Banky W: Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E.) record label
Banky W as we know him was born Olubankole Wellington on the 27th day of March, 1981 in the United States to Nigerian parents. His father is from Badagry in Lagos State while his mother is from Calabar in Cross River State. His family moved back to Lagos Nigeria when he was five years old and at the tender age of 8 he began singing in his church choir. After completing his secondary school Education at Home Science Association Secondary School, he moved to New York to attend college on a scholarship; earning a degree in Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. While still in college, he won the ‘Albany Idol’ (an American talent show) competition, which catapulted him into the spotlight.
While still in college he featured in and won numerous competitions and music shows. But this ‘Albany Idol’ competition, in particular brought him into the spotlight. He wowed audiences with his silky smooth voice while building a loyal following; he established the Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E.) record label as a platform to get his music to his fans and began work on an EP (acronym for a short album with an average of 4-6 songs).
‘Undeniable: The EP’ was his debut and the buzz around the record quickly caught the ears of FOX23 executives who featured it in a two part television special. A distribution deal with TransWorld followed and this eventually became one of the top selling independent records in the US and got him the 2003 R&B/Soul Artist of the Year at the Urban Independent Music Awards. In 2003, he came up with Undeniable: EP. A brief battle with cancer in his shoulder threatened his career but he beat the illness and is stronger for it
He came up with ‘Back in the Buildin’ in 2005 to critical acclaim, solidifying his status as a fresh new artist. The album spawned the award winning song ‘My Regret’ and on the strength of this enduring single he became an urban-underground-yet-international icon. The awards and accolades followed with a US Songwriting.Then ‘My Regret’ a wonderful track from the album which became a hit, winning The John Lennon Songwriting Award in the R&B category (USA), he also won the Best R&B Male (2006) and Best International Single of the Year (2007) at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards.
No 4 ‘Ebute Metta’,
Banky W burst into public consciousness in 2008 with the release of ‘Ebute Metta’, a remix of Rihanna’s then hugely popular ‘Umbrella’ which was received with a lot of criticism, Asides being an accomplished singer/songwriter and label boss,
In 2008 he moved to Nigeria after the completion of the album ‘Mr. Capable’ under the name Banky W. With the sole mission of exposing African music to the world and bringing a high profile presence to the industry. On MySpace he garnered over 1 million song plays; on YouTube, hundreds of thousands of views for his videos; and on Facebook, his recently created fan page has over 447,705 registered fans, growing at a rate of over 500 new fans per week.
He successfully fused R&B with traditional and urban African music and for the first time sang in Yoruba. The album produced hits including ‘Capable’, ‘Work U Out’ and ‘Don’t Break My Heart’ and solidified his place in the Nigerian music industry.
Bonus – Capable’, off the EP/Album: Mr. Capable. Released: 2008
Just seat back relax and listen to this gorgeous song…hey….strictly Naija for Naijapals. Capable Remix – Banky W in2019
‘THE W EXPERIENCE’ was released in December 2009, his 2nd album on home soil it was highly anticipated and didn’t disappoint. It was nominated for the best album of 2009/2010 and features production from Nigeria’s most sought-after talents, combining global R&B/Pop with African rhythms and influences, resulting in a unique sound. A 15 track album ‘The W Experience’ featured collaborations with D’Banj, El Dee, 9ice and his own newly signed artist on his E.M.E label, Wizkid and Skales. The album gained broad respect and many nominations from Soundcity Music Awards to Channel O Awards, MOBO Awards, MTV Awards, the Hip Hop World Awards, the Kora Awards, and many more.
1 Strong Ting/ Lagos Party/don’t break my heart
It looks like we are gonna get stucked having to choose one out these three hit songs off the album TWE speaking of “Strong Ting”, “Lagos Party” and Don’t Break my Heart. ST and LP both went to Number 1 on Nigerian charts and were Pan-African hits while DBMY won Nigerian Music Video Awards 2008. Nominated Best Male Vocal Performance, Hip hop World Awards 2009 among others
Now, imagine you are so in love with this person, and they are your everything, but for whatever reason, they don’t believe it, or maybe they just can’t handle that much love and so you say to them, “You’re the only one for me, why can’t you see?
