Posts Tagged ‘D’Banj’

D’Banj fever is sweeping the UK!
Whether you’re a seasoned professional, rank amateur, break-dancer, Zumba fanatic or Saturday night clubber we want YOU to enter! Solo entrants and dance groups all welcome and there are some great prizes on offer – it’s not about talent, we want to be entertained so just have fun! Simply upload your video using the online form below and get your friends to ‘Like’ your effort. D’Banj and his team of experts will then judge the 10 videos with the most ‘Likes’ and pick the winners.

Top prize for the best solo performer is £500 and an exclusive pair of customized trainers, courtesy of ADIDAS.

Top prize for best group performance is £500 and a private dance party for up to 12 people at Pineapple Studios in London.

Read Competition Terms & Condition Here

WATCH: D’banj Fever Is Sweeping The UK

Source: TooXclusive

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‘There’s an important person in that building, right?’ the cab driver asked. ‘Important musician?’

I nodded, too tired to let any curious driver drag me into a conversation.

He got the message and left me alone the entire drive from Canary Wharf to the London Marriot Hotel, in Grosvenor Square.

Then, as I got down to get my suitcase from the trunk, he gave me a knowing look, smiled, and said ‘are you the musician?’

‘Of course not’, I said to him, smiling this time. ‘The musician is in Canary Wharf, his name is D’banj’.

Silence. Confused look.

‘D’banj?’

Yes, D’banj. He’s big in Africa. You know ‘Oliver Twist?’

Silence again, then as his final ‘no’ came, I said ‘Google him.’

It was 4am on Saturday, April 21. I arrived in London eight hours earlier, and had spent almost all of that time chatting with D’banj, in his first interview with a Nigerian newspaper in a long time, and his first interview on the Mo’Hits brouhaha.

London is D’banj’s town. He’s performed there over and over, his single ‘Oliver Twist’ is on the A-list at Choice FM, and enjoys heavy rotation on other stations. A day before I came, he spent hours doing interviews at the Universal offices in Kensington. Some might hail D’banj as the man championing the gospel of ‘Afrobeats’ across the world. But, just like the cab driver, London does not yet know D’banj.

As we walk into the Choice FM building in the afternoon on Saturday, there are no heads turning or fans gazing. In fact, his lawyer, Elias, who wore a pair of loud snakeskin boots, attracted more attention than D’banj.

Who leaves a zone where they’re comfortable and celebrated; where they’re established and successful, for a place where no one seems to give the slightest care?

D’banj, that’s who.

The 31 year-old entertainer has spent nearly two years building structures he hopes will help take his music to new markets in Europe, and especially America. This move, he believes, cost him his friendship and business relationship with his long time partner Don Jazzy.

‘I’m a risk taker’, he says. ‘Life is all about risks. But you must never endanger yourself. I don’t endanger myself, which is why, even though I’m here, I’m still in Nigeria all the time, performing’.

With incredible energy, and the kind of passion that endeared everyone to him when he first moved back to Nigeria in 2005, D’banj says his deal with Kanye West is a case of ‘preparation meets opportunity’.

‘I pulled up with my entourage at the Emirates first class lounge in Dubai. We were returning from Scott Tommey’s birthday.  I came down with Bankuli, my P.A. Chuchu, and my business manager Chidi. My entourage was large and I was looking fly. One of the hostesses ran to me with a Kanye West placard. I said I’m not Kanye o – then I told my guys ‘Kanye is around so no dulling.’ Chuchu and Bankuli spotted Kanye walking in to check in. They went to him and he said we could come over’.

‘As they came, I had my iPad with me, and my headphones. First thing Kanye said was ‘I like your T-shirt’. I wore a Zara T-shirt and a D&G ring. He liked my appearance and said he’d give me 5 minutes. I told him ‘I played with you in Nigeria during NB PLC Star Megajam. I’ve done a song with Snoop and we’re going to shoot the video now. I’d like to play you my songs.’ I played Oliver, Scapegoat, and Fall in love. He was dancing. He removed the headphones and said ‘I don’t mean to sound rude, but if anyone has to bring you out in the states, it has to be me, not Snoop. He asked when I was going to be in the US, and  I told him I was going there that day. Then he asked who my producer was, and I said Don Jazzy. He said ‘come with him.’

Three months later, D’banj, Don Jazzy and their crew were in New York, where, according to D’banj, it took almost forever before they could establish contact with Kanye. ‘It was only an email address he gave us at the airport. So when we got to NY, we sent several emails but got no response. Not a single one.’

