She was born on July 16, 1970 in Lagos to a Benin Republic/Sierra Leone Lisabi clan who then moved to Lagos because he was originally from Nigeria. Her mother comes from Ikorodu, Lagos State. Yinka is the first of six children.
Yinka Davies had her primary education at the Reagan Memorial Baptist Primary school, Onike Yaba and Our Lady of Apostles Secondary school, Yaba, both in Lagos State.
She revealed she did not go to the University, but given the opportunity, would have preferred to study Agriculture and possibly be a farmer. She based all her achievements on pure talents.
Yinka Davies made her entry into entertainment industry via her musical influences. She remembers vividly that her father was a guitarist. She grew up to like the sounds of Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, Elvis and Jimmy Dean. They were musician the father used to listen to then.
Yinka was also a lover of variety of African music. This was made possible through her grandmother’s radio in the 1970 and 80s when she used to listen to the likes of Manu Dibango (Cameroun – Makossa), Mmaman Shatta (traditional Northern Nigerian musician), Dan Maria Jos (Northern Nigeria), Orlando Julius (southern Nigeria – highlife), Hadjia Funtua (northern Nigeria), Victor Uwaifo (southern Nigeria – Joromi), Fela (southern Nigeria – Afrobeat) and others.
She also remembers watching the late TV personality Art Alade, father of Dare Art-Alade who had a popular television program called the Bar Beach Show featuring various musicians as well as his own resident band.
Yinka first area of interest was in painting and sculpting. She revealed that Easter Monday 1987, was the start of her journey into the arts when she visited the National Theatre in Lagos to explore becoming a visual artist. She then went to meet Abiodun Olaku a renowned Nigerian painter.
Yinka was fascinated and got caught up in the ambiance of the National Theatre. She was later admitted by the late Bassey Effiong, the then Theatre Director to help him paint the stage for a production of Marriage of Anansewa by Efua Sutherland. It was during this project that actually shot Yinka to fame and recognition in the artistic world.
During her visits to the National Theatre, Yinka met a Ghanaian dancer, Elizabeth Hammond (Ghanaian dancer) who held dance classes and was a musical partner with the late Christie Essien Igbokwe, Silver prize winner at 6th Seoul Songs Festival, South Korea in 1983, all helped to influence greatly her musical journey which she is proud of today.
In 1992, the organisers of the Fame music award spotted her as an all-round artist, from her work in theatre, video, choreography, background vocals for various Nigerian artistes and was subsequently nominated for first Upcoming Artist Award.
Her breakthrough in the music scene came up in 1993 when she released in an effort to introduce a new renaissance artist called Lagbaja and she was heavily involved in the production of this artiste’s first album called Side by Side in Lagos. This idea was conceived by the management of the Club in Lagos, Bread and Butter Jazz Club.
It was during this period she also collaborated with Nigerian recording artists such as Mike Okri (R&B), Shina Peters (Afro juju), Blackky (Reggae) and many others not only as a backup vocalist but also a choreographer for their music videos.
Yinka Davies also worked with great artistes like the late Geraldo Pino (originally from Sierra Leone) and Etienne T Boy (Cameroonian) who worked with Pino.
January 21, 1994 was a major setback for Yinka. She was knocked down by a taxi while trying to cross the road in Lagos. This unfortunate incident resulted in major surgery which severely affected her ability to dance. She was in between singing and dancing doing a lot of background vocals for other musicians.
Yinka Davies revealed that music to her, was static in comparison with painting, sculpture, theatre, and dancing where she felt she could fuel her energy to its fullest.
Yinka is indeed grateful to a few of the Nigerian female artistes like Tiwa Savage, Omawunmi, Waje, Asa and others who she describes as associates, though not necessarily her contemparies in the music industry.
Yinka Davies has a number of albums to her credit. They include:
• Emi n’lo (2002)
• work (1998
• Black Chiffon (2010)
She has equally collaborated with top artistes to produce:
• I want to praise (Florocka)
• Fatai Rolling Dollar
• Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister
Yinka’s Notable Performances are numerous. Some of which are:
• Alex O’s Background Vocalist (1990-1992)
• World Music Day Organised by Alliance Francaise (1995 till date)
• Emi Nlo Album Listening by Carl Raccah (2000)
• Yinka Davies in Concert with *5 & 6* Band at the Alliance Francaise Lagos Nigeria (2013, 2014, 2016)
• Jazzville 7th Anniversary concert under direction of Elder Steve Rhodes
• 1999-2002 – she was the resident act at the Nicon Nuga Hilton Hotel in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja.
• 2006 performed with Tony Allen at The Cave during the release of his record Lagos No Shaking.
• African Film Festival Tour – Milan, Tunis, organised by The Goethe Institute.
• Black Chiffon Album Launch (2011)
• Nigerian Idol Judge (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016)
• Ajumogobia Science Foundation Concerts (2005-2015)
• African Music Festival – London (2015)
• Lagos State Jazz Festival (2016, 2017, 2018)
• Calabar State Jazz Festival (2017)
• Jazz at The United States Consulate’s Residence (2015….)
Her Theatre/Stage performances include:
• Things Fall Apart directed by Bassey Effiong (1988)
• Lion and The Jewel directed by Bassey Effiong (1988)
• Contemporary Dance Troup led by Elizabeth Hammond (1988–90)
• Wind vs Polygamy directed by Sam Loco Efe (1989)
• Kakaki Concert: directed by Ben Tomoloju (1990)
• Death and The King’s Horseman directed by Bayo Oduneye (1990)
• Greener Grass directed by Niji Akanni and Bakare (1990)
• Irara Alagbe directed by Felix Okolo (1992)
• Mekunu Melody by Felix Okolo (1992)
• Area Boy by Felix Okolo (1993)
• Nigeria Music Award (NMA)—Voice of the Decade, 2007.
• FAME music—Upcoming artiste of the year, 1992.
Yinka Davies is married with children.
Her Net Worth
Yinka Davies is indeed a veteran in the music scene, a strong advocate for women rights, a bridge from the old where hitherto, there were very few female musical role models and currently a good example for upcoming young female Nigerian artistes.
She has a net worth of about $1 million dollars.