By Florence Amagiya
Popular Afro pop star, Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo, who goes by the stage name D’banj, may not have been so prepared when he parted ways with his bosom friend and partner, Don Jazzy, few years back. Today, he is back on his feet, big and strong. The travails D’banj went through after he fell apart with Don Jazzy climaxed with his record label DB. Also, he signed into Kanye West Record label known as GOOD Music and did more stuff with international stars.
After the break away experience, D’banj has remained constant in his musical career. Last year in 2014, he celebrated his 34th birthday amidst ‘”who is who” in the society. The Koko Master used the occasion to unveil yet another significant aspect of his career, a strong entrepreneurial initiative focusing on Agriculture. The new business venture named Koko Agropreneu which began with an initial capital of N50 million was raised to empower the Nigerian youths.
Again in 2015, he started the year with yet another bang as he celebrated 10 years on the stage on February 4. The Afro-pop star’s event was well attended with a special appearance by American celebrity and Model, Amber Rose. The show was held at Oceanview, Victoria Island, Lagos. In this edition, I present to you, a young man who had the chance to invest in so many businesses in his youthful life, but he opted to invest in Agriculture because of the future of this country and the youths of Africa.
Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo was born 34 years ago, precisely on the 9th of June, 1980 to a strict Military Officer father who commanded an artillery and a church dignitary mother in Kaduna state. Young D’banj got admission into the Nigerian Military School at age eleven to follow in the footsteps of his father, but he resisted after three years of his stay in the school. While in the school, his love for music was noticed when he joined the elite drum corp of the Nigerian Army. He left Army School and joined the Nigerian Navy Secondary School in Abeokuta where he completed his Secondary education.
D’banj, while in school, was taught to play the musical instrument called the harmonica by his late older brother, but later found out in the university that he got better in playing it as he practiced regularly. But he didn’t get into music with a free ride by his parents who thought music was for unserious people. Today, however, the case is different as everyone in his family is proud of his achievements. For the Koko master’s success story cannot be quantified in naira only, but in dollars and pounds. He is one of the few acts who have taken music to international quarters. D’banj has done lots of international collaborations to say the least. This started when he was still in partnership with his friend and producer, Don Jazzy, roughly ten years ago. D’banj’s music has been soaring higher in his career, dishing out hits after hits. Few years back when he went solo, he revealed how he and Jazzy made over N3b in one hit.
D’banj is not only an artiste who makes money from the sale of his CDs and endorsements, he is also a shrewd businessman who has invested heavily in other concerns of life. He was paid $1m by a cable television for a show called, Koko Mansion. The Ogun State born lanky musician owns a range of investments which includes ‘Koko water production, Koko Garri exportation business, Koko Mobile, and Koko Bar. He has a foundation known as Koko Foundation working currently on charitable activities for the less privileged.
Apart from his music interests, D’banj has moved into other sectors. His interests include Koko Mansion, a TV reality show, Koko Lounge, an upscale hangout in Lagos and the UK, Koko Foundation, a charity, and Koko Mobile. There are also rumours that he is set to launch Koko Records. The bulk of his money comes from endorsements – his endorsement deal with Globacom telecommunications cost 70 million naira ($442,000).
He has a multi-million naira endorsement deal with energy drink Power Fist, a deal with the makers of the Virgin Colour soft drink and another huge deal with a popular Jeweler. Another endorsement which runs into millions is with Chris Aire, with D’banj acting as the face of his watches. He collects between 5 million naira ($31,500) and 7 million naira ($44,200) as performance fee for local gigs, and even bigger fees across the rest of Africa and in the US and the UK. Like his old boss, Don Jazzy, D’banj also bagged a recording deal with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music. D’banj once said, “I work hard so that money, awards, endorsements, bookings and kokolets chase me.”
D’banj is known to cruise on exotic cars and he is also a power dresser who has headlined many national and international events with his style of appearance. His mansion in the US is worth over N300m as well as his other landed properties scattered across the nation. He has a multimillion naira endorsement deals with Globacom, an energy drink company, Chris Aire, UAC, among others. He currently has a recording deal with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music. He pockets between N5m and N7m as performance fee for local gigs; $80,000 to $150,000 for his gift back to the society African shows; £40,000 to £60,000 for UK shows; and $50,000 to $60,000 for American shows.
Give- back to the society
The Koko master is indeed grateful for all he has been given in so short a time and he has embarked on giving- back to the society as a sign of his gratitude. He is currently on a long term project called the Agropreneur initiative. Dbanj has invested tons of millions to partner with a South African company working on eradication of poverty from Africa using agriculture as a tool of the change. He believes the project is workable, but it would take time like other genres of trades.
According to the star, before this era the youths were not making so much money in the entertainment industry, but we are there now. And if the likes of one of the richest men in Africa, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, can invest in agriculture so should every youth who wants to go somewhere tomorrow. To him, this project isn’t all about giving back to the society alone, but he wants the youths to see a future in Agriculture. He wants to empower the youths by this project of his and if you have empowered the youths then you have empowered the world.