‘Then we met someone that knew someone that knew another someone and we got another email address. We sent several messages again, no response. Then Bankuli sent a final one saying, ‘we have been in New York for some time and sent several emails. We have waited long enough and are now on our way to do the Snoop Dogg video’

And then the reply came. ‘Sorry to have overlooked your earlier emails. Mr. Kanye would like to meet with you tomorrow.’

‘We didn’t believe it. Don Jazzy, who had been reluctant all along, still did not believe it. Even when we got there (Wyclef’s studio) the next day, he stood outside. When Kanye came I went to call him ‘Oya come now, come play am the music now’. It was difficult to believe it was real and it was happening. Then when Kanye came in, with the GOOD music acts, I was like, ‘wow’.

From there everything happened fast. Next they were meeting Jay Z, making a presentation to LA Reid (At Electric studios), and discussing contracts. But while the label offered him a traditional recording contract, D’banj opted for a joint venture agreement structured to guarantee three things: retaining full control of his materials in Africa, signing Don Jazzy on board (on behalf on Mohits USA), and, he says, bringing the Universal/Def Jam imprint to Africa.

‘I’ve always thought of how I can be a useful vessel to the industry. A friend and colleague always says to me:  ‘D’banj, you’re the Jesus Christ of the industry.’ So having ran Mohits for nine years, I already had plans of how we could blow Mohits up.  I had plans of expanding, and most especially, bringing hope to that 11 year-old kid somewhere in Africa who may never have had the opportunity to get signed to major labels’.

‘So it was not really just about me.  There’s a big market in Africa.  I said to them, ‘I’ve sold millions of records in Africa, we’ve done millions of hits with CRBT, and I’ve run the most successful label on the continent. You take care of the US, but let me take you to Africa.‘  And I’m happy to tell you that we’re doing that. D’banj’s album will be the first under Universal/Def Jam Africa, and we’re already putting all the structures in place’.

‘I’m a businessman.’ I learnt from my mom, who’s a very successful businesswoman. So having run and funded Mohits for nine years, I knew we had to move to the next level. And everything we wanted was happening. Finally we could take African music to the world.’

Just like the lyrics of the song, D’banj was an Oliver Twist. Here’s a guy who had conquered a continent; was sitting on the top three list, and making more money than anyone else in his category. D’banj was a big player in Nigeria, where there are over 150 million people; a big player in Africa, with over 850 million people. But he wanted to play big globally, with 7 billion people to grab from.

And that’s where the problem started. ‘Don Jazzy was no longer comfortable. You know, we were like fishes out of water, in this new system, starting all over again, like when we returned home in 2004.   I got him a place in the US, set up a studio there, just so he’d be comfortable and be able to work without going to hang around the studios. In one year Jazzy did not make a song. I said, maybe you want to go back to Lagos, you’ll get inspiration there?’ I was all about the work, I wanted us to make this happen, so we can bridge that gap and create a path for Africa. But Jazzy wanted us to go back home. And I understand. He’s my friend, my brother’.

‘But I never expected him to do what he did.’ He said to me in July last year ‘Let’s scatter Mohits. He told me there are two captains – two captains cannot be in a ship. I was like ‘that’s not possible, this is a marriage’. He said ‘then this marriage is no longer working’. I said then let’s go for counseling; I asked, so what happens to our children?’

Don Jazzy wanted Mohits, D’banj says. And that happened on April 16, 2012 – after months of a bitter feud, characterized by accusations and counter accusations, widespread speculation, leaked emails and failed reconciliation attempts.

‘You can see he has signed already’, he said, showing the agreement with Don Jazzy’s signature. ‘I have full rights to my catalogue and full ownership of my Koko Holdings, while he has full ownership of Mo’Hits, including the artistes and liabilities.’

Already judged guilty in the court of public opinion, and publicly disowned by his own boys Wande Coal and Dr SID, D’banj says he’s sad, but not bitter. Does he feel kind of lonely, alone in the cold?  ‘Asking me if I’m lonely because Wande or Jazzy has left me is like asking my first sister if she’s lonely now – she has two kids now, lives in Canada. Don Jazzy is still my brother – we just had to move on. We’ll still work together in future, same with my boys. In fact, just this week, he sent me the remix to Oliver Twist that we’re releasing in the UK on May 14. All the interviews I’ve had here, I kept hyping him. It’s already in my system – you know me, I’m a one-way soldier.  Jazzy is a very quiet person. Loyalty is key. My loyalty still lies in the friendship I had with him. He was cheated by JJC, and I was present. I swore never to cheat him. But I’d like to think our visions became different.

