Toyin Sokefun-Bello better known as TY Bello is a Nigerian singer, song composer, photographer, and philanthropist.
She is popularly known for her hit singles, ‘Greenland’, ‘Ekundayo’ and ‘Freedom’.
Below are a few things worth knowing about the ace photographer as she turns a year older today January 14.
1. Early Life
TY Bello was born on the 14th of January 1978 in Ogun State, to the family of late Remi Sokefun who was a famous TV producer.
She bagged a degree in economics from the University of Lagos.
As a Singer/Songwriter
She was part of defunct music group, KUSH (Kinetically Ushering Salvation into Hearts and Homes), as an undergraduate of the University of Lagos. The group comprising of Lara George, Emem Ema, and Dayo Torimiro was founded in 1999. They gained popularity after the release of their hit single, ‘Let’s Live Together’ and ‘Angels’. Their first and only album was released in 2002.
The group soon split and TY went on to start a solo career.
In 2008, she released her debut studio album ‘Greenland’ which earned her two awards.
In February 2011, TY released her second album ‘The Future’ which was the lead single from the album. It was ranked 12th on Nigerian Entertainment Today’s list of the 12 Albums to Buy in 2011. The video directed by Kemi Adetiba featured cameo appearances from Tara Fela-Durotoye, Sound Sultan, Chude Jideonwo and Banky W.
In December 2013, she released her single “Yahweh” featuring Wale Adenuga.
She released her third studio album, ‘The Morning Songbook’ on 10 October 2014.
Her ‘Holy Ghost Air’ which features Nathaniel Bassey was released in 2016.
TY started a soft worship series ‘Spontaneous Worship’ in 2018. Spontaneous Worship is an unscripted, unedited and raw expression of worship in songs to God. The series has featured other inspiring singers like Tope Alabi, Sinach, Folabi Nuel, Tolu Ijogun, Wole Oni, George, etc.
As a photographer
TY can easily be called Nigeria’s most celebrated photographer. She has photographed three sitting presidents and was also Goodluck Jonathan’s official photographer. She has photographed tons of celebrities like Nike Adeyemi, Tinnie Tempah, Humblesmith, Funke Akindele, Ibidun Awosika, Aisha Ahmad, Sade Okoya, Mo Abudu, Lanre Olusola, John Legend, Linda Ikeji, Nike Adenowo and many more.
TY Bello works with Thisday Newspaper and is also a member of the Nigerian photography collective, Depth of Field.
5. Humanitarian Work
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. She organizes an annual photography exhibition to raise funds for orphans across the country.
TY who is a rape victim is also an advocate for women’s rights against gender-based violence.
She is also responsible for Olajumoke Orisaguna’s rise to fame in 2016. Olajumoke popularly called ‘the bread seller’ was discovered by TY while she was working on a photoshoot session with the Nigerian-British rapper, Tinnie Tempah on the streets of Lagos State.
6. Awards and Recognition
In 2008, she won the award for Best New Act of the Year at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards. In 2009, she won the Best Female Video for “Ekundayo” at the SoundCity Music Video Awards.
In July 2011, TY Bello was honoured by the non-profit Communication For Change organization in a five-part documentary film series titled ‘RedHot’.
The talented singer was nominated alongside 25 others for the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Awards in 2017.
She won the Most Creative Personality of the Year at SRAF Awards in 2017.
8. Personal life
TY Bello married Kashetu Bello in 2009. The couple welcomed twin boys named Christian and Christopher on 10 October 2014 after a 5-year wait.