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Apr 24, 2009

Nigerian Music Star Profile: D'Banj

Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo 

(born in 1980 Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria),known commonly as, D'banj is aNigerian singer-songwriter and harmonica player. "Dapo" is a nickname for the Yoruba name "Ifedapo" (meaning "Love came together")

Early life
D'banj was born to a successful artillery officer that commanded an artillery regiment and a street was named after him in Alamala barracks Abeokuta and a church dignitary mother, who hailed from Shagamu in Ogun State. Due to his father's profession, he moved several times within Nigeria and also moved to India. D'banj was expected to follow his father's military career and was enrolled to theNigerian Military School, Zaria at age eleven.
Musical beginningD'banj grew up listening to Fela Kuti, who he cites as his "great mentor". 

He was introduced to the harmonica by his late older brother,Femi Oyebanjo, who died in a plane crash at age seventeen. With D'banj's love of music being greater than his parents' military aspirations, he struggled with his parents' approval, this can be best heard through an album track, All Da Way from his debut album. He derived his stage name from the combination of the first name and his surname.

Music career
As a tribute to his mentor, Fela, D'banj brings Afrobeat to life and into the 21st century with breathless enthusiasm as well as a good dose of humor. His songs are based on his life, often hilarious but with a deeper meaning which documents the struggle of a young African trying to achieve his dreams. He performs in Yoruba, English and Pidgin English. All his albums are solely produced by Don Jazzy and himself.

2005–2006: No Long Thing
D'banj's debut album, No Long Thing, was released in 2005, yielding several singles, with Tongolo as the lead single. This proved to be his breakthrough single and a hit. It also provided his Koko Master persona, with the term, koko, taking on a variety of meanings. D'banj's debut success led to collaborations with other artists, this includes Dare Art-Alade's album track, Escalade Part 2 and Ikechukwu's album track,Doo.

2007: Rundown Funk U Up
D'banj's sophomore album, Rundown Funk U Up, which was released in 2006, yielded several singles including the club single, Tongolo (Remix) and the lead single, Why Me. This proved to be another hit.

2007-2008: Curriculum Vitae & The Entertainer
D'banj as an artist of Mo' Hits Records is also a member of its collective group, Mo' Hits Allstars. The collective's debut album, Curriculum Vitae, was released in December 2008. This included hit singles, Be Close To You, Booty Call and Move Your Body as the lead single. D'banj featured in Ikechukwu's 2008 hit, Wind Am Well. 
July, 2008 saw the release of D'banj's third album, The Entertainer, with the singles Gbono Fele Feli, Kimon,Olorun Maje and Entertainer

Live performances
D'banj is known an energetic, charismatic and infectious live perfomancer. He is a regular performer for the annual ThisDay Africa Rising Music Festival. He has performed at Femi Kuti’s new Afrikan Shrine in Lagos as well as the Shrine Synchro System’s regular London Night at Cargo. He also performed at the Black President Concert in memory of Fela’s art and legacy at the Barbican in London. He has also performed along side many international artists in Nigeria like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Missy Elliot, Ja Rule, Beenie Man,E.J,Wayne Wonder, and Kelly Rowland.

Humanitarian work
D'banj is a founder of Koko Foundation for Youth and Peace Development. He is also Nigeria's first United Nations Youth Ambassador for Peace

Awards Won
Best African Act (MTV Europe Music Awards 2007)
Hottest Single of the year "Why me" (NEA Awards 2007)
Most Promising Male Artiste (KORA All African Awards 2005) 
Hip Hop World Revelation (HIP HOP WORLD AWARDS 2006 hosted by Hip Hop World Magazine)
Artist of the year (Nigerian Music Awards (NMA) 2006)
Best Newcomer - Tongolo (fizz Awards 2006)
2007 Channel O Music Video Awards - Best Special Effects (“Why Me”) Artist of the Year 
(MTV Africa Music Awards 2008)Best Male (MTV Africa