Burna Boy

Burna Boy
Burna Boy (cropped).jpg
Background information
Birth nameDamini Ebunoluwa Ogulu
BornPort Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2011–present
Labels Publishing:
Associated acts

Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, known professionally as Burna Boy, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter,[1] rapper, and dancer. He is one of the biggest and most successful African artists.[2][3][4]

He rose to prominence in 2012 after releasing "Like to Party", the lead single from his debut studio album L.I.F.E (2013). In 2017, Burna Boy signed with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally. His third studio album Outside marked his major-label debut.[5] In 2019, he won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards, and was announced as an Apple Music Up Next artist. His fourth studio album African Giant was released in July 2019; it won Album of the Year at the 2019 All Africa Music Awards and was nominated for Best World Music Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.[6][7] He was awarded the African Artist of the year at the 2020 VGMA's. In 2020, his album Twice as Tall was nominated for the same category at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, making him the first Nigerian with back-to-back nominations at the Grammys.[8] In 2021, he won the award for Best World Music Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.[9]

Early life and education

Damini Ogulu was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.[10] His father managed a welding company and his mother worked as a translator. His grandfather Benson Idonije once managed Fela Kuti.[11][12] His mother Bose Ogulu would later become his manager.[13] Ogulu grew up in southern Nigeria and began making his own beats using FruityLoops.[11][14] He attended Corona Secondary School in Agbara (Ogun State) and relocated to London to further his studies.[15][11] He later studied Media Technology at the University of Sussex.[16]

Career

2012–2015: L.I.F.E and On a Spaceship

Burna Boy's debut studio album L.I.F.E was released on 12 August 2013, serving as the follow-up to his second mixtape Burn Identity (2011). The album sold 40,000 copies on the first day of its release. Aristokrat Records later sold its marketing rights to Uba Pacific for ₦10 million.[17] The album's release was preceded by five singles: "Like to Party", "Tonight", "Always Love You", "Run My Race" and "Yawa Dey".

L.I.F.E was produced entirely by Leriq and features guest artists such as 2face Idibia, M.I, Timaya, Olamide, Reminisce and Wizkid.[18] Nigeria Entertainment Today ranked the album 10th on its list of the 12th Best Albums of 2013.[19] The album's music draws heavily from the music of Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade and Bob Marley. It received generally positive reviews from music critics, who applauded its production. It was nominated for Best Album of the Year at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. In August 2013, L.I.F.E peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.[20]

220px Afrobeats star Burna Boy performing with at Nativeland Concert%2C Lagos%2C Nigeria 2016
Burna Boy performing at Nativeland Concert, Lagos, Nigeria 2016

In 2014, Burna Boy split from Aristokrat records.[21] In February 2015, he founded the record label Spaceship Entertainment eight months after parting ways with Aristocrat Records.[22] Burna Boy released his second album On a Spaceship on 25 November 2015.[23] His 7-track debut EP Redemption was released in September 2016; its lead single "Pree Me" debuted on Noisey.[24][25]

2018: Outside and O2 Academy Brixton performance

In January 2018, Burna Boy was featured on "Sunshine Riptide", a track from Fall Out Boy's seventh studio album MANIA (2018).[26] He released his third studio album Outside on 26 January 2018. Described as a mixtape, Outside consists mostly of Afrobeats, dancehall, reggae and road rap. It features guest vocals from English musicians J Hus, Lily Allen and Mabel. Outside was supported by six singles: "Rock Your Body", "Streets of Africa", "Koni Baje", "Sekkle Down", "Heaven's Gate" and "Ye". Its production was handled by Leriq, Baba Stiltz, Jae 5, Juls, Chopstix, Steel Banglez, Fred Gibson, Phantom and FTSE. The album received positive critical acclaim and was ranked by Pulse Nigeria and Nigerian Entertainment Today as the best Nigerian album of 2018.[27][28] It won Album of the Year at the 2018 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.[29] In February 2018, Outside debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.[30] The album's biggest single "Ye" ended up atop most Nigerian publications year-end list as the biggest song of 2018.[31][32]

On 7 October 2018, Burna Boy performed before a sold-out crowd at London's O2 Academy Brixton.[33] A day prior to the show, he held a pop-up event at Red by Little Farm and sold limited boxes of his Space Puffs cereal, as well as custom notepads, lighters and graphic tee-shirts.[34] On 9 October 2018, Burna Boy was announced as one of Spotify's New Afro Hub Takeover Artist.[35] The announcement coincided with him being named YouTube's Artist on the Rise for 3 months.[36]

2019–present: Steel & Copper, African Giant and Twice as Tall

On 3 January 2019, he was announced alongside Mr Eazi as one of the artists performing at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.[37] He won four awards at the Soundcity MVP Awards Festival, including African Artiste of the Year, Listener's Choice and Best Male MVP.[38]

On 21 March 2019, Burna Boy released a 4-track collaborative EP with Los Angeles-based electronic duo DJDS, titled Steel & Copper.[39] It blends Burna Boy’s upbeat melodies with DJDS' slinky trap beats.[40][41] Steel & Copper combines elements of dancehall and reggae music with Afropop and trap.[40][41]

