Oluwabankole Wellington, born 27 March 1981, known under the stage name Banky W, and credited in film as Banky Wellington, is a Nigerian singer, rapper and actor.
Born in the United States to Nigerian parents who moved back to Lagos, Nigeria when he was five years old, Banky began his singing career at the age of 8 in his church choir. After completing his secondary school Education at Home Science Association Secondary School, he moved to New York to attend college on a scholarship. He earned a degree in Industrial Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). While in junior year at college, Banky won the “Albany Idol” competition which became his ticket into the spotlight. Overcoming personal trials to quickly become an in-demand artist on the local music scene, while performing with major acts on tour, Banky wooed and wowed audiences with his silky as bourbon voice. Building a loyal fan base, Banky established the Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) record label as a platform to get to his music to his fans and began to work on his first EP. Releasing the EP “Undeniable” in 2003 as Banky W, which was the first release on his jointly owned E.M.E Records, Banky W’s EP caused quite a buzz. The EP, which was sold on the Internet and out of car trunks, caught the ears of the executives at Fox 23 News, New York who dispatched a reporter with a camera crew to investigate exactly what was going on in the area.
You can imagine the surprise of the news team at finding a three-man team executing a highly successful grassroots marketing campaign. The report carried out on this became a two-part special broadcast that transformed into a distribution deal with TransWorld, one of North America’s largest music distributors.
Banky W’s Undeniable became one of the top selling independent records and won him the 2003 R&B/Soul Artist of the Year at the Urban Independent Music Awards. While his career was threatened for a while by cancer in his shoulder, he managed to recover from the illness.
In 2005, Banky released his first album, “Back in the Building”, which had the award-winning song “My Regret”. The album which was released to critical acclaim solidified his status as a groundbreaking artist. On the strength of that enduring single, Banky W became an urban underground and international icon. He began to receive awards and accolades such as a U.S Songwriting Award, the 2006 Nigerian Entertainment Award (R&B/Soul Artist of the Year) and the 2007 International Single of the Year, and many more.
Not slacking in his profession, Banky W won the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Award in the R&B category. He was also featured as an artist on AOL and Cingular Wireless Hip Hop Superstar with MTV”s Xzibit as well as on numerous magazines covers.
Not to be outdone by his exploits in the music world, he is also accomplished in several other fields, he has 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, Coca Cola 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.
On his engagement and upcoming wedding with Adesua Etomi, we say a big congratulations. His poetry moved our hearts. So, here we have it our #ManCrush for today- Bankole Wellington.
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