By Dayo Showemimo
For a while now, it’s been practically impossible to reach out to Koko master, D’Banj.
This is because the multiple award winning pop star has not made details of his management available to people and the fact that the exit of his last manager, Tony Nwakalor was done on a low key.
NET investigations have however revealed that D’banj has really parted ways with Tony Nwakalor and his new manager is an American-based woman who goes by the name, Tonya Merritt while Davido’s former manager, Asa Asika currently represents D’Banj here in Nigeria.
Confirming Tonya Merritt as his new manager, D’Banj shared a picture of himself, Tonya Merritt and renowned photographer, Reza with the caption: ‘Reza the Great National Geographic Fellow and my manager, Tonya Merritt, successful day guys.’
In one of D’Banj’s tweets dated August 15, 2014, D’Banj had made a subtle introduction of Tonya when he shared a picture of her with the caption: ‘EJA NLA and the best and rarest Agent in the World. Mamalet of Life Tonya Merritt the one who gets me…lol! God bless you!.’
In one of Tonya’s tweets dated May 19, 2013, she also shared a picture of D’Banj cuddling her with the caption, ‘Best client and friend in the whole wide world. D’banj Rocked Durban tonight with Snoop Lion.’
D’Banj’s past managers
It is known knowledge that D’Banj began his career with Mavin records boss, Don Jazzy in the UK as the duo were nurtured by Kwam 1’s former manager, Ayo Shonaiya who owns and runs the RMG Company in the UK.
Ayo Shonaiya was very instrumental to the career of D’Banj especially in the very beginning, with Ayo’s influence and power helping them break into the Nigerian market before they met Sunday Are who became their first manager. When the Mo’Hits’ brouhaha happened and D’banj parted ways with Sunday Are, he got Abisagboola Oluseun John a.k.a Bankulli as his manager. Bankulli reportedly handled D’Banj’s career pretty well and together, they conquered grounds internationally and recorded huge successes before an issue involving Kanye West tore them apart in early 2013.
That prompted D’Banj to hire Tony Nwakalor, who at that time was managing rapper, Olamide; music producer, Samklef and Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh as his manager. Tony is currently the CEO of Sound Core media and entertainment consultants.
Who is Tonya Merritt
Based in Atlanta Georgia, Tonya Merritt is an international business consultant, publicist and booking agent. Her relationship with D’Banj dates back to several years ago and her influence in D’Banj’s career has been huge even when he doesn’t seem to be doing much in the country.
She has been the one pulling the strings and getting D’Banj a number of international deals, shows, collabos and endorsements. She was instrumental in his collaborations with Snoop Lion, she pulled the strings that got Giuseppe Zannoti to present D’banj with a custom made sneakers and was also responsible for the D’Banj-Kenya Monroe aside many others.
In the beginning, Tonya’s job was limited to managing D’banj’s international bookings and deals, but now she has assumed full custody of his entire management. She launched her company, Tonya Merritt Group in Nigeria back in 2006 and in her career as an international agent, she has worked with super stars like Trey Songz, Amber Rose, Snoop Lion and many more.
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