Dayo Ajayi, who is better known as, Dâ€™Plus, the Sociology and Anthropology graduate of the University of Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State has compared his working experience as the youngest member of the Masked Musician, Lagbajaâ€™s Africano Band to post graduate studies.
The 25-year-old, who had worked with a number of home-grown and international artistes like Banky W, Humblesmith, Wizboy, Yinka Davies, Capital FEMI and Ben Ogbeiwi of the MTN Project Fame, he said he was made to undergo a different kind of tutelage under Lagbaja.
Recalling how they met, Dâ€™Plus said he was recommended by a friend and then invited to Motherlanâ€™ Opebi, Lagos, Lagbajaâ€™s music sanctuary. â€œHe personally called to tell me to be at Motherlanâ€™ 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.â€ From then on, he was integrated fully into the band. Dâ€™Plusâ€™ first performance with the band was at the Glo CAF Awards ceremony in Lagos. Describing the experience as awesome, he said, â€œI was excited to share the same stage with Hugh Masekela, P-Square, Flavour, Cabo Snoop and so on.â€
Speaking further, the dark-hued Dâ€™Plus, now a full-fledged member of widely-travelled gospel artiste, Frank Edwardsâ€™s band, said, â€œLagbaja gave me so much to do. I donâ€™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.â€
His rebirth came while the band was preparing for a week-long performance trip to Paris, France, last year. â€œWe didnâ€™t have a bass guitarist in the band so I had to take it on. I didnâ€™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 an 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, bass 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 wasnâ€™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,â€ he said.
Dâ€™Plus described Lagbaja as â€œa 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.â€ Literally born into music as his father was a singer and pianist, Dâ€™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.