3 “Yes/No” Banky W got us swooning with the release of this scorching single “Yes/No” capturing a love story beginning from secondary school which was shot at his Alma Mater- Home Science School. 14 years after. The video was co-directed by Clarence Peters and Banky W and featured prolific British-Nigerian model, Angela Tokunbo Daniel as the leading lady. Released as the first single from his fifth studio album R&BW. The song was produced by Cobhams Asuquo. It peaked at number 1 on BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Afrobeat chart.
In 2013, he released his 4th studio album titled “R&BW”. It was released a day after the Valentine’s day, it was launched with a concert tagged the “The Grand Love Concert” at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos, which featured several other artistes including Iyanya, Waje and more. The first two singles from the album “Lowkey” and “Yes/No” received rave reviews
2 Gidi love was released.
With this track, Banky W is in the defence of all the single people around the world under pressure to get married.In the video, Banky plays multiple characters – prisoner and prosecutor – as he goes on trial. in support of single people all over the world under pressure to get married asap. In the clip, we see Banky playing multiple characters – prisoner and prosecutor – as he goes on trial for not
1n 2017 – EME Boss, Banky released his much anticipated EP “SONGS ABOUT U”. … According to Banky, songs on the playlist were inspired and written for his fiancee Adesua Etomi. … With Production effort from Nonso Amadi, Cobhams Asuquo, TK, Masterkraft , Maleek Berry & …
Throughout his career Banky has worked with artists such as Mode 9, WIZKID, Skales, Sarkodie, L-Tido and international superstar Verse Simmonds. Outside the studio, Banky is very involved in philanthropy work and he has launched the ‘I AM CAPABLE’ scholarship fund with the aim of providing tuition fees for kids who meet the grade requirements to study at private universities, but who cannot afford it.
What were your greatest musical influences growing up?
R&B, Hip hop, and African Music. Jay-Z, R Kelly, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Fela and everyone in between.
If not an artiste? I would have been an Artist (drawing, painting etc), or a lawyer, or teacher.
Something no one knows about him. I shave my head and shape my beard myself. I’m my own barber. I’ve been doing it for years. It started when I was in University and didn’t have a lot of money, I learnt to maintain it myself so I didn’t need to spend money on it every week. And now I’m good at it so I’m my own barber. I will probably open a barbershop at some point.
On people speaking bad about him and Wizkid. Jesus Christ was perfect, and people still spoke bad about him to the point that they killed him. How much less you, or me or Wiz? People will always want to say all kinds of things… and these days, people love bad news. And if you don’t give them the bad news, they start to create false bad news just because it’s more interesting. But there isn’t much you can do about it. You just try to be the best person you can be, and keep it moving.
In an interview in (with Tosyn Bucknor) earlier in February, revealed that he has much more plans aside from music, acting and family. He said he plans to put up a restaurant within a year or year and the half. It won’t be a Wellington restaurant he says.
He’s gonna go into movie production in his agenda for years to come and is working on a script that he claims is almost finished. His wife, Adesua Etomi will definitely be in the movie but they won’t be as love interests.
On his health story with the world, saying “I’m one of the people who believe that when something doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. I felt it was important to share what I went through to show people that you can go through this thing and overcome.
Awards and Nominations
John Lennon Song Writing Award 2006, R&B Category, for ‘My Regret’
Best R&B Artiste, Nigerian Entertainment Awards 2006
Best Male R&B Artiste, Urban Independent Music Awards, USA, 2006
Won Best International Album, Nigerian Entertainment Awards 2007 for ‘Mr Capable’
Best R&B Video, Nigerian Music Video Awards 2008 for ‘Don’t Break My Heart’
Nominated Best Male Vocal Performance, Hip hop World Awards 2009 for ‘Don’t Break My Heart’
R&B Single of the year, 2010 Hip Hop World Awards for ‘Strong Ting’
Best R&B Singer (Male) and Best Music Video 2010 City People Entertainment Awards