INTRODUCTION Olubankole Wellington known under the stage name Banky W, and credited in film as Banky Wellington, is a very popular and succesful Nigerian singer, rapper and actor. He is responsible for breaking out one of Africa’s biggest stars Wizkid after he signed him in 2009. EARLY LIFE AND BACKGROUND
Wellington was born in the United States to Nigerian parents, but the 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. He overcame many personal trials and obstacles to quickly become an in-demand artist on the local music scene; performing alongside major acts on tour. 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.
LIFE AND CAREER
Under the name Banky W, he released the EP Undeniable in 2003, as the first release on his jointly owned E.M.E Records. The EP was released on his own label, and was sold on the internet and out of the trunks of cars. The buzz around the album caught the ears of the executives at Fox 23 News New York who promptly dispatched a reporter with a camera crew to investigate the phenomenon sweeping the area. They were surprised it was a three person company executing a highly successful grassroots marketing campaign. The report became a two part special they aired leading to a distribution deal with TransWorld (Coconut’s, Warehouse Music, Spec’s Music); one of North America’s largest music distributors. It became one of the top selling independent records, won him the 2003 R&B/Soul Artist of the Year at the Urban Independent Music Awards.His career was for a while threatened by cancer in the shoulder, but he managed to make a recovery from the illness.
In 2005 he released his first album, titled Back in the Building, containing the award-winning song “My Regret”. The R&B/Soul album was released to critical acclaim; he had crafted a classic record and solidified his status as ground breaking 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 Award, 2006 Nigerian Entertainment Award – R&B/Soul Artist of the Year and 2007 International Single of the Year to name a few. Banky followed this up by winning the prestigious worldwide John Lennon Songwriting Award in the R&B Category and signing a lucrative US Publishing deal. He was also a featured artist on AOL and Cingular Wireless Hip Hop Superstar with MTV’s Xzibit, numerous magazines covers, as well as touring North America Africa & Europe.
In 2008 he moved to Nigeria after the completion of his latest highly anticipated 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.
In December 2009, Banky W dropped his much anticipated second album in Nigeria, titled The W Experience . A strong contender for the best album of 2009/2010 in Africa, it features production from Nigeria’s most sought-after talents, and showcases Banky W. as he combines global R&B/Pop with African rhythms and influences to create an entirely unique and impressive sound. The 15-track album features collaborations from the internationally acclaimed and Interscope-signed artiste, Verse Simmonds; it also introduces his newly signed E.M.E acts, WIZKID and SKALES; and solidifies Banky W as the crown Prince of African Soul/R&B.
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, 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” (which has a spectacular video to it), are already receiving rave reviews.
Not to be outdone by his exploits in the music world, he is also accomplished in several other fields. He’s a published writer, as articles from his blog (http://bankyw.blogspot.com) have been featured in numerous Nigerian Newspapers, magazines and websites. As a philanthropist, he launched the “I AM CAPABLE” scholarship fund, which provides tuition, room & board at private universities for youth who are in need and meet the grade requirements. He’s also on the board of trustees of the “LightupNigeria” Project, which is focused on achieving constant electrical power supply in Nigeria, as well as various other charitable society building and empowering projects. He has also been extremely successful in many Corporate Marketing Campaigns, having been featured prominently in projects like Etisalat’s 0809ja Launch, Cocacola-Nigeria’s World Cup Theme Song, and Microsoft’s Anti-Cyber Crime Initiative. Last but not least, he is an accomplished Master of Ceremonies/Host, as he has successfully anchored numerous high profile events such as The HipHop World Awards (2009), Nigerian Breweries Legend Extra Stout Product Launch, and The Gulder Ultimate Search Celebrity TV Show Launch.
Banky W’s record label E.M.E who had artistes like skales,wizkid and more lost few of them in 2013/2014 wizkid left the label in 2013 due to an inconvenient deal from eme, and they later came to an agreement but wizkid wasn’t fully of that label anymore since then. Skales also left finally to be signed by another label. Banky released different hit singles withing 2013/2014 as he actually focused more on his career he won several awards with singles like; Yes/No,Jaiye Orimi,Jasi and more… Banky W announced in 2014 he would be going for a Movie Director training in the U.S as he said it is one of the things he’s loved to do a long time ago.
MARRIAGE In February 2017 he proposed to popular actress Adesua Etomi a proposal which was accepted and the engagement of the two broke the internet.
He further noted that they have had chemistry even before their cast as a couple in movie ‘Wedding Party’ adding that this was not a promo for a movie or video. He wrote: “In that time, I got engaged to you in my “made for you” music video… and by pure coincidence, we both got cast to get married in the wedding party movie… but all the while, we were the very best of friends. I guess, in our case, real life will now imitate art. “I’m not sure what the future will bring, but I’m completely sure that I am ready to face it with you by my side. I pray that God continues to build me into the kind of man that you deserve. I love you Susu.. I feel safe and at peace with you. You mean the world to me. Thank you for agreeing to be my lover and best friend. Thank you for agreeing to be my wife. “PS: The timing of this may make some people think this is promo for another video, or a movie. It isn’t. “Ironically, everyone who has seen us together in art, or in life, always insists that we have amazing chemistry. I guess you can say we have been hiding in plain sight. I fell in love with an Actress. Now my life is a movie.” “In February of 2017, I asked Adesua Tolulope Oluwaseun Etomi to be my wife. She said Yes.”
AWARDS AND ENDORSEMENTS 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 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’ 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 Award
ENDORSEMENTS Once signed a multimillion naira endorsement deal with samsung Also signed a multimillion naira deal with Telecom giant Etisalat in 2009/2010
CONTROVERSIES He was rumored to have been dating one of his label artist NIYOLA but they later debunked it. He also was rumored to have been involved in a sex scandal with mystery girl Not a scandal: but was said to have been caught on camera peeing on the street