It isn’t a far stretch to imagine that every piece of music is an expression of love for something, whether it is money, drugs or abstract things like hate and justice.
Johnny Drille, perhaps Nigeria’s most impressive vocalist recording now, makes music that is an expression of love for love. In Johnny Drille’s world, love is as it is in a rom-com, a rollercoaster of highs and lows, heartbreak and epiphanies, grief and joy, but with a happy ending.
When it doesn’t end happily, it leaves a throbbing ache behind, of regret, of sadness, that is maybe even more beautiful than the former’s joy.
On Wednesday, Drille, who was born John Ighodaro, took to Twitter and announced that he was soon releasing “The greatest love song ever”.
He repeated the phrase in caps. When Count On You dropped on Friday, he tweeted “you can count on me to always deliver good music” and urged his fans to help promote the new single.
By Saturday morning, Count On You had racked over 100,000 views on YouTube.
For an artiste who is yet to really break into the mainstream, the numbers seemed to be adding up, slowly.
Count On You is a typical Drille song: the lyrics are poetic, heavy with layered meaning; the rhythm is designed to start slow and pick up into something of a crescendo and climax; and, of course, Drille’s unique voice which caresses the ears like a stick of soft wool.
The song is another point for Drille in the imaginary race to become this country’s musical love connoisseur.
Now, on to the appearance of Bambam and Teddy in Count On You’s video, which, at first, appears to be a stroke of marketing genius. But it is more than that. Drille is also tapping into the strange chemistry of one of the most unexpected public love stories in 2019.
No one gave the duo a chance, after their Big Brother sultry rendezvous. “Nobody thought we’d ever come this far,” Drille crooned.
The BamBam and Teddy romance is a vivacious rejection of Nigeria’s conservative idea on how marital love develops and Drille appears to agree with their story of lasting love. “Baby this is day one of forever,” he sang.
Count On You is a beautiful work of art, if not for its realism, but for its evocation of a world where love triumphs over everything, including societal expectations. It is an ode to the power of trust and vulnerability in a world low on faith.