DBANJ JOINS 2FACE IN MTV HALL OF FAME
He lost the best African act prize to 2face Idibia at the 12th edition of MOBO awards last September. But on Thursday November 1, master entertainer and bona-fide ladies’ man, D’banj got a worthy compensation when he was announced the Best African act at the MTV Europe Music awards which held at the OlympiaHalle hall in Munich, Germany. The 27 year-old performer is the second Nigerian to win the prize in two years. Compatriot 2face Idibia was the first ever artiste to win the award when it was started in 2005. Last year, Nigeria’s rave pop twins Psquare were nominated for the cherished prize, but they lost to South Africa’s Freshlyground Dbanj beat South Africa’s HHP, Kenya’s Jua Kali, Ghana’s Samini and Uganda’s Chameleone to come top. Earlier in the week, there had been speculations D’banj might lose the prize to HHP, as he was lagging behind by over 2000 votes. But pundits insisted the exuberant Nigerian singer was the most qualified for the prize; and definitely the favourite of fans and VJs across the African continent where voting is decided. D’banj flew to Munich on Tuesday November 30 to attend the award which is beamed to millions of audiences across the world. Born Oladapo Oyebanjo, D’banj’s career has grown in leaps and bounds since he returned to Nigeria in 2005. from a wannabe R&B singer, who fled to London at an early age and pitched his tent with the popular Backbone crew; D’banj has grown to become one of the most accomplished Nigerian entertainers in recent times. With dozens of awards to show for his success, and millions of album units sold, the dashing singer is living his dreams, and glad he settled for music even when it appeared a stupid decision. He started his recording career in Lagos, working with producer OJB before he relocated to England. It was while in England he met JJC (aka Mr Skillz) and his crew, and became part of the family. Along with Kween, MP, Don Jazzy and others, they rolled together and former a coalition of sorts. He would later leave JJC, under controversial circumdtances, to form Mo Hits Records with don Jazzy, a gifted producer who many give the credit for the D’Banj brand. He relocated to Nigeria with Jazzy in 2005, after his debut single ‘Tongolo’ became fairly popular and it seemed Nigerian were ready for what he had to offer. Only last month, he dumped his Michael Otedola estate (in Magodo, a Lagos suburb) for a posh Maryland (also in Lagos) residence. The singer’s new home is an 8-bedroom apartment, with all the trappings of a star – and he’s already contemplating naming it ‘Koko Villa’. The MTV prize, is expected to immediately reflect on his career, although many have criticized organisers of the award for not presenting regional awards during the main ceremony, and for only showing images to audiences in Africa. D’banj’s award was reportedly presented hours before the main event started.
It was the same, when 2face won the award in 2005. Originally groomed to be a soldier, D’Banj was born as Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo in the Northern city of Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria to an artillery officer and a church dignitary whom hailed from Shagamu in Ogun State. Due to his father’s job, D’Banj moved several times within Nigeria as well as abroad to India. At 11, he was enrolled in the military school, and it appeared certain he was going to be a combatant like his father. But few years, later, after losing his immediate elder brother (Femi Oyebanjo) to a plane crash, D’Banj picked up a different, harmless weapon entirely- the harmonica, which, incidentally, was the only item recovered from his late brother’s remains. Together with an hitherto ignored musical talent, the harmonica nidged him towards the path of music, and he succumbed to the lure, despite initial attempts by his parents to discourage him.