Doctor Alban is a Swedish musician, but his real birthplace is in Nigeria, Africa. This is also the reason he got to be so well known in his new country – at that time, in the 80s he was one of the very few black people in that country. He traveled to Sweden when he was 23 as an assistant to his uncle, who too went to that country.
He was born August 26, 1957 in a city called Oguta in Nigeria. Even though he was from a well-to-do family that had more money than most other people in that area, he did not really have a very impressive childhood. However, he was well educated for the people there and his family made sure that he was one of the most educated people in the city. He lived in the predominantly Igbo city until 23 years old, rarely traveling outside the city of Oguta. Nigeria at that time was a pretty corrupt and miserable place, having recently suffered a few destructive wars and controlled by a cruel government.
What did Doctor Alban do before becoming a singer?
Doctor Alban’s real name is Alban Nwapa, and he was born in 1957 in Nigeria. He lived in a very large family, and actually had 9 brothers. The father and mother in his family were surprisingly educated people for their country, and their greatest wish was for their kids to be just as successful or maybe even better. The chance for Alban to shine was when his uncle went to work as an assistant in the Nigerian embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. That is when Alban went to a Swedish school to study for being a dentist. He was struggling to bet enough money for study, and in his search for a job he found the best way for him to both have fun and get a living. He was 24 when he decided to dump his dentistry job and begin working on writing song and making music.
Alban used to visit a local music club called Alphabet Street. This club was in his city and he liked it because it used to play music that he listened to before.
Why did Doctor Alban become popular?
He was an exotic figure in Sweden at that time, as there were almost no black people then in that country, and as a matter of fact, almost none in the entirety of Europe. His difference from the rest of the people in the country, combined with the unique instruments and lyrics he used in his songs, made him the most exotic and unique singer of the day.
Why is Doctor Alban called a Doctor?
Alban started his way as a DJ in an underground club in Sweden. In return for his assistance to the club, the people there helped him release his first song ever. It was called “Hello Afrika” and it told about his experience in that country. A few songs after he had already quit his job as a dentist in order to give all his energy and ability to performing and being a full-time singer. At about this time he was recognized in Sweden as a well-known musician and people would recognize his name. This is also when he got the humorous title of “Doctor” – he is one of the very few performers who have a full medical diploma – it his case it is a dentist’s certificate.
He really did not work a lot in the dentistry business before finding out that he is more given to music and singing. Therefore, he quickly decided to drop this job, but the title of Doctor stayed with him throughout his life until today, 50 years later, we still call him Doctor Albert, even though he is, obviously, a musician, not really a dentist anymore. Still, to reflect on his title of dentist, the Doctor published a humorous song called “Go See the Dentist”, which is exactly about dentistry.
But the title is much more than a thing from his life story. It is a reflection on why he is where he is now. The title stuck to him, because the DJ who took him into the night club noticed how intelligent he was for his age. He was much smarter and able than most students in his school, and even though he stopped his training in medical work soon after, his overall wisdom and intelligence was always with him, highlighted by the title of Doctor. This wisdom can be seen in the lyrics of some of his well-known songs, as it often takes you a few listens to actually understand the real meaning of some of the lines and get what Alban really meant in the song. And then the true understanding comes, of why Alban sung that particular piece.
Why is Doctor Alban underestimated?
Nwapa is sometimes called one of the most underestimated musicians of the world. This is hard to believe, since the Doctor is actually well-known, and almost half of the people from the 90s have danced to at least one of his songs, and even if you do not know the name of the singer, you will of course recognize his songs. So, why is he underestimated, even though his songs all got to the top 10 lists in Europe?
Nwapa’s songs have very meaningful lyrics, and they tell a lot about his life in Nigeria, before he ever got to Sweden. This is important to consider, because in the days of the 80s and 90s Eurodance was popular. And Eurodance meant singers with almost meaningless lyrics. Music was then a combination of beats and a few lyrics, which most of the time meant very little. In contrast to this, Doctor Alban’s songs meant a whole lot.
So, you can say he is underestimated because most people listen to his song for the beats and sounding, and nobody truly looks into the lyrics, even though that is the first thing they should look into. If they understood the meaning of the lyrics, then the songs would make a lot more sense and also would forward the Doctor’s goal – to raise awareness in the world about the danger of racism and discrimination. People would hear so much more about the real situation in Africa, about the difference between the African and European world. So, you may say he is not only underestimated, but also misunderstood, because people should listen more to what he sings about.
