Cardiff City is a club in Wales that currently plays in the Championship, the second division of English football. That all seems a bit far-flung—but what’s interesting is that Ojo was, once, a bit of a wunderkind. Now 26, Ojo was signed by Liverpool when he was just 14 and was under contract with them until 2022, although he spent most of that time on loan to other clubs. In a 2014 Liverpool Echo piece, the then-teenaged Ojo says that before signing with Liverpool he was scouted by Manchester United and Real Madrid. (The article also speculates that Ojo and his then-girlfriend, a beauty pageant contestant, could be the next Posh and Becks.) Ojo hasn’t completely flamed out, but his career hasn’t gone where he once anticipated it would. It’s a fascinating narrative, and good fodder for music. What does it feel like to be tagged for greatness and never really taste it? Heartbreak, resilience, the human spirit: That’s what great art is all about!
When reached for comment over email, though, Dide exclusively told GQ he’s a current Prem player. That seemingly debunks the Ojo theory. But it brings us no closer to knowing his true identity. So, who the hell might he be? In conversation, Dide proved elusive. His answers were as impassioned as they were cagey. He was careful not to let anything slip.
When asked how his primary career influences his music, he said, “I think it’s important to carry a competitive streak into anything you do. A healthy competitive nature is necessary in football—outside of it my only competition is myself. When it comes to music I have no desire to compete with my peers, but I always want to write a better verse than my last. I also think sometimes competition in football makes it harder to creatively express myself, so I love using music to do that without the pressure.” As far as his creative process, “I don’t cut corners,” he said. “I’m as meticulous in my creative endeavors as I am in my personal life. Everything must be considered, nothing should be wasted. The music is a snapshot of my human experience, and the visuals should compliment that.”
Despite the obvious limitations, he has hopes to perform live. “That’s where the impact of your music hits home,” he said. “I love watching the greats perform. I’ve been going to gigs ever since I was young.” As for who he’s making music for, “I don’t think of my audience as a specific place or nationality,” he said. “I create to connect with those who resonate with my words and what I communicate. It’s hard to elaborate so soon because I’ve only dropped one single, but I hope my music and perspective will connect with people beyond the sphere of local identity.”
Did he anticipate this kind of response to his debut—the puzzle-solving, the obsessiveness? “I always believed it had commercial potential,” he said, “but I never thought it would happen so fast. I’m grateful for the support, though, and excited for what’s to come.” Next month, he’s planning to drop his new single. All that he’ll say about it now is that it’s “an anthem for everyone in the sports world. I really enjoyed merging the two worlds when I wrote it.”