Davido — an 11-year Afrobeats veteran at the forefront of the genre’s early crossover — has announced the title and release date for his fourth studio album, one he told Rolling Stone was nearly complete last June. Then, in the fall, tragedy struck: his three year old son, Ifeanyi, died after apparently drowning.
Davido shared a theatrical trailer on Tuesday, which revealed his album Timeless will arrive on March 31. In the clip, he’s seen carefully writing out a note under his own narration. “There is a time for everything,” he says. “A time to grieve and a time to heal; a time to laugh and a time to dance; a time to speak and a time for silence. We all have the choice to do this in our own time.” The video juxtaposes shots of him seated at a sleek office desk with others of him sweatily running through a jungle while wearing his 30BG chain and a loose but luxurious fit. It also includes various performance and behind-the-scenes clips. When music kicks in, the percussive beat is marked with the producer Magicsticks’ (best known for his work with Nigerian street-pop upstart Asake) signature tag.
Davido’s previous album, A Better Time, was released in 2020 and featured Nas, Lil Baby, Nicki Minaj, CKay, Tiwa Savage, and more. Up to 2022, he released a string of singles and features including breakthrough Amapiano tracks “Ke Star (Remix)” with South Africa’s Focalistic and Virgo Deep, Adekunle Gold’s “High,” and his “Champion Sound,” a reunion with Focalistic. His appearance on CKay’s “Watawi,” and his own “Stand Strong” landed on Rolling Stone‘s list of the Best Afropop Songs of 2022.
Though Davido has been relatively private since the death of his son, he performed at the closing ceremony of the FIFA World Cup in December as one of the artists featured on “Hayya Hayya (Better Together),” the lead single from the games’ official soundtrack.
Speaking to Rolling Stone last summer, Davido said he had nearly finished the album and added it would feature more American stars as well as rising African acts. “Afrobeats is on the world stage right now. We’re trying to tap into every type of music, but predominantly African music,” he said of his upcoming work.
At the time, Davido reflected on the separate and devastating deaths of his mother, close friend, security guard, and photographer. “Sometimes I might not be the happiest,” he said. “You might see me on the road [and, still] I’ll try to smile, because at the end of the day, that’s my job. My job is to entertain. My music makes people happy.”