My name is Dabiri, Lanre Dabiri

Ok, I feel the need to warn you, I’m somewhat of a scatterbrain, my mind is constantly roaming. My writing isn’t great either, so please bear with me. I may beat around the bush sometimes but if you’re patient enough, you’ll get my point.

The last few years of my life have been very interesting, a lot has changed. I don’t have an album coming out, I’m not touring, I haven’t even been in a recording studio in months. I have two houses full of pro audio recording equipment that are probably going to be listed on eBay soon, hard drives of music I like to consider ‘dated’, and fewer and fewer music business related phone calls with each passing month. The only thing that has remained constant and may actually be growing in number is the barrage of emails from up and coming talent. They’re either looking to get signed, get connected to a colleague, or just seeking advice. I have had the privilege of meeting some amazing young professionals, and I enjoy engaging younger artists. I am eager to share my experience, teach a trick or two or just give guidance in any way I can. I don’t think we do enough of that as a society. A lot of people go to the grave with information that can add value, give perspective or even change lives. That’s a topic for another post. If you’re reading this and you have ever sent me an email that I didn’t respond to, please forgive me, I get hundreds of emails weekly. I have resisted hiring someone to sort out my inbox because I don’t want to lose the personal touch, sadly I may have to do so soon, if I’m going to be able to keep up.

Like I said earlier, It is really interesting how different my life is now. I used to live in a house with at least four or five other adults and now it’s just me and my girls. I used to get out of bed when I felt like it, now if I don’t get up at 8am, my kids will be late for school. I used to be out club hopping all night, every weekend, and now I can’t stand loud music for more than an hour or two. Since I started having kids, my routine has adjusted to accommodate a lot more family time. I’m much more domesticated now and I’m loving every minute of it. When I had my first daughter in 2009 I was still very active as a musician and record label exec. I remember being in and out of studio while my wife was pregnant. I also remember constantly being on the road touring, from nationwide radio and club tours, to the US, and the UK tour of late 2010.  Touring took me away from home for extended periods. I remember being home with my family for no more than two weeks at a time for almost the entire year. While I enjoyed meeting fans, performing and collaborating with artists from all over the world, I missed spending quality time with my girls. I’m blessed to have the most amazing wife anyone could ask for. She was there from the very beginning of my professional journey as a musician in 1998, and she never complained because she believed in me, a young man living his dream and following his passion. She never once complained about the late nights, the constant trips, the ever-ringing phones, the constant dinner meetings at the house where she had to cook and host my sometimes annoying guests. Some of the people I was constantly surrounded with were creative jerks but she never once complained, I appreciate her for that.

Over time, I began to feel the need to spend more and more time with my family, so I chose to re-evaluate my commitment to my passion of being an active musician. An opportunity came in 2012 to expand the record label and sign new artists which I did, hoping to step away from active performance and spend more of my newly acquired free time developing new talent. My undeniable album was scheduled to be my last studio album and I figured it would be easier for me to be the label boss in order to spend more time doing the more domestic things that are now top priority. Long story short, the partnership to expand the label didn’t work out as planned because partner/investor commitments never quite came through as promised. It put a strain on me emotionally and financially, and eventually I started thinking to myself “…maybe the universe is speaking to me, could this could be a cue to step back and re-evaluate my goals? Am I doing this solely out of passion? Have I lost the plot? Does this make sense as a business? Is this what I want to spend the next ten years of my life doing? Is there maybe something else I ought to be doing right now that I’m not doing? Is there a greater purpose for me out there that I have yet to explore?”.

I decided to take a break from it all by the end of 2012. We were pregnant with the second baby and I realized how much my wife needed me, nothing was more important to me at that time than my family. I spent a lot more time with my wife and my first daughter, I gotta tell you, watching her grow is the most beautiful thing in the world. With Toke my second daughter on the way, I had to re-channel my creative energy and focus on finding a new and meaningful purpose. I couldn’t afford to be away from them, so whatever my new challenge had in store, it had to fit within my new schedule. That is when I began exploring some of my side projects and I zoomed in on a solution I had been working on for a few years on the side, Playdata.