‘It was clear when we met that Jazzy wanted to be the biggest producer, I wanted to be the biggest African entertainer, not the biggest singer. I had my mind on money. In order to say I’m the biggest, I had to be the richest. So for a very long time, he was on the back end. He respected my act, I respected his music judgment. Every meeting that brought us money I went for. I’d say I need to confirm from Don Jazzy because that was the agreement, even though I knew it was my decision. First Glo deal was $500,000. That Landcruiser jeep was because of my demands. It was because of the skill and exposure that I used to bargain. I’m a businessman’

‘People say I’m less talented, I was known as a jester in the JJC squad. I’d make everyone happy and play the mouth organ, but I knew what I wanted. I decided to give Don Jazzy power in 2007 when we realized that after four years, they did not recognize us as a record label. We had signed artistes and done all this work. So we restructured, and restrategized. So I told him to chill, so he can be more respected and be the don. I’m older than him by one year, yet I respected him like a don. I remember when he came out at Ali Baba show, I knelt down for him, so people would say he’s the baba. All the talking in my ears and all, it was an arrangement. All the Soundcity advert and all, he did not tell me anything. It was all an arrangement.’

With his UK publicist Vanessa Amadi taking notes nearby, his manager Bankulli interjecting every now and then, and several legal documents surrounding us, D’banj spoke passionately of his former partner in the same way a man might go on about a cherished and respected, but estranged, lover. He’s on his sixth cigarette, and thinks the room is stuffy, even though no one complains. So he opens the sliding glass for ventilation. ‘Jazzy did his part’, he says, sitting down again and looking me in the face. ‘He made the music for nine years. But nothing stops him from making for twenty more years. We could have changed the formula. Why didn’t he want to change the formula? It was time to expand the business, Mohits was Motown reloaded. We always knew we would expand, he always said I had more swagger than anyone else he knows, And I know he’s one of the best producers in the world; we wanted to make Mohits the biggest in Africa. Other labels were springing up. So if we could conquer America, London when no one had done it before. Most of our people stop in Germany, or Paris. But this is America, this is the big league; it makes us the strongest, the biggest. We had already made the money. And who best to introduce me to the rest of the world? Kanye did not want to change anything about my music, my style of dressing, or my brand. It is God’s favour. But Jazzy was and is very scared. Something had worked for eight years, so he wanted to maintain the status quo. People are afraid to try new things.’

‘But’, he tells me, still maintaining eye contact while lighting another cigarette, ‘I’m not afraid. I’m a vessel that God is trying to use to help the industry. I’m a bridge. Once in a few years, one artiste comes from the UK to run the world, none has come from Africa. Fela was the closest. It’s been my own dream; I made my name from Nigeria, unlike Seal, Wale, and Tinie Tempah.  And I want to bring Universal, Def Jam and all to Nigeria. So if I can build that bridge, then we’re good, because it will give hope to the boys in Asaba, in Oshogbo that this thing is possible.’

The day after our Canary Wharf interview, we meet up at Highbury Islington, where he’s shooting a documentary and the promo for the Oliver Twist competition for the UK. D’banj’s new crew: Semtex (a white A&R rep from the label), Bankuli and Vanessa, are on the ground, working with the production team. ‘This is why we’re here o. This is the work’, he says as he invites me into the dressing room.

‘And when people say why am I not talking, this is why. I’m focused on making this happen. It’s more important for me to make sure I don’t disappoint all those who have invested in me; all those who believe in me and are supporting the movement, than to be fighting over who’s right or wrong. Even now that I’m talking to you, I don’t even know if I should be doing this interview.’

It’s very unexpected that D’banj – the super aggresive D’banj – is speaking in this manner. He has fought many battles, cut off many former friend-associates, ignored the Nigerian media, and reportedly humiliated several Mo’hits members, including Ikechukwu and Dr SID. Temperamental, often impatient, and vocal, those who know him will tell you the D’banj they know, is not the one that’s speaking.

