Have you read the Interview D’banj had with ThisDayStyle?

In a recent interview with ThisDay style, music star D’banj talked about his
career, his growth and relationship status. 
See excerpts below:
Tell us a little about
your background and how you got into music?                                               
I went to Nigeria Military School,
Zaria. I always thought I was going to be in the military just like my father
but that didn’t happen. But I definitely believe that’s where all my energy is
from. I lost my brother who was also in the military to a plane crash when I
was still in secondary school and I think that’s where everything changed for
me musically. He died in 1994 and I was in school when it happened. I went home
for his burial and when I got home, what I saw was that they laid down all his
belongings on his bed in his room and the harmonica was one of the items I saw
that i was drawn to. I took it back to school and started playing with it. No
one taught me how to play the harmonica but the more I played, the better I
became. So for me I think that’s where the love for music grew.  I
joined the choir and played every instrument I could lay my hands on. At every
opportunity I got, I tried to express myself through music.                                       
Then I left for the
United Kingdom, when I got there I realized that I was more than just a singer
and that I had the ability to entertain, so I started trying to study what it
took to be an entertainer. It was there I met my friend and partner Don Jazzy and
together, we found and built one of Africa’s biggest and most successful record
labels ‘Mo’Hits Records’. We came back to Nigeria in 2004 and launched my first
single ‘Tongolo (What is the koko)’. 

