Benjamin Otaru was born in 1947 in the town of Ewan, in the Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of present-day Edo State, Nigeria. His musical talent first manifested itself while he was a student at St. Paul's Grammar School in Igarra where he played organ in the choir. When he left school, he took a job as a storekeeper at John Holt, but quit in '67 to play guitar in the Gaiki Messengers Band. By 1968 he had joined The Rivers Men, led by the great Rex Lawson, remaining in the band until Lawson's death in 1971. For the next year, Otaru played with St. Augustine's Rovers Band and then broke off to form his own Otarus Brothers International Band in 1972.