So I ask:

The perception is that you’ve become arrogant, unreachable, proud. You’re not the D’banj we used to know; not the D’banj I used to know – and most people in the media will say this is true

Obviously people will say stuff – but this is me. I can’t keep up with everyone, no matter how much I try.  But I understand where I’m coming from. I cant forget my roots – all the interviews I had yesterday, I was ‘bigging up’ DJ Abass, he gave me my first show in London. You saw me giving Jazzy props in my interview earlier. That’s me. If I was arrogant I wouldn’t have been the one even chasing Jazzy around since he told me last July that he wanted to scatter Mohits. Last time I saw him was on February 19 at Irving Plaza. He didn’t support the show, and he only came on stage when SID and Wande were performing. I wanted peace.

And even my mom, who had supported us from beginning, who gave us the house we stayed in (in Michael Otedola estate, Lagos), the Previa bus we used and paid for Tongolo video, spoke to his parents last December; ‘this is what your son said o’. I remember my mom saying to me, ‘if you guys have been together all these years, and no wahala, then if you need to part, I hope there’ll be no wahala.’ She was very particular about that. I had enough proof to have come out and speak; this thing has been on for a long time, and we’re in April now. But I don’t want to cause any wahala. I don’t want to spoil anything. I don’t want trouble. Right now, I just want to be able to move on and do my business.’

That’s surprising, because when the leaked emails emerged, revealing private email conversations between the estranged partners, all fingers pointed at D’banj. Don Jazzy, a likeable celeb and social media addict, didn’t have anything to prove. D’banj was the one who looked bad, and, understandably, would want to make a move that could earn him public sympathy.

‘The signing (away of my shares in Mohits) was already being discussed before April 16. If I kept quiet from January till now, what would it benefit me to leak anything? Remember all the stuff about my password and all? We know where that was from, I really wouldn’t want to think it was from him, my brother, but it could be from anywhere, but I don’t want to call anyone’s name’

But were the emails forged?

Everything in those emails were facts. And I don’t even think the mails favoured me in any way. It’s not the exact mails that were sent and signed, but there were elements of truth in the mails that were published.’

Why did you tell Ebony you own Mohits?

My mom advised me not to speak. And the interviewer took it out of context. I co-owned Mohits.  We registered the business in 2004, and we owned it 50:50. So I spoke about that, but the interviewer took it wrong and the fans put pressure on them and they corrected it.

How about Sahara Reporters?

I never wanted to have any interview. It was on the eve of my US show. I was told I should do the interview, because they’re very troublesome. I had to do the interview for the sake of my show the next day. I was guaranteed that there’d be no politics questions. I had not been in the country. And I had been under pressure.  Sadly, when that happened and I was being attacked in the media, none of my guys came out to support me.

Looking at all this, what are your regrets?

The truth is that if nothing went wrong, you’d have still heard all this good news and Mohits would take the glory, I didn’t come out in eight years to say anything. Everyone made their contributions. There were no issues, as long as it worked. My mistake was thinking that we were one. People don’t question their brothers and sisters.

How do you feel about Wande Coal and Dr. SID taking sides with Jazzy?

I won’t be too quick to judge Wande Coal. I hear it was Jazzy that tweeted those Wande tweets. I don’t know how true that is, but I know he had our social media accounts. As at a month ago, I couldn’t access any of my accounts. My password was changed on Twitter and Facebook. Then Universal intervened. I’m about to be verified on Twitter now. I’m not really a social media person, so it was Don Jazzy and some of our other guys that were running it. Wande himself knows the truth. He cannot talk to me like that. The whole Mohits knew who ran the label businesswise. They knew who to come to when they needed to get money out, after we recorded the album. Who knows the factory where Dansa was made? But you will know the marketing manager. The car he’s driving, I bought him a brand new Prado from Phyllis and Moss after he crashed the car he won from Hiphop World awards. I bought six Range Rovers last year. I bought D’Prince an LR 3 last year, he crashed it, then I bought him a Range, and it’s true that I bought two Bentleys. Because of Jazzy. But after July last year, after the issue with Jazzy, I bought myself the Aston Martin.

You bought that? I thought that was a gift?

I bought it.

How were you able to fund all that?

In the last nine years, there are a few people and corporate bodies that God has helped me build relationships with, either individuals or banks, or even corporates that are involved in the growth of the industry. I’ve enjoyed their support, and even now that we’re going global, we’re pooling the funds together from all these places.

Could you possibly be Nigeria’s richest pop star? A billionaire?

