INTERVIEW: From Drum Beats to Center Stage: DarlinGid Shares His Journey with Barrister Smooth, King Ebizimor

Meet Darlington Gideon Ebipade, popularly known as DarlinGid, a rising force in Nigeria’s Afro Pop music scene. Born on March 9, 1979, he hails from the ancient Gbaramatu and Egbema Kingdoms in Delta State. DarlinGid’s journey into music began in 1996 under the mentorship of Chief Barrister Smooth, an icon of Niger Delta Highlife and Ijaw Music. Starting as a conga drum player, DarlinGid quickly rose to prominence, earning recognition as one of the finest drummers in the South South region of Nigeria. In addition to his musical endeavors, DarlinGid has ventured into acting, gracing the screens of Nollywood with his captivating performances. Today, we have the opportunity to delve deeper into DarlinGid’s musical influences, cultural heritage, and the impact of his artistry on the dynamic Nigerian music landscape.

GbaramatuVoice: Good afternoon, DarlinGid! Thank you for joining us today. Can you tell us about your journey into the music industry and how you got started?

DarlinGid: Good afternoon, and thank you for having me. My journey into the music industry began back in 1996 when I started playing the conga drum with Chief Barrister Smooth, the king of Niger Delta Highlife Music. It was an exhilarating experience being immersed in the vibrant music scene of the Niger Delta. As I grew more confident in my abilities, I transitioned into becoming a full-time drummer, eventually working with the late King Rober Ebizimor. Working alongside these legends not only honed my musical skills but also instilled in me a deep appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of our region.

GbaramatuVoice: That’s quite a journey! Can you tell us about your experience working with Chief Barrister Smooth and King Rober Ebizimor?

DarlinGid: Working with Chief Barrister Smooth and King Rober Ebizimor was an invaluable learning experience for me. Chief Barrister Smooth was not only a masterful musician but also a mentor who imparted invaluable knowledge about music theory and performance. Under his guidance, I developed a strong foundation in rhythm and melody. Similarly, collaborating with King Rober Ebizimor allowed me to explore different musical styles and experiment with new sounds. Both experiences were instrumental in shaping my identity as an artist and fueling my passion for music.

GbaramatuVoice: You’re not just a musician, but also an actor in Nollywood. How did you venture into acting, and how do you balance your music and acting careers?

DarlinGid: Acting was a natural extension of my creative expression. Growing up, I was captivated by the magic of storytelling and the power of performance. When the opportunity to pursue acting in Nollywood presented itself, I embraced it wholeheartedly. Balancing my music and acting careers can be challenging at times, but I view them as complementary pursuits that enrich each other. I find that the discipline and creativity required for both disciplines overlap, allowing me to seamlessly transition between music and acting. Whether I’m on stage performing a song or embodying a character on screen, my ultimate goal is to connect with audiences and evoke emotion through my art.

GbaramatuVoice: Your roots in the Niger Delta region seem to have had a significant influence on your music. Can you tell us more about how your cultural heritage shapes your musical style?

DarlinGid: Absolutely. As an Ijaw from the ancient Gbaramatu and Egbema Kingdoms in Delta State, my cultural heritage is the cornerstone of my musical identity. The rhythms, melodies, and traditions of the Niger Delta region are interwoven into the essence of my music, providing a rich mosaic of sounds and textures. Whether it’s the pulsating beats of the conga drum or the soulful melodies of the Ijaw people, I draw inspiration from my heritage to create music that resonates with audiences on a profound level. My cultural heritage is not just a source of pride; it’s a guiding force that informs every aspect of my artistic expression.

GbaramatuVoice: You’ve released several albums throughout your career. Can you walk us through some of your most memorable projects and the inspiration behind them?

DarlinGid: Each album I’ve released is a reflection of my personal and artistic evolution. “Per Head 2011” was a pivotal moment for me, marking my transition from a drummer to a solo artist. It was a bold statement of my identity and a declaration of my musical prowess. “Grace” was a heartfelt expression of gratitude for the blessings in my life, while “Kolorbi” celebrated love and unity in all its forms. “Prayer Points” delved into themes of faith and perseverance, serving as a testament to the power of belief in the face of adversity. Each project is deeply personal, drawing inspiration from my own experiences and the world around me.

GbaramatuVoice: What can we expect from DarlinGid in the future? Any upcoming projects or collaborations you can share with us?

DarlinGid: I’m constantly pushing the boundaries of my creativity and exploring new avenues of expression. I have some exciting projects in the pipeline, including collaborations with other talented artists and forays into different genres. I’m always looking for fresh ways to challenge myself and evolve as an artist, and I can’t wait to share my journey with my fans and supporters. Stay tuned for more music, more movies, and more adventures from DarlinGid!

GbaramatuVoice: Your journey in the music industry has been influenced by many factors. Can you share with us who your role models are and how they’ve impacted your musical style and career?

DarlinGid: Certainly. I’ve been fortunate to draw inspiration from several remarkable artists throughout my career. Barrister Smooth, the iconic figure of Niger Delta Highlife and Ijaw Music, holds a special place as one of my earliest mentors. His mastery of rhythm and melody, coupled with his profound understanding of our cultural heritage, has deeply influenced my musical approach. Additionally, Robert Kelly, known as R. Kelly, has been a significant influence on my approach to songwriting and vocal delivery. His ability to craft timeless melodies and tell compelling stories through music has always resonated with me. Furthermore, Timaya’s electrifying stage presence and fusion of Afrobeat and dancehall elements have inspired me to experiment with different genres and sounds. Harrysong’s entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to his craft have motivated me to strive for excellence in all aspects of my career. Finally, Harrysong’s versatility and ability to connect with diverse audiences have taught me the importance of authenticity and staying true to oneself as an artist. Overall, each of these role models, including Barrister Smooth, has played a pivotal role in shaping my musical style and guiding my artistic journey.

GbaramatuVoice: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today, DarlinGid. We look forward to seeing all the amazing things you’ll accomplish in the future!

DarlinGid: Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure. The best is yet to come!

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