Prior to 2012, Burna Boy was relatively unknown in the Nigerian music landscape. But the Port Harcourt-born musician has since then craved for the biggest stage. For him, reaching the pinnacle of his chosen career is a fight to finish. A potpourri of talent, hardwork and sheer determination, Burna Boy braced the odds.
Today, his heroics are symptomatic of the fact that dreams do come true — if only we don’t give up on them. The singer has won awards, dominated charts, collaborated with several music heavyweights, and also enjoys massive appeal in African and global music industry.
Burna Boy is taking a second shot at the 63rd Grammy Awards on Sunday — after losing out at the 2020 edition. But will he win this time around?
Ahead of the much-awaited event, TheCable Lifestyle examines how he overcame last year’s Grammy loss to becoming another contender for the 2021 edition of the award.
Finding fame and first shot at Grammys
Just like several of his colleagues in the music industry, Burna Boy rose from relative obscurity into the spotlight. After his university education in the UK, the Afro-fusion singer returned to Nigeria with focus on etching his name on the sands of time as a musician. His choice of ‘L.I.F.E’ meaning “Leaving an Impact For Eternity” for his debut album in 2013 exemplifies his vision to have a legacy as a singer.
The album first announced Burna Boy’s incursion into the country’s music industry as tracks such as ‘Like to Party’ resonated with many Nigerians. He followed the project with two albums — ‘Redemption’ in 2015 and ‘Outside’, which featured tracks like ‘Ye’ in 2018.
‘Ye’ became a huge success which fetched Burna Boy massive popularity but the singer knew it was not yet time to take his feet off the gas. The 29-year-old continued to pull the strings and in 2019, he took the global music industry by storm with the release ‘African Giant‘, his fourth album. The album became a sensation among several music lovers and eventually earned the singer his first Grammy nomination.
Burna Boy was nominated in the ‘Best World Music Album’ category at the 62nd Grammy. But his expectations and that of many Nigerians were dashed as he lost the category to Angelique Kidjo, Beninese singer-songwriter.
Standing tall amid defeat and the journey to second Grammy nomination
When asked how he felt losing out to Kidjo at the 2020 Grammys, his response was unequivocal: “sick. Totally sick.” Nobody wants to be on the losing side, after all. But the singer was able to come to terms with the reality that defeats could sometimes help one to restrategise for the future.
Addressing several issues after his first Grammy loss, Burna Boy had revealed that the development enabled him to further learn from Kidjo, whom he described as his “musical mother.”
He had also disclosed that the experience from the loss and attendant lessons informed his choice of ‘Twice As Tall’ as the title for his next album.
“Sick. Totally sick. But my musical [email protected] told me everything I needed to understand about the Grammys. So now, I’m ‘Twice as Tall’ (that’s the name of my next album by the way dropping in July by the grace of the most High),” he had said.
After initial delay, the Afrofusion singer, born Damini Ogulu, put out his fifth album, which was executive-produced by Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, a US media mogul, and Bosede Ogulu, his mother.
Just like ‘African Giant’, the project, released in August 2020, became a huge success, dominating several charts and snagging positive reviews including most-talked about albums for 2020.
About three months after its release, the album was nominated for the ‘Best Global Music Album’ category at the 2021 Grammys. ‘Twice As Tall’ will be competing against Antibalas’s ‘FU Chronicles’, Bebel Gilberto’s ‘Agora’, and Anoushka Shankar’s ‘Love Letters’.
The singer will also perform at the Grammys alongside Lido Pimienta, a Colombian-Canadian musician; Poppy, an American singer; and Rufus Wainwright.
Whether Burna Boy wins at the 63rd edition of the Grammys or not, there’s no doubt that he remains a leading name in the music industry across the globe. His nomination, in the first place, is an evidence of his towering legacies and indication of more strides to come .
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