I still feel like I am dreaming – Idyl, The Voice winner
Daniel Dimoweni Diongoli is the new kid on the block having won the keenly contested singing competition, “The Voice Nigeria”, where he carted home a GAC GS4 SUV.
We took him up on his victory and plans for his music career…
Congratulations! Can you tell us a bit of your background?
My name is Daniel Dimoweni Diongoli. I am 22 years old, from Bayelsa and an undergraduate of the Niger Delta University, a final year student studying Economics. I just won The Voice Nigeria, Season 2 talent show.
How does it?
It still feels like a dream and I am yet to wake up. I am still trying to get used to going out in public and everyone would want to take a photograph. I still feel like I am dreaming.
What were your expectations from the very beginning when you got into the competition?
From the blind auditions, I felt like this is a platform, whether I win or not, it is still a win-win for me. Just being on that stage, The Voice Nigeria, one of the biggest music platforms will certainly open a few doors and it is left for me to make use of the opportunities that come my way. I have always thought of winning but when I saw the caliber of people that were in the competition with me, I made up my mind that I would take whatever happens but again, I vowed to give it my all at every point in time. I was hoping for the best but expecting the worst.
Who among your fellow contestants would you say was a major threat to you?
No one really because I felt we were all artists and we all have our unique voices and things that stand us out. I knew I was not the most exceptional singer but then, something in me kept telling me I am unique in my own way. At a point, I felt a few jitters, especially when we go online and see the different comments from people and we notice one particular contestant trending. It was not really a threat.
How did music begin for you?
Music has always been my thing right from my early days. My dad is a music lover, so I grew up listening to a lot of reggae songs. I never sang in church, I tried to join the choir but it didn’t work.
I don’t know but I always say I am not a background singer, I always want the spotlight to be on me so I didn’t bother joining the choir. However, I never thought of taking music as a career from the onset, but I sing with my friends when we play football just to make everyone happy while we play around. It was when I got into school that I decided to make it a career, especially after I realized it is the only form I could express myself with easily. That was how I took music more seriously in school.
You were once in the MUSON School of Music, Onikan. How did that come about?
One day I was singing at a karaoke bar and some guys with dreadlocks walked up to me and said I had a very beautiful voice. He took my details and left. He didn’t call me for another six months, but one day, I got a call from him telling me that there was a competition by a trust fund . It was an opportunity for people in Nigeria to compete in and win an educational trip to the UK for one year. He said he didn’t want to go for the competition but he wanted me to go for it. I thought it was a joke until he met with me and even gave me money to get my international passport and tried to make me comfortable. Then I knew he was serious. Arrangements were made for me to travel to London and to do a one-year course in Cardiff University in London, to study music. This was towards the end of 2016. He gave me the opportunity of meeting a lot of people and honing my singing skills.
After I applied for a visa, I was denied the visa. The trust fund decided instead of keeping me for a whole year and trying to get a UK visa, it was better I spent the spare time doing a crash course in the MUSON School of Music, Onikan. So I was moved from Bayelsa down to Lagos where they got an apartment for me, registered me at the MUSON school and I studied Piano, Voice and Music Theory. Towards the end of my course at the MUSON, I auditioned for The Voice Nigeria and here we are today.
What happened to your studies in Bayelsa while this lasted?
During my stint at MUSON, my school was on break even though I was shuttling between Lagos and Bayelsa. After I auditioned for The Voice Nigeria, I had to take a break from school and suspend it for a year. It was a risk and it is worth it.
What if you didn’t win, would you still say it was worth it?
Yes, it was. I can do anything for the music, I could pause the world for the music.
Any plans to return to school and get your degree?
Yes, I will surely go back to school. I was in my final year when I deferred my schooling. I will certainly go back and complete my studies.
You were compared to Timi Dakolo in terms of the texture of your voice and the genre of music you sing very well. How would you categorize your music?
The Voice Nigeria had brought out different sides of me I never knew existed. Doing songs from different genre has also helped me because I am a soulful, R & B guy but then, I did reggae, I did pop and it was great. Timi Dakolo has been a mentor from day one. I respect him as a person, I respect his talent too. My relationship with him was not just musically, I learnt a lot of live lessons from him too. People even said I sound like him, I don’t know. Being compared to a legend like Timi Dakolo gives me joy. It is a great compliment.
Where exactly are you from?
I am from Kolokuma Opokum local government area in Bayelsa State, the same local government as Timaya.
What is your take on reality shows. Do you think it is the best way to discover talents?
To an extent because not everyone will be courageous enough to enter a reality show. I have auditioned for different reality shows and I didn’t even get past the first stage.
Tell us about those shows?
I auditioned on Project Fame from Season 5 to Season 9. I didn’t even get past the first stage. I auditioned for Nigerian idol, Season 2 to Season 4. I also auditioned for Glo X-Factor and I told myself that it was not the right time that’s why they didn’t work out.
That is why it’s still like a dream that I won because the first four people who auditioned before me were not taken so naturally I was scared. I was like the odd guy with the weird voice who couldn’t scale all the notes.
Do you write songs?
Yes, I do.
How do you relax?
I like to do anything that would calm my nerves. I don’t have a particular thing but I do what makes me relax.
Are you an only child?
Technically, I am an only child.
Who was the first person you spoke with after you won?
I called my mum and she was crying on the phone and told me God bless you.
Who did you bond with while in camp?
Ebube. He was my room-mate right from the blind auditions and I just encouraged him to be himself and work hard. It was like a prediction because we were both among the last four. It was just grace.