Many see the glamour but are ignorant of the hard work and pains that preceded Banky W’s fame and success.
In a chat with with Vanguard, BankyW shared his story – how he moved from being an undergraduate begging for audience at salons in the United States, to building a musical empire that has produced internationally acclaimed artistes like Skales and Wizkid.
“Everybody knows me to be the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of EME, but what people do not know is that EME started when I was in my third year in university in New York.
You see, we all dream dreams, but it is important to think very big and start where you are because God never gives you everything but gives you enough to start.
At that time, I knew I wanted to do music, but of course I understood nobody starts by selling a million CDs or the big screen!
I worked in fast foods outlets, clothing stores and as a knife salesman, selling knives from door to door. That way, I gathered money to pay for studio recording time. I was recording with a close friend at that time.
After making that music, we printed a thousand CDs though we didn’t have any fan. I had one battered car that broke down virtually everywhere, so, we would print black and white posters, stick them on the sides of the car, sell from the car’s trunk and drive to salons to do marketing.
We would walk to the owners of the salons, greet politely, and ask them to let us entertain their customers. Sometimes, some would kick us out and sometimes some would say yes. If told yes, after singing for a minute or two, we would sell our CDs to the customers! That was the beginning!
A lot of people see you on stage and see the success but do not know what you had to go through! I never had one really big break; it was always two steps forward and a couple backwards.
But I just decided that I was going to make music work for me. That was why I moved on to a new salon each time any salon rejected me!
I just kept going because I believe failure is when you give up. Albert Einstein said he tried a hundred times to make the light bulb. When he was asked what kept him going during the 99 times, he said: ‘I didn’t consider those 99 times as failure; rather, I considered them 99 ways that it didn’t work!’
We went about selling CDs and, on the days we couldn’t sell much, we would sit down and be broke together. I remember my friend was a member of a church that usually served food after service. So, on the days we didn’t sell CDs and were too broke to buy food, we would attend service in that church so we could pack rice and store in the fridge.
At a point, being a student of industrial engineering, I was working for an engineering company and was recording as well. I would go to work from 7am till about 2pm and then go to school till about 8pm, and then drive two and a half hours to New York City where the studio that would let us record for less was, and record until about 2am.
I would then drive two and a half hours back home to be back at work at 7am the following day.
One day, I was driving home from work and was so tired that I fell asleep while on a bridge. I would have driven off from the top of the bridge to God knows where, if not for an on-going construction work. God really saved me!”
After a while, Banky’s hard work began to pay off and, even while in school, he began winning awards, beginning with the ‘Albany Idol’ competition. Other international awards soon followed.
In 2008 when he decided to move to Nigeria after the completion of one of his albums, Mr Capable, Banky was consistently told his genre of music ‘would never appeal to Nigerians and therefore wouldn’t ‘sell’.
As he got turned down, pressure mounted on him and his manager to change their genre of music but Banky strongly held on to another long-standing principle which had taught him to stand out by being unique rather than trying to imitate anyone’s skill.
He therefore insisted on sticking to R&B, and this paid-off as he soon became a household name in the Nigerian entertainment industry!
“You cannot say enough about the grace of God and I therefore do not want to claim any form of glory. Falling down is inevitable but getting back up is optional!
Frankly, you can’t appreciate sunshine if you’ve never been through a heavy rain. Yes, life is tough, but what do you do in those tough moments?
Do you learn the lesson, stand up again, consider yourself stronger and keep going? Or do you sit down and feel sorry for yourself?
The graveyard, they say, is the richest place in the world because therein lies so many who died with their dreams. So, my advice is, do not give up! If Banky can be where he is today, you can be where you want to be if you put to mind to it.”
Criminal minds threatening Army with travel ban: Buratai
Tukur Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff has disclosed that he does not mind living in Nigeria for the rest of his life.
Buratai made this statement on Monday in a meeting with Army Commanders in Abuja, where they deliberated on the recent End SARS protest and pockets of violence across the country.
Information Nigeria recalls there have been calls by International bodies calling for a travel ban to be placed on some military officers accused of human rights abuses in Nigeria.
Buratai attacked the international organizations clamoring for a ban on top personnel and soldiers over rights abuses. According to him, his first trip outside Nigeria was when he was 50 and that he doesn’t mind if he has to live in Nigeria for the rest of his life.
“Criminal elements are threatening us with travel ban but we are not worried because we must remain in this country to make it better. The first time I travelled outside of this country, I was already 50 years and a General, so I don’t mind if I live the rest of my life here” The Cable quoted him as saying
At the meeting, the Army chief said recent events across the country have shown the determination of unscrupulous individuals and groups to cause chaos by all means.
“The events of the past few days in our dear nation have shown the determination of some unscrupulous individuals and groups to destabilise Nigeria by all means,” he said.
These individuals, groups and other undesirable elements have hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protest marches resulting to widespread violence, acts of wanton destruction and looting of public and private properties in many parts of the country. These acts led to the imposition of curfew in several states of the federation.
Despite all these, the army has continued to exercise restraint applied all the principles of internal security operations and fully abided by the internationally recognised rules of engagement as contained in our published standard operating procedures for internal security operations which are derived from the International human rights laws and are in accordance with the international principles guiding the use of force.” he said.
How iron protector prevented my shop from being robbed: Business man
Chima Smart Nwaneri, a businessman who operates in Owerri, Imo state has disclosed how suspected robbers were unable to burgle his office due to an iron protector.
Nwaneri thanked God for wisdom saying they couldn’t access his goods because of the protector on his ceiling.
Chima wrote on his Twitter account;
“So robbers visited my office where i do my business, but I thank God for wisdom, they couldn’t enter because of the protector on the ceiling..
Help me thank God….”
#EndSARS: We are not collection of angels, Nigerian Police says
The Nigerian police have said its officers are not angels, but the force is doing its best to serve Nigerians better.
This was disclosed in a statement posted on Twitter by the force. This comes after several unrest and pockets of violence that greeted the endsSARS protest against police brutality.
The Nigerian police appear to have started an online campaign to redeem their image and rebuild trust with Nigerian citizens, following the nationwide #EndSARS protests and its devastating fallout.
The security agency which admitted that it is not a collection of angels, however told Nigerians that it is doing its best to ensure better services.
The police, Monday night, uploaded a campaign flyer on Twitter, via their official handle @PoliceNG.
“We are not a collection of angels, but we are doing our best to serve you better,” said the flyer which was produced by the police public relations department, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
— Nigeria Police Force (@PoliceNG) October 26, 2020
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