Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo popularly known by his stage name D’banj is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, entertainer and entrepreneur. He’s one of the music icon who has taken the music scene by storm.
Early life and background of D’banj
D’banj was born on June 9,1980 in Zaria, Kaduna to a military father and devout Christian mother. D’banj who hails from Shagamu, Ogun state grew up in different parts of the country. This was due to father’s profession. As a son of a military officer, one would expect he would follow his dad’s footsteps. He was enrolled at the Nigerian Military School at age eleven. While in the Military school, he was a member of the elite drum corp of the Nigerian Army. He opted out after spending three years there.
D’banj then proceeded to Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ibara, Abeokuta to complete his secondary school education. His father had always wanted him to end up in the military but having set up his mind on music, he decided to follow his childhood dream. He took him much time to win his father over.
His Musical Career
D’banj was introduced to the harmonica by his late older brother, Femi Oyebanjo, who died in a plane crash at age seventeen.
Following the death of his brother, he decided to be playing harmonica in memory of his late brother and to play tribute to him. This caught the attention of females who were drawn to him because of his skills. He went ahead to study mechanical engineering at Lagos State University, but he dropped out as a result of constant strikes and several irregularities.
He moved to UK in 2001 to complete his studies. There, he met Don Jazzy and that marked the beginning of his music career. The pair returned to Nigeria in 2004 to start a record label, Mo’hits records. He released his first single “Tongolo” same year. This made airwaves and got critical acclaims. He bagged his first endorsement with energy drink called “Power Fist”. His songs are influenced by his mentor, Fela Kuti. His music is a fusion of Afro-pop and Afrobeats which is focused on his life and struggles. D’banj performs in Yoruba, English and Pidgin English.
He released his debut album “No long thing” in 2005. Led by the single Tongolo, the album was a slick mix of urban dance pop and Afropop. “Tongolo” was a breakthrough hit which got him much recognition with his Koko master persona. D’banj’s single koko was used by the PDP (ruling political party in Nigeria) as its campaign theme for the 2007 general elections.
Following the popularity of his debut album, he released successive albums – Rundown Funk U up (2006) Curriculum Vitae (2007) and The Entertainer (2008). As an entrepreneur, he and Don Jazzy signed other up-and-coming Nigerian pop acts to their label and, in 2007, formed the collective Mo’Hits All-Stars which include artists Dr SID, Wande Coal, KaySwitch, and D’Prince.
In June 2011, D’banj got signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music record label as an artiste. That same year, he made major breakthrough with his hit single ” Oliver Twist”, which topped a number of African charts and gained recognition in UK and Europe. After D’banj’s separation from Mo’hits, he founded his own record label DB records in 2012 and signed his younger brother, KaySwitch alongside two producers, Jaysleek and Deevee.
In December 2012, D’banj signed a mega deal with Sony. The Afro-pop star has several singles to his name. 2017 saw the release of album titled King Don Come, with guest features from the likes of Gucci Mane, Wande Coal, Harry Songs, Bucie, Busiswa. D’banj has collaborated with the likes of Big Sean, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West amongst others. As an energetic performer, he has performed at Femi Kuti’s new Afrikan Shrine, ThisDay Africa Rising Music Festival, AFCON 2013 closing ceremony held in South Africa etc.
D’banj has bagged several endorsement deals with international and corporate bodies like Bank of Industry (BOI), Globacom, Heritage Bank, Beats by Dre, Ciroc and SLOT.
D’banj’s Business Ventures
The singer cum entrepreneur has invested in the agricultural and ICT sectors. He owns D’ Kings Men Media Limited, a 360 Media Company and MCOMM Ltd (Median Mobile Communications Limited). He launched his Koko Garri project almost immediately he was made the Ambassador for Bank of Industry. Though the project wasn’t successful, plans are underway to expand it.
In 2016, D’ Kings Men Media Limited partnered with MTN and Bank of Industry to launch THE CREAM platform. The platform aims at discovering and supporting young talents in Nigeria by dialing a USSD code on a mobile phone. The platform has over 3 million subscribers and has gone ahead to partner with other reputable organisations.
His Humanitarian Work
D’banj is the founder of Koko Foundation for Youth and Peace Development. He is the first Nigerian to be named the United Nations Youth Ambassador For Peace. The prominent entertainer is also a ONE campaign ambassador; he released the song “Cocoa Na Chocolate” in support of agriculture investments. The song featured 18 other African artists and won Best African Collaboration at the All Africa Music Awards in 2014.
In 2015, he was commended by World Bank Chief, Jim Yong Kim for using his music and celebrity status as a platform to create awareness about critical issues in Africa with special focus on agriculture and poverty alleviation.
In 2015 D’banj released the video to “Extraordinary” to raise awareness on gender equality and women’s empowerment. World bank endorsed song as a song for women awareness.
D’banj’s Relationship and Family Life
The Kokomaster once had a thing for Nollywood star, Genevieve Nnaji but it was all crush. Dbanj revealed for the first time that he had a son, Daniel III, with his wife Lineo Didi Kilgrow, whom he married in June 2016. He lost his son in an accident on June 24, 2018. D’banj and wife welcomed a new born boy on 19 September 2019, D’banj later confirmed the birth of his son on 20 October 2019 in Beverly Hills California, USA on instagram.
Awards and nominations
D’banj in the course of his music career has clinched 29 awards and 87 nominations.
Some of the awards include:
Best Newcomer at Channel O Music Video Awards – 2006
Artist of the Year at Nigerian Music Awards – 2006
HipHop World Revelation at HipHop World Awards – 2006
Best Special Effects ‘Why Me’ at Channel O Music Video Awards – 2007
Best African Act at MTV Europe Music Awards – 2007
Listeners Choice at MTV Africa Music Awards – 2008
Artist of the Year at MTV Africa Music Awards – 2008
Artist of the Year at MTV Africa Music Awards – 2009
Best International Act at Headies Awards – 2010
Award for Best International Act, Africa at BET Awards – 2011
Best African Act at MOBO Award – 2012 Awarded Best Selling African Artist at World Music Awards – 2014
Best African Collaboration ‘Cocoa Na Chocolate’All African Music Awards – 2014
Evolution Awards at MTV African Music Awards – 2015 BEFFTA African Legend Award – 2016 Here are some of his nominations:
“Mr Endowed” was nominated for Best Afro Pop Video and Video of the Year categories at the 2010 Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMWA).
“Oliver Twist” was nominated for Best Pop Single at The Headies 2012. D’banj received the Best Male West Africa nomination at the 2012 Kora Awards for “Oliver Twist”. Also, the song was nominated for Hottest Single of the Year at the 2012 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
D’banj’s Net Worth
With an estimated net worth of $2 million dollars, the award-winning singer is ranked one of the richest and influential celebrity in Nigeria.