D’Banj Talks To MTV UK | INTERVIEW
Easily the biggest artist on the African continent, D’Banj has revolutionised African pop culture with his distinctive musical style. Scooped up in a whirlwind, signing to Kanye West’s new G.O.O.D. Music label, this multi-talented 29-year-old is already known to his fans as Africa’s answer to Michael Jackson. With over 11 million album sales under his belt, his own cereal brand, mobile phone line and a reality TV show, Nigeria’s D’Banj is now a force to be reckoned with. With all eyes firmly fixed on this African star, MTV The Wrap Up’s resident Afrobeats columnist, Nonny Orakwue, sat down with him for an in-depth chat.
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 Weekend?
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 hearing?
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.
Read full interview here