Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo (born 9 June 1980), known by his stage name D'banj, is a Nigerian musician, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, television personality, and rapper. He has won several music awards, including the awards for Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007,Artist of the Year at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2009, Best International Act: Africa at the 2011 BET Awards, and Best-selling African Artist at the 2014 World Music Awards, Evolution award at the 2015 MTV Africa Music awards
He adopted the stage name D'banj, a combination of his first name, Dapo, and his surname, Oyebanjo. D'banj is currently best known internationally for his 2012 summer hit "Oliver Twist", an uptempo dance fusion of Afrobeat and electronic dance music that topped the African charts 2011 and was a top 10 hit in the UK singles chart in 2012 reaching No. 2 on the UK R&B chart. As of 2016, D'banj is ranked to be the richest solo musician in Nigeria according to T.I.N Magazine.
D'banj, also known as the Kokomaster or Bangalee, was born in June 9, 1980 in Zaria, the northern part of Nigeria to a military officer who commanded an artillery regiment and a devout church dignitary businesswoman who hailed from Shagamu in Ogun State. Due to his father's profession he moved several times within Nigeria and later moved to England. D'banj was expected to follow his father's military career and was enrolled to the Nigerian Military School at age eleven. However, D'banj resisted the system and disenrolled from the school after three years. While at the Military school he was a member of the elite drum corp of the Nigerian Army. From the Nigerian Military School he proceeded to another military owned institution Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ibara, Abeokuta where he was a church worker. There he completed his secondary school education.
D'banj 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 for music being greater than his parents' military aspirations, he struggled for his parents' approval; this can be best heard through an album track, All Da Way from his debut album.
Following the death of his 17-year-old brother, D'banj arranged all his possessions on his bed after they were brought home and just picked up his harmonica. I'd play it to remember him." Later, at university, he realised what his new skills with the instrument could bring him. "I'd go to the female hostel after lectures, and even if there was no electricity I could play there." He remembers learning Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" after Titanic came out – "and that got me a lot of girls!"
D'banj then proceeded to the Lagos State University to study mechanical engineering, but due to the constant strikes and several irregularities in the school he decided to withdraw. Plans to continue his studies as a mechanical engineer in London were derailed when he arrived in the UK in 2001, and met Don Jazzy who was trying to make it as a songwriter and producer. D'Banj started hanging around the studio, making ends meet while working as a security guard. "It was OK, because I did nights," he says, "so I could listen to music on my headphones."
Don Jazzy told D'Banj he thought he was a star in the making, and sensing that the music scene in Nigeria was "blossoming", the pair returned to Lagos in 2004. That same year came the single "Tongolo"; the video was paid for by D'Banj's mother. His first endorsement was with an energy drink called Power Fist.
As a tribute to his mentor Fela, D'banj uses a fusion of Afrobeat and Afropop to bring his music to life and into the 21st century with breathless enthusiasm as well as a good dose of humour. His songs are based on his life, often hilarious but with a deeper meaning which documents the struggle of a young Nigerian trying to achieve his dreams. He performs in Yoruba, English and Pidgin English.
After several months of speculation and wild rumours, ace producer, Don Jazzy confirmed via his Twitter account the break-up of Mo'Hits. After the break-up, Don Jazzy, D'Prince, Dr SID, Wande Coal started Mavin Records while D'banj founded DB Records and as expected, he signed his younger brother Kayswitch to the label alongside two producers, Jaysleek and Deevee.
In December 2012 D'banj signed a mega deal with Sony. Speaking on the importance of the deal to Sony, the managing director of Sony Music Entertainment, Sean Watson, said: "Partnering with D’Banj is a seminal event for us at Sony Music Entertainment Africa. We’ve always admired his talent and to be able to assist with bringing D’Banj’s music to millions of fans, established and new, across the continent is an honour for us. We are very excited about being a part of it."[This quote needs a citation]
The deal is being described as a "Pan African, multi-album deal with Sony Music’s RCA Records. It also involves an exclusive management deal with Sony Music and strategic partner ROCKSTAR4000 for the continent. Add to that a multi-album, worldwide exclusive contract with emerging Nigerian singer-songwriter star Kayswitch and a strategic partnership with D’Banj’s Nigerian record label DB Records"
With D'banj's first album came his first endorsement from an energy drink called Power Fist. In May 2013, D'banj was named the Bank of Industry (BOI) ambassador. In November 2013, D'banj re-signed a multi-million Naira deal with Globacom, the company he parted ways with in 2010.In June 2014 D’Banj Secures Deal With Heritage Bank. In October 2014, D'banj was named the official African ambassador for Beats by Dre. In February 2015, D'banj was named the official African ambassador for Ciroc Nigeria.In an exclusive story on Tush Magazine Issue 11, Banky W and Dbanj shed more lights on how they became Ciroc Ambassadors. In September 2015, D'banj was made the brand ambassador of SLOT, a popular mobile phone, and electronic gadget retail outfit. Dbanj is now among the richest Hip-Hop artists in Nigeria.
D'banj is the founder of Koko Foundation for Youth and Peace Development. He is also Nigeria's first United Nations Youth Ambassador for Peace. Dbanj is a ONE campaign ambassador; he released the song "Cocoa Na Chocolate" in support of agriculture investments Cocoa Na Chocolate' featured 18 other African artists and won Best African Collaboration at the All Africa Music Awards in 2014.
In 2015, he was applauded by World Bank Chief, Jim Yong Kim for using his music power and high celebrity status to bringing attention to serious and critical issues in Africa with special focus on agriculture and poverty alleviation. Jim Yong Kim was quoted saying that "I had the pleasure of meeting D’banj last month and seeing him perform. I’m thrilled he is the first artists to take part in our new Music4Dev series encouraging global artist to raise awareness about poverty and related issues."
In 2015 D'banj released the video to "Extraordinary" to raise awareness on gender equality and women's empowerment. World bank endorsed song as a song for women awareness.
Dbanj revealed for the first time that he had a son, Daniel III, with his wife Lineo Didi Kilgrow, whom he married in June, 2016. His son died on June 25 2018 in a drowning accident in a swimming pool at Dbanj's Ikoyi home.
D'banj, 38, was not in the country when the incident occurred. He was attending the BET awards in Los Angeles.
The Nigeria Police directed “D’banj’’ and Wife to make a formal report on the circumstances that led to the death of his son after the period of mourning