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The music culture has been blessed with numerous exciting male-female duos over the years. A few names come to mind- Sonny and Cher, June and Johnny, Timbaland and Furtado, Aiko and Sean. While a number of these relationships remain platonic, we’ve seen some of them develop into romantic relationships or better still “relationship goals”.
This interview story is definitely not to give relationship advice or share industry gist. It’s about two creatives – producer, Bankyondbeatz & DJ Yin; who are not only serving major relationship goals, but also pushing the envelope in the Nigerian (and ultimately global) music space. Yin tells RADR “I know what it is that I want and eventually the world is going to see, it’s not really a thing of me announcing but it’s for the world to just watch and see”.
It’s apparent the duo share a strong belief in their abilities as Banky calmly lean towards me as if to kill any doubts and adds “there’s no stopping us, we are here to stay and we’ll always be experimenting new sounds from around the world”. So far, this journey of experimentation has taken them into RnB, Soul, Hip-hop, Reggae, Afrobeat and most recently, House music on their new release ‘Good Loving’. Speaking on how the song came about Yin says “I wanted to do house and he (Banky) kept complaining that he didn’t like house and he had never done it before but I’m the kind of person who doesn’t believe that because you’ve become a master at something you shouldn’t try something new; it actually caused a fight and I was like you’re going to do it and eventually he did the beat”.
On the creative process behind ‘Good Loving’, Banky; who is mostly tacit had this to say “she (Yin) did the writing of the song and vocals, I produced the beat, mixed and mastered”. Yin tells RADR “I was trying to preach the message of love because at that point in time I was really happy and it was an experience I wanted to share with everyone. My music is me at every phase in my life, that’s the only way I can express myself”.
In January of this year, Banky released ‘Fuego Senoras’ which translates to ‘Fire Ladies; an impressive 10 track EP featuring an all-female lineup. In an interview with Okay Africa, he had this to say about the EP “I wanted to do something risky. This is why I decided to do a project with an all-female lineup. Something no producer would try; especially in a country like Nigeria”. One of such guest appearances was from Yin on a song titled ‘Heart Desire’, it marked the genesis of the revelation of this amazing partnership. The song was the first she ever wrote, although she tells RADR “I’d been writing poems since I was young, I used to turn my poems into songs as far back as year 9”.
Yin also opens up about how depression birthed the artiste she is “Music is my way of trying to fight depression. I was trying to start a depression foundation at some point in time and I just took that to Ghana but I realised I could sing to make people believe they can go through anything, I’m a DJ also and I know I’m able to control the mood with the kind of music I play at any point in time. So music is part of my own way of contributing to depressed people all over the world”.
On music legend, Bob Marley’s memorial day, they released a cover to ‘I Wanna Love You’. Yin tells RADR the idea of doing the cover was initiated by her mother “there was this time I was listening to Bob Marley all week and my Mum was like why don’t you make a Bob Marley cover since you like him so much, then I spoke to Banky about it and we made the cover”. She also hints at her admiration of the reggae legend and gives a glimpse of her thoughtful approach to making music “when I was making that cover I felt like I was honouring Bob Marley; it was me saying thank you for inspiring me so much. I wanted to make something that if he listened to; he would be proud of”. In their continuous quest for experimentation, they disclose to RADR other sounds they would like to venture into. For Banky, the prospect of Highlife sounds exciting “right now I find Highlife interesting, if I’m able to produce a highlife song soon I’d be very happy” while Yin says “reggae and that old school sound from the 60’s and 70’s”. She goes on to mention Aretha Franklin, Barry White and Asa as some of her influences.
This producer, DJ/singer combo is one of a kind and it’s easy to discern what kind of success they envision for themselves. They both acknowledge the structural barriers that hinder younger artistes doing alternative music in the Nigerian industry but they refuse to limit their ambition stemming from confidence in their collective ability which dawned on me when at some point during the interview, Yin said with a good air of pride “for me making music is not really about following a trend, in the end it’s about how you finesse the trend”.