Banky W (Olubankole Wellington)
Banky W ushered in a new generation of young and vibrant artists through his Empire Mates Record Label. He is a prolific singer, songwriter, producer and industry respected executive. To some he is the King of African R&B. You may know somethings about Banky W but here is a chance to really know him.
Welcome to Logbaby's Biography of Olubankole Wellington (alias Banky W).
Name: Olubankole Wellington
Stage or Nickname: Banky W
Date of Birth: March 27, 1981
Mr. Bankole Wellington was born in the United States of America to Nigerian parents. His father is from Badagry in Lagos State while his mother is from Calabar in Cross River State.
His family moved back to Lagos Nigeria when he was five years old and at the tender age of 8 he began singing in his church choir.
He graduated secondary education (high school) from Home Science Association Secondary School a private school, he then moved to New York to attend college on a scholarship.
Banky W holds a degree in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. While still in college he featured in and won numerous competitions and music shows. Winning the ‘Albany Idol’ competition, in particular catapulted him into the spotlight. 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 (a music industry acrynom for a short album with an average of 4-6 songs).
‘Undeniable: The EP’ was his debut and the buzz around the record quickly caught the ears of FOX23 executives who featured it in a two part television special. A distribution deal with TransWorld followed and this eventually became one of the top selling independent records in the US and got him the 2003 R&B/Soul Artist of the Year at the Urban Independent Music Awards. A brief battle with cancer in his shoulder threatened his career but he beat the illness and is stronger for it.
Undeniable was followed by ‘Back in the Buildin’ which he released in 2005 to critical acclaim, solidifying his status as a fresh new artist. Later ‘My Regret’ a wonderful track from the album became a hit, winning The John Lennon Songwriting Award in the R&B category (USA), he also won the Best R&B Male (2006) and Best International Single of the Year (2007) at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards.
In 2008 he moved to Nigeria after the completion of the album 'Mr. Capable'. He successfully fused R&B with traditional and urban African music and for the first time sang in Yoruba. The album produced hits including ‘Capable’, ‘Work U Out’ and ‘Don’t Break My Heart’ and solidified his place in the Nigerian music industry.
‘THE W EXPERIENCE’ was released in December 2009, his 2nd album on home soil it was highly anticipated and didn't disappoint. It was nominated for the best album of 2009/2010 and features production from Nigeria’s most sought-after talents, combining global R&B/Pop with African rhythms and influences, resulting in a unique sound. A 15 track album 'The W Experience' featured collaborations with D’Banj, El Dee, 9ice and his own newly signed artist on his E.M.E label, Wizkid and Skales. Hits like “Strong Ting” and “Lagos Party” both went to Number 1 on Nigerian charts and were Pan-African hits. The album gained broad respect and many nominations from Soundcity Music Awards to Channel O Awards, MOBO Awards, MTV Awards, the Hip Hop World Awards, the Kora Awards, and many more.
He is on his 4th studio album titled “R&BW”. Released a day after Valentine's day 2013, it was launched 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” received rave reviews
Below is the complete track list.
1. "The Way"
2. "Good Good Loving"
3. "Magic" (featuring Skales)
4. "Find You"
6. "Low Key"
7. "Do It to Me"
8. "Be My Lover (Yes/No, Pt. 2)" (featuring Niyola)
9. "Say" (featuring Sammy, Shaydee & Rotimi)
10. "Past My Past" (featuring Shaydee)
11. "To My Unborn Child" (featuring Lynxx)
12. "African & Proud" (featuring Sarkodie, Camp Mulla, L Tido, and Vector)
13. "Never Let You Go"
14. "Good Good Loving (Remix)" (featuring 2Face Idibia)
15. "More" (featuring M.I and ELDee)
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 Awards
He is well accomplished in many field, not to be outdone by his music exploits he is also a published writer with articles in numerous Nigerian Newspapers, magazines and websites.
A philanthropist with a foundation offering a “I AM CAPABLE” scholarship fund, which provides tuition, room & board at private universities for needy youth who meet set requirements.
He is part of the “LightupNigeria” Project, which is advocates for constant electrical power in Nigeria.
Besides selling millions of records, he has also been extremely successful in many Corporate Marketing Campaigns, having entirely produced, co-produced or been featured prominently in projects like Etisalat’s 0809ja Launch, CocaCola-Nigeria’s World Cup Waving Flag Theme Song Remix, TomTom Ad campaigns, and Microsoft’s Anti-Cyber Crime Initiative. He’s also currently the Brand Ambassador for Samsung Mobile for the West African Region. Mr. W is also an accomplished Master of Ceremonies/Host, as he has successfully anchored numerous high profile events such as The HipHop World Awards, Nigerian Breweries Legend Extra Stout Product Launch, the 2face Live Concert, and The Gulder Ultimate Search Celebrity TV Show Launch/Season Finale.
Banky is a proven Leader and Business Executive, in a depressed world economy Banky W and Empire Mate$ Entertainment have revolutionized an industry by crafting songs that people identify with and using creative ways to market and monetize their brands, they represent a new brand of artist and label. He has new releases from Skales and an EME collaboration album. He was the corporate backing behind the rise of one of Nigeria's most popular artist 'Wizkid' who has left E.M.E. with a brief public disagreement erupting.
Controvesy: In early 2013 Banky W fell out with his lead artist and one of Nigeria's must recognized entertainers 'Wizkid' who went independent forming his own label called StarBoy Records. Banky reacted publicly and the following exchange occured on twitter..
Banky W said:
Am not gonna pretend like your absence from the team would not be felt, you will be replaced by a better artiste.
Wizkid Replied with:
I can never be replaced, you mistook my loyalty for stupidity so don’t get mad that I’ve decided to move on with my life
Banky W said:
Never knew you were such an ingrate, I made you who you are today and that fact is something you can never deny. Wish you all the best
Wizkid Replied with:
Going live on Ustream in a bit #TeamWizkid lets get it!
----- The tweets have long since been deleted.----
Activism: Banky played a major role in mobilizing the Nigerian youth to participate in the Occupy Nigeria series of protests in January 2012. The protests were to resist the implementation of the government's fuel subsidy removal policy.