How Mercury Music Prize winner Dave avoided same fate as brother behind bars – thanks to mum

Clutching his Mercury Prize with one hand and hugging his mum with the other, David Orobosa Omoregie has become one of the UK’s most iconic young artists.

But the 21-year-old rapper, who is best known as Dave, hasn’t had the easiest ride to the top.

Growing up in Streatham, South London, Dave had a tough start in life.

The Mercury Award winner grew up without a father and by the time he was in his teens both of his brothers, Christopher, and Ben, were in prison.

Chris was jailed for life after being involved in the murder of Sofyen Belamouadden at London’s Victoria Station in 2010.

During the shocking incident, promising footballer Sofyen was kicked, punched and stabbed nine times by a gang of 20 teenagers – as the result of a rift between two rival school gangs.

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Speaking at the time one onlooker said: “He had no chance against his attackers. He wasn’t getting any help.

“There was just him, surrounded. As I now know, he was actually stabbed to death. He didn’t have a chance to defend himself.”

But despite being convicted of murder in 2013 and given a sentence of at least 18 years in prison, Dave says that his brother is one of the biggest inspirations behind his debut album, Psychodrama.

Upon winning the Hyundai Mercury Award he said: “Most importantly, I know I tell this story all the time, but I wanna thank my brother Christopher that inspired this album.

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“This is your story that we told, and even though you can’t be here with us today, I know you’re watching this bro. And I’m so grateful, thank you guys so much.”

Following Chris’ arrest, Dave’s eldest brother Ben was convicted for fraud but has since been released.

“And Dave also admits that a number of his close friends are also behind bars. He said: “I have nine or 10 very close friends in prison.

But even they listen to his music.

He said: “To have all of them calling me to tell me they heard me on the radio. That’s always been so important to me, because they can’t listen to their own music in there.”

Dave scoops envy-inducing Mercury Music Prize with his debut album Psychodrama
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But despite his tough upbringing, Dave says his main goal has always been to make his mother proud.

Dave’s mother worked as a nurse and he says that she “left at 5am every day, I went to school, she came back at 10pm or 11pm.”

He added: “It was tough for her and for me.”

Dave’s mum was also very protective of him and didn’t let him out after school from the age of 11 – following his brother, Chris’s, arrest.

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However, this gave him time to learn the piano to grade seven, and he was even expected to start a law degree last year before dropping out to fulfil his music career instead.

So, although Dave admits that his mum was sceptical of his decision at first, he knows that he has finally given her something to smile about.

He said: “I’ve given her bragging rights. That’s something my mum’s definitely big on like any African parent. Like any parent.”

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