D’banj, a Nigerian musician and entrepreneur, has won several awards including Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007 and Artist of the Year at the MTV Music Awards in 2009 among others. The singer whose real name is Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo has released several hit singles with international artists like Kanye West, Big Sean, Snoop Dogg, Akon, Fally Pupa etc.
In an interview with CNN’s Ketura King, D’banj opened up on his music career. He talked about how he had once wanted to be a military officer and recounted how he lost his brother in a plane crash.
On his childhood, D’banj said:
“Although I was born in Kaduna state, I was always moving from one barracks to the next with my dad so I grew living in every part of Nigeria, loving the whole military atmosphere and I wanted to be a super hero by saving the world. But instead of carrying guns I carried the microphone.”
On how he lost his brother and developed a love for music, he said:
“I lost my brother who was ahead of me in the military school and that changed my perspective a bit and my dad did not want any of us going through that line anymore. My brother wanted to be a pilot and ironically he died in a plane crash. I walked into his room and I saw all his clothes lined up and then I saw the harmonica. So I picked it up and everywhere I went I played it and music came. Today I am D’banj.”
He talked about how Nigerian parents’ perspective on music or entertainment as a career for their children has changed in the last 10 years.
“Ten years ago if you told your mom after school that you wanted to be a musician, she would probably report you to your pastor or your Imam, your uncles or your aunties. Then, of course, your father would beat you. Today every household wants an entertainer. Every household wants a musician, a comedian.”
D’banj said he still had his eye on an Academy Award – the Oscars. He went on to thank his mother, father, grandmother and the whole of Africa for supporting him over the years and having his back.