Interview: D’banj Speaks On New Album, Agriculture and Marriage

Interview: D’banj Speaks On New Album, Agriculture and Marriage

Nigeria's pop star, D'banj, in an interactive session with selected journalists including a Legit.ng reporter speaks on a wide range of issues including his upcoming album, his agriculture business and when he will get married.

Interview: D’banj Speaks On New Album, Agriculture and Marriage
D'banj with former business partner, Don Jazzy At MAMA Awards recently

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Let’s start with celebrating your birthday - 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. I am not used to celebrating, except for people who throw me surprise birthdays. Every day is like Christmas for us, every day is like birthday for us. When it’s come to my own kind of brand, what I do for a living, I have fun.

I get paid for what people do to relax. 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, 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 sit down and enjoy. In doing that now So much has happened in 10 years, 11 years since I started in the music industry. I released Tongolo when I was 24, now I am 35.

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 would be accepted but then it was Tongolo that was accepted by the Nigerians.

Do you feel fulfilled with what you have achieved at 35? Are these the goals you set out for yourself and how do you measure your success?

What God has done is tremendous and it’s beyond my wildest dreams even though some have not materialised. The main one 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 in which 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 work-wise and focus on my family. Apart from that one, the other thing is the Grammys. 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 places and hear my song among white people. I have dreamt to chart across the world and all that has happened. I have dreamt to perform in the front of thousands of people on a global stage and all that has happened as months ago I was on a global stage.

What are the new goals you are setting for yourself and what are the things you used to do and hope to discontinue?

For me, it 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.

READ ALSO: PHOTOS: D’Banj Makes Record Breaking Announcement On His ‘An Epic Journey’

Let’s talk about the tenth anniversary album and its promotion.

This year I had thought that by the first six months, 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 10 anniversary album, was to plan and promote the singles within the first six months.

So one of the songs that was not scheduled to come out leaked last year- Feeling the Ni**a- which I am glad we released because when it was released a lot of people got confused saying it wasn't mine.

Officially, that was not supposed to be the first single from the 10 anniversary but because of what happened the song is everywhere. So, I see my people and they are saying give 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. It is good that we had that feeling filled because that made me  restructure the album.

A lot of people have criticised how you are promoting the album.

Most people... I think you need to understand this depends on the stage. The good thing about it is that I 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 I am thinking of Nigeria, Africa because a lot of interviews have been lined up. We will be able to go everywhere because more importantly, I am partnering with people. I cannot talk about them due to confidential purposes. We will have serious promotions that will involve the my fans. 

Is there any international artist on the album apart from Akon?

There is more than one; I won’t mention them, let (fans) go and buy the album. The album comes out in September - D'Banj, The Epic Journey. The EP (was) like an introduction to the entire 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. When we were touring, especially outside Africa, a whole lot of people knew Oliver Twist, Fall In Love, Igwe, Olurun Ma Je, even when they don’t even know that you are the one that released them. So why not re-release your greatest hits so we can know that it's for the global world and for Africa. September; I don’t know, but the album, ten minimum songs and the greatest hits 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, Olorun Ma Je has a video.

Let’s talk about the artists on your label: Tonto and 2Kriss; what do you have for them?

There were a lot of people that were biased about my comeback. I knew there were a lot of misconception for not being around for that last one and the half years; people not having the right people to speak to had misinterpreted or miscommunicated my actions, my record.

K-switch has already inherited that. Right now, I am telling one record label to come and take K-switch because people just victimise the guy cos he's D'banj's brother. But we are working on. For the rest, I didn’t want them to be affected by the same thing. Tonto and (2Kriss) dropped singles so we could see how the people would to react to it. While we are doing that, we are clearing the grounds for D'banj for the fact that people had a lot of speculations, people want to talk so let us make sure that the air is settled. Now, I have done what I need to do and the whole world has seen that we are not in any competition with anyone.

READ ALSO: How I Discovered Tiwa Savage, Korede Bello – Don Jazzy

So you won’t sign new artists?

No, not for now. I can never say never because a lot of things happen. Some people said you didn’t sign Oriste Femi, 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 on that and I own one of the biggest distribution companies; I even distribute for people In Nigeria. We are planning to expand globally. Abroad, the people that distribute are the people that sell, manage and brand development. That is what my company is doing even for Oriste Femi 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 on your 10 anniversary album...

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 a 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 one now.

So, you have not done new ones?

No.

But you have songs produced by Don Jazzy that can be on this album?

Not yet.

Why agriculture; why not IT, hotels or 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 am 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.  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 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 would  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 that make 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 seven minutes and it was how youths should change and address possible change in agriculture so that people can believe in themselves; and lucky for us, the brand name has been a name for us. So, we have different Koko products. Last year was the perfect time for me to go into it and when I presented it to Dangote, he said, "Why garri? Nobody has thought of it." So I knew I was on the right path.

Source: Legit.ng

Authors:
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Khadijah Thabit (Copyeditor) Khadijah Thabit is an editor with over 3 years of experience editing and managing contents such as articles, blogs, newsletters and social leads. She has a BA in English and Literary Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Khadijah joined Legit.ng in September 2020 as a copyeditor and proofreader for the Human Interest, Current Affairs, Business, Sports and PR desks. As a grammar police, she develops her skills by reading novels and dictionaries. Email: khadeeejathabit@gmail.com

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