Vanity upon vanity. Money is material. In terms of what we’re doing, you’ll call me a Trillionaire, because this vision is too big for only me. With the help of the industry, the government, people like you Ayeni, we will not only be billionaires, but trillionaires, and not just me, but every little kid that has same talent like Beyonce, or Nicki Minaj. And with the standard of the UMG worldwide, we can pass people out from our own Universal Music Group Africa, Universal Def Jam Africa, and everyone should jump on this ship with us. It’s not the Titanic.

There’s been a lot of confusion – what label exactly are you signed on?

My album comes out under my label/GOOD Music/Island Def Jam. I’m funding the D’banj album, in America, through GOOD Music/Island Def Jam. GOOD Music is Kanye West who is co-executive producing with me. The deal comprises of Island Def Jam, in US. But in UK, it is under Mercury. My first single will be released in Europe on May 14. My work will be released in Africa through Universal/Def Jam. We don’t have these structures in Africa, and they’ve seen how much money they’ve lost. They’ve seen what I’ve done with Mohits. I made my pitch to them; I’ve made them realize how much they were losing in the African region. Over 150m Nigerians, over 800m Africans. 2% of that is 8.5m. They were not making anything except from S.A, which has been the US of Africa. So we will be launching this label in Ghana, in partnership with Vodafone, launching in Nigeria in partnership with MTN. Def Jam Africa will be up soon; Kenya, SA, and North Africa will follow.

Why are you risking all this? What if you burn your fingers and lose everything you’ve worked for?

Lose out?  Well, I am happy I even have something to risk. To whom much is given, much is expected. Look at Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jay Z, Kanye West, these people take it to the max, take it to where they believe that they can push it to. In the first instance, coming back to Nigeria with Jazzy was because I was a risk taker. And I wouldn’t say I’m throwing everything away. I would say I’m putting everything back in, in order to rip into the future. I get a broadcast from Tonye Cole everyday. He says when you tell people this your vision, know that it’s not for you alone – it’s for everyone. It’s like what Fela did. If what I’m doing doesn’t work, but sows that seed that will germinate in three, five years, it means my name will be written in gold.

Some people have tried this before you, unsuccessfully. Do you have doubts and fears  sometimes?

My last album was in July 2008 – no album in four years and I know what I still command in those four years. The momentum for me to be able to do this is because I see how much it took me, I saw the benefit, it’s God, and the favour of the relationships we’ve built. Plus, I don’t take no for an answer, I don’t take negativity. It will work in Jesus’ name. If not, I wouldn’t have landed in the UK and hear Oliver Twist on the radio. Nor would I be in the mainstream media with them saying I’m pioneering afrobeats. I said to them ‘Oh hell no, that’s Fela’s music. Fela is the legend.’ So I pray to God – I beg my fans, it‘ll be good to do half a million downloads. It’s possible, it’s a different market. Platinum in UK is 300,000. I believe with the support of my people in Redding, Coventry, Dusting, Hackney, Thamesmead, Abbeywood, we can do it.’

And so, as I say my goodbyes and flag down the cab that’ll take me to Heathrow Airport, I can’t help thinking out loud: should one man sacrifice the wishes of the collective on the altar of ambition and material wealth? But then, what should be expected of the man whose dreams and ambition grow beyond those of other – possibly myopic-  members of the collective: should an individual sacrifice his personal desires; derail his destiny, so to speak, in the interest of the collective?

In all of this, faithfulness and loyalty have been brutally murdered. And the jury is still out on who pulled the trigger.

Culled from: theNETng

Nigerian superstar Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo popularly known as D’banj has been featured on the mercury records website (www.mercuryrecords.co.uk) as an official artiste with the likes of ero, U2, L’Marshall, Elton John to name a few. Considering he has recently been given an official Vevo channel, everything seem to be going well for the Nigerian born entertainer. The full details of the contractual type is yet to be confirmed so as to know if it is a partnership deal with G.O.O.D Music but all effort to reach the self acclaimed  kokomaster or his management as at press time proved abortive.

Meanwhile, we understand D’banj is preparing to launch his hit single Oliver Twist officially in the UK in the coming week as a preparation for his forthcoming Hackney Music festival performance in London.
We would like to congratulate him on this achievement and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

Mo’ Hits recording artiste  Dr. SID broke the silence on the D’banj and Don Jazzy drama as he took to Twitter to comment on the situation for the first time. As expected the Don Jazzy loyal supported the producer; and he is also the first artiste under the crumbling label to speak on the subject.

