For Dayo Ajayi aka D’Plus, his short stint as the youngest member of masked man, Lagbaja’s band, could be likened to returning to school for post graduate studies.
According to the 25-year-old graduate of University of Ado Ekiti, who had worked with a number of homegrown and international artistes like Banky W, Humblesmith, Wizboy, Yinka Davies, Capital FEMI and Ben Ogbeiwi of MTN Project Fame, he was made to undergo a different kind of tutelage under Lagbaja.
Recalling how they met, D’Plus said he was recommended by a friend and then invited to Lagbaja’s musical sanctuary, Motherlan’ at Opebi, Lagos. “He personally called to tell me to be at Motherlan’ by 7am and I knew instinctively that was my first test. I got there early and met him auditioning a singer. When it was my turn, he gave me several tasks on the piano and when we were done, he said if I passed I would be invited. Before the end of that day, he called to say I should come to Omole, which I would find out was his personal residence,” he recalled.
From then on, D’Plus was integrated fully into the band. His first performance with the band was at the Glo CAF Awards ceremony held in Lagos. Describing the experience as awesome, he said: “I was excited to share the same stage with Hugh Masekela, P-Square, Flavour, Cabo Snoop and so on. Everywhere I went thereafter, everybody was calling me ‘Lagbaja boy’.”
Speaking further, the dark-hued D’Plus, now a full-fledged member of widely travelled gospel artiste, Frank Edwards’s band, stated: “Lagbaja gave me so much to do. I don’t know why but I thought then that he was too hard on me. In retrospect, I think he was just preparing me for the future. I am better for it now.”
D’Plus’ rebirth came while the band was preparing for a weeklong performance trip to Paris, France, last year. “We didn’t have a bass guitarist in the band, so I had to take it on. I didn’t really mind though. Then, he asked me to learn how to play the talking drum. I was shocked because I had never played it before. He told me to see myself as a utility player in a football team who could play any role. As God would have it, I learnt it fast enough and he was pleased, but it was very tough for me. At a particular show, I was literally playing the piano, chords on one hand, brass on the other and I was still controlling the computer almost at the same time. It was tasking, yet, he would yell at me like I wasn’t doing anything. But after our last show in Paris, he gave me a pat on the back and said he was proud of my performance. It felt like I was gifted a million dollars,” he said.
D’Plus described Lagbaja as “a stickler for perfection, very painstaking and tough to work with, but a very wise and exposed man. I learnt the virtues of discipline and hard work from him.” Literally born into music as his father was a singer and pianist, D’Plus, also a producer and composer, says he is currently working on his own EP, a six-tracker where he samples several genres of music, a skill he said he acquired from the masked musician.