Segun Demuren, one of our industry folks, had a birthday a few days ago. Happy belated birthday Segun. To celebrate him, Banky W (an artist and co-founder of Empire Mates Entertainment) took to social media to share the inspiring story of how Banky went from rock bottom to green/greener pastures. It is a story of never giving up but more importantly, the power of true friendship.
“About @segundemuren: The morning of Jan 1st 2009 was one of the worst of my life. I went to Church the night before to pray in the New Year… and there I poured my heart out to God. You see, i moved back to Lag on Feb 14th 08. It was a tough decision quitting my well-paid engineering job in NYC and moving back, but I felt incomplete and unfulfilled. That decision however, led to a tough year.
I had gained some small popularity in music, but fame comes way before fortune in my line of work. So yes there were videos on TV, but I was flat out broke. I’d spent all my savings on my music business… I was driving a beat down car that broke down on every possible major road in Lagos, and I had resorted to “borrowing” 5k from my manager weekly, to fuel my car and buy recharge cards.
I’d started second guessing my decision. Should I have moved back at all? Should I have listened to folks and stayed in NYC? It was hard. I wasn’t getting any show bookings, in fact Segun & I used to show up to events way early just to make sure we could get inside, and times without number we would beg & plead to get 5 mins to perform on shows only to get turned down. I was frustrated.
Why wasn’t my music working here? Why couldn’t people see what we saw? Maybe I wasn’t meant to be here? And then after church that morning, I got accosted by armed robbers, driven around on the joy-ride-from-hell, roughed up, and robbed of everything on me. Phones, money, jewelry, iPod, hat, shoes, u name it. They kept threatening to shoot me, but I just kept praying psalm 91 and somehow I made it home to Segun’s house in one piece. And while I was grateful to be alive, I sunk into further depression.
For a week plus I wouldn’t leave my room. I felt like my whole world had come crashing down, and like I had nothing to show for all my effort and prayers. And then Segun walked into my room and said “hey bro… I know it’s really bad right now. But the good news is, this is rock bottom. U have hit it, and ur still alive. It can only get better from here, but U can’t let it defeat U. U gotta get up, dust it off, and channel all that nervous energy into making music again!!” I was in shock…
How did he expect me to just shake everything off just like that? My mental state was a total mess. I didn’t have a penny to even pay for the studio time, and even my car had been bashed. I said “bro even if I want to record, how would I pay for it?” He asked who I’d wanna work with and I said Cobhams.
He asked me to find out how much it would cost… I did. The next day he walked into my room with the entire amount in full that he had borrowed from someone. Plus extra for cab fare. I paid for the Cobhams sessions, and the very first song we created was “Strong Ting”… till date one of my biggest hits in Africa. The requests for performances started coming… I started actually receiving airplay.
People finally started understanding me and my music, and better yet, they ACTUALLY liked it! My life changed from that moment and so did my finances. God has used Segun to guide, direct, help, support and save me on too many occasions. I want to wish him a happy birthday and pray for him that he and his family will never know lack in Jesus name.
For the seeds of kindness, love and support he has sown in my life and many others, may God bless him and every generation born of him. I love you forever, and I look up to you. I shared this particular story because I also want to encourage y’all. I know life can be hard and harsh, but don’t give up hope after the darkest of nights, because your morning is right around the corner.”
L-R: Segun Demuren & Banky W
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