If you are one of those people that pay little or no attention to gossip, then you and I might have something in common. However, this past week was one riddled with lots of startling revelations. Top on the list of this has to be the widely reported split of the ‘Koko Master’ and his producer ‘Don Jazzy.’ If someone had told me that this would happen, my first reaction would most likely be: “God forbid!”

We woke up to various news reports stating that the previously inseparable duo had decided to go their separate ways. Yes I know, it still sounds like a fairy tale gone wrong. Who would have thought that this will ever happen? But that wasn’t all. Neither D’banj nor Don Jazzy have come forward to confirm or dispel the rumours; and this makes it all the more interesting and annoying. Don’t these people have publicists whose duty it is to handle all such situations? Please if they don’t have, I hereby use this medium to apply for the humble position of media consultant and publicist. I should probably design a complimentary card and all that stuff to suit my portfolio.

As the week continued, we heard of another angle to the story. According to an interview done on ebony.com, D’banj was quoted as saying he is the owner of Mo’Hits, and Don Jazzy and the others are his artistes. Now it is possible that D’banj owns Mo’Hits, but if Don Jazzy is his artiste as he claimed then that is one failed artiste. How will you have an artiste that doesn’t even have one song?

It’s alarming because I always thought Don Jazzy was the producer not an artiste. Hasn’t he won several awards as ‘producer of the year?’ Is D’banj sure of what he’s saying or is this just another fabricated story? One of these guys needs to say something and clear the air. Of course the other artistes in the label need to now decide where their allegiances lie, seeing as K-switch and D’banj are brothers while D’prince is Don Jazzy’s brother. I doubt Wande Coal and Dr Sid will have the “blood is thicker than naira notes” mentality though.

There will always be unanswered questions; and we may never know what really happened or is happening but there are several lessons to learn from this.

1.        Don’t whisper in the ears of a presumed friend, they will speak out behind your back.

2.       Don’t trust people who wear sunshades all the time, even in the dark.

3.       Doing business with family members is not always profiting.

4.       If you carry a walking stick, you should use it to flog the one walking with you sometimes, so he’ll know who the don is.

5.        Dress the way you want to be addressed; pyjamas don’t exactly cut it.

The lessons are plain for us all to see. It’s too early to judge or throw stones of accusation. We can only hope that sooner than later, all will be made clear. There will always be someone who might regret and someone who this might work out for. I just hope that however it turns out; this doesn’t spell doom for the Mo’Hits family. Olorun maje!

While we await the ‘koko’ of the story, let us all abide by the lessons listed to avoid finding ourselves in a “why me?” situation. We shall not be ‘scapegoats.’

It is well.

Culled from dailytimes.com.ng

It has been rumored for a few weeks now almost certain that Mo-Hits dynamic duo D’banj & Don jazzy have split up. Neither have come in public to confirm this, and very notably is that Don Jazzy (who usually is very active on twitter) hasn’t tweeted in almost 10 days.
As the stories are floating around, D’banj granted an interview to popular black american magazine, Ebony Magazine. Check out the full detail of the interview, and see why people are pretty upset about some of what he said in the interview. Most notably this section of the interview.

EBONY.com: How did you join kanye west’s G.O.O.D Music label?

D’Banj: I had a concert in dubai and when we pulled up to the airport first class lounge and a hostess ran up to me with a plaque with kanye’s face on it asking me to sign it. I said I’m not Kanye west I’m D’banj but Kanye west is coming? All eyes open. Then when my manager spoke to kanye, came back and told me He’ll give you five minutes. I walked over – as an african man I’m. Always prepared and I played my music ‘Stand Out’ ‘Fall In Love’ and ‘Scapegoat’ for him on my ipod. Before we knew it I’d almost missed my flight and he invited me to New York.

Coming from Africa I’m my own manager, I have my own label called Mo’Hits with my artists Dr. Sid, Wande Coal, Don Jazzy, D’prince and K-Switch. I own Mo’Hits and we’ve won numerous awards by the grace of God. Being with kanye for the last eight months and me leading a successful label in Africa, I’ve learned a lot and believe people will see what we’re going to do. I signed with Kanye in June and that same month I won the BET Award for the best international Act. My New York concert isn’t done by G.O.O.D. Music, its done by Live Nation, meaning I’m already a moving machine. So who better introduce me to the global world than Kanye West, a crazy genius?

