Since hitting the limelight in 2008 following the release of hit single, Ebute Metta, which was a remix of Rihanna’s smash hit, Umbrella, Olubankole Wellington aka Banky W has gone on to become one of the richest Nigerian artistes.
In this exclusive chat with PREMIUM TIMES, the fun-loving artiste speaks about his foray into acting, his music career and why he is yet to marry.
PT: How does it feel to star in your first Nollywood film?
Banky W: It is a blessing, an honour and a privilege to be part of the cast of the Wedding Party. It is the first time in my professional career that I was the least experienced person in a project in terms of filmmaking. Everyone that I co-starred alongside has done much more than I have and it was very exciting for me.
PT: What challenges did you have to overcome while shooting the film?
Banky W: It was challenging in the sense that I didn’t want to be the one to let everyone down. I grew up watching Richard Mofe Damijo, Ireti Doyle and Sola Sobowale, so I couldn’t afford to come on set unprepared, mess up my lines or fail to deliver the right kind of emotion so for me that was challenging. I wasn’t even nervous or anxious I was always on my toes.
PT: What spurred you into going into acting?
Banky W: Ironically, I have always wanted to go into filmmaking. So even when I was younger I was always writing and directing screenplays. I have always flirted the idea of acting but obviously music came first. Towards the end of 2014, I went to film school and I began directing and producing my projects afterwards. I feel that in life you should never be satisfied with one achievement. The day you become satisfied with where you are is the beginning of the end for you. Acting is a natural progression in my career; it is something I have always wanted to do but I didn’t want to be arrogant about it. As we speak, I’m writing my own script by the side. I will take my time and go step by step with it. My video, ‘I Was Made For You,’ earned me my first nomination as a director at the Hip Hop Awards. I am very happy about it.
PT: Why did you feel the wedding party was the right script for you?
BANKY W: I never wanted my first feature film to be given to me because I am Banky W or as a result of my fan base. I wanted to audition and earn the role because I really wanted to deserve the role.
PT: So moving on what sort of roles would you love to play?
BANKY W: If I had my way I wouldn’t want to play Banky W in a film. I played myself in Funke Akindele’s production and that is because she is my sister. Sometimes artistes want to make the crossover into films but the producers would want me for instance to play myself (Banky W) in a movie. They will want me to perform some of my songs in a club. As long as a script if well-written, challenging and of high quality, I will jump at it.
PT: There was so much chemistry between yourself and Adesua Etomi in the movie. The kisses you both shared in the film were so convincing.
BANKY W: Any full-blooded man cannot be paired alongside Adesua and not have any form of chemistry. I don’t want know what to say to that because she is lovely and extremely talented. God bless her for she made it a lot easier for me. As a newbie in Nollywood, I wanted to go over my lines again and again to make sure I was doing right, the cast was kind and gracias enough to work on it with me. At the end of the day, I got it right.
PT: Were the kisses real?
Banky W: It wasn’t a film trick and we kissed for real.
PT: You noted that your character, Dozie, which is your character in the movie, bore a similarity to your real life personality.
Banky W: I identified with my character in the movie to a certain extent because we are similar in several ways. We are driven, successful and surrounded by good people but we are also yet to marry. I am actually tired of people asking me ‘when will you marry’, go to the theatre to watch me marry and leave me alone. Come December 16 in Lagos, those who want to see me married should visit cinemas in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa and watch me marry live in the film. Those of them who are concerned with my married status should go and see the movie.
PT: Hope music career won’t suffer as a result of your foray into acting?
BANKY W: I am very close to completing my next album, which I intend to release on Valentine Day next year. It’s a day that has been good to me and the album is titled Songs About You. I make RnB music, rap and I also flirt with pop sounds but at the end of the day I am a romantic at heart. We have to show love to one another and I believe that I will find love soon.
PT: How do you cope with fame and all attention you receive from the opposite sex?
BANKY W: The thing I have learnt about this business is that you shouldn’t get too excited and too depressed. This is because the same people who love you today will turn around and throw stones at you tomorrow. So the wise thing to do is to try and keep a level head. I don’t deceive myself by believing that ‘I am not the best thing since sliced bread.’ Fans may love me today and change their minds or their perception about me tomorrow but it will never change who I am and will be. My female fans are always appreciated.