With a consistently lush afro, striking brows, and an unassuming presence, TY Bello has been a serial hit in every creative field she herself entails.
Born on January 14, 1978 in Ogun State to Remi Sokefun, a famous television producer, Toyin Sokefun-Bello did her secondary education at St John’s College, Palm Groove in Lagos State, Nigeria. She then went to the University of Lagos where she was initially admitted to study accounting but later switched to economics.
Growing up, she was part of the music team at her childhood church, Revival Word Church, where they composed songs for Sunday services. This may have been where she began to hone her songwriting and singing skills.
Having started as a journalist, TY Bello first announced his presence in the entertainment industry by being part of the widely popular but short-lived gospel group “Kush”. The group rose to prominence with the single “Let’s Live Together” in the early 2000s. Other members of the defunct group Kush include Lara George, rapper Emem Ema and Dapo Torimiro.
After the group disbanded, TY Bello went on hiatus, leaving fans to believe that a promising career would never blossom to the scintillating proportions it presaged. However, hard work was being done in the background and the singer-songwriter not only heralded his comeback with the release of his long-awaited critically acclaimed solo album ‘Green Land’ in 2007, but returned with a profession that has appeared strange in this current landscape: photography. And the rest, as they say, was history.
Best known for her singles ‘Greenland’, ‘Ekundayo’, ‘This Man’, ‘Tunmise’ and ‘Freedom’, TY Bello became a member of the Nigerian photography collective, Depth of Field, paving the way for the uncertain. venus who were interested in photography as a career path in an environment where it was rare. She is an internationally acclaimed photographer who served as the official photographer for the former President of Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan during the period 2010-2015. She was also a go-to photographer for former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Although juggling music and photography is not an easy task, TY Bello believes that both art forms come from the same source and should perform similar functions.
“Art is about collecting experiences and expressing them. For me, music and photography are similar art forms. I collect experiences, I stir them in me and I express them in my own language. Just like my photography, music is my language’, it Assumed.
A cover girl sought after by the hottest magazines, TY Bello’s music and photography support humanitarian appeals. She organizes an annual photographic exhibition to raise funds for orphans in Nigeria. She is also the director of Link-a-child, an NGO dedicated to raising funds and disseminating information about orphanages in Nigeria. Honored by Communication For Change in a five-part documentary film series called RedHot in 2011, TY Bello was instrumental in the success of hairdresser and bread seller Olajumoke Orisaguna whom she discovered on the street of Lagos during a a photoshoot with Nigerians. born British rapper Tinie Tempah in 2016. After a contrived photo shoot to appear on the cover of This Day’s Style magazine, Olajumoke became a model.
TY Bello’s foray into music and photography from a philanthropic and humanitarian perspective is indisputable. It’s no surprise that she’s the “Most Popular Photographer” in the NET Honors Class of 2022, earning 28.3% of the vote to beat out other nominees like Amazing Klef, Emmanuel Oyeleke, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Mofe Bamuyiwa and Henry OJI (bighstudios).
His Kush days may seem like a distant past, but words and beats intertwine with paint and brush to create faces – twitching to soulful songs and capturing meaningful smiles.
See the full list of winners here.