INTERVIEW: When I marry, it will be a secret wedding – D’banj

Multiple award winning Nigerian Hip-Hop artiste, D’banj, has said stated his marriage intentions. The singer also said that he is not afraid of taking his musical act to anywhere in Nigeria including Borno State which has been ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency. D’banj who recently got a new role with MTV Base to handle one of its new shows gave conditions that can see him perform in the restive North East region.

In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES’ Tunde Eludini, the Koko master also spoke on other issues including his desire for a secret wedding.

Below are excerpts of interview

How long will your fans have to wait for your next album?

The next album is in the works. We have done a couple of listening sessions on a number of songs and I think the next step is to invite a few journalists to listen in too because I have got a whole catalogue of songs yet to be released. I was in South Africa with some executives who were listening to some songs. By God’s grace an album should be coming out before the end of this year.

Is it true that you have dropped Tonto Dike from your record label?

I did not drop Tonto Dike. I called everybody last from my producer, to songwriter, artistes and told them that from 2016, they all had to go and work and shape up, starting from me. I have not seen her since her marriage and she is not in the country right now. But what she told me last was that she wanted to work on some foundation and she has done that. When she comes back she can decide if she wants to (continue with the label).

Revolutionising Music in Nigeria

From last year I have been planning and finding out some things. The industry has been so changed from when I was here. Since I came back I realised the amount of music coming out, the amount of talent that we have right now, it would be in our best interest as an industry to protect the future by making sure that the platforms that would distribute those contents that is being churned out in Nigeria are in the right place. So I have worked with Bank of Industry BOI and some other specific people to make sure that the right digital distribution and physical distribution is in place and finally the music industry’s pension which is the missing link is also in place.

What I am trying to say is that stars, talents listening to me right now; creative people in Abeokuta, Calabar, Kaduna, Borno that we have never met could do a beat and say it would fit XYZ artiste. I never knew the person who produced the beat for Emergency. If the guy did not know Olu Maintain who got it through to me, you may never hear the song Emergency. In the western world, roles are defined and you as an artiste get fed. Once they know you are available, they will bring materials to you. Right now I am trying to put in place a structure that would ensure inclusion and participation of all artistes no matter your location in Nigeria. As long as you have phone and you can notify us, your beat, lyrics whatever it is will be picked up and you will be paid.

Can you perform in Borno?

I can do a show in Borno, why not? People still live there. The only thing is that the security will be extremely important and tight.

When is D’banj going to marry?

Who said I am not married? I would tell you the truth, I am not married but if I am, nobody would hear about it. It is going to be a very quiet wedding because I am tired of people asking me that question. It is my personal life and it is not going to change my music or brand.

I am not going to get married just because people want me to, neither would I do it just to enter another phase of my life just like some of my colleagues have done. They make it seem as if once you are married you have retired. But that should not be the case. Marriage would not change anything about me and whenever it happens, nobody would hear about it, there would only be speculations. My wife would not be seeking for fame because the one I have is already enough for all my family members. When I get married, it would be a very quiet one. Who knows, it might have already happened.

How do see your new role with MTV? Do you think you can do a better job compared to LL. Cool J handling the American version of the ‘Lip Sync Battle’

First of all, I am not stepping into anybody’s shoes; Africa is different, that is why it is called Lip-sync Battle Africa. I have not been able to watch a lot of the episodes (of American version of Lip-sync Battle) . But I saw one or two and I like what they are doing and there is going to be a twist to this but I am not stepping into anybody’s shoes, I am only going to be playing myself D’Banj.

I have a wonderful co-host who is a great personality, a beautiful kokolet and she’s South African. She will anchoring the main techniques, what MTV wants me to do is that they have actually built a koko lounge for me on stage and every episode I get to be there on stage and watch my fellow colleagues, super celebrities from different parts of Africa coming to step into a different platform where they have never been seen before. You will see actors, models coming to sing other celebrities songs. So to be given an opportunity contribute my two cents to these big stars is something I am really looking forward to.

It is the first show to bring the whole Africa together watching and participating, bringing what fans love which are their celebrities. Every episode two major stars from Africa will grace the stage, so it will be beautiful.

So what are you bringing differently?

I am an entertainer and in everything I do I try to bring light into it and I do not think this would be different. This is my first foray into television and it is going to be entertaining as you know me to be, energetic, creative and if you have had a long day and just want to relaxed and be entertained, then be ready to get it on the show.

What is the update on your pet project, ‘Koko garri’

I have used the last year to research the market. So I am trying to give it a good foundation before we started production and distribution. Now we are on the online stores, the big shopping malls, very soon we plan to place adverts on television and this is because we have proper partnerships. I have always had access to finance through BOI and they provided the money for the cottage industry. I am glad to tell you that we have a big farm in Ogbomoso about 700 hectares, that’s where we would be building our storage facilities

Thank you for your time

You are welcome.

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Tunde Eludini is a graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria where he studied International Relations. He is a Senior Correspondent coordinating the sports section for PREMIUM TIMES. Twitter@tundeyeludini

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