Biography of TY Bello

Toyin Sokefun-Bello was born on the 14th of January 1978. Popularly known as TY Bello, she is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, photographer and philanthropist.

Prior to pursuing a solo career in the arts (music and photography), she was a member of the now defunct gospel band called “kinetically ushering salvation into Hearts and Homes” shortened as 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 was born and grew up in Ogun State, Nigeria. She attained a degree in Economics from the University of Lagos, and briefly practiced journalism before venturing into photography. She is also a member of the Nigerian photography.

She emerged onto Nigeria’s musical landscape as a member of the defunct group KUSH, an acronym for Kinetically Ushering Salvation into Hearts and Homes.

Other members of the group were 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.

In 2008, Bello released her debut studio album Greenland. It was produced by Mosa Adegboye and took two years to develop. The album earned her a Nigeria Music Award and a Sound City Award.

Bello described the album as a journey of her everyday life. The album’s music embodies the themes of love, family and nation. Its title track is an inspirational song written to motivate Nigerians to liberate themselves from a place of despair to a place of hope.

2011–13: The Future, The Jubilee Collection and anti-rape campaign

Bello first revealed plans about her second studio album, The Future, while speaking to Ariya Today.

The album was originally slated for release in 2011, and was ranked 12th on Nigerian Entertainment Today’s list of the 12 Albums to Buy in 2011.

The singer said she worked with producer Mosa and recorded the album in a few months.

On 19 February 2011, Bello released “The Future” as the lead single from the album of the same name.

The song urges Nigerian youth to be the change they seek. The Kemi Adetiba-directed music video for “The Future” was released on 3 April 2011. It features cameo appearances from Tara Fela-Durotoye, Sound Sultan, Chude Jideonwo and Banky W.

Ore Fakorede gave the song a rating of 7 stars out of 10, adding that its “soft tribal drums, synths and a piano provide a vivid backdrop for TY to contrast her unmistakable voice against, and this she does brilliantly, bringing the poignancy in the song’s lyrics to life.”

Dapo Osewa of Sahara Reporters described the video as “a narrative in itself that dares to capture the varying and boundless composition of emotion that is the face of the Nigerian.”

Makeup brand House of Tara launched The Jubilee Collection, a limited edition line of makeup inspired by “The Future” single.

In October 2011, Bello was one of the celebrities featured in an eight-minute anti-rape video compiled by the Nigerian Ministry of Youth Development. The anti-rape video shed light on the victim of a gang rape at Abia State University in 2011.

In December 2013, Bello released her single “Yahweh” featuring Wale Adenuga. The song features additional vocals from Nwando Okeke and Nosa. The first line of the song was written in 2004 during a photoshoot.
2014: The Morning Songbook

On 10 October 2014, TY Bello released her third studio album The Morning Songbook for free digital download on SoundCloud. It was released without any promotion and comprises 10 tracks, including “Yahweh”, “Thirsty” and “Jesu Jesu”. The album features collaborations with M Sugh and Fela Durotoye.

Udochukwu Ikwuagwu of the Breaking Times gave the album a rating of 7 out of 10, extensively stating, “TY Bello and Mosa deserve credit for the superb songwriting and production employed on this.

At times, the vocal performance was bolstered by emotions rather than actual dexterity but the ease deployed by the back-up choristers made this ignorable.

This project is one worth every dime even though it was given free; this project is one that will endure for a long while.”

Photography career

TY Bello was the official photographer to former President Goodluck Jonathan during his tenure in office; she also does work for Thisday fashion magazine.

TY Bello was instrumental in the success of hairstylist/bread hawker Olajumoke Orisaguna whom she discovered in the background during a Lagos photo shoot with British rapper Tinie Tempah.

After a makeover and professional photo session, Bello arranged for Orisaguna’s picture to appear on the cover of This Day’s Style magazine, and mother-of-two Orisaguna, who has since signed with an agency, is now a model.

