that you can reveal?

I got a lot of guests coming out. We have so much planned. The production… I’m damn near spending a ticket ($1 million) on the production just to make us look good. If you go all over the world, you have Nigerian doctors doing amazing things. You look to your right, you have Africans in sports doing crazy things. So [on] the music side, we have to hold it down. We’re trying to give the best production. It’s gonna be a night to remember, for sure.

Why has it always been a dream for you to perform at MSG? What about this venue specifically has been so special to you?

New York [and] the East Coast were one of the first places [in the US] to get hip to afrobeats, since time, even before it became mainstream. I remember doing a show in New York, about 9-10 years ago, and it was crazy. The fire marshall had to come, which just shows you that African music has been loved, since time. We just never got the opportunity to be in the big buildings [and] be in the big rooms, but good things last over time. I always knew the narrative would change. I remember walking by Madison Square Garden about seven years ago, and I was like, “Yo, man, I want to sell out this place.” The Garden is just different. I’ve sold out arenas all over the world, but The Garden is one for the books.

The relationship between the United States and Africa continues to grow strongly, especially when it comes to music. What do you think needs to happen or keep happening in order to preserve this relationship and even take it further?

First of all, I think ownership. We need to own our own. In Atlanta, I started this thing called Away Fest because I was like, “Why don’t we have our own Coachella? Why do we have to wait to get booked for these things when we can do it ourselves?” It took somebody one day to wake up and book an arena and sell out a show. It starts with a thought. We have so many amazing things back home. I’m talking about shooting more videos back home, showing the beauty of Africa.

The most important thing is not forgetting where you’re coming from and not being too thirsty for Western recognition. Africa is a whole continent, don’t forget that. If you’re supported by a whole continent, whatever support comes from outside is just a plus. So yes, we should appreciate the love we’re being shown overseas, but the most important thing is we should not forget where we come from.

After achieving a dream moment like performing at MSG, what comes next for you in your career?

I think we’re gonna add five more arena dates. My new album is almost done, so it’s about to be another ride. We’re about to shoot [the] “Kante” video with Fave and drop that. I have a documentary we’re working on. I want to invest in movies, I want to executive produce movies — there’s a lot of stuff that we’re planning. I’m building a new home, my dream home. [I] just [want to] keep pushing the culture and whatever God brings to our front we will receive it and be glad in it.

You’ve done a lot of collaborations since releasing Timeless (i.e. Chris Brown & Kizz Daniel), what are some others you’d like to make happen in the future?

I’m collaborating with a lot of people right now for the album, but I can’t spill that now. But people that I would love to collaborate with are Drake, for sure, Rihanna [too]. I’ve been listening to Jelly Roll, he’s really dope. But we got some people on the album. I don’t want to say too much. Africa-wise, I love amapiano so [I’m] definitely gonna do some more collaborations. Me and Musa keys did “Unavailable,” that went crazy. I got music coming with a lot of South African artists as well, so watch out for that.

Davido’s Timeless North American Tour kicks off on April 17. Find out more information here.