Jupiter Davibe has the perfect voice when it comes to talk about feelings, hope and love heartbreak. He knows exactly how to transform emotions into octave, rhythm and melody. From CFM to Destroys, from Scoa Gbeto to Atlanta, Jupiter wrote his musical epic adventure and we are his conquests. Every single song he releases is a hit. And we can feel out of them relentlessness, a careful attention for small details and a dangerous marketing. Who never yielded at a lost love while singing’’ I had to tell you’’(fallait que je te dise). Who never asked for forgiveness under the sweet vibrations of ‘’Love, love, love’’? Who wished that his voice had been ‘’never far’’ (Jamais loin)?
Here is for you the story of a struggle to sing. The story of a prince who has stolen a Griot voice to gather all the people on the earth, through one single universal language: music. We introduce to you, the Prince who wanted to sing so loud that everybody could hear him. Attention, he is such a talent!
They talk to us about a certain Ibrahim Bah, do you know him?
No, absolutely no. For God sake who is he? (laughs).In Guinea or at Atlanta, there are at least three people with that same name. I embodied all of them in Jupiter Davibe. I was born on August 17 1989. I have two bachelor degrees, one in marketing studies and the second in publicity.
You say that you feel to belong more to Benin than to Guinea
I am a child from Scoa Gbeto, a popular district of Cotonou. Scoa Gbeto is surrounded by Jonquet in the North, we have Zongo in the South, St Michel at the East and Missèbo at the Ouest. I think that I have more strings in Benin than in Guinea. I learned everything here in Benin. Without Benin, I don’t think I will be the person that I am today. There is an explanation for everything. My tie to this country is really deep. I was born here, I went to school here, I learned French here and I discovered my first tapes. It is in Benin, that I discovered music. I had my first public scenes, and I had my first angers as well here.
I lived everything here in Benin, but Guinea is also my home, there is nothing much to say about it.
Benin is in my heart, it is in me. Click To Tweet
How did you change from Ibrahim Bah to Jupiter Davibe?
At five years old, I said that I wanted to make music. Something happened. There was this movie I watched; actually I am still looking for its title, even if no one seems to be willing to remind it to me. I was the story of a Madingue of Africa who made a world tour with a traditional instrument named djembé. At all the places he was going, people were applauding him; they loved him and admired him for his music.
I started to have the desire to also have one djembé, after I saw that. I just wanted to do like him. I asked to my parents to buy me one. But they gave me a negative answer. Especially my mother who told me that singing was only for Griots, not for a peuhl prince coming from a royal lineage. Thanks to the help of a childhood neighbour, we fabricated a djembé by our own means with some construction pipe and with the dry skin of a sheep collected in Zongo. During the nights, we used to play it, and eventually I was leaving the instrument with him before I headed back to my home.
I had my first live show at seven years old. It was at Concorde Cinema (Akpakpa). The director of my primary school, a lady at that time, asked me to do it. She did ask me that question, not because I was a singer but because I was the noisiest young boy of the class. She knew that I was the type who will start to jump up and dance anytime he will hear something like music. Music was my voodoo. Click To Tweet
I had the thing; the stage attitude was in my veins. I performed the song “aicha” of the artist khaled. I don’t remember if It was good to listen or very bad instead. Actually until I had sixteen years old, I was not singing well, it was rather awful, even today there are some old songs that I can’t bring out.
Jupiter Davibe is an adventure that just happens to start one day. Because I respect my parents, and because they didn’t want my music, I separated the son from the singer.
So Jupiter Davibe is it because of the Planet or because of the god in the mythology?
