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Thursday, May 10, 2012

My New Album May Be Called ‘The Entertainer Repackaged’ —D’banj

MTV The Wrap Up resident Afrobeats
columnist, Nonny Orakwue, had a chat
with D’banj.
The pop star talked about how he feels
to be the first African artist to headline
mainstream festivals like Wireless and
the Radio 1 Hackney Weekend.
He also hinted his new album may be
called ‘The Entertainer
Repackage’because he is trying to
introduce the western world to hit
singles like fall in love which might get a
remix from rihanna or other star and
also suddenly.

The Wrap Up: Hi D’Banj! Let’s get
straight into it. How would you
describe your sound to someone who
hasn’t yet heard your music?

D’Banj: My sound is Afro-pop,
meaning an African sound. I know a
lot of people have heard of Afrobeat,
but I like to say that Afrobeat was in
the time of the late legend Fela Kuti.
Just the way that music has evolved
around the world, you can’t compare
rap from the 90s with the rap we
have now, you can’t even compare
R&B from the 90s with the R&B we
have now. So the Afrobeat of today,
with my generation, I would call it
Afro-pop. ‘Oliver Twist’ is Afro, but the
sound is pop. Other colleagues of mine
who are making music back home,
you can’t call their music Afrobeat but
it’s Afro-rap, Afro-hip hop, Afro-jazz,
Afro-soul and some still do Afrobeat.

TWU: You’ve performed numerous
times in the UK to sold-out arenas, but
how does it feel to be the first African
artist to headline mainstream festivals
like Wireless and the Radio 1 Hackney

D’Banj: I feel very honoured, I feel
very privileged but I also feel very
scared. I think I have to beg all of my
fans to come out because, usually, I’m
used to headlining major festivals but
with my African people. I’m looking
forward to it and I’m begging all of
my fans to come out and support
because this is a big moment for
everybody, not just for me. I just hope
the UK fans will be pleased with the
kind of sound that they’re going to
hear and those who’ve never heard us
before, I hope they’ll be won over.

TWU: Is there anyone on the line-up
that you’re looking forward to

D’Banj: Definitely! Well, I’ve watched
most of them but just in a different
continent, like when they’ve come to
Africa to perform. I’d like to see Nicki
MInaj on stage, Tinie Tempah and I’d
like to see Rihanna – everyone knows
that I like Rihanna! (Laughs)
Obviously, I’d like to see Jay-Z and
even people whose sound I haven’t
heard, like Chase & Status. I’d like to
hear some drum & bass! I know I’ll
look odd, but music is so universal and
speaks to everybody.

TWU: You’re known for your love of
the ladies, so what does it take to be a

D’Banj: A kokolet is a well-endowed
woman with good intellect, I believe.
That means not just a pretty face and
someone who knows what they want
and has a mind of their own. Growing
up, people asked me, ‘What’s your
definition of an ideal woman?’ I’ve
seen that has changed with time, and
now I’m more affected by what
someone has got up there to offer.

TWU: Your current single, ‘Oliver
Twist’, is out now. Why do you think
the West is now taking interest in
African artists?

D’Banj: I think the world is interested
in Africans in general now, not just on
the music side of things. For the last
five years, from the oil and gas
industry to the capital and banking
industry, you see a lot of banks that
are in Africa now coming here and to
America to open because the world is
bigger than just continents, it’s now
one. It’s the same thing with the
music. After meeting Kanye West in
Dubai, with him inviting me over, a lot
of people started coming over to
Nigeria to come and pick acts. The
world likes something different and
new, we’ve been left out of the scene
for a long time but what’s good about
it is that now that everybody has
gone everywhere, Africa looks like it’s
doing something brand new. I
remember when I first found out that
they wanted to release ‘Oliver Twist’
again; I was like, ‘Ah! Ah! That came
out last year in Africa and it did over
330,000 downloads in the first three
days.’ I’ve had people even tell me that
I should bring out my last album, ‘The
Entertainer’, all over again and call it
‘The Entertainer Repackaged’. The
Western world can hear and know the
tunes like ‘Fall In Love’ and ‘Suddenly’
because they were massive songs and
have someone like Rihanna or Cheryl
Cole sing on ‘Fall In Love’. The fact that
people already think that it’s possible
shows that it can be a big thing. I’m
just begging for people to have an
open mind and accept us.

TWU: What three items can’t you live

D’Banj: I can live without anything.
The only thing I can’t live without is
God, and that’s the honest truth.
Recently, I’ve been travelling so much
that I even forget my phone and my
shades. When I was in Africa for nine
years, no one saw my eyes and
recently I’ve gone into meetings and
forgotten my glasses. I wear them
because I wanted to have something
separate to hold for myself.
Performing on stage for me is very
radical, I take off my shirt so that’s like
me already taking off a lot of things,
so I was like, ‘What can I keep that
people won’t see?’ In Nigeria, if I walk
around without my glasses, people
don’t recognise me until maybe when
I open my mouth and talk, but if I’m
just eating in a restaurant or there’s
no security around me, people don’t
realise. It’s my superman look! D’Banj
was the first black superhero till
Hancock came (laughs).

TWU: (Laughs) If we were to have a
cheeky look in your iPod, what music
could we expect to find in there?

D’Banj: You’d be so surprised, because
I have everything! I’ve got Adele and
right after her, you’ll see ‘N****s In
Paris’ by Jay and Kanye (laughs). For
me, music is universal. Last summer,
my favourite song was by Martin
Solveig with ‘Hello’, and I’d listen to it
before I’d go on stage. I’ve opened my
eyes and my mind to listen to
different things in the last two years. I
was somewhere recently and the
driver was playing hip-hop. The driver
told me that because I was with Kid
Cudi and my people, he thought that
we wanted to hear hip-hop – I asked
him to turn it to a local radio station. In
2008, one of my people even showed
me on the net that they’d sampled one
of my songs all the way from India,
which meant a lot to me. It shows that
we’re not bound by our continent or
our region, music is so huge that it can
speak to anybody.

TWU: And lastly, what can we expect
to hear from your forthcoming album
– which is rumoured to be called ‘Mr

D’Banj: No, things have changed now.
‘Mr Endowed’, which is the single,
came out last year and ‘Oliver Twist’
has taken over now so I don’t know
what the album is going to be called
now. I’m caught in between
reintroducing my last album, because
my new album is going to have some
songs from my last album to
reintroduce people and let them know
this is how I am. Maybe it’s going to
be called ‘The Entertainer Repackaged’
– but it’s not my field, I let the
professionals choose. Maybe it could
be called ‘Entertainer X’ or something
like that, and then I could have five
songs from the last album and then
five new songs. I’m not sure yet, but
just make sure you’re ready for it!

D’Banj’s new single, ‘Oliver Twist’, is out
May 13.


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