In a special interview with selected journalists, popular Afro-Pop musician D’Banj has come out open on his next album, his agricultural business and when he will get married.
Let’s start with your 35 years how does that make you feel?
To be 35 and for what God is doing in my own life, I feel so happy. If I can remember this my first birthday I have celebrated am not used to celebrating if not for people who throw me surprise. Every day is like charismas for us every day is like birthday for us turn up because in my own when it’s come to my own kind of brand I do for a living I have fun.
I get paid for what people get relaxing for so you have a long whole semester in school you want to go on break you look forward to the koko consult look forward to this entertainment show this one that is how we get our money I have been doing that for over a decade now. So my kind of nature has not made it possible for us to seat down and enjoy. In doing that now So much have happened in 10 years 11 years since I started in the music industry I released tongolo when I was 24 now am 35.
(Cuts in) Tongolo was your first official song?
Yes before that was mobolowowon, which was in the same album in short it was done at the same time, mobolowowon was accepted by the UK people because of the story so when we came to Nigeria we thought it was the mobolowowon that will be accepted but then it was the Tongolo that was accepted by the Nigerians.
Do you feel fulfilled at what you have achieved at 35? Are these the things you set out for yourself and how will you measure the success?
It’s higher. What God has done is tremendous and it’s beyond my wildest dreams even though some have not materialise. The main is marriage. I would have thought that I would have had a child before 30. I always wanted a child before 30. I wanted to make sure that the foundation was very strong and the direction we were going because as you said as a child you crawl you walk. So I wanted to make sure I pass all those places and workwise and balance on my family. Apart from that one the other thing is the Grammy other that I think Grammy is already in the plan.
I didn’t know I will meet Kanye West; I was dreaming. I dreamt that I want to go to laces and hear my song among white people. I have dreamt to have chart across the world and all that have happened. I have dreamt to perform in the front of thousands of people on a global stage and all that have happened so months ago I was on a global stage.
What are the new challenges you are setting for yourself and what are the things you use to do and you don’t hope to continue?
For me, is not about the age I have been exposed to a lot of things much larger, things much higher than my age. Since the earlier time I have known the brand, I have been taught to give what belong to Caesar to Caesar. That’s why when some people meet me they said you are so playful outside but calm inside and that’s because the showbiz knows when to give it up. Because it’s showbiz, I won’t say I have grown out of anything. My music and lifestyle revolves with my age with time. I think it’s just happened that I find myself in the last two years in the more corporate side of things in the more humanitarian side of things, more giving back in the more standing as a brand because I have been in the more business side of things.
Let’s talk about the tenth anniversary the movement started in January. You have done Dubai, you have done the US, you brought Amber Rose to Lagos. You have done a lot in 6 months. How will you rate the past 6 months?
The year started very well for me. I wanted to kick start parties across the world and still do my major concert, the koko consult in specific places but this year a lot of happened; the elections, apart from the election when I was in America the Ebola some of the west African show we had to cancel like some places I have not been to.
I use to tell people I know that God has blessed me so much I am global, so Hugh because there are some place I have never been to but my name is so hugh. Talking about Uganda, talking about Zambia, all those neighbouring countries most people say they cannot afford Dbanj so you know what, I said let go on a promotional thing let touch our fans.
This year i had thought that by the first 6 month, I would have touched everywhere. We have Dubai, London, American, Switzerland, DC. I just wanted to touch everywhere but then the global show in April 2 and more importantly the plan I had for the album the 10th anniversary album was to plan and give them within the first 6 months.
So one of the songs that was not schedule to come out leaked ending last year- Feeling the nigga- which I am glad we released it because when it was released a lot of people got confused saying it isn’t yours.
Officially that was not supposed to the first single from the 10th anniversary but because of what happened the song is everywhere so I see my people and they are saying giving us more and I see that taste. That proved something to me that my fans are still very hungry, some people are thinking that Dbanj is famzing now he doesn’t even sing again because the brand is so active and other things and they are not seeing that part it is good that we had that feeling filled because that made me to restructure the album and in couple of weeks we are going to be shocking the world with what we are releasing.
In a couple of weeks will the album drop single drop from the album?
There is something nobody has seen before something different I think something that goes with Beyonce when she did the surprise release its was all videos everything in one I thought to myself that since my fans for the last 6 months for the last two years what I have heard after coming back after so journeying across the world. They want to see me so I said let’s do this I was actually working on a visual as well so that is what I will surprise them with.
A lot of people have criticized your promotion ways, how do you intend to promote this one to get the desired impact?
