When Davido’s son, Ifeanyi died, I was the first person he called – D’Banj opens up


Twenty years ago, Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo, known globally as D’banj, burst onto the Nigerian music scene with a vibrant energy and an infectious personality.

In an era where young Nigerian artistes were determined to make their mark with authentic sounds, D’banj quickly distinguished himself.

With hits like “Mobolowowon,” “Tongolo,” “Socor,” and the 2005 album “No Long Thing,” D’banj, fondly known as Bangalee, rose to stardom.

His dynamic stage presence and electrifying performances earned him the nickname “The Entertainer.”

Beyond his musical prowess, D’banj has also made significant strides as an entrepreneur and influential figure in the African music industry, earning numerous awards and accolades for his contributions.

As he marks two decades in the spotlight, D’banj reflects on his journey with profound gratitude. “I’m most thankful for grace in the past 20 years; being alive and relevant, being referred to as a pacesetter, and celebrating the favour that I’ve received from God is truly amazing,” he told Pearls News.

For D’banj, divine timing and opportunities have played crucial roles in his career. “If I had to choose again, I wouldn’t change a thing—the timing, the opportunities—it’s all because God allowed it to happen.”

Remaining relevant in the ever-evolving music industry is no small feat. D’banj attributes his longevity to two main factors: “First, the foundation is the grace of God. Secondly, it’s because I am fully myself. Anytime you see me, you get the entertainment. The music gets you into the room, but what you do inside the room is what matters.”

Despite not considering himself the best singer or the smartest, D’banj believes his authenticity and unique packaging have been key to his enduring success.

D’banj’s journey has not been without its challenges. The tragic loss of his son and other personal trials have profoundly impacted him. “My family has been my greatest support. Looking back, I’m thankful for the trials because they made me stronger and more humane,” he reflects. These trials have brought him closer to God and made him a source of hope for others.

“Now, I understand why God took me through those pains and trials. It reminded me of what truly matters.”

The loss of his son was a harrowing experience, and D’banj has been candid about its impact on his mental health. He and his wife sought therapy, though he found solace primarily in his faith. “I had to look for a different way to heal. My wife kept going [to therapy], but I turned to my foundation in Christ,” he says. Despite the ongoing trauma and PTSD triggers, D’banj has channeled his experience into helping others.

In memory of their late son, D’banj and his wife have launched the DOTT Foundation, named after Daniel Oyebanjo The Third.

The foundation focuses on supporting young children and parents who have experienced similar losses. “When it happened to someone like my brother, Davido, I was the first person he called because he knew I could relate. I’m grateful I could give him advice,” says D’banj. Through faith and resilience, he continues to find the light at the end of the tunnel, using his experiences to support and uplift others.