Why did Doctor Alban begin his singing career?
It is probably strange, because Alban never really thought he would become a singer until the time he actually began performing.
When Alban was studying for a dentist’s assistant, he did not always have enough money to study properly, let alone lead a luxurious lifestyle. In order to support his study and also live better, he began searching for additional income and soon found that the city’s best DJ club, Alphabet Street, is not just going to give him an income, but will also allow him to hear his favorite music.
And, as the DJ noticed that Alban was intelligent and eager to perform his best, he gave him this job and since then Alban began making his own music.
What did Doctor Alban sing about?
When Alban moved from Nigeria to Sweden, he left behind ad corrupt and dangerous country, ruined by constant war, by a corrupt and treacherous government. Nigeria was then (and remains today) a dangerous place, a country where people are sometimes not free to state their opinion. It was actually possible to get murdered for speaking up about the problems in the country at that time. And then, Sweden was such a contrast to Nigeria.
The singer found himself in a new world. It was like a new universe for him – he could actually speak without being afraid, people around him were free to say what they chose. Still, he was looked upon as somewhat of an aberration, since he was black in a predominantly white country, and his race attracted a lot of weird stares, surprised looks and, sadly, a lot of racist remarks.
Alban could not stay silent about this, and he wanted to express his thought about his home country, about his new home, Sweden and many other things. His thoughts were mostly those of thanks and gratitude to his new home, but he had a few problems even now, and that is what he decided to sing about.
The Doctor always wrote all the lyrics to his songs personally. He always put a lot of thought into them and he was also the main contributor on the instrumental part of his music. The musical instruments used in his music are African, and this reflects his real heritage. This is actually perfect, and his Swedish assistants helped him a lot with the choice of instruments and lyrics, even though he preferred to do the bulk of this work himself.
His lyrics are interesting for being at the same time simple and sincere. He says a lot in a few words, and the words he chooses are precise and indubitable. He talks in his songs about the difference between his place of birth and his new home, and he speaks of both the pluses and minuses of both countries.
It turns out he was just in the right place at the right time. Those were the days Europe was recovering from Communism, and one of the first sound Europe heard when waking up were those of Alban’s music. He spoke about the necessity to have freedom of speech, about what really makes people human beings, and about how wrong racism is.
Who listened to Doctor Alban’s songs?
In those days, in the 80s and 90s borders were opening up, people got to be more free in what they listened to and thought about, and Dr. Alban’s music immediately caught up their attention. This is because it was not just new, but also full of just the right ideas. It resonated with the youth, because it bore with itself the thoughts of freedom, equality and brotherhood, which was exactly what the young people wanted at that time. Those who are now 30 have listened to his songs in clubs, danced to them, sung to them. Even though he has already made a permanent mark in history, he is still popular around the world, especially in the countries where people grew up with his music. His songs have regular presentations in Russia, Ukraine, Poland and many of the Baltic countries.
Most people of the age around 30 remember his songs and are happy to hear them again, so they are replayed in many places, especially in the countries where they found the most resonance. Then these people were teenagers, and most were under 20 years old. This is the age that people are most open to everything new.
One of the most popular songs from that period is “It’s my life”, which many have heard at college parties, at get-togethers and at many other places. This is his most important and recognized song that is associated with him, and most people of his time have heard it at one time or another.
What are Doctor Alban’s most popular songs?
The first song he debuted in is Hello Afrika. This is the first song ever produced by Doctor Alban and it almost immediately got to the Top 10 in all European song lists, but the next song by the Doctor, No Coke, has immediately surpassed it in this list, soon getting up to first place. That means, that for a long time No Coke was the most popular song in Europe.
However, it should not be assumed that that is all he has done. There are many, many other songs by this wonderful author, and all were hits at one time or another. It’s my life was the song that made the biggest impact ever, rendering Doctor Alban the best dance singer for a long time on.
