Cover Stories, Interviews

‘The Don Jazzy many don’t know’ –Reekado Banks

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Reekado Banks is a gifted singer and songwriter, fun and spontaneous. He was born into a modest family, family of six and the last born. Having started at an early age with the help of his brother, Reekado Banks wrote poems and rap songs to kick-start his foray into music and not long after he got into the university and his mother’s spirit has been with him, when he was the only one picked out of over 5,000 entries who applied for Mavin Records Talent Hunt Competition in 2013.

In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, Reekado Banks talks about the journey so far, and much more…


You are one of Nigerian hottest music sensations right now, how did the journey into music begin?

The music journey wasn’t like I planned it. It was just a bit of distraction from boredom for me. When I started in 2008, after finishing secondary school and finished WAEC, I was waiting to write NECO and there was nothing I was doing in the house so, I was just alone with my mom and dad. All I did was write rap music and poems to while away time. There was this Saturday that my brother came back from school and said, “Hmmm, you’ve joined the singers and rappers club”. He advised me to sing because he thought I would do better at singing than rapping. That was how it all started.

How has the experience been?

So, far it has been good and challenging. Well, I think the major challenge is where I had to struggle to be recognized by the industry itself, not by the people. It took them a while before getting used to me.

What inspires you?

Basically I’m inspired by my environment, the current situation of anything around me and art. I always wrote. I always put words and made sure it just made sense. I like to rhyme words together and let people read and to verify that it would make sense to them. I infused the knowledge I got from literature and all sorts into my writing and that was it.

At what age did you start singing?

I started at an early age with the help of my brother, writing poems and rap songs

How did you get signed on to Mavin Records?

Don Jazzy put out something on Twitter that up and coming artistes should submit their songs to a particular email address. Actually, I was not aware until it all worked out. I never knew until the day I was meant to go to the Mavin studio to test-run. I found out that he sent my song before then and later I was picked as the only winner out of 5,000 entries.

Would you say joining Mavin has turned your life around?

Mavin Records has been the best that has happened to me.  so far and I’m grateful to God, Don Jazzy, Temi and Tega. I’m also grateful to Dr. SiD who has always been there and acts like a father figure to me. Tiwa Savage too has been great to me. Di’Ja and Korede Bello have also been helpful. I appreciate them all.

What is it like working with a maestro such as Don Jazzy?

Don Jazzy doesn’t talk that much. He’s not that formal as per sitting you down and talking. He would rather play games and laugh about stuff but he expects you to watch and learn from him. He wouldn’t tell you to do anything but expects you to know the right things to do. Don Jazzy has influenced me so much. His consistency in the game for over 10 years and he’s still on top of his game and not stopping anytime soon is a big addition. I know the materials dropping soon and I know being under his tutelage is the best thing that has happened to me.

Who are your role models?

i like Don Jazzy, 2Face Idibia, Chris Brown, Wande Coal and a whole lot of them.

It’s a big leap from a UNILAG student to a national superstar, has it sunk in fully that you are now a huge music act?

UNILAG has been super supportive. I see them all the time and I’m like Oooshey, awon temi ni Akoka (laughs). They’ve been amazing to me. I wasn’t that much into music when I was in school. I didn’t portray myself so much as an artiste because I didn’t want to be distracted. I would say I performed just three times in school and that was even before getting signed to Mavin Records.

What would you say is the secret of your success so far?

Na God dey help me oo. I try to stay focused and very hard working. I always want to record every day.

What do you think stands you out.

For me, I always have that zeal to work.

What are you currently working on?

Una no wan know (laughs). We are on para mode these days because we have realized that my strength is in my singing and that’s all I have for my people. I don’t have a choice than to keep dropping good music because that is what people have come to know me for. I will give you guys music! Good music!

How far do you see yourself going in music?

I see myself alive, happy. I just want to be happy, as I’m really not about the chase. I want to look back later and see that I have helped people and also compensated the people who stood by me in the early days of my career.

When should we be expecting an album?

Next year 2016 by Gods grace.

Tell us about yourself?

My real name is Solomon Ayoleyi Haniel. Last of six children and was born into a pastor’s family. Childhood was fun but there wasn’t so much play. I enjoyed my childhood. Had my entire education in Lagos, I finished from the University of Lagos last year, where I studied History and Strategic Studies.


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