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Celebrity Focus: Banky W – The EME Boss And R&B King, Call Him “Mr. Capable”!

Have you heard R&B sound so Folk Music, so Nigerian and yet so classy? Sure you have, and it’s from no other than Mr Capable Banky W. It must be an innate ability because such skill can in no way be learnt. The way Banky W infuses other genres into R&B and makes it original, he should give his genre of music a different name because he has carved a niche for himself.

Prior to the time Banky W hit the industry with his tunes, we have heard couple of artistes come out with R&B songs that could not have been accepted in Nigeria and in any other part of the world for that matter because they were a caricature of the original sound and couldn’t have cut it.

Another beautiful thing about this well rounded artiste is the fact that they don’t call him Mr. Capable for nothing! While Banky W is a nightingale as far as singing is concerned, he will give virtually all rappers a run for their money when it comes to his rapping skill. This he displayed on songs like “Lagos Party,” “Ebute Meta” and more recently “To my Unborn Child” from his latest LP, “R&BW.”

Mr. R&BW (his latest nickname) busted into the Nigerian music scene in 2008 with a cover of Rihanna’s Umbrella titled “Ebute Meta,” at a time when doing song covers was not the in-thing in Nigeria. The song received ‘mad’ rave and became every phone users’ ringtone. It was so huge it attracted the attention of the then new comer into the Nigerian Telecommunication industry Etisalat who signed him on as an ambassador for their product and services. Till present day, Banky W’s romance with endorsement deals is still growing strong with different deals at different intervals and of recent is the Samsung deal worth about N120 million.


Born Bankole Wellinton to Nigerian Parents in the United States, his family moved back to Lagos Nigeria when he was five years old where he began singing in his church choir at the age of 8. 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' competition, which catapulted him into the spotlight. Banky has performed alongside major international acts on tour, gaining ground in New York with his silky smooth voice. He established the Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E.) and together with his partnered embarked on a distribution campaign of his first album Undeniable that caught the attention of the executives at Fox 23 News New York. They dispatch their team to investigate the phenomenon sweeping the area. The report became a two part special they aired leading to a distribution deal with TransWorld ; one of North America's largest music distributors. He won the 2003 R&B/Soul Artist of the Year at the Urban Independent Music Awards for the record.

In 2008 he moved to Nigeria after the completion of the innovative album ‘Mr. Capable’ and the results were outstanding. He had successfully fused R&B with traditional and urban African music and for the first time sang in English and African dialects. The album spawned hits like ‘Capable’, ‘Work U Out’ and ‘Don’t Break My Heart’ and established him as one of the premier entertainers. He followed up in 2009 with ‘The W Experience,’ featuring notable artistes and producers such as eLDee, M.I, Cobhams, 9ice and his new signees Wizkid and Skales. His first singles from the album “Lagos Party” and “Strong Ting”attracted a lot of nominations and awards.



As a proven entrepreneur, in 2012, Banky W signed on Niyola, Shaydee and DJ Xclusive haven successfully transformed Wizkid and Skales into full fledge superstars. The EME Crew was born and he unveiled the artistes with the successful EME allstar album titled “Empire Mates State of Mind” and an end of the year concert tagged “Baddest Concert.”

A day after Valentine of 2013, he launched his new album “R&BW” with a concert tagged the “The Grand Love Concert” at the Civic Centre which featured several other artistes including Iyanya, Waje and more. The first two singles from the album “Lowkey” and “Yes/No” which has a spectacular video to it, are already receiving rave reviews.



His awards include John Lennon Song Writing Award 2006 for ‘My Regret,’ a song from his 2006 “Back in the Building album. He also featured the song in the Mr. Capable album.  Best Male R&B Artiste, Urban Independent Music Awards, USA, 2006, 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,’ Music Video of the year for “Strong Ting” in City People Entertainment Awards 2010, Soundcity Music Video Awards 2010; Best R&B Singer and Best Music Video (Male), The Future Awards 2011 – Musician of The Year, Channel O Music Video Awards 2011 – Most Gifted R&B Male Video and many more.

 

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