He caught the attention of music loving Nigerians with his Ebute Metta remix of Rihanna’s Umbrella in 2008 and hasn’t looked back ever since. Banky W is one of the many music artistes abroad who relocated to Nigeria to build a career. Having released to critical acclaim, albums including Mr Capable, The W Experience, Back In the Building and R&BW, Banky W seats atop Nigeria’s R&B music industry and owns Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) Record Label. He took a break and went to study filmmaking at the New York Film Academy after which he got the opportunity to direct a TV commercial. Bankole Wellington, Banky W for short, spoke with SAMUEL ABULUDE about this new passion among other issues.
How has your journey into music been?
I’d been flirting with music all of my life. I don’t remember exactly how old, but I know I was incredibly young when I knew that I wanted to be a singer. When I was in university in New York, I got together with a friend of mine and was like, ‘we are always joking about this music thing, if we don’t put money towards it, it will pass us by’. So, at that point, I hit the studio. I probably started recording seriously around 2002 and I built it from there.
Can you describe the role you played in the production of the television commercial for the revamped DStv Compact Bouquet?
I wrote, co-produced and directed the television commercial TVC for the revamped DStv Compact Bouquet.
What went through your mind when you got the brief to direct the TVC?
When I got the call to come in and pitch for the TVC, I was quite honoured. That they even considered giving me a shot at it was a blessing. I know I’m still relatively new in the world of filmmaking and I never take these things for granted. After that, I wrote my treatment, did up a storyboard and pitched it. They liked the idea so the moment we agreed on the terms, my mind went fully into trying to execute it to the best of my ability.
Can you describe your experience working on this project?
I consider myself someone who is “creative for a living”. God blessed me with the talent to be able to write and create and I’m grateful for that. So, whether it’s writing songs or making motion pictures; whether it’s shaping an artiste or shaping a video or short film. It’s all about being creative. Directing, for me is an extension of who I am and what I do. I enjoy being behind the camera as much as I do being in front of it. It’s a really fulfilling process, from coming up with a concept, to overseeing and managing all the moving parts until it comes to completion.
How did you put together the technical crew that worked with you on the production?
I depended largely on people I’d worked with before, who I was comfortable with. So, my DOP and Editor was Mattia Palombi, a very talented DOP whom I’d met while in film school and who I worked with on the ‘Mercy’ video. My production manager was Susan Younis. I’ve worked with her in various capacities over the years. I can’t say enough about my TILT production and EME teammates on board specifically Tunde Demuren, Yemisi Ayinde, Seun Johnson, George Guise and Michael Umoru. God bless them for sticking by me and supporting what I do. It feels like I come up with a new challenge or project I want to attack every other month, and they just do their best to help me make it work. The entire technical crew and cast on the TVC did a fantastic job and I’m very grateful to everyone of them.
What should your fans expect from you in the nearest future?
I just released my new single “High Notes”, produced by Cobhams Asuquo. I directed the video and I’m currently in the process of editing it in NYC. I can’t wait to share that with everyone. Also, I recently directed videos for new singles by Niyola, Shaydee and Big Mo. I’m editing those as well and they would be out soon. I’ve also done a couple of collaborations; I’m on DJ Xclusive’s new single, alongside Sarkodie and Cassper Nyovest, as well as Wizzy Pro’s new single featuring Cynthia Morgan and myself. I’m working very hard. A new album on the way as well!
Is Banky single?
Yes. It’s tough. It is a question of time. I’d like to think that I will eventually make a great boyfriend and husband. I try to be a romantic guy. I am very spontaneous. I like to enjoy my relationships. When the time is right I will be able to do all of that.
What do you look out for in relationship?
Physical beauty is important to a certain extent because you have to be attracted to someone to want to get to know more. I like girls that are independent and ambitious that I can have a real conversation with. I like fun girls; girls who love music and can dance because I love to dance. If you can cook it’s a huge plus because I am a sucker for good food.