Industry News

Industry News: The Observer/Guardian UK Features D’Banj in Highly Flattering In-Depth Article


As an avid writer and reader, I have to say I enjoy when articles are well written. I especially enjoy articles that understand the importance of capturing the ‘who, what, when, why, how’ basics and making you feel like you were there and experienced what the writer/journalist/reporter is speaking about.

This recent article by UK’s The Observer, Guardian’s Style Magazine, on D’Banj, is definitely well written and highly flattering. I think you all will enjoy reading it as much as I did.

It is a good push on D’Banj’s end with publicity and promotions (shout out to his PR team for stepping it up) in the UK, and it also emphasizes the importance as artists, labels etc. to court, solicit and work with journalists, bloggers etc. who know how to write. Having a cut and paste type approach to your interviews and news  stories might get you publicity but it doesn’t put you above the cut.Pay attention to your brand positioning and the strong writers out there and court them!


“It’s very humbling, my success here. Coming from Africa, doing music for a decade there… It’s a different world”: D’Banj photographed in London last month.

Bouncing towards me on his alligator-skin trainers, Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo opts for a one-armed hip-hop hug when at last we meet. Not only does he look the part – the shoes are by designer Philipp Plein, his T-shirt’s Calvin Klein and around his neck hangs a dazzling chain created by Jacob “The Jeweller” Arabo, purveyor of “bling blings” to the hip-hop elite – but he smells it, too: an almost suffocating cloud of lavender scent hangs in the air.

D’Banj, as he shortens his name, is the biggest name in entertainment in Nigeria and has the potential to become the first-ever artist from Africa to compete on equal terms with any acts in the western pop firmament. It’s the brash, moneyed, sexy version of the continent – home to seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world – that he represents. Today he is in the UK promoting his Top 10 hit Oliver Twist, a ribald account of the famous women he fancies, from Nicki Minaj and Rihanna to the Ghanaian actress Nadia Buhari. Recently he heard it being used as the background music to a party in EastEnders – precisely the sort of mainstream attention that he wants to receive.

D’banj kokomaster

Oliver Twist on Eastenders?! What a great pre-birthday gift for me from the UK!! Oossshheee!! LEBETE!
8 Jun 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

It quickly becomes apparent that the 32-year-old, acclaimed by his peers back home in Lagos for his relentless drive, is difficult to stop once he’s on a roll. “I’m so excited – not just for me, but for the whole of Africa,” he says. “Two years ago I said it’s time for me to take my music global because I’ve won all the awards back home.” With his mentor, the producer Don Jazzy, he created the biggest record label in Nigeria, but “now I want to win a Brit award, a Grammy”.

“Yes, we have MTV, yes, we sell millions of records and have endorsement deals, but we’ve never felt as if we’re part of the same music industry as the rest of the world – the Kanye Wests, the Adeles and Tinie Tempahs,” he continues. “I see what I’m doing now as the bridge that we’ve been looking for from Africa to the mainstream world. I want others to see the potential in my country, other than our oil and natural resources. That’s what’s making me move. I feel like a new artist.”

The first time I laid eyes on D’Banj it was in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, in late 2008, when he waltzed away with three accolades including Artist of the Year at the first-ever MTV Africa awards. Just before he turns up for our encounter in London, the ebullient Bankulli, his manager, shows me footage on YouTube of him on the promo trail in the UK, visiting a school in Plumstead demonstrating how to do the “Oliver Twist” dance to a background of shrill screams from the pupils. It’s not just hard to think of another African artist who’d engender such a reaction at a south London secondary school, it’s tricky to think of that many homegrown pop stars who could incite quite as much hysteria. But over the past three or four years, there’s been a growing appetite for what are styled “Afro beats” among that key pop demographic in this country.

Listen to DJ Abrantee’s show on Choice FM on Saturday nights or DJ Edu on Radio 1 Extra with his Destination Africa programme on Sundays and you’ll hear the likes of Sarkodie and Efya (from Ghana) or P-Square, WizKid and – especially – D’Banj (all from Nigeria). Rickie Davies runs a website promoting Afro beats in the UK, and she describes “a real shift in perceptions among audiences in the UK. No one’s talking about this as if it’s ‘world music’,” she says, “or alien to the culture here.” Abrantee told me recently of the deeper impact of this burgeoning scene. “When I was growing up in London,” he said, “you never let on that your family came from Africa – it was too embarrassing. Everyone pretended they came from the Caribbean. But suddenly black kids from Ghana or Nigeria are saying it’s cool to come from there.”

“It’s very humbling, my success here,” D’Banj says. “Coming from Africa – Nigeria – doing music for a decade there… it’s a different world.”

The Guardian UK has the full story.

Photocredit: Richard Saker for the Observer

Business of Music North Africa Roundtable

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia.

Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
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