Nobody thought there would be a song to surpass “It’s my life”, but the next two singles almost did that. Those two songs were Sing hallelujah and “Look who’s talking”, and both of these songs had an unprecedented success. The former has an unforgettable melody and is mixed with gospel element. This makes it a very unique piece, and one that everyone liked a lot. Hallelujah was remixed tens of times, was played on thousands of parties, over and over and it is literally an anthem of the 90s. This is also the most remade song, and many other authors have sung it.
The second, Look who’s talking, is the name of his album and too is considered one of his best tracks. It is also considered one of the most complex in terms of lyrics and meaning. It takes a few minutes to actually understand the meaning in it, and sadly, rarely do people take the time to look into what the song really means.
By the time 1996 arrived, Doctor Alban has become the most well-known and celebrated singer in the whole world. Then he began experimenting, and his songs belong to many different genres, like reggae, jungle and many others. There is one thing that makes his songs like one another – this is the African influence, as you will be able to hear African-style instruments in all his songs.
Where do Alban’s songs appear?
This singer’s art has found a place in many of the world’s advertisements. For example, right after he became popular, a request was sent to him by Tampax in 1992 with a plea to use his most famous song in their advertising campaign.
This not just helped the singer financially – it increased the impact he had on the world, which is what he always wanted to do in his life. And of course it also gave him more income, which he did not really consider something important, since he preferred to live for the art his music was, not for the money.
What Has Doctor Alban achieved?
He literally proved that anyone can do anything. Never would anyone believe that a small boy from Africa, one of a family with 10 children, living in the most impoverished country, be able to do what he did. He became the top musician not just in Sweden, not just in Europe, but in the entirety of the civilized world at that day.
Of all his songs, 7 went Silver, 40 went Gold and 30 Platinum. This is a record that is almost impossible to surpass, and he is one of the few to actually do that.
He went from probably the lowest point a person could be at to one of the highest. But another important achievement is that he wrote many songs, and somehow, every single one of them was a hit. Actually every one of his songs were on the Top 10 chart in Sweden. And this is what a boy from Africa could do after moving from his poor country to a place where you can actually not be afraid to express yourself.
He has also achieved his goal in many places. He gave a concert in South Africa, which is what he wanted to do all his life. And right after that concert he met his idol, Mandela, who is a great fighter against racism. And he also met another of his goals – he got to a country with free speech and realized his wish to make himself heard in the whole world. And he also made it easier for other singers, who were to afraid or unsure of themselves.
Now, after his peak of fame, many other singers are following in his footsteps, using him as an example. It is because of him that many singers got to be recognized, instead of remaining unknown, because they were too unsure of themselves.
What did Doctor Alban try to do with his art?
Most of his songs are meant to fight against racism and other kinds of discrimination. This is true already because he is a great example of this. He proved that independent of race and social status you can achieve a lot, much more than most other people.
In 1993 an incident happened that further proved his point. That is when he took a tour to South Africa in order to display his music there. As the concert went on, Alban noticed that almost all of the audience that came to his show was white. This felt wrong to him, and he decided to make a concert for black people as well, and to do this he went to the Soweto black ghetto, a place where mostly black people lived at that time. And he did find an audience there, as thousands of black people came to listen to his performance. But the police found out there was a concert for black people going on and came to chase the audience away. The news of this occurrence came to the ears of Nelson Mandela, who was at that day the biggest enemy of racism and discrimination. He decided to learn more about this and invited Doctor Alban to his home in order to talk about the incident and what caused it.
Thus he met the person he idolized his whole life. He actually made a rap single about Mandela three years ago. And not only did he meet his idol, he also learned one very important thing. He saw that his music really makes a difference in this world and affects people’s lives.
So this actually sums up what Alban was trying to achieve with his songs – he was doing all he could to make people’s lives better, to get rid of racism and discrimination. This was the point of all his songs – to make discrimination a part of the past. He wanted people to move ahead, forget their differences and work together for making a better world.
He saw, when he met Mandela, that his art, his songs and lyrics really make the world a better place and help people overcome each other’s differences.
What other achievements did Doctor Alban receive?
In 1994 Alban began working with many other producers. Here is place for an interesting story. When he was a teenager in Nigeria, his family was one of the more successful and educated, and they had the ability to listen to music. Alban used to listen to a listen to some Western artists, and when he got to be a popular musician in 1994, he would travel to meet some of the idols of his childhood. He managed to meet many of them and record tracks together with them. This not only helped him remember his childhood, it also assisted him in developing his career and making his music more diverse.
