Oladapo Oyebanjo, better known as ‘D’banj‘, has come a long way since he released his debut album ‘No Long Thing’ in 2005.
The multiple-award-winning artiste and CEO of DB Records has been dubbed one of Nigeria’s richest solo musicians, and still waxing stronger. Announced as this year’s season judge of the Nigerian Idol Season 7; Koko Master as he is sometimes called spoke with OMONIYI ALLI on his new role, business, and marriage amongst others.
Q: What has Koko Master been up to?
A: Business I have been taking most of my time because music gets you in the room but what you do in that room is up to you as an individual.
You would have noticed that I have been more focused especially when I became a family man. It’s been six years of being married and ever since I have looked for a different platform where I know is still my flair.
For instance, if you google Jay-Z, Kanye West or the richest musician in the world; you will find out that 10% of their wealth is probably from music while the other percentage is from several business investments which I have also emulated.
Q: Does that imply that doing business has ripped you off from doing music?
A: Not at all, Music will forever be in me; but investing in business is something I won’t stop doing. From me having the right infrastructure and merchandise that will sustain me over the years and then I can do more music. Sometimes I go to a show and they give me one hour to perform, I can’t sing all my songs in three hours.
It’s what you can do to still give people that image to look up to. We didn’t have anybody to look up to while we were growing up but the industry has us to look up to, they are people to look up to. If you have a brand, it’s high time you stop doing jobs that pay peanuts and start doing what will make you the next sponsor of Nigerian Idol or big brother.
Q: Does that mean music is not profitable?
A: I’m not saying that, I’m just saying it goes beyond music to be able to live that luxury lifestyle.
Q: As a businessman with so much merchandise, how profitable are all these businesses?
A: I can confidently say all businesses that I have ventured into are profitable because if you go to popular malls and stores; you will find my Koko Garri there.
The most important is that we need more management in our industry because everyone that comes into the industry now just wants to be popular overnight It is important to have people in the back who will say ok, you have a song that is trending but you can also have merchandise.
Q: How affordable is your DB perfume?
A: The perfume is selling for a token of 250 dollars. It’s global now; very soon it will be everywhere in Nigeria but at the moment you can get it online. My partners are from the UAE and I will also be partnering with Dubai tourism to be able to take people to go and see the factory and try the other scents that we have, just to have that impact.
Q: Don’t you think 200 dollars is on the high side?
A: I know you think that 250 dollars is high but we pay more for those foreign brands. The earlier we encourage our people to start investing, the better; from food to clothes, hair and even cars. Even drinks, I’m looking forward to a time when I will have an endorsement with an alcoholic drink that is Nigerian.
Q: Six years of marriage, don’t you miss those old days when you could gallivant around?
A: Sure I do miss those days but for how long will you do that; I am happy I took the best decision to not just get married but stay married. I am also glad that there is a huge difference between Daniel Dapo Oyebanjo and Dbanj the koko master.
I get on stage anywhere, and it’s still the koko master. The amount of kokolet that flows on the stage has not been reduced. You know that you still have it but now you are committed to someone. When you’ve done it too much, you get tired.
Q: What has sustained your marriage because a lot of people don’t believe you could still be married till now?
A: It is very important for me when I say that I’m happy that I got married when I got married and for the reason, I got married. I thought I had reached the best part of my life and I wanted to start building an empire for me to do this, I have to be stable, have a best friend as a partner and then you have to be true to yourself.
I pray to God a lot and the Bible says He who finds a wife, finds a good thing, so I got myself a best friend, my best partner who understands me and knows everything about me and because of that, we can grow together. The most important thing is that God has sustained my marriage.
Q: As a parent, would you allow your kids to go into music?
A: Of course, if my son wants to be a musician, he’s permitted. My daughter on the other hand might already be a musician. I just celebrated her birthday and she was dancing throughout and I think there is something there.
Q: Aren’t you challenged by the new crop of artists that we have at the moment?
A: Generally, I love everybody. I think the industry is growing to the level that we have been praying for. I can’t even keep up and they are all extremely good. I won’t say challenge is the right word because if you say challenge, it might mean that I have something to prove and I don’t have anything to prove to anybody.
It’s my life; it’s what I do for a living. If I was in a competition, then it is a different thing but I’m not in competition with anybody. None of them will stand and say that I’m not a source of inspiration to them.
Q: Should we be anticipating a Mo-Hit comeback anytime soon?
A: Don Jazzy will be best to answer that; although we were supposed to have a reunion concert last year but it was cancelled and moved to this year. So let’s keep our fingers crossed and for the record; the entire MO-Hit crew including Jazzy are in good accord.