Having carved a niche for himself in the competitive Nigerian music industry, Olubankole Wellington, who is better known as Banky W, says he is also hoping to make a name for himself in Nollywood.
Since he tied the knot with Nollywood actress, Adesua Etomi, in an elaborate wedding, the couple have come under intense scrutiny on social media.
When PREMIUM TIMES approached the singer for an interview at the screening of the Wedding Party 2, he made it clear that no question is out of bounds save for his marriage.
Asked to speak about his union to Adesua as well as his recent ‘infamous’ Instagram post, Banky W, said, “My wife and I have chosen not to discuss our private lives in the media or social media. So, I will appreciate that you don’t ask us any personal questions. Please respect our privacies.”
Making a movie debut playing a lead role is a rarity in this part of the world. Indeed very few actors have been lucky in this regard.
Banky W considers himself one of the lucky few but maintains that he has always had flirtatious love affair with the movie-making business.
He said, “Because most of my videos are short films, I tend to tell stories with my music videos because I have always been a storyteller. In fact, from my younger days, I always considered myself as a writer before I saw myself as a singer or an actor.
“In that sense, watching myself on the screen was not much of a surprise because I have been flirting with it for a long time. I try to be my biggest critic and that’s why I’m harsh on myself. That is how I am about my music and businesses. I feel that the day you are satisfied with your performance and job, it is the beginning of the end because you would start to become complacent.
“I am always harsh on myself. So, even people think I have done a good job; I try to look at the one area that I can improve on.”
In October, Banky W, revealed that he underwent cancer surgery. He also added that he has been away taking treatment for the ailment.
When this newspaper asked if he developed the symptoms while shooting The Wedding Party 2, he said, “No I didn’t know I will have a relapse of a rare strain of skin cancer tumours a third time having undergone two surgeries already. Luckily for me while I was on set I had no sign of cancer, I had that relapse but I didn’t know I was going come down with skin cancer a third time.”
Banky W likens playing Adesua’s husband in The Wedding Party as an extension of their real life.
“I think that if you watch the film, you will probably walk away thinking that me and my wife are believable actors. We sell the storyline, as we want people to receive it. The hope is that you will not just enjoy seeing us in this but in any other filmmaking scenarios that you see us, whether we are together or not, that you will still have the same reaction, that it was very believable and that we did a good job.
“You can tell that playing Adesua’s husband wasn’t a difficult task because we are now a real life couple. Moreover, as professional actors, you can tell that we gave the film our best shot. All I can tell you is that it was quite effortless because the role is nothing short of our real lives at the moment.”
During the chat, Banky W reiterated the fact that music will remain in the front burner for him.
“Everyone who knows will agree that I’m a very ambitious person. I’m ambitious to a fault. I literally think that I can do anything. So, I can tell you this, I have no plans to rob my music fans of my music career. My music career is still thriving and all my albums have always done well.
“In fact, I’m releasing, Love You Baby, produced by Cobhams Asuquo. I plan to drop three videos in the next three months. However, I feel like the day that you get satisfied with where you are is the day that you get complacent and that’s the beginning of the end.
“So yes, my music career has done well, but I want to do more. I want to do more music, I wan to do more movies and I want to do more TV. I want to do many more businesses that you’re not even aware of and by the Grace of God; I will do it in Jesus name.”
On a final note, Banky W had nothing but eulogies for Nollywood.
“I think that Nollywood is growing and the industry has done fantastic things over the years and that we will continue to do so. I will refuse to be pigeonholed into any character because I think the Nigerian film audience are intelligent enough to accept quality acting,” he said.
8 things to know about Banky W
1-Banky W was born in to Nigerian parents on March 27, 1981 in the United States thus giving him dual citizenship in The US and in Nigeria.
2- His family moved back to Nigeria when he was five and by the time he was eight, he had joined his church choir. He attended Corona School for his primary education and Home Science Association Secondary School for his secondary education but went back to New York for his tertiary education.
3- He studied Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on scholarship.
4-He participated and won a music competition- Albany Idol while still in school.
5-He co-founded the record label E.M.E in 2002 while still studying at New York and when he relocated to Nigeria in 2009, he established the label in Lagos.
6-He signed artists like Niyola, Shaydee, Skales and Wizkid to the label. Although most of them eventually left or had their contracts expired.
7-He had his debut studio album, Back in the Building, in 2005. The album which was supported by the award-winning track, My Regret, was a huge success and pushed him into limelight. He released his second album, Mr Capable in 2008 and released another album, The W Experience in 2009.
8-In 2013 he released the album, R&BW with the top charting singles, Yes/No and Lowkey.