Most people I think you need to understand this depends on the stagey. The good thing about it is that am looking at it globally the box is beyond Nigeria alone. You know if you are global you need to think of the others but am thinking of Nigeria Africa because a lot of interviews have been lined up we will be able to go every were because more importantly am partnering with people I cannot expose them due to confidential purposes with that we will running into serious promotions that will make sure my fans are involved and more importantly. We have strategies it.
Is there any international artist apart from Akon?
There is more than one. I won’t mention it let them go and buy it. The EP comes out in July the album comes out in September. It’s made be the same title I’m D’banj: The Epic Journey. it’s like I have always wanted to call my name I’m D’banj an epic journey. So the EP is like an introduction into the whole album.
How many songs will you have on the album?
I don’t know but if left for me I will do 10, 11. I have so much fans right now that we are even pressured to release a double album in September. The album in September then the next one in September because we realise that when we were touring especially outside Africa a whole lot of people know Oliver twist and Fall in love, Igwe, Olurun ma je, so they don’t even know that you are the one that release them. So why not re-release your greatest hits so we can know that its for the global world and for Africa. September I don’t know but the album ten minimum songs and the greatest hit and luckily for me it’s might be a visual. Most of the music they said they want has a video Igwe has a video Olur ma je has a video.
Let’s talk about your label. Tonto and 2kris, what do you have for them?
They said the foundation is very strong first and I found out that there were a lot of people that were bias about when I came back I knew there were a lot of misconception for not being around for that last one and the half years and people not having the right people to speak to misinterpreted or miscommunicated my action, my record.
K-switch has already inherited that right now. I’m telling one record label to come and take K-switch because people just victimize the guy because he is from Mo-Hits. The guy believes he’s D’banj’s brother, but statically speaking we are working on that. But for the rest people I didn’t want them to be affected by the same thing, Tonto and Kris that dropped single each to make sure and see how the people are going to react to it. While we are doing that we are clearing the grounds for D’ban.j For the fact that people had a lot of speculations, people want to talk so let us make sure that the air is settled. I wasn’t going to leave the global protects that I was on and come in and be talking to people. Now that I have done what I needed to do and the whole world has seen that we are not in any competition with anyone.
So you won’t be signing new artists?
No, not for now. I can never say never because a lot of things happen. Some people said you didn’t sign Oristefemi, sign him na. There is no need because globally record labels are dying most importantly what you should have is distribution. Distribution, the right organisation to take care and manage a brand that is what am building on my empire is based in that and I own the one of the biggest distribution. I even distribute for people in Nigeria. We are planning to expand globally. In abroad, the people that distribute are the people that sell manage and brand development. That is what my company is doing with Oristefemi even though he is not signed to my label. Once that is done in Africa that is what we are working on.
You said Don Jazzy was going to work with your 10th anniversary, should we still expect it?
It’s a present continuous tense. It’s been done. You have to first find the songs of Don Jazzy that no one has heard that we even have before. I will love Don Jazzy track on it. It might be one or two but it will be there if it’s a good work. But I don’t know if it’s going to be a very new one; we will have to go to the studio and do now.
So you have not done new ones?
But you have songs produced by Don Jazzy that can be on the album?
Why agriculture? Why not IT? Why not hotel? Why not something else?
I believe that nothing is coincidental in life. So when I approached my people to do something they agreed. I have always known that I’m here for a course. I am here for a purpose; I am a chosen lucky person by God that knows that things should happen the way they should happen. One of all that approach me is bonus organisation and they approach a lot of people.
My timing was different. Everything was different and they told me about it, they told me this is what we want to do and they said every time there is a course we look for youths and you are a successful youth.
If 60%of the farmers we have are small scale farmers and this is what they contribute to the world produce other than the big people and it has been proven by this my research that the amount of irregular cultivated land available in the world in the next future is available in Africa. There is need for us to focus on it and let our youth know about it because right now, everybody wants to be a musician, footballer, an IT person, social media or media.
Then when we have 5000 youths and we can take it to all the African presidents increase the budget of agricultural you said you will do this at the African union. All the presidents came together and they said they put 10% of our annual budget into it. We had over 2.something million youths so in four months we had created a lot that our own president our own minister of agriculture everybody were interested.
I am so successful and these are the things include that makes me say God has given me a voice. So this was what I went to talk about in the World Bank meeting. I went last year and I spoke for 7 minutes and it was how youths should change and address possible change in agriculture so that people can believe in their selves; and lucky for us, the brand name has been a name for us. So we have different Koko products. Last years was the perfect time for me to go into it and when I presented it to Dangote, he said why garri? Nobody thought of it. So I knew I was on the right part.