I choosed Davibe on one hand, because it sounded like some colourful vibes. But also for the emotions I wanted to give to people. Secondly the choice of Jupiter was to refer to the god of War and to remind people of the greatest planet of the Solar system. I was pretty sure that with such a stage name, People were not going to forget about me. The reference is mostly dedicated to the god and not the planet. But what fascinated me the most and caused me to take this name, is the image of “greatness’’ carried by the two entities. I wasn’t interested only by their forms, or by their gifts, but by all their aspects. For me, it is a kind of final goal that I have set to myself. I don’t intend to spend my whole lifetime stage. I love music but not to the extent of getting blind by celebrity or because of who I am. I just want to bring a development to the music universe, my own signature, and my vision. It is particularly the legendary side of this name that carried me and which still gives me the strength to do what I do. Jupiter is my ultimate goal.Jupiter is the logical name of my ambition. Click To Tweet
It is the most beautiful thing in the world, especially, when it is full of emotions. Music has the capacity to express all the mind-sets or moments that a man can go through in his life. It is the best thing that had happened to me so far.Music is beautiful; it can’t be explained with words Click To Tweet
I was a very shy young boy, I quickly realized that my only way of communicating with the world, was my love for music. I didn’t know how to talk, but as soon as I started to sing, it will draw people’s attention on me. But what I got while being out of ‘’comfort zone’’ were not always positive.
So you had chosen to sing despite everything and everyone…
No one could have gamble on my success in music. Being conscious of that has always been my motivation. I function thanks to challenges. I come from a family where music was not welcomed. For my father to allow me to do my music, he challenged me to have my high school diploma in eleventh grade.
My mother on her side was the guardian and the keeper of our Peuhls origins. She was always saying:” I don’t want you to sing, in our tradition it is the Griots who sing, you are Peul Prince.’’
I fought with my parents without big clashes. I had the chance to have a big brother that will always protect me. He was so caring with me and gave me all my first tapes: Doc Gyneco, Papa Wemba, Mc Solaar. He’s also the one who took my defence, and stood on my behalf to prove to our mother that music wasn’t just a desire that I had for a moment.
I was a rebel, but I have never been the kind of rebel who says” I’m leaving the house, I don’t listen to you, I don’t study in school’’. I was rather the kind of rebel who will say what is on his mind and just after go back to his bedroom quietly. I was going on purpose to the kitchen, when my Mum was cooking, my excuse was that I wanted to give some help for the cooking, but every time I ended up singing in her ears. She was annoyed.She would take a spoon and throw it at me saying” I told you to not sing!” Click To Tweet
She saw me grow up and sing with my horrible voice. It is my passion!
Then why the Rnb as a musical choice?
The only big deal and risk of my life, was to sing RNB, at a time where everybody was rather doing rap, because Rap was working. On the market ‘’Diamant Noir’’, Kaysee Montejano, Ardiess, Sakpata, Excalibur and many other rap group were having the buzz. I just wanted to sing. People warned me that I will be seriously disappointed in this environment. I took the risk, ant it did work.
And were you able to convince the world of your passion?
One day, I went to the restaurant with my parents who were so surprised to be surrounded by so many fans saying’’ah, you are Jupiter’s parents!!’’. They even got more surprised when the restaurant bill that night was paid by the Fans. When I got my first award, I wasn’t present to the ceremony. My brother sent the trophy to my Mum ‘’ this is what your son have won’’. When my mother goes out, people would tell her “we saw your son at the TV’’, they would never tell her ‘’we saw your son taking drugs, drunk, fighting or in a sex scandal’’. With the time, she finally let herself convinced that making music was not an expression of rebellion with me, just like it was the case with others youth . Today she is backing me, and I have her blessings. If I was able to do that, there is no other challenge to scary me. She was my greatest challenge.
In the undertaking of your music adventure and in the quest for you voice, what were your relations with other people?
I will not pretend. I had many supports. Even if at the very beginning, people didn’t believe in me, it was a fact. This was not occurring because of my music. They just didn’t want to listen to me. It was not that they refused my music after a study of it. They didn’t even give a chance to my music at that time because they had already made up their mind concerning me. But when my music started to be listened, I have to admit that I‘ve been lucky. However I had hard periods but no low blows.
How did you bring people to listen to you?
Jupiter: I was the fat guy who was showing up everywhere. I was at all the concerts in town; I was watching the stage carefully. I wanted to know everything.
Nasty Nesta: He was the fat guy, who used to annoy everybody. Wherever you will be going you will see Jupiter. When Jupiter wanted something, he would obtain it by constantly disturbing you to have it. It is always a form of marketing, when someone always disturbs you to the extent of annoying you to get what he wants.
