Born Olubankole Wellington in the US, also a graduate from the same county, multi-award winner, Banky is popularly known for having nurtured the talent of one of Africa’s biggest musician, Wiz Kid.
Badru Afunah had a chat with him on the Island Country of Mauritius.
Here, he talks about his music career and relationship with Wiz Kid.
The kind of music (Rn’B) that you do is unique from the rest of Nigerian music, what motivated you to take this route?
To me, the kind of music I do is that which comes naturally to me…..it is the music that makes up my identity as an artiste. On my best day I can never be 2Face or D’banj or any of those guys and
neither can they do what I do.
And I think for us as artistes it is important to realize who you are as a musician; as an artiste and then just do that to the best of your ability.
In Uganda we have a couple of musicians who had a try at Rn’B but later quit for mainstream music for lack of market for their music, how did you make it?
You just need to be considerate of your market. If you are doing Rn’B, let it be African Rn’B. If you are doing pop, let it be African pop or if you are doing Hip Hop, let it have some Africanness in it. That is what I did and that is why I am still here.
But was the music welcome to your fans at the beginning?
I tell you this, it took me a while to get to the point when I started recovering the finances. It is definitely not easy really for anybody especially when you start up something like that.
There is a way people are trying to figure out who you are or trying to like what you do. It is not that easy and I didn’t become an overnight success. I had to give it a couple of years.
Did you at anytime consider quitting and joining mainstream music?
There are sometimes when I made a second guess on whether what I was doing the right thing or give up. But I don’t think I could give up and be another musician.
There was a time I was guessing that this thing wasn’t working out let me go back to the US but thank God I stuck to it and you I am here.
You are respected for having facilitated Wiz Kid’s raise to Stardom,how did you discover him?
I had his demo; one or two songs. He had this different voice and I am always looking for this uniqueness.
When I saw him, he had a hardworking spirit, so humble and the way he conducted himself….So after the show, we just got it off and later got along with each very well.
Why did you part ways after working together for such a long period?
You know there is always a natural progression when you want to expand….when you want to grow. I think it reached a point when WizKid wanted to start his own label, wanted to sign artistes and never
wanted to answer to anybody. To me, it was just a natural progression.
For me, it is great to make money but money is not the end of all.
Before we made money we were cool – he was like my little brother. We made some money together and now he is like my little brother. To me,he will always remain like that to. We still have a chance of making
money together in the future.
How about the alleged conflicts that were reported about you two in the media?
We were first together but before we made money, we were brothers.
Alot of those things were blown out of proportion. People were just looking for drama because at the time D’banj and Don Jazzy had just broken up, then there were rumours that P Square had broken up….they started writing falsehoods, photo-shopping my Instagram then his twitter.
Yes in every family you have disagreements but it was not near what the media made it to be.
We understand you signed new artistes after Wiz Kid’s departure. Why is it that non has made it there yet?
There is a process before an artiste makes a breakout. It took me over two years for Wiz Kid before anybody got to know about them. People just assume making a breakthrough happens in an overnight… For me it doesn’t matter whether it takes two weeks or two years, I just do the best I can do and leave the rest to God.
Several African artistes are running to the US to record collabos with US popstars. As an artiste who was once in the US, would you consider making a collabo with a US popstar?
First of all, I believe that my calling is Africa. First of all I didn’t believe I was a musician until when I came back here. My number one priority is Africa: building artistes, ventures and businesses here.
Well, I wouldn’t turn down an international collabo but I wouldn’t break my back or pay my hand or leg or sacrifice my first son or daughter for a collabo.
I think that African music is at a point that the world is taking notice of what we are doing. The world at the moment is looking for that new sound and I believe that African music is that new sound.
I respect everybody but if you want to go out of your wayif you can pay $100,000 or $300,000 for a collabo but all I believe is that all we need is to focus on music and do our best and people will see it
and will come. You know, if you shine light on a hill, people will come to you.
Is there any musician you have seen shining light on a hill in Uganda?
Well, I am not so familiar with the scene in Uganda. I have never been there but I really hope to come there soon. I might be there is this December because there are some people I am speaking to in Uganda.
Would you consider a collabo with a Ugandan artiste?
Absolutely. You know I am a person who believes in breaking walls. I think the more we work together, the more we take African music to the world.
Recently I have had a collabo with Sarkodie from Ghana and AKA from South Africa…. hopefully I’ll have one from Uganda.