He keeps the habit up today too, and keep trying new styles of music. This is what keeps his career running, and he literally never gets old, because he keeps finding new songs and ways to sing, keeps composing new lyrics, also by himself with rarely any assistance.
The Doctor recognized, that perhaps, some of his songs will not be as well-known as his previous songs, but he also knew he had to keep changing his style in order to remain new and sharp. Therefore, he keeps finding new styles today as well, and his style keeps diversifying.
Some of his new songs also receive a lot of acclaim, and he keeps getting new fans, in addition to the old and faithful ones that have stayed with him from the beginning.
Doctor Alban after his peak
The next 20 years of his career saw him losing a little popularity. Of course, his millions of fans remained with him, but he himself chose to move a little back from the spotlights and towards family life. The singer has married Kinher Mansson and already has two beautiful daughters, sharing photos of his great family online. The daughters too promise to become great public figures, not just because of their noteworthy father but because they already show talents of their own.
His wife is Caucasian, which, as she says, also speaks up against racism.
He is slowly going back to family life, but he cannot change himself and every now and then travels around the world to keep up the good work against racism, discrimination and other negative things in this world.
He is still invited to many concerts around the world in Norway, Russia, Denmark and many other European countries where he used to be popular and where people still remember him as the idol of their childhood and teen years. He makes his own songs and he also participates in singing other musicians lyrics and remixes.
He is now invited to countries that are much further away like Lebanon and Malaysia. There people enjoy his art just as much and he still has huge crowds at his performances, because the themes he sings about are usually the ones that are the most acute in the countries he visits.
What is Doctor Alban doing today?
He is, just as before, struggling to fight racism and discrimination in the world, by highlighting common problems in his songs. Then he travels over the world, where his performances attract thousands of viewers and listeners. So far this wonderful performer has sold over 16 million records, and with the advent of the Internet his songs have spread all over the world and now literally everyone with an Internet connection can listen to his songs at any time and from any album.
As all people today, he has used the Internet extensively to further his goals. This means that he has a wide Internet campaign going, and his music is downloaded all around the world. He also posts regular photos from his travels around the world on his Facebook and Instagram accounts, where you will see a lot about himself, his life and his family. Each time he reunites with his family after traveling somewhere, he posts pictures of what he did and a story of where he was. Many of his posts are in Swiss language, though. Also most of his new songs can be viewed on his Instagram account together with the associated video.
There is also a website dedicated to him, which posts up-to-date information about him and his life, and also the number of tracks he has sold so far. It also tells a lot of his achievements and shows how many of his songs went Gold.
How much money does Doctor Alban have?
Even though Doctor Alban gets a lot of revenue from his songs and performance, he spends a lot of it on benefiting people in bad situations and poor countries. Therefore, he does not have that much capital himself, especially when compared to other celebrities. However, everyone knows why – it is because he gives it all away for charity.
What songs and performances is Doctor Alban doing today?
Today he is still popular among the generation of the people that grew up with his music, but the new generation knows him less. However, many of the younger people have heard the music and songs, either from their parents and friends or by hearing it on parties and night clubs. But Alban’s influence is even greater, since many of the younger singer, whom people listen to today, bear his ideas, since it was Alban who showed them the way to get popularity and be recognized.
Doctor Alban also follows the world’s news and his songs reflect on themes that are hot today. Today the problem of racism is less prominent, and that is actually because of his work in many cases. But there are other new themes for songs and lyrics, so he stays on top of news. For example, he has recently published the song Hello Sverige, which is a remix of his older song and is about the coronavirus pandemic and how it has influenced the world around him. It is also about social distancing and other things, related to today’s pandemic.
He is also, just as before, appearing in various ads, and from his permission, his songs are used in advertising campaigns. Sometimes he even participates in them personally, singing and talking. Much of the revenue from his work, as we have said before, goes to support his global fight against racism and other kinds of discrimination.
Where does Doctor Alban live?
He calls Sweden home, but he actually spends much of his life traveling to various countries where his art is appreciated, and even though he now has a family, he is still traveling very actively, and he comes back to his family after each successful performance.
He has. At a few points in his life, returned to the country he was born in order to give performances and simply experience his home country once again.