Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo was born on 9 June 1980. He’s known by his stage name D’banj, Kokomaster, Bangalee. He was born in Zaria the 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. 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.
Age: 39 years old
Years Active: 2004-Present
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
He was introduced to the harmonica by his late older brother, Femi Oyebanjo, who died in a plane crash at age seventeen. With his 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 realized 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!”
Then he met Don Jazzy who was trying to make it as a songwriter and producer. He 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 him 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. It became an instant hit and gained wide acclaim across the country. His first endorsement was with an energy drink called Power Fist.