Monday, 28 October 2013

NEWS: ‘I begged to sell CDs in US salons to survive’- Banky W reveals

Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) boss, Olubankole
Wellington popularly known as Banky W, tells his story
of grass to grace in an interview with Josephine
Igbinovia of Vanguard Newspapers.

Although many see the fame and fortune music has
brought to Banky W , it is hard to believe that the the
R&B superstar who is responsible for producing
monster hits and artistes the likes of Wizkid, Niyola,
Skales, once did menial jobs including selling CDs in
Salons while in the United States just to eke out a
Read excerpts from his interview:
Starting small
His appearance bellies his personality and generally
gives the illusion of a young man with a history
devoid of sweat. But no, Banky did not only pay his
due but also mastered certain principles which he
wouldn't forget in haste.
"One of such is to think big but start small", he said.
"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!", Banky stated.
Menial jobs
Indeed his tale solidifies his emphasis on little
beginning because to achieve his dream of becoming
a music superstar, Banky had to take up to three jobs
while also in university!
He said: "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.
Begging at saloons
"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
"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.
Work, school, music
"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. Sourced from Vanguard Newspaper

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