By Seun Apara (@seunapara)
Multiple awards winning Nigerian super star, Dapo Oyebanjo populalrly known as D’Banj is not doubt one of Nigeria’s most resourceful entertainers. His break up with his partner, Don Jazzy generated a lot of reactions both within and outside the music idustry. Many music buffs even took a bet on him that he won’t last more than six months before he goes under. At that point, he became the most underrated music act. He heard all but pretended as if he didn’t and continued pushing his dreams.
Today, D’Banj seems to be very happy with the part he chooses as he declares he has no regret. His earnings have increased and he’s gained more international recognition. His road manager revealed that D’Banj now charges N8,000,000.00 and $100,000.00 outside Nigeria.
In his characteristic funny and lively attitude, he sat down with Seun Apara and speaks about his past and future.
First of all, how much do you worth now?
(Laughs). God has blessed me o. Ah, make I no lie (I won’t lie), Oluwa (God) is involved. I can’t start counting my blessings but I thank God.
The latest project from your stable now is the DKM album and it drops in two weeks. Give us an exclusive insight into it?
The ‘DKM’ Album, D Kings Men is a compilation of songs from the artistes on DB Records and is not a D’ Banj’s Album. It has a compilation of songs and sounds done by DB records artistes comprising myself, Kay Switch and J.Sol. DKM album has already dropped on pre-sales online. This is the first time I will be doing pre-sales of any album and I was surprised that in less than three days, the response was massive. I was in Atlanta and I flew back home immediately. I am actually excited about it and not just for me alone. I’m excited that if by God’s grace this works out, finally, it will curb piracy and provide another means of distribution other than Alaba Market.
Are you trying to set up a distribution channel?
Definitely and is not for the benefit of DB Records artiste alone, is for the benefit of all Nigerian acts. The big thing about this is that the distribution of DKM album is not going to be online alone. We have been looking for a way whereby our fans and the masses can get hold of our product other than on the street because I have heard complaints in the past that they don’t get the original copies of our albums. So now, it has been structured in a way that it will be delivered directly to your house, once you pre-buy the album. Then, it will be available in all GT Bank offices nationwide. I can tell you categorically that Fally Ipupa is on this album, Kanye West is on the album and Olamide is also on the album. Another shocker is that Durella is on the album (laughs)
Yes, I know a lot of people will be surprised. Wait till you hear the song.
We heard you are also planning an album cum birthday concert?
We are definitely working on the DKM concert and will feature our friends that featured on the album. Other colleagues of mine will also be coming for the DKM concert scheduled for June 2013. It is such a big thing because my birthday is June 9th and we will be celebrating for the whole month of June. The Lord has blessed me and I need to celebrate. We have made such a big plan that when the album drops, I will go on tour throughout the month of June. Any of my fans in any country listed on the tour that already have the album will have access to the tour. The Koko community card inside the album gives them the chance to meet me and groove with me. The grand finale is on June 24th at the Expo Hall of Eko Hotel in Lagos where we will be staging the DKM Concert and my birthday bash together. I am bringing 2Chainz from America to perform at the concert.
I’m aware that you have other businesses, how do you manage all of them?
We have a management company called DKM that handles lot of brands and endorsements. So everything is more organized now with the launch of DKM Media last year. We started with the Koko Concert and that is the first time we did a concert and we wanted to do something different. Let me quickly use this opportunity to apologise to all my wonderful fans that trekked that long distance to the Koko Concert last year. I promise them we are not trekking again this year because we have a solid arrangement.
I listened to one of the songs on the DKM album titled Nonsense but I realized the song seems to have a violence theme. How will you explain that?
When I do my music, I do it like a day to day thing. You have heard Suddenly and Mogbona Felifeli.So this new song you are referring to won’t be an exception. When I say ‘egba ojue’ (slap him), it means enough of negative talks around you.
However, how do you end negative talks around you, it’s simply by stopping the negative things. For example, if you have an Ipad that is messing up, the best way to ‘gba ojue’ (slap it) is by repairing it.
With four nominations at World Music Awards including ‘Best Song of The Year and Best World Artiste’, what is more paramount to you at this point of your career?
What is more paramount to me is the same drive from the beginning. Oliver Twist did number 9 in the U.K top chart, number 2 in U.K R &B and number one in Romania. I will be 10 years on stage next year, though am already more than ten years in the industry but I released Tongolo in March 2004. Within ten years, I have been able to take our music and our culture to everywhere in Africa, Canada, America and Europe. With my partnership with G.O.O.D music and Universal Music, sooner or later, the whole world will hear about D’banj and other artiste like MI, Olamide and many others .We will showcase ourselves to the world and they are going to buy our music. The Grammy too is very near because we have won several Channel O awards, Soundcity, MTV, NMVA and many others.
Having done stuffs with few African top acts like Fally Ipupa, Sarkodie and 2Face, is there any particular African artiste you have in mind to work with soon?
I have done a lot of songs with 2Face but I still want to do more songs with him, infact do an album together. We will call it ‘Best of Both worlds’.
Having performed at top world concerts like Wireless, Radio 1 Hackney Weekend and few others, is there any particular concert you are eyeing at the moment?
It will be The Live Nation tour and any other major tour that is top class where I can promote African language and culture. I go to some tours and I’ll tell the white people that if you see a rich Nigerian, call him Igwe (King) and they will all shout Igwe. I teach them African languages and culture because I’m an African ambassador. Sometimes they don’t know the meaning until I translate.
What is your utmost possession?
For now, I will say is my distribution. For once, we need to get music distribution right in this country and be able curb piracy. Aside, musicians will be able to make so much money from their works.
What is the true story of your former manager, Bankulli’s exit from DB Records?
The thing is that I won’t really dwell too much on this issue but I want to categorically say everything that everybody has read or heard is a big fat lie.
Infact, I don’t know where that story is coming from. There is a definitely time for everything. Bankulli was a wonderful manager and he is still my brother. He is a good guy but he can’t be flying around with me again as he now does his own things. He still called us for a show recently when we were in South Africa. When people say someone that worked with me for one year is not working with me again, I laugh. My former manager, Sunday Are still gets me shows. People keep spreading unpalatable rumors.
Are you in touch with former partner, Don Jazzy?
Don Jazzy produced four songs on the DKM album coming out soon. I remember when I was in America and they were mastering a song and I heard the one featuring Fally Ipupa which was produced by Don Jazzy and I was like wow! I called him immediately and he picked up. I said listen to what I’m hearing, this is a music you produced. So don’t get twisted like I said, love is a beautiful thing. I’m a businessman and I do what is right for my business. What I’m doing now is what I have always wanted as an artiste, professionalism and good distribution. I don’t have any regret.
Tell us about your relationship status…
I have dated a lot of women but I don’t really want to talk about them because most of them have moved on and some are married. I don’t have any regret at all because I am still young and am still a bachelor.
Do you feel bothered about it when your mum brings up the issue?
Not at all but it’s a normal thing for mothers. She is proud of me and I do let her understand that it’s not that I don’t want to marry but I have not found the right one. If she finds the right one for me; she can call me.
How do you react to rumors and critics?
It’s a normal thing for people to talk but you don’t have to be distracted. All you need is to stay focused. I want to thank everybody for staying with me genuinely even during the dreadful time. I promise not to let you guys down and you should remember that in everything I do, I’m also human.