As a musician and label exec doing business in Nigeria, I had to deal with challenges that are specific to the entertainment industry regarding the return on investment of broadcast promotion campaigns. In simple english, you spend a lot of money but you are unable to match the results with your expenses in a scientific manner. It was always a gamble with each release, and I was pretty sure I could figure out a way to minimize that risk. I have always been a technology enthusiast,  the architect in me believes that up to 80% of man’s problems today can be solved with technology, we must focus on innovation, and what better time to take a dive into providing that solution. Today I am proud to say that we have not only built an optimal solution for that problem, but we have raised necessary capital to provide it to anyone in the world who is seeking improved efficiency of their broadcast campaigns. Look up playdata when you have a moment.

Through it all, I have had more time with my family, I have grown in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. I have learned to enjoy the serenity I once knew as a young boy growing up in Kaduna. My relationship with close and extended family has never been better. I have lost a lot of the fluff and discovered who my real friends are, but above all I have connected with my inner self and found true happiness. A lot of people believe happiness is directly related to financial independence but while I can confidently say I have never been more excited about my financial situation and it’s prospects, I understand that the happiness I’m experiencing is more as a result of my constant journey towards the discovery of my personal legend and how to inevitably fulfill it.

I enjoyed starting from scratch,…young boy from Kaduna with extraordinary passion that arguably changed the game. I enjoyed the hustle that created eLDee the don, I enjoy influencing younger creatives, I enjoy innovation and what it means to the human race and our beautiful planet. I enjoy acquiring knowledge, I enjoy sharing knowledge, and I hope to continue doing things to inspire generations to come. I may not be on your TV or radio like I used to, I may now be referred to as “that guy wey sing Bosi gbangba“. I may not receive preferential treatment at public functions, but I have taken the first step towards an enriched human experience, and a truly fulfilling life, I have found happiness.

“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

66 thoughts on “My name is Dabiri, Lanre Dabiri

  1. i really appreciate you decide to share this your wonderful thoughts with the world .. You’ve said some extraordinary words on here .. I learn family is important thank you for the beautiful words of advice .. God bless you and your family

    • Words of wisdom here,I have always appreciated you in everything you do and you’re my most respected musician in Nigeria…Every time you speak,I just wanna listen and pick out one or two things but I always end up picking everything cos all what you say are important..God bless and keep you for us eLDee

  2. the don !great one dre!….hope every creative artists will b able to tap into d benefits of playdata adequately n make world/naija a beta place..lovin d endin quote!!..more power/ideas to dt mind..*thumps up!!

  3. Nice write up eLDee! As a wife I am proud to say you have really set you priorities right as a father,husband and family man. May God bless your home always…Amen!

  4. Don…. I Love Your Insight And Diversification. Most Artists Are One Way…. This Is One Of The Greatest Ideas Have Ever Heard Or Witnessed In My Lifetime. Boss I Will Implore You To Do A Bit More Promotion For This Project. It’s Indeed A Huge One.

  5. Sometimez ww just av to give up what we love most for that special beat of our hrt..ur kids will grow up and read ds …nd what greater joy would fill dier hrts dan avn u as a fatheer… as a young adultvam truly inspired…Some People are worth melting for

  6. Boss, Great to hear of the journey and to see Playdata is out… When next you are in Lagos or life brings me to ATL we should hang. Love to hear more about the epiphany. Greetings to Madam & the girls (Ur anointing is following me – 2 girls ;-))

  7. Olanrewaju, I enjoyed reading this. So good of you to share it with the world. It would give many others the opportunity to re-evaluate their lives. Dolly, Temi and Toke are blessed to have you and I am sure your parents are proud of the man you have become. God bless your home and thank God because the sacrifices you have made will pay off more than you ever imagined. No sacrifice is in vain.

