Biography of TY Bello

Toyin Sokefun-Bello popularly known as TY Bello is a singer, songwriter, photographer and philanthropist. The multi-talented lady through her works has made an indelible mark in the society. As a role model to upcoming photographers, she has created an avenue and platform for them to showcase their work. Her iconic photographic works are notable for arousing emotions in people.

Early life and background of TY Bello

TY Bello was born on the 14th of January, 1978 in Ogun state. She is the daughter of late Remi Sokefun, a popular TV producer who once hosted and worked with late Fela Kuti. After completing her primary and secondary education, she proceeded to bag a degree in Economics from the University of Lagos. She briefly practised journalism  before venturing into photography. TY Bello is a member of Nigerian photography collective, Depth of Field.

TY Bello

Her Music Career

In the early 2000s, she came into the music scene as a member of a defunct  group KUSH, an acronym for Kinetically Ushering Salvation into Hearts and Homes. Other members of the group included Lara George, Dapo Torimiro and rapper Emem Ema. The band rose to prominence with “Let’s Live Together“, a single off their only album “Experience”. Due to financial constraints and individual careers, the group disbanded with each member pursuing their dreams and solo career.

In 2008, TY Bello released her debut solo album “Greenland“. Greenland incorporates the themes of love, family and nation. 2011 saw her releasing another body of work, The Future, which peaked at number 12 on Nigerian Entertainment Today’s list of the 12 Albums to Buy in 2011. The visual featured Tara-Fela Durotoye, Sound Sultan, Chude Jideonwo and Banky W.

The infusion of patriotic lines, harmonious music and her deep baritone voice made the song an instant hit. The album was a commercial success and clinched two prestigious awards. Due to her activism, she was featured alongside other celebrities in an eight-minute anti-rape video compiled by the Nigerian Ministry of Youth Development in October 2011. On October 2014, the songstress released her third studio album The Morning Songbook. The 10-track album was applauded for the superb songwriting and production. In June 2017, the songwriter started a worship series titled “Spontaneous worship” which is an unscripted, original and natural expression of worship in songs to God. The series has featured the likes of Tope Alabi, Sinach, Folabi Nuel, Tolu Ijogun and others.

TY Bello

Her Photography Career

Her career in photography began after the group dissolved; a period when photography wasn’t given much attention. Her passion for photography made her internationally acclaimed as she was appointed as an official photographer to the ex president Goodluck Jonathan. She has also photographed A-list celebrities such as Mo Abudu, Linda Ikeji, Tinnie Tempah, Funke Akindele, Ibukun Awosika, Nike Adeyemi amongst others. On June 5, 2020, she celebrated her 20 years in photography.

She was instrumental in the discovery of popular bread seller and beauty, Olajumoke Orisagunna who later became a successful Nigerian model. She also work for Thisday fashion magazine. Speaking about her photography and music, she stated:

Art is about collecting experiences and expressing them. For me music and photography are similar art forms. I collect experiences, stir them in myself and express it in my own language. Just like my photography, music is my language”

TY Bello
TY Bello and her family

Her Humanitarian Works

Aside being an artist, TY Bello is also an agent of social change in Nigeria. Her contributions doesn’t just stop at photography and music, she has been involved in diverse social issues like gender equality, orphan education, political stability etc. She organizes an annual photography exhibition to raise funds for orphans across the country. She is also the director of Link-a-child, an NGO dedicated to creating  awareness for 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.

TY Bello’s Relationship and Family Life

In 2009, the renowned photographer got married to Kashetu Bello. After 9 years of marriage, the couple gave birth to twin boys named Christian and Christopher on 10 October 2014. The date of release of her album, The Morning Songbook coincided with their date of birth.

According to the singer, she had struggled with endometriosis, faced pressure from friends and family before having her babies through IVF. It was rumoured that she had the twins through surrogacy but the artiste has come out to refute the claims by making reference to her pre-delivery pictures which she posted on her social media pages. She’s been an embodiment of encouragement to women who are seeking to experience motherhood.

TY Bello
TY Bello and her kids

Awards and Nominations

The renowned photographer in the course of her career has won several awards and nominations.

Nominated for the Recording Artiste of the Year, The Headies Awards (2008)

Nominated for the Hip Hop World Revelation of the Year, The Headies Awards (2008)

Best New Act of the Year at Nigeria Entertainment Awards (2008)

Best Female Video at Sound City Video Awards (2008)

Most Creative Personality of the Year at SRAF Awards (2017)

The Inspirational Woman of the Year         Award COWLSO (2018)

TY Bello’s Net Worth

With a net worth above $4 million dollars, TY Bello is ranked amongst the richest and most influential celebrities in Nigeria.

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