“I begged to sell CDs in US salons to survive’’ – Banky W shares his success story

You want to be inspired, then read this!
Behind every glory is a story!

In a recent interview with Vanguard,  R n B singer, Banky W shared his
success story; he didn’t just become the famous Banky W overnight, he
worked hard for it.
He disclosed the hard work and pains
that preceded his fame and success today and how he moved from being an
undergraduate begging for audience at salons in the United States, to
building a musical empire that has produced internationally acclaimed
artistes like Skales and Wizkid.
See excerpts below:“Everybody
knows me to be the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of EME, but what
people do not know is that EME started when I was in my third year in
university in New York.  You see, we all dream dreams, but it is
important to think very big and start where you are because God never
gives you everything but gives you enough to start.
At that time, I knew I wanted to do music, but of course I understood nobody starts by selling a million CDs or the big screen!
I worked in fast foods outlets, clothing stores and as a knife
salesman, selling knives from door to door. That way, I gathered money
to pay for studio recording time. I was recording with a close friend at
that time.
After making that music, we printed a
thousand CDs though we didn’t have any fan. I had one battered car that
broke down virtually everywhere, so, we would print black and white
posters, stick them on the sides of the car, sell from the car’s trunk
and drive to salons to do marketing.

We would walk to
the owners of the salons, greet politely, and ask them to let us
entertain their customers. Sometimes, some would kick us out and
sometimes some would say yes. If told yes, after singing for a minute or
two, we would sell our CDs to the customers! That was the beginning!
lot of people see you on stage and see the success but do not know what
you had to go through! I never had one really big break; it was always
two steps forward and a couple backwards.
But I just decided that I
was going to make music work for me. That was why I moved on to a new
salon each time any salon rejected me!
I just kept going
because I believe failure is when you give up. Albert Einstein said he
tried a hundred times to make the light bulb. When he was asked what
kept him going during the 99 times, he said: ‘I didn’t consider those 99
times as failure; rather, I considered them 99 ways that it didn’t
We went about selling CDs and, on the days we
couldn’t sell much, we would sit down and be broke together. I remember
my friend was a member of a church that usually served food after
service. So, on the days we didn’t sell CDs and were too broke to buy
food, we would attend service in that church so we could pack rice and
store in the fridge.
At a point, being a student of
industrial engineering, I was working for an engineering company and was
recording as well. I would go to work from 7am till about 2pm and then
go to school till about 8pm, and then drive two and a half hours to New
York City where the studio that would let us record for less was, and
record until about 2am.
I would then drive two and a half hours back home to be back at work at 7am the following day.
day, I was driving home from work and was so tired that I fell asleep
while on a bridge. I would have driven off from the top of the bridge to
God knows where, if not for an on-going construction work. God really
saved me!”
After a while, Banky’s hard work began to pay
off and, even while in school, he began winning awards, beginning with
the ‘Albany Idol’ competition. Other international awards soon followed.
2008 when he decided to move to Nigeria after the completion of one of
his albums, Mr Capable, Banky was consistently told his genre of music
‘would never appeal to Nigerians and therefore wouldn’t ‘sell’.
he got turned down, pressure mounted on him and his manager to change
their genre of music but Banky strongly held on to another long-standing
principle which had taught him to stand out by being unique rather than
trying to imitate anyone’s skill.
He therefore insisted on sticking
to R&B, and this paid-off as he soon became a household name in the
Nigerian entertainment industry!
“You cannot say enough
about the grace of God and I therefore do not want to claim any form of
glory. Falling down is inevitable but getting back up is optional!
Frankly, you can’t appreciate sunshine if you’ve never been through a
heavy rain. Yes, life is tough, but what do you do in those tough
Do you learn the lesson, stand up again, consider yourself
stronger and keep going? Or do you sit down and feel sorry for
The graveyard, they say, is the richest place
in the world because therein lies so many who died with their dreams.
So, my advice is, do not give up! If Banky can be where he is today, you
can be where you want to be if you put to mind to it.”
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