You knew that he had the desire; it is a very important message that we have to send to people. It is not because you have the talent at the basis that you are going to succeed. You can have some talent, but someone who is hungrier than you, someone who got more rage than you will make it before you, just because he won’t be afraid to be denied, or to always see closed doors before him. I was the first to download his first single. I wanted to know what this song was about. I told myself wow and straight after we started the remix. It was a very beautiful song.
How does one make it on his own, when nobody believes in him?
Who are you? Will be the first question people will ask you. You have to make your proofs.As long as you didn’t prove anything, it is normal that people doubt about you. Click To Tweet
People WHO don’t last in success are the one that are mad against people who never believed in them. But, it is because these people didn’t believe in you that you got frustrated, and you’ve fought so hard to show them they were wrong. Life is not easy and we have to push ourselves hard to do some things. It is not a matter of what is happening, it is a matter of what you want to see happen.
When did you give yourself wholly to your art? And what made that rage to start off?
To tell the truth it was in 2014. Only two years ago. It is a year where a lot of things happened at once in my life. It is the year of my father’s death. It is the moment you tell yourself that you are neither out of degrees nor of talents and opportunities. Each time I will find opportunity in music, I will put them aside. I was almost about to enter in “Nouvelle Donne’’, but I didn’t do it, because I wasn’t ready for many sacrifices. I also missed Kassav group propositions in 2011. People told me to make some zouk music but I refused. Was more than sure that music was what I wanted to do. Musically speaking I am another Jupiter since that year. I decided to take more risks with my career and to set up new challenges for myself.
So the day of your musical birth became the day your father passed away,
It is amazing and unforgettable. It is also something I don’t really want to talk about. I knew that day that he was going to die. It can’t be explained. It was the first time I didn’t wish a “happy birthday” to my parents on my birthday. My father went back to Guinea one year before his death, for medical reasons. I thought about it all that day long while I was preparing my Birthday night party. However the news came out in the only five minutes where I wasn’t thinking about it, when I was dancing. I left the party for like three minutes, then I came back to cut my birthday cake. People were so confused by my behaviour that day. They thought I was insane.
How do you conceive your songs?
Actually, there are technics, and every artist have is own technic. First of all I make a movie in my head. When I want to write, I put myself in another skin. For ‘’ Jamais loin’’(Never far), I was in the shoes of a guy who was leaving, I played an actor’s role in my text. At the beginning, I don’t write any lyrics. I just close my eyes. And then I ask myself: I want to talk about what? I want to talk about a girl with a broken heart? What happened to that girl?
When I finally have the story, I can find my role in it. The role of the guy who is watching the girl? The role of the girl herself, or the one of guy who impacted her life? In the single La fille du quartier when I wrote lyrics like:’’ she has the feeling, and she know it’’; and with “baby if you receive these words that means I’ve left’’( Jamais loin), I am in the shoes of the guy. In Fumilayo, I am just there like a boss and I am staring at a female boss who is having fun. It is more a matter of focus and angle.
Do you think that in one of your songs you will be able to sing in the name of a girl?
If I want to talk about a girl, I will use’’ you’’ or ‘’she’’.No, I don’t intend to personally put myself in a girl shoes. I’m not Stromae. Click To Tweet
I am a writer, but everyone has a singular technic and a particular writing style. Paolo Coelho writes in a different way. My style is more to write like a synopsis of a movie. I like the fact that people imagine themselves at the place of the character, I want them feel like they have already experienced this, or they know someone who passed through that.
Yea, I don’t only sing. There is the production label also. Davibe Music is specialised in artistic direction, production, and in developing careers. The label presently counts two members: Amiral Revers, a young rapper very talented who has so much to show, and me.
How do you make profits from your songs?
