Internationally acclaimed act, Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo popularly known as D'Banj recently clocked 34 and unarguably stands out as one of those talented artistes who have taken Nigerian music and entertainment to new heights on the strength of his exploits, achievements and consistency over the years.
The singer/songwriter, harmonica player and entrepreneur was born June 9, 1980 in Zaria to a military father and a business/entrepreneurial mother.
He attended Nigerian Military School and later, the Nigeria Navy School Ogun State where he was a member of the school band. In 1999, D’Banj went on to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Lagos. His passion for music was fuelled after he lost his military pilot trainee brother to a plane crash and he inherited his Harmonica. Unlike his military dad, D’Banj relocated to the United Kingdom where his pursuit for his love of music began.
Dapo adopted the stage name D’Banj, a combination of his first name ‘Dapo’ and his last name ‘Oyebanjo.’
His debut album ‘No Long Ting’ was released in 2005 and included the hit lead single ‘Tongolo.’ D’Banj was a former member of Mo’Hits Records under the production of Don Jazzy. Their collective debut album ‘Curriculum Vitae’ was released in December 2007, followed by “Entertainer” in June 2008. 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 and more. A chance meeting with Kanye West on a plane lead to his signing onto Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music and Mercury in the U.K His hit single "Oliver Twist", an up-tempo dance fusion of Afrobeat and electronic dance music went on to top the African charts 2011 and was also a top 10 hit in the UK singles chart in 2012 reaching #2 on the UK R&B chart. D’Banj also signed a strategic partnership with Sony Music Entertainment’ RCA Africa label in a bid to change the business and face of music all across Africa. He was also appointed Nigeria’s first United Nations Ambassador For Peace.
His recent singles some of which include ‘Top of the World,’ ‘Finally,’ ‘Don’t Tell Me Nonsense’ all of which rose to be top of the charts both in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. He very recently recorded a soundtrack to the movie ‘Half of a Yellow Sun,’ an adaptation of the novel by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie and released the video in January 2014.
In recent times D’banj has been active in the area of Agriculture by partnering with African Union and Musician & Activist BONO’s through the ONE Organization to champion the Agriculture Industry in Africa for 2014. D’banj has become a strong advocate for Agriculture and has been declared an ambassador of Agriculture by the Ministry of Agriculture in Nigeria.
In May 2014, D’banj won an award in the category of ‘Best Selling African Artist’ at the World Music Awards in Monaco where he performed alongside Maria Carey, Miley Cyrus, Flo Rider and more.
2014 marks his 10th year in the Entertainment Industry. Stay tuned for events, performances, awards, technology, agricultural project and more.
Here are some facts about D'banj:
- D’banj is known to have found and signed everybody that belonged to the one time popular record label ‘Mo Hits Records’ consisting of major artists such as Wande Coal, Dr. Sid, Prince, K-Switch etc.
- In 2004, he won the KORA Awards “Most Promising Act,” his first major award since the start of his career.
- In 2007 D’banj was appointed as the United Nations Youth Ambassador for Peace. He led a strong rally in Port Harcourt to promote peace at a time in which there was unrest in Rivers State. After the Rally and meeting with then Governor of Rivers State, the curfew, which had been in place, was removed.
- In this same year (2007), D’banj won ‘Africa Artist of the Year’ MTV Europe Music Awards. He also won this same award in 2011 and in-between that won Best Male Artist in 2008 and 2009 at the MTV Africa Awards.
- In 2008 D'banj became the first Music Ambassador to be signed to Globacom; making Globacom the first Telco to endorse Nigerian artistes.
- D’banj went on to become the first Nigerian Artists to do an International collaboration that was officially released, giving the Nigerian Entertainment Industry major recognition with international talent and brand (‘Mr. Endowed,’ featuring Snoop).
- In 2011, he went on to win the Best International Act BET Awards, a major accomplishment for D’banj.
- In 2012 D’banj hit yet another milestone with the hit song “Oliver Twist” recorded and released in Nigeria with over 23 million views on VEVO. Oliver Twist topped the African Charts and was a top 10 hit in the UK singles chart in 2012 reaching #2 on the UK R&B chart.
- The year 2013 has been a strong year for the Superstar. In May, he was appointed as a Creative ambassador for the Bank of Industry. He performed at the Mandela Charity Event in South Africa, Hit track ‘Top of the World’ became the theme song for the Africa Cup of Nation, which was eventually won by the Nigerian Super Eagles. D’banj also performed at the Africa Cup of National Finale in front of 92,000 people and 6 Billion Viewers World Wide.
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By: SAMOD BIOBAKU