In Humanitarian work, 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 July 2011, TY Bello was honoured by the non-profit Communication For Change organisation in a five-part documentary film series titled RedHot.

Personal life

She is married and gave birth to twin boys named Christian and Christopher on 10 October 2014, which coincidentally marked the release of The Morning Songbook.[23][24]

Greenland (2008)

The Future (2011)

The Morning Songbook (2014)

Africa awake (2020)

We Are Fire (2022)

Year     Nominee / work     Award     Result     Ref
2009     “Ekundayo”     Best Female Video     Won

Nigeria Entertainment Awards

Year     Nominee / work     Award     Result     Ref
2008     Herself     Best New Act of the Year     Won

The Headies

Year     Nominee / work     Award     Result     Ref
2008     Herself     Recording Artiste of the Year     Nominated
Hip Hop World Revelation of the Year     Nominated
TY Bello for “Ekundayo”     Best Vocal Performance (Female)     Nominated
TY Bello & Abbey for “Greenland”     Best Music Video (Director)     Nominated

Creative Industry Awards

Year     Nominee / work     Award     Result     Ref
2013     Herself     Visual Arts     Nominated

TY Bello is one of Nigeria’s most recognized artists. She came to public attention in the early 2000s as a member of the music group Kush. She has also built a reputation as one of Nigeria’s foremost photographers and is a member of the talented photography collective Depth of Field.

Her evocative portraits never fail to rouse strong emotions and have made her one of the most applauded and keenly sought after portrait photographers in the country. Indeed she has the unique distinction of having photographed three sitting Nigerian Presidents.

TY deploys the same creative gift to produce engaging yet timeless music. She launched her successful debut solo album Greenland in 2005. It’s title track–Greenland and Ekundayo became instant hits and are now widely accepted household favorites.

The Future–her Nigerian jubilee tribute, was released on the eve of the April 2011 general elections. It became the awakening song for Nigerians as they Steered the fate of the nation with their votes.

TY’s songs and her photography–which has been exhibited in Nigeria and around the world- have earned awards both at home and abroad.

Toyin Sokefun Bello popularly known as TY Bello 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 recognised both nationally and internationally.

TY Bello was born on the 14th of January, 1978 in Ogun State to late Remi Sokefun. Her father, Remi Sokefun was a famous TV producer.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Lagos and is a member of the Nigerian photography collective, Depth of Field. TY was a member of the non-extant urban gospel band, Kinetically Ushering Salvation into Hearts and Homes (KUSH).

The beauty married Kashetu Bello in 2009 and they are blessed with twin boys, Christian and Christopher.

TY Bello as Singer and Song writer

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.

  • The Future (2011) featuring Tara Fela-Durotoye, Banky W, Sound Sultan, and Chude Jideonwo.
  • Yaweh (2013) featuring Wale Adenuga and two other vocals, Mosa and Nwando Okeke.
  • The Morning Songbook (2014) featuring Fela Durotoye and M Sugh.
  • Land of Promise (2016).
  • Holy Ghost Air (2016) featuring Nathaniel Bassey.
  • Bow Down (2017) and it was produced by Samjazzy.

TY Bello as 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.

Achievements Of TY Bello

Ty Bello partnered with Canon for ‘live for the story’ campaign early this year. The campaign is a call for everyday Nigerians to tell their personal stories on what makes Nigeria unique.

The talented singer was nominated alongside 25 others for the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Awards in 2017.

In July 2011, TY Bello was honored by the non-profit Communication for Change Organization in a five-part documentary film series titled RedHot.

Ty Bello is passionate about helping the less privileged, orphans and children so she organises an annual photography exhibition to raise funds for orphans across the country.

She is also a member of Link-A-Child, a non-governmental organisation (NG0) responsible for creating rapid awareness for orphanages in Nigeria and seeking sponsorships for them. 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 ‘the from grass to grace story of 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’s Awards.