Dbanj, Nigerian Musician
Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo (popularly known as D’banj, born June 9, 1980), is a Nigerian singer-songwriter and harmonica player. He has won several music awards including the awards for Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007 Artist of the Year at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2009. and BET Awards of 2011 for Best International Act; Africa. He adopted the stage name D’banj, a combination of his first name Dapo and his surname Oyebanjo. D’banj is currently best known internationally for his 2012 summer hit Oliver Twist, an uptempo dance fusion of Afro-Beats and electronic dance music that topped the African charts 2011 and was a top 10 hit in theUK singles chart in 2012 reaching #2 on the UK R&B chart.
D’banj was born in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria to a military officer who commanded an artillery regiment and a church dignitary mother who hailed from Shagamu in Ogun State. Due to his father’s profession he moved several times within Nigeriaand later moved to England. D’banj was expected to follow his father’s military career and was enrolled to the Nigerian Military School at age eleven. However, D’banj resisted the system and disenrolled from the school after three years. While at the Military school he was a member of the elite drum corp of the Nigerian Army. From the Nigerian Military School he proceeded to another military owned institution Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ibara, Abeokuta where he completed his secondary school education.
D’banj was introduced to the harmonica by his late older brother, Femi Oyebanjo, who died in a plane crash at age seventeen. With D’banj’s love for music being greater than his parents’ military aspirations, he struggled for his parents’ approval; this can be best heard through an album track, All Da Way from his debut album.
In April, 2011, D’banj was interviewed by BET’s April Woodard. The interview titled ‘Welcome to America’ was a platform for D’banj to introduce himself to the American Music Industry and audience which he stated he was going to get into. In the interview, D’banj spoke on a wide range of topics including his music, artists he’d like to work with, his parents, Mo’Hits Records, his love life, and his role models: Kanye West, Usher, Jay-Z, R. Kelly, and others. The interview lasted 125 minutes, and was the avenue used to formally declare his determination to lead African music into many quarters that its yet to reach.
As a tribute to his mentor Fela, D’banj brings Afrobeat to life and into the 21st century with breathless enthusiasm as well as a good dose of humour. His songs are based on his life, often hilarious but with a deeper meaning which documents the struggle of a young Nigerian trying to achieve his dreams. He performs in Yoruba, English and Pidgin English. All his albums are solely produced by Don Jazzy and himself.
2005: No Long Thing
D’banj’s debut album, No Long Thing, was released in 2005, yielding several singles, with Tongolo as the lead single. This proved to be his breakthrough single and a hit. It also provided his Koko Master persona, with the term, koko, taking on a variety of meanings. D’banj’s debut success led to collaborations with other artists, this includes Dare Art-Alade’s album track, Escalade Part 2 and Ikechukwu’s album
2006: Rundown Funk U Up
D’banj’s second album, Rundown Funk U Up, which was released in 2006, yielded several singles including the club single, Tongolo (Remix) and the lead single, Why Me?. This proved to be another hit.
2007–2008: Curriculum Vitae & The Entertainer
D’banj, as an artist of Mo’ Hits Records, is also a member of its collective group, Mo’ Hits Allstars (includes artists Dr SID, Wande Coal, k-Switch and D’prince). He has once been spotted with one of Nigeria’s most talented singers, “Smile Lasisi”. The collective’s debut album, Curriculum Vitae, was released in December 2007. It included hit singles, “Be Close To You”, “Booty Call” and “Move Your Body”, which was the lead single. D’banj was featured in Ikechukwu’s 2008 hit, “Wind Am Well”.
July 2008 saw the release of D’banj’s third album, The Entertainer, with the singles “Gbono Feli Feli”, “Kimon”, “Olorun Maje” and “Entertainer”.
Mo’Hits/ G.O.O.D. Music
In June 2011, D’banj along with his producer Don Jazzy of the Nigerian record label, MoHits Records, were both signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music record label as artiste and producer respectively. On June 9, 2011, D’banj wrote on his Twitter account, @iamdbanj, “Just like yesterday, myself and my brother did Tongolo. 7 years later, Mo’Hits signs with GOOD Music. Best Birthday gift ever. God thank you.