Reekado Banks has been around for five years. When most people were dreaming of finding their first hit, he was thrust into the spotlight at Don Jazzy’s MAVIN Records.
What followed was a string of hits and the Next Rated award at the January 2016 Headies Awards. In the middle of 2018, he left the Don Jazzy-owned label to form his own label, Banks Music. A lot has since changed for him.
On his change, Reekado has learned, “Definitely growth, experience… there are many things, but it’s basically those two.”
However, he also says that at times, he still gets surprised by the reception he gets from fans even though the emotions in the aftermath of these encounters vary.
Recently back from his August 2019 US tour and fresh off releasing his new single, ‘Rora,’ he visited Pulse Nigeria to discuss certain topics like his recent US tour, starting Banks music, his new album and so forth.
2018, Afrobeats and US Tour
Following a lukewarm 2018 through which Reekado was quieter than in previous years, he embarked on a US tour.
But before then, he addressed his lukewarm 2018, “That wasn’t the plan. Running my label, I had to be hands on and in 2018, I wasn’t in control of anything. I was only in control of my creativity, so this was me doing whatever the label planned - being a signed artist.
“I wouldn’t say it was a plan to not be as popping as you would ordinarily think, but 2018 was still a good year. We had ‘Sensima,’ we had ‘Like,’ we had ‘Blessings on Me.”
The tour which took Reekado Banks to Seattle, Minnesota, New York, California, Arizona and Indianapolis also saw him visit Los Angeles, Atlanta, North Carolina and so forth.
He also visited offices of media giants like iHeart, YouTube, Apple, SoundCloud, Spotify and so forth.
On how the importance of afrobeats’ acceptance in the west influences him and his journey to those media giants, Reekado says, “There’s a larger crowd that I intend to appeal to and we are on the journey to. My mind is just wider, there are no boundaries anymore. There are many markets to sell this music to, so many people that need to hear.
"There’s no box or end to it. I’m happy I do and it expands my creativity. Everything works now.”
On his US tour Reekado says, “All the relationships I was able to start. It was amazing, had fun, gathered experiences and enjoyed my life, basically. I met many important people, on the trip I was able to connect with my fans because that was like my first US tour. It was amazing, everybody had fun and everybody came out.”
Way before the US tour, he started his own record label, Banks Music. While Reekado is the only act on the label for now, the journey has been good. On his inspiration to start the label, Reekado says, “I’ve always liked taking on challenges. I really hate my comfort zone because it’s boring. I just wanted to do something else because I wanted to figure it out by myself.”
On the journey, Reekado says he has mostly learned to stay on top of his business because he knows where he wants to be. As the conversation goes on, he tells Pulse that Banks Music will sign other artists in 2020.
When ‘Rora’ was released, it was cut from the afrobeat - not afrobeats - fabric and for that, it resonated with people. The song was recorded four times before Reekado finally went with the first one he recorded. He claims that decision was informed by how the first version had the rawest form form energy and authenticity.
He says, “You can’t take away authenticity from this music thing. It’s going to show. Everytime I tried to record it (Rora), I tried to record like that, and it wasn’t just natural. That first one was natural.”
Going forward, Reekado has a different plan asides the sound. He calls it, “Singing my feelings out first. If I want to talk about the government, talk about it, regardless of anything. If I want to talk about n****, I talk about it. It’s like anyhow I feel is how I will put it out from now. I’m not trying to please.”
As the conversation progresses, Reekado says that we should expect all kinds of music from him and that he would sign to a foreign record label if that’s the next thing. However, he says, “If e favour me, I nor go do am. If he favour me, I go do am.”
The new generation
On the new generation, Reekado says, “Rema, Fireboy, Joeboy.. I’m feeling them. Those boys are bad. All of them are fire, fire, fire (laughs). But I have a personal relationship with Crayon.”
However, Reekado feels that the evolution of sound in the Nigerian music industry was always inevitable. He says the only way to deal with that change is to, “Do you. That’s what they call originality. If doing you means standing out, do you. If doing you means blending in, then do you. Just whatever comes to you.”
‘Daddy To Many’
During a chatty session filled with a lot of humour, Reekado reveals that after ‘Rora,’ there will be another single, then his album will drop in the final week of October or the first week of November, 2019.
When quizzed on the title of his new album, he says, “This title is heavy. It’s called, ‘Daddy To Many (laughs).
“I was living my life in Atlanta in March (2019), and I just felt like I was Daddy to many. To be honest, that’s how I felt. It (the album), has 12 tracks and I worked with Wonda, Ozedikus, Altims, TY Mix, Kel P, Blaize and so forth.”
‘Rora’ is out and you can stream it HERE.