It’s thanks to a contract that I made profits on ‘’never far’’. I did something for MTN (the Gsm network). I also gained back from many small investments. For “Fallait que je te dise“, the same thing happened. I started to make profits on “Fumilayo” in less than 8 months. I did gain back the I had to tell youvideo making money. I don’t have benefices yet, but I‘ve already covered almost all my expenses. They were even some married men that came to tell me:’’ my son, I ‘m happy, you know what, my wife like your song’’. (laughs)
Is there any cost for attitude and appearance when one is a R’nb singer?
Nasty Nesta: We went to perform in Parakou recently. One night, a fan sent us a vocal note on our fan’s whatsapp number. He was saying this: “guys, I ‘m so disappointed by you. Amir, you, it is true that your bling-bling are expensive but you already posted them on Facebook in the morning. For a great artist like you, it doesn’t honour you. Plus, you‘ve already wore some of them in pubs. Try to change that. As for Nasty. I didn’t feel him, he got me upset. I asked him for his hat but he gave it to someone else.” The thing is that guys analyse everything that you wear, and if you are dressed in the same way twice, you are done. It is in outfit’s permanent renewing that our money goes finally.
Jupiter: There is a cost for everything. You can’t look so simple or not properly be shaved. We, as artists, we are exposed. For instance last weekend, I wore Roar clothing for a concert. I can’t wear the same Roar outfit. And you are doing all that so that someone tells you that he doesn’t like your song.
Did the music industry teach you something greater?
An artist doesn’t want people to touch his art. He want to release it out raw like this. But in business or in a career, there is a huge difference between what you want to do and what is doable. The only difference that you can bring is to bring an addition to what the others are already doing.
It’s almost impossible; money is the universal language now. If you have billions, you can do whatever you want. It is the business that matters. We can’t keep pretending that it isn’t the case. To be known, it’s all about the market. It is not why I sing.
I sing because when someone texts me to say I got my Ex back with ‘’Fallait que je te dise’’, I have an effect. Last time, people forced me to sing ‘’never far’’ which was not on my playlist for that particular stage session. I saw in the public the reaction of some people that didn’t know the song. What this song was able to make to people…hum .
On another side, someone once told me’’ many people don’t know where you are going but hey consider that you are on the wrong way’’ . But, at the end of the day, only you can say where you are going at and what you want. Listen to what is said around you, but don’t forget to get out of yourself, take a certain distance to look at yourself carefully and to examine what they tell you.
Is there anything you would have appreciated to be told before starting all this?
There are many things you will only learn on the field. When you really want it , you can learn things by your own in this environment. You fall and you stand up again. I have to admit that I wouldn’t have wanted people to tell me anything about it. I am satisfied with the fact that I had to learn everything by myself, the positive and the negative, hope and disappointment. It has sharpened me.
When one warns you so much about some things, when you always have someone in your back to tell you in an accurate way how you must be doing this or that. You don’t evolve in the best way. Being aware of it is not necessarily the best thing for your evolution.
What are your next musical steps after Fumilayo? Mr lovestory teller is ready to jump in zouk?
Not at all. I am on the eve of making a new single. There is also an EP, finished at 80 % finished, also there is a project of 7 tracks which will be released in the beginning next year. My project is to sing in many languages including African ones. I want to do the Madingue kizomba. R’nb is only a musical period in my career. My ultimate vision is a ‘’world music’’. I want to reinvent my art with r’nb, a little bit of afrobeat, some acoustics, afro reggae rhythm and an inch of the so unknown peuhl music.
You definitely want to end up with the peuhl prince’s taboo ?
An artist lives on challenges, and if you don’t have any, the only thing you do is to sing. French remains the language in which I’ve learned a lot of things. The peul language is the different side, the originality of my music. Peuls people constitute a very great market. They are about 40 million or even more in Africa. Yet the peul music is considered as a locked up, and not open to the outside. It is a tribal music. The peul music has been listened only by peuls and this for decades and centuries. Why can’t we convince the entire world to start listening peul music? It is one of my greatest objectives. For some people, when we talk about peuls we are meaning village and many herd of oxen. But no, it is not only that. Click To Tweet We have to break the myth and bring it to the extent that people will be asking themselves: “what is he singing”? I am about to get there anyway. I feel like I will get there.