You can read up the full interview here Read more

Posted by @YubbyThePundit


D'Banj performing at the Irving-Plaza

To mark his debut in New York, MTV’s Iggy caught up with D’Banj and quizzed ‘The Entertainer’ on his new label, Kanye West, Nigerian music on a global scene and so on.

How does it feel to be bringing Nigerian music to a more global audience?

With the reception I’ve gotten, I’d like to say, not like I was nervous, I just hoped and prayed that people would come with an open mind, that they can listen. And I saw that today, they came with their hearts, they came with their minds. I’m only grateful to God that that’s the beginning. Seeing this, I’m now eager to move around and continue the gospel.

What is your next step toward world domination?

To go on the road. America, for one.  Even with this crowd, they’ve already shown us that there is massive audience for me here. I thought I was in New York City, but I’m seeing New Jersey, I’m seeing Maryland, I’m seeing Houston. I already have bookings in Houston. It’s just a big privilege and I’m so humbled. I can’t wait to just gladly take the music there to touch them.

A lot of American artists and rappers are working specifically with Nigerian musicians. What do you think it is that attracts them to that scene?

I think it’s not just now, and it’s not just about one or two things. First, I give a lot of thanks to a lot of people who have come before me. For one, I would say it’s not just even rappers. If you look at what happened here in New York for the last twenty four months, with Fela Anikulapo Kuti on Broadway [the musical FELA!]. I was fortunate to be at Radio City Music Hall during the Tony Awards. It was nominated for eleven awards.

Also, it’s our culture, It’s what we’re preaching, the music, for one, as you know, the sound. It’s not like I want to blow our trumpet, but I always say we came up and we already have sounds and melody and now we’re seeing the aggression.

If you had to describe the difference between performing in Lagos versus anywhere else in the world, what would you say?
Wow. With today, I wouldn’t say it’s any different. Today my people showed me here, people appreciate good music. Good music is universal.

Is there something in Lagos that sets the scene apart?

It’s very real. It’s very real and very original. You know, people are asking me if I’m going to change and I say, ‘What Kanye likes about me is that I’m very original’. Even the way I call my name: ‘I’m D’Banj!” And I don’t want to change that.

That’s what we all have in Africa. You know that we’re blessed with a lot of natural resources. We’re blessed with things like oil, and also we have talents. They say we’re a developing continent. Well, we have been developing. Now, we are developed.

You are already recording with Kanye West. What is it like being in the studio with him?

I came with a mind-set to learn. Also, to show my culture, but more importantly to learn. In the studio the chemistry was great. You know, music is universal. I’ve been in the studio with people who don’t speak English, but, at the end of the day, I love melody. I’ve gained a lot from him, that’s the main reason I’m here.

Do you have a place here in New York?
I do, but I’m not a New York fan. The weather is a bit crazy. I like ATL, it reminds me of Africa. Anytime I stop by the ATL, I like it. The roads are wider and I love the weather. Miami too.

Who is going to be the video for ‘Oliver Twist?’ I heard there would be some cameos.
A lot of cameos. I’ll give you a hint: my new family members.

How did you choose the harmonica as your instrument?
Oh, I didn’t choose the harmonica. My late brother chose the harmonica.

And you play it because of him? Did he teach you?

No, no one taught me. Later, when I studied it, I learned that it’s such a spiritual instrument.

Coming from even way back, from the era of the slave trade. It was one of the very rare instruments that Africans, now African-Americans could play. It was one of the few things that they could do, people that were stuck over here. But even for people that were not African-Americans, it stood for something that was more natural. Like, if you listen to country music a lot of them play the mouth organ and the harmonica.

Are you going to be doing something really different on the new album?
I really don’t know. I’m exploring. I’m going to be doing rock now. I’m doing a rock song! Don’t you believe I can rock?

Tell me about Kokomobile. You have a branded cell phone on the market in Nigeria?

Yes, I do. Well, my brand is called ‘Koko’. It comes from the song on my first album. And people say, ‘Well, what is the koko?’ The Koko is whatever you do to derive pleasure. It is the bone of contention. So, people started calling me the Koko Master. Today, no one knows its specific definition.

But now I have the Koko Lounge, my club in Lagos, Nigeria. And I have Koko Garri, my breakfast cereal.

What will it take to bring Nigerian music to a mainstream audience in the US?

I think it’s already happening. It’s happened. I walked around; I saw the pictures of the people that have performed here [at Irving Plaza], The Beastie Boys, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, on the same stage. So, it’s already started.

