Friday, 7 February 2014

I write scripts of all my videos – Banky W

Beyond reacting to a controversial photograph posted on the Internet, singer Banky W reflects on his career in this interview with Jayne Augoye

A few weeks ago, a photograph posted online, believed to be that of Ebute-Meta singer, Banky W, put the media in a frenzy. In the photograph, a man, who bears a striking resemblance to the singer, is seen sucking on a woman’s breast alongside another lady.

But in an interview with E-Punch, Banky W says the image of the man in the picture is not his.

 “No, I am not the one. From the angle in which the photo shot was taken, you see a man of my complexion and a big bald head. So I can understand why most people think the image is mine. But it is not true. Unfortunately, you can’t see the guy’s face. So there is nothing we can do about it,” he says.

While it is left to fans of the artiste, whose real name is Olubankole Wellington, to determine whether their idol was really guilty or not, Banky W seems to have moved on.

He says he is currently channelling his energy towards the success of his latest business venture, an advertising agency.

Apart from music, one area that has also caught the singer’s attention is film acting. His first appearance in a film was a recurring role in the final season of MNet’s series, Jacob’s Cross. Also, he got a small role in last year’s MTV Shuga.

“The truth is, I love acting and directing films. I grew up acting, singing, writing and directing. It is just that music is my first love and I had to focus more on it after leaving school.

“Most people don’t know that I actually created the concepts of about 90 per cent of the videos that EME has ever released. I write the scripts and then share my ideas with the director that can help execute them. Half of the time, I co-direct the videos,” he says.

Determined to take his love for acting to the next level, Banky W reveals that he will be attending a film school in the United States this year in order to hone his skill as a film director.

“After that, you’ll see me directing videos and short films frequently,” he says.

A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, Banky W initially worked in an engineering company in the US before returning to Nigeria in February, 2008.

Six years down the line, he says his decision to do music full-time is probably the best he ever made.

When asked if he considers himself a multi-millionaire after these past years, he replies, “I have never and probably will never discuss how much money I have. I’m very grateful for the success I have achieved so far. I am happy and contented with what I have. However, the really wealthy people are the Dangotes of the world. That is real wealth. It is what we’re all striving to be like. Any money I have is chicken change compared to that, so I’d rather people don’t even bring up my name when discussions about the rich come up.”

Even though he fails to admit it, there is no gainsaying the fact that Banky W still feels the vacuum that his former signee, Wizkid, created when he left the EME Records imprint. This may partially be due to the fact that none of the artistes currently on the label has been able to gather the clout that Wizkid had.

However, Banky W says he is fulfilled.

“Wizkid is still very much a part of EME. He has his own imprint Starboy and we support him in that as well. We have a working relationship now, and that’s a great thing. That’s the normal progression in music.”

Some lull being experienced on the music scene has made quite a number of record labels to go bankrupt. Critics also admit that there are no record labels in Nigeria; only marketers moonlighting as one.

But Banky W begs to disagree with this assumption. He says, “I’m not sure who said that and why, but I can only speak for myself and my operation. I run a records label, not a marketing outfit, even though marketing and promotions are part of the label’s duties.

“Albums definitely do not sell as much as they used to, and that is worldwide. These days, the Internet, and technology in general, has drastically changed the way people access and consume music. Now you release your singles online first.”

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