Toyin Sokefun Bello is popularly known as TY Bello. She is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, photographer, and philanthropist. She is a multi-talented young woman and a role model to upcoming photographers and music lovers. TY Bello’s work is recognized both nationally and internationally. She is a vital component of social change in Nigeria
TY Bello was born on the 14th of January, 1978 in Ogun State to Late Pa. Remind Sofekun. Her father, Remi Sokefun was a famous TV producer. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Lagos and is a member of the Nigerian photography collective, Depth of Field. She briefly practised journalism and eventually ventured into photography.
TY Bello emerged onto Nigeria’s musical landscape as a member of the non-existent urban gospel band, Kinetically Ushering Salvation into Hearts and Homes ( KUSH). Other members of the group included Lara George, Dapo Torimiro and rapper Emem Ema. Kush gained popularity in the early 2000s with the single “Let’s Live Together”; the group managed to release an album before disbanding. TY Bello was the official photographer to former President Goodluck Jonathan during his tenure in office; she also does work for Thisday fashion magazine.
Prior to pursuing a solo career, she was a member of the now defunct gospel band Kush. TY Bello is also a member of the Nigerian photography collective, Depth of Field. She is best known for her singles “Greenland”, “Ekundayo”, “This Man”, “Freedom” and “Funmise”.
TY Bello organises an annual photography exhibition to raise funds for orphans in Nigeria.
She is also the director of Link-a-child, an NGO dedicated to proliferating information on orphanages in Nigeria and seeking sponsorship on their behalf. In
She also advocates for women’s rights and fights against gender-based violence. TY met with the United Nations Deputy Secretary, General Amina Mohammed in 2017 and they spoke extensively on what can be done to curb violence against women.
Nigerian will not forget in a hurry how she helped Olajumoke the bread seller’. TY Bello discovered her while she was working on a photo session with the Nigerian-British rapper, Tinnie Temph on the street of Lagos State. Olajumoke the bread seller was walking by with her tray of bread on her head while TY Bello photographed. TY saw the Olajumoke has modeling potentials and with her condition, she found her and helped her build a modeling career.
Olajumoke Orisaguna is now a model and she was made the face of PayPorte campaign as well as the ambassador of Stanbic IBTC in 2016.
TY Bello married Kashetu Bello in 2009. The couple gave birth to twin boys named Christian and Christopher on 10 October 2014, which coincidentally marked the release of The Morning Songbook.
Awards and Nominations
- In 2009, she was nominated as the Best Female Video at Sound City Video Awards
- In 2008, she won as the Best New Act of the Year at Nigeria Entertainment Awards
- In 2008, she was nominated as Recording Artiste of the Year at Hip Hop World Revelation
- TY Bello & Abbey for “Greenland” was nominated as Best Music Video at Creative Industry Awards
- She was nominated as Most Creative Personality of the Year at SRAF Awards in 2011
- In July 2011, TY Bello was honoured by the non-profit Communication For Change organisation in a five-part documentary film series titled RedHot
TY Bello was part of the music team of her childhood church, Revival Word Church where they compose songs for the next Sunday service from the previous sermon. We can say this is where she horned her writing and singing skills, being the youngest in the group did not deter her from writing songs. She was indeed brave.
While TY Bello was an undergraduate at the University of Lagos, this skill never departed from her as she continued to compose and sing with Lara George, Dayo Torimiro, and Emen Ema. The four later formed the now-defunct band KUSH. The band came into the spotlight with their single, Let’s Live Together in the early 2000s. Ty Bello became a solo singer after her band dissolved.
Her first debut solo album titled Greenland was released in 2008. The album was a success and earned her two prestigious awards. TY explained that Greenland describes her everyday journey into life.
Early last year, the singer introduced a soft worship series Spontaneous Worship. Spontaneous Worship is an unscripted, unedited, and raw expression of worship in songs to God. The series has featured other inspiring singers like Sinach, Folabi Nuel, Tolu Ijogun, Wole Oni, George, and many more.
Album and Songs
- The Future featuring Tara Fela-Durotoye, Banky W, Sound Sultan, and Chude Jideonwo in 2011
- Yaweh featuring Wale Adenuga and two other vocals, Mosa and Nwando Okeke in 2013
- The Morning Songbook featuring Fela Durotoye and M Sugh in 2014
- Land of Promise in 2016
- Holy Ghost Air featuring Nathaniel Bassey in 2016
- Bow Down and it was produced by Samjazzy in 2017
TY Bello as A Photographer
She started photography when her band disbanded, a time when photography was not thought as a profession. TY Bello has gone ahead to create an enabling environment and platforms for upcoming photographers to showcase their work.
She majors in portrait photography, even though she still does documentary and conceptual photography. Her works are usually iconic and arouse strong emotions from fans of her work.
Photography has taken her to the corridors of power as she has photographed three sitting presidents and was the official photographer for the former president, Goodluck Jonathan. TY Bello has also photographed the high and mighty and A-list celebrities. TY Bello also works with Thisday Fashion Magazine, a popular Nigerian fashion magazine.
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