The thing I love about Americans is they’re open to good music. If it sounds good to them and it looks good, they’ll buy it.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
I like Rihanna.

Unlike most bloggers, we like to call a spade a spade. V.I.P is a new track from Lil Issue and he features Rick Ross and D’Banj on the song. The Koko Master lent his vocals as backup on the hook #ThatIsAll, no wolf-packing or ass-kissing on here; that said, give your ears the ‘V.I.P’ treatment below.

DOWNLOAD

Mr. Endowed was live on Sahara TV to speak on his new attained status in the music industry, his view on #OccupyNigeria, Fuel Subsidy Removal etc. When we say this interview is a “must read”, we are mincing words. Nonetheless consume extracts from “The Interview” anchored by Chika Odua with D’Banj on the hot seat:

Chika: Did you ever dream of being this big in music?

D’banj: I dreamt about this…(Jokes: I’ve a dream!) God is using us to take our message across from Africa to here.

Chika: You are the face of African Pop music don’t you feel a lot of pressure?

D’banj: Yes a lot of pressure but I have nothing to be scared of. I have much responsibility.

Chika: There are rumors that you are dating Genevieve Nnaji how true is that?

D’banj: No! We are not dating.

Chika: What is your status?

D’banj: I’m very single. I like Rihanna, I’m interested in her.

Chika: Will you Americanize your music now that you are working mostly in America…..(D’banj cuts in)

D’banj: What do you mean by Americanize?

Chika: I mean you use a lot of pidgin and yoruba in your music will you still do that?

D’banj: Yes I’ll, did you hear scapegoat? fall in love or oliver twist? I do music depending on the message and who I want it to suite.

Chika: So will you maintain the identity?

D’banj: I think American music is universal so I’ve a lot of work to do.

Chika: Ok, now on your interview with the President of Nigeria, there are talks that you collected money from him to sing and interview him.

D’banj: I didn’t collect money from the President. It wasn’t an interview it was a request, watch the interview I asked the President and I can remember the statements “What are your plans for the Nigerian youth?” because I dedicated a track to him so I wanted the people to know why I said I was going to vote for him, I wanted them to know his plans.
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Chika: We understand you run a foundation and you were appointed as the United Nations youth ambassador for peace, with your position what are your responsibilities and what have you done with you position?

D’banj: I have much responsibility. I represent Africa, I represent Nigeria…do your research.

Chika: What was your take on the Occupy Nigeria and the fuel subsidy removal?

D’banj: 1st of all, lets take a minute silence for those who lost their lives during this period.

Chika: Ok D’banj we really appreciate that, so carry on.

D’banj: I did not know anything that was happening [in Nigeria during protests] because I was working on my album in the UK.

Chika: But there was a protest in London why didn’t you participate?

D’banj: I didn’t know anything that was happening in London about the feul protest because I was working… I am not a politician! And everyone that knows me well knows I don’t like cold, so I couldn’t go outside.

Chika: So what do you have to say?

D’banj: I don’t have anything to say, I wasn’t in the country when it was happening.

Chika: But I wasn’t in the country also.

D’banj: I’ve told you I don’t want to say anything about that topic, I don’t say what I don’t know anything about, If you know me very well I speak about what I know. I will not speak on something that I don’t know about. You will not get me to speak about what I don’t know. I wish my publicist told me that this was a political interview… (Chika cuts in)

Chika: So who operates your twitter handle?

D’banj: I operate it but I’m not always online, I’m on twitter when I want to pass an information not when you want me to.

Chika: There has been increase in poverty in Nigeria what do you have to say about this?

D’banj:  Yes I know, but poverty has always been in Nigeria. Let us focus on what we have,why are you hammering on negativity? I’ll speak from the angle that I know well which is the entertainment, that is what I know we can export, we should invest our talents to escape from poverty. I’ve a concert tomorrow, I need to practice and prepare well so I can represent Africa well.

Chika: Thank you very much D’banj. We appreciate the time you spent with us, we wish you all the best in your concert tomorrow.

dis.as.ter (noun): A sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes a great damage or loss of life. E.g This Interview.

Estelle and Donae’o are some of the names that will mentioned when compiling a list of artistes that have covered D’Banj’s Oliver Twist. Adding to the attention the song is garnering all over; there is the highly anticipated video, and now U.K band “Ryan Parrott & The Rumours tackled the smash hit. The band brought soft rock elements to the table, Enjoy!

WATCH HERE