    Like Max Lucado said When you are in the final days what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?”

    No one says on their deathbed, “I wish I had spent more time at work.” Investing time and energy in your family and relationships pay the richest dividends of all.
    You have made a very great decision and I wish you all the best in the journey ahead which I am sure we will be part of. Love you all Bro.

  8. Great piece Eldee, quite interesting, life assessment an all, at some point in ‘we’* life we just gas do that. It all starts by asking the right questions; What have I been doing in the past year? what did I gain? what did I loose? why did I loose and gain? Why? What can I do differently this year? I am happy doing that? Should I do something else?

    Most of us stream through life without ever stopping to ask ourselves these questions and then frankly return the answer. I did me some of it late last year, and now, I am playing in a whole new field now, leveraging DATA SCIENCE and VISUALIZATION in governance (presently). I am enjoying it because its blowing my thought and creative cables.

    While i enjoy my new found love, data in policy and governance, enjoy yours; ‘data in music’.

    P.s a hit maker is always a hit maker.


  9. thank you for sharing your mine with the good with family cos some need it but the can,t see it.for my advise to you,be srong and stand firm, dont be lazy worked had like you are doing before many of your fans is waiting for new album, name is M.P,b,am upcoming artist. I started music in 2001,am talented artist with many tracks but not saling due to know recording label i need help thanks 07033569681.

  10. Very inspiring, so wonderful of you to share. I am glad you decided to go into technology (in which I know you are so much into), went through the PlayData website, feeling the whole idea, great concept. Wishing you success.

  11. Eldee Tha Don…you have spoken well! What you have done is what so many Nigerian artiste don’t see. Most of them want to continue to churn out music, forgetting that at some point in time one has to b ow out, moving on to the next level and will continue to stay relevant beyond just being a music artiste. I’m waiting to hear the progress of your Playdata project.

    I’m a small time blogger, i’d like to share your depth of knowledge on my site and as well make some noise from my own ends about the Playdata project too

  12. Why lie, you’ll be seriously missed on the Nigerian music scene. I still dey jam your music from Trybe (Lagos Life), to early Elder (Champion), to the Don (Mo le gbomo lowo e, Na Wash). Not many artist can combine creativity with sense. Please do us a favour before you check out. Encourage one or two upcoming artists to be a voice for what that is decent and right.

    Do you my brother. More grease. May God shine through you and bless your family well, well. Thank you for playing a good game.

    • Thank you for the kind words. I’m going to miss recording albums but I’ll probably hop in studio from time to time just to jam and see if I can make some magic. I hear you on encouraging upcoming artists to further the social struggle, but that’s a personal choice, one that has to be made individually. I just hope others see me as an example of someone who always stood for what he believed in, and I still dey here, nothing do me 🙂

  13. you dont choose music, it chooses you. Dont deny the world of your gift. At least even if you are tired of the superficial stuff, record some mixtapes .. straight hiphop. A city on a hill cannot be hid. Focus on your entrepreneurship stay in the game as a recording artist.

    • Lol. I agree. Truth is music keeps calling me back but I have to resist, maybe only for a little while but I must prioritize. I’ll be back *ArnoldSchwarzennegerVoice*

  14. This was a nice write up. This is Bola. I and my brother came to your house about 2 years ago about meetorbit project. If you remember I am the one that sell perfumes around the world most especially in france 500,000 customers strong, here are my sites, vivre and Planning on doing direct shipping to Nigeria too with dhl .Let me invite you to my place in atlanta and go over some stuff if you have 1 hr.I am sure you will be impressed with my set up and plans.

  15. […] music fan, you most likely have seen a number of articles referencing eLDee’s recent post on his blog which confirmed the fact that he is done with music and hinted on his new venture called Playdata, […]

  16. Good stuff eLDee. Love reading this article. Every sentence in it reflected something in me, inspiring me as well being in a similar situation, though on a smaller scale.

    Thanks boss.

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