When you started out your musical career,
you adopted the stage name D’banj but over the years you have adopted a lot
more names. What do you prefer to be called at the moment and why?
People call
me different things these days and I am open to them. Some people who know me
personally call me Dapo (like my parents), people who have followed my career
call me D’banj or Koko Master or Banga Lee and most recently, with my strong
interest in agriculture, some people call me Koko farmer. I am open to all
these names as long as they are positively called. I will always be called
D’banj though because even my parents call me that, as D stands for Dapo and
Banj my surname Oyebanjo.   
Every season and time I get a new name I use it. You
can probably say I’m the only artiste with the most names. Eja Nla in 2012,
which means big fish and I was given Banga Lee in 2013 stemming from Lee
 Did your parents oppose to this back then knowing
that being a musician was really a lucrative career
 In the beginning my parent
opposed to it because they didn’t think being a musician was a bankable career
that could sustain me but later when they realized what I wanted to do, they
gave me their support. As long as I was doing what I enjoyed they gave me their
blessings. They supported me financially and with prayers. When I had my first
show as an independent act in 2004 back in London, Hackney, I became the talk
of town and my career took off. That’s when they knew and realized how
successful one could be doing music. 
 They continue to be my voice of reasoning
and remind me to pray everyday and continue to steer me in the right direction. 
 How has living in Nigeria influenced you as a musician? Living in Nigeria has
influenced us all in one way or another. I can proudly say that it has made me
the man I am today. My culture, ethics and hustle has influenced my lyrics and
music, my experiences here has been a big part of my music. From the onset, my
music has always been about me being a Nigerian. It is a big influence in my
music and will continue to be. 
 You parted ways with your partner and long
time friend Don Jazzy, which wasn’t pleasant news for many of your fans in
Nigeria and around the world; can you tell us why you took such a decision?
split or break up will affect anyone because you are used to a way of working
and for me, it did. But I always look at the light at the end of the tunnel. It
was after the split that I had my first global hit ‘Oliver Twist’. It hit the
top ten in the United Kingdom and also it was when other endorsements came
through, such as the theme song for Africa Cup of Nation ‘Top of the world’. I
got to perform it in front of 92,000 people. Also I was made a GLO Ambassador
and also an ambassador the Bank for Industry. But Don jazzy is one of Nigeria’s
most amazing producers and will continue to be so, I respect his work
tremendously. He is also a long time friend and brother. 
 Has the split in any
way affected your musical career or has it had a positive impact on the
musician you are today?
I don’t believe it has affected my career in anyway. As
you can see, D’banj is getting involved in many things such as the ONE Campaign
by Bono; an ambassador for agriculture in Nigeria, my music is doing great too
with my recent new video for one of the soundtracks for ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’.
My career going great as expected. This year we celebrate 10 years of D’banj in
the entertainment industry. I’m thankful to God.  
What’s the biggest lesson you
have learned through it all?
I have learned one simple lesson, ‘Without God we
are nothing’.  
 What will you say has been your biggest achievement
and why?
Everything I embark on is an achievement so I can’t say what my
biggest achievement is. But I have to say, Bono selecting me to work on the One
Campaign is an achievement. Doing a soundtrack for ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ which
is the biggest movie right now is also an achievement for me. The minister of
agriculture endorsing me as an ambassador for agriculture is an achievement.
Being able to live and survive in this industry for 10 years is a great
 You were signed on to Kanye West record label G.O.O.D Music, how did that
happen and has this had any impact on your musical career internationally?
met Kanye on my way out of Dubai. I had a concert there and after my show on my
way out at the airport, an airhostess on my Emirates flight must have confused
me for Kanye west. When I came down from the car with my entourage, she ran up
to me with a plaque that read ‘Mr Kanye West’ and I saw it and said to her ‘I’m
not Mr Kanye West’. But I also knew he was coming to town, so I told my people
to keep their eyes out for him and when they spotted him, my P.A Chuchu
approached him and introduced himself and spoke to him about me. He invited us
for five minutes. Five minutes became thirty minutes and as a sharp Naija boy,
I had my headphones, my iPad and everything else ready for him to listen to our
music. When he heard it, he liked it. He invited us to New York and said to
make sure to pass through next time we came to the States. 
 So the next time I
was in the States, I passed through New york to meet up with him and after
about four days of trying to get hold of him, we received an email saying he
would see us in the studio. We went and we were opportune to meet the whole
crew. By the next day I met L.A Reid. It was such a great experience, not just
for me but for everything I stand for, which is Africa Music. 
We have never had
that kind of opportunity before, at least not in my generation. It was then
that all eyes turned to African musicians and as we all know, people around the
world love African music but I must say Kanye was the first to spot the
uniqueness in African music that he made the world pay attention to our music. 
 Your song ‘Oliver Twist’ got massive airplay locally and internationally, what
doors did the song open for you musically?
It got people of different races and
in different countries appreciating D’banj brand. It felt great that music was
enjoyed across various countries and it made the world also pay more attention
to African music and since then we can now see the doors have opened musically
for Africans internationally. 
 What current project are you working on? My
10th year anniversary in the music industry, focusing on my Agricultural
projects, the ONE Campaign, releasing some never-before-seen footage and
releasing some new tracks/music.  
 You recently ventured into agriculture, what
led to this move and what do you hope achieving this?
Agriculture is the new
cool. I am happy to be part of a venture that can change lives in our country
and put food in the table of millions. I hope to influence more youths to
garner an interest in this sector. It will change all of our lives. 
 You have
been in a series of collaborations with international and local artistes, which
will say has been your most memorable and why?
I will say ‘Endowed’ with Snoop
(Lion). I love a lot of my collaborations but I love Endowed with Snoop and
Tony Montana with Naeto C. Endowed for me was a time in my career when I just
thought we had done enough for the Nigerian music industry and African music on
the map and I will say Endowed did just that. We flew to Los Angeles, did the
video with snoop and it was a huge success. He is a living legend and I have
all the respect for him. He calls me his nephew and I call him my uncle. As
soon as the video was released, the whole world connected with it. If you were
to pick a favourite song and music video from all your albums, which will you
say has by far been the most successful? ‘Olive Twist’ if I must say. It’s the
most successful song and the video in Africa. It is not necessarily my personal
favourite but it has been the most successful. It’s been the most viewed video
on YouTube by an African musician. It got about twenty six million views. It
was the first African music to top the UK charts in eleven European countries.
I have my own personal favourite but the most successful has to be Oliver
 What kind of music do you listen to when you are not making music? I
listen to all genres of music. A lot of ladies out there will want to know
this, is the Koko master/Eja Nla/ Banger Lee single? Yes I am!  
 It is rumoured,
you are dating the daughter of a rich successful luxury brand owner, is this
Rumours are rumours and they will always exist.  
 What are your favourite Nigerian
and international songs right now respectively?
I can’t really mention five
favourite songs right now because I might pick five now and remember one as
soon as I pick the last song so it’s really difficult to say. I love music.
What will you say is important to know and have
to become a successful artiste like yourself?
Know your fans and know what
they’ll enjoy. Know your talent and stay true to it, yourself and your calling.
Be hardworking. Be original and of course be patient but not stupid. It’s good
you value yourself so people will value you. 
Describe your personal style? My
personal style is based on individuality. I create my own style. I will say I’m
a trendsetter and always remember to ‘Dress how you want to be addressed’.  
is the most expensive luxury item you have ever purchased?
I can’t really
remember because I buy what I like, I bought myself an Aston Martin, a Bentley
and my jewelry. 
 Any last words for any budding musician who wants to attain
international success?
Continue to follow your dreams, apply your self and
don’t take no for an answer. Be real and of course believe in God. 
This interview
was culled from ThisDay Style Magazine…


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