It would be irrational to mention the pioneers of Afropop music in Nigeria without the mention of Paul I.K. Dairo popularly known as Paul Play. He was born into music as his father was the late popular Juju musician, Isaac Kehinde Dairo. It is therefore no wonder he developed interest in music and started playing musical instruments especially drums, at an early age. When he started singing, like his father, he chose Juju as his preferred music genre. Later, he found his true love and the genre of music he preferred: R&B. Juju actually brought him to the spotlight with releases like ‘Mo Sori Re’ and ‘Aye Mi’ but his flair for R&B made him team up with a Nigerian Hip-Hop group, Ruff, Rugged n Raw in 2006 to birth a soft and classic R&B tune, ‘Angel of my life’, which became a smash hit in a short space of time.
In the same year, he released ‘Forever’ which got as much as the reception ‘Angel of my Life’ got. He may not be that noticeable on the Nigerian music scene today because of the proliferation of new-generation artistes and the kind of music he does, Paul Play has carved himself a niche with his choice of words, depth of meaning and richness of vocals. Though the iconic singer was absent for some time, he announced his return in 2014 with a few love songs one of which is ‘I Wanna Marry You’.
The veteran singer is still very much around and keeps dropping songs with well-written lyrics for lovers of good music. His latest single, ‘Fool In Love’, which is a classic R&B tune released last year, attest to this. In the song, he chose to express himself this way: ”Baby I wish I was your hair so you could give me so much care/ I wish I was your world so you could live your life in me…. I wish I was your car so you could drive me crazy….I wish I was your favourite song so you could play me all night long…Baby say yes to love, I don’t know what to say/ Baby I’m lost for words just like a fool in love”. He followed up with a romance-filled film, the visual for the song.
The multi-talented singer is one of the few Afropop pioneers whose melodies set the pillars for many younger generation artistes who do meaningful, deep, great and soft music today. This explains why he is called an Afropop icon.