There’s no doubt that his talents knows no bounds, vocalist, songwriter, producer, music arrangement and plays almost every instrument.
The father of seven is also a businessman & is also known for producing some talents within his own group Quartier Latin, some of the boys he has natured have gone to become season artists themselves, most notably Fally Ipupa, Suzuki 4×4, Soleil Wanga.
Koffi’s discography is one of the richest in Africa. His catalogue bosts some of Africa’s memorable hits, it includes Noblese Oblige/Papa Plus, V12, Ultimatum, Loi, Droit De’Veto and Effrakatta.
Year after year, Koffi Olomide has consistently outshone the competition, producing the top selling albums in African music that have set a benchmark for quality while capturing the adoration and attention of the commercial public. Koffi Olomide has also acted as the guide for fellow African musicians, selling out renowned the Paris concert halls Olympia and most famously Bercy Stadium. Others, such as Youssou N’dour, Alpha Blondy and J.B. Mpiana, have followed in Olomide’s wake of stadium tours.
Koffi entered the stage against his father’s wishes, he’s on the record giving this account “according to my father, this idea that I was to become a singer and musician, was completely out of the question.”
But nonetheless the self dubbed “Quardra Kora Man” (in reference to his record breaking 4 Kora Awards he won in 2002) entered the the stage with the support of his brother who persuaded him to take music full time after he noticed his unequaled talent and creativity.
THE CONTROVERSIAL GENIUS
But Koffi is certainly not a saint of Congolese music. He has been known to be a slave driver, who works the last ounce of his musicians.
He has even engaged in feuds with some of the musicians, who have left his band in the past. The most notable were the members of the splinter Quartier Latin Academia.
Reputed to be arrogant and overbearing, Koffi is not the best of friends with another top Congolese musician, Felix Wazekwa. Koffi accuses Felix of copying his style.
Like many geniuses, all of his success has not been without downside, lyrics from his 98 album La Loi were interpreted as a criticism of the Kabila Government.
Some of his videos were even censored or banned by the Congolese government. (Which just made him even more popular among fans though.)
He is said to have been arrested for hosting the son of the late former DRC President Mobutu Sese Seko.
One of his major setbacks came in Paris in 1999, after a concert he had disagreements with some of his band members, 12 of them decided to quit and form their their short Quatier Latin Academica.
However Koffi put all the setbacks behind him, recruited new members and won a record breaking 4 Kora awards in one night at the 2002 awards.
Koffi also had a beef with Papa Wemba who launched a scathing attack on Koffi on his album Mzee Fula Ngege, Koffi responded on his critically acclaimed Attentat. Many Congolese artists accuse him of being arrogant while he accuses them of being jealousy.
During a tour in Cameroon in 1999 it is said he left the country cursing & swearing never to return again.
He once refused to ride in a limo because it didn’t have air conditioning.
His worst humiliation came in 2001 when he was flagged down by security personnel but he refused to the heed the order, they caught up with him dragged him out of his Mercedes Benz Compressor and they flogged him public, he had to go to Paris for treatment
Some critics have frowned upon Koffi’s decision to redo Tabu Ley’s songs, but in his characteristic style, he has not been cowed, insisting that he is doing this out of deep respect for a musical genius, Koffi has given a great tribute to one of Africa’s leading musicians.
The fact that he has emerged from all this controversy unscathed is measure of his immense power, popularity, determination to succeed and tenacity to be the best.
In a career spanning over three decades, it seems like there’s no stopping for Koffi Olomide, at the age of 54, the man is still rising.