On 24 June 2019, Burna Boy won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards.[42] In July 2019, Burna Boy was announced as an Apple Music Up Next artist. His inclusion into the program was accompanied by a Beats 1 interview with Julie Adenuga and a short documentary.[43] He recorded "Ja Ara E" (Yoruba: "wise up" or "use your head") for Beyoncé's The Lion King: The Gift and was the only guest artist with their own track on the soundtrack album.[44][45]

Burna Boy's fourth studio album African Giant was released on 26 July 2019. It has been supported by six singles: "Gbona", "On the Low", Killin Dem", "Dangote", "Anybody" and "Pull Up". He began recording the album in 2018. He told Billboard magazine the album is his most personal yet.[46] He first revealed plans to release the album in April 2019, and held a private listening session in Los Angeles.[47] Photos and videos from the listening session were shared on social media. African Giant was initially announced as a 16-track album.[47] In order to promote the album, Burna Boy headlined the African Giant Returns tour, the second leg of his African Giant tour.[48] Burna Boy recorded "My Money, My Baby", a track that appeared on Queen & Slim's soundtrack album.[49] Described as an "Afrobeat-tinged track", "My Money, My Baby" contains a sample of Fela Kuti's 1972 song "Shakara".[49]

In April 2020, Burna Boy performed in the One World: Together at Home special.[50]

On 19 June 2020, following the release of multiple singles during early 2020, by himself and on featured credits, Burna Boy was featured on the remix of South African producer Master KG's viral song "Jerusalema". The remix led to the song entering various charts.[51] Burna Boy utilized his signature Afrobeats style on the song[52] and also partly sings in the isiZulu language.[51]

Burna Boy was featured on Sam Smith's single "My Oasis", which was released on 30 July 2020.[53]

Burna Boy's fifth studio album, Twice as Tall, was released on 14 August 2020, executive produced by Diddy and Mama Burna Bose Ogulu.[54][55] The album became his highest-charting project, debuting at number 1 on the Billboard World Albums Chart.

On The 24th of November 2020, Burna Boy Album 'Twice As Tall' was Nominated under the World Music Album category in the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards alongside other entertainers like Antibalas, Bebel Gilberto, Anoushka Shankar, and Tianariwen. This is the second year in a row that the singer is getting a nomination in this category.[56] He won an Edison award in the World Album category for African Giant, and the Best International Act at the MOBO Awards on December 9, shaking off stiff competition from Drake, Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Baby and Roddy Ricch.[57]

Burna Boy′s ″Destiny″ was included in the playlist at the Inauguration of Joe Biden.[58]

He added another achievement to his repertoire at the BET awards 2021 where he won the Best International Act. With this win, Burna Boy becomes the first African artiste to bag three nominations and wins consecutively, having won the BET Award in 2019, 2020 and now in 2021.

Burna Boy was featured on Jon Bellion's single "I Feel It", released on September 17, 2021.

Personal life

Burna Boy began dating Stefflon Don in 2018.[59] A fan of Manchester United, he took part in the official launch of their new away kit in September 2020. [60]

Controversies

Burna Boy's outspoken views have made him a controversial figure in the Nigerian and African entertainment industry. Burna Boy has been in a feud with South African rapper AKA over anti-Nigerian tweets. In July 2019, the rapper posted controversial and threatening tweets after South Africa lost to Nigeria at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.[61]

Artistry

Burna Boy describes his music as Afro-fusion, a genre that blends Afrobeats, dancehall riddims, reggae, American rap and R&B.[44][11] August Brown of the Los Angeles Times said Burna Boy's sound is "savvy and modern but undistracted by obvious crossover moves".[62]

Discography

Studio albums

List of studio albums, with selected details, chart positions, and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
UK
CAN
[63]
FRA
[64]
IRE
[65]
NLD
[66]
SWE
[67]
US
[68]
L.I.F.E
On a Spaceship
  • Released: 2015
  • Label: Aristokrat
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Outside
  • Released: January 26, 2018
  • Label:
  • Formats: CD, digital download
African Giant
  • Released: July 26, 2019
  • Label:
  • Formats: CD, digital download
16 33 54 80 12 104
Twice as Tall
  • Released: August 14, 2020
  • Label:
    • Spaceship
    • Atlantic
    • Warner Music
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
11 19 29 31 10 47 54

Mixtapes

  • Burn Notice (2011)
  • Burn Identity (2012)

EPs

Singles

Year Title Certification Album Producer
2012 "Like to Party" L.I.F.E Leriq
"Tonight"
2013 "Run My Race"
"Yawa Dey" [70]
"Celebrate" Non-album single GospelOnDeBeatz
"Won Da Mo" (featuring D'banj) DeeVee
2014 "Rockstar" Leriq
"Don Gorgon" Spellz
"Check and Balance"
2015 "Soke" On a Spaceship Orbeat
"The Realest" Simba Tagz
"Rizzla" J Fem
2016 "Pree Me"[71] Redemption Leriq
"Mandem Anthem" Non-album single Fresh
2017 "Hallelujah" Killbeatz
"Rock Your Body" [72] Outside Juls
"Streets of Africa" Leriq
"Koni Baje" P2J
"Sekkle Down" Jae5
2018 "Heaven's Gate" (featuring Lily Allen)[73] Fred Gibson
"Ye" Phantom
"On the Low"[77] African Giant Kel P
"Gbona"[78]
"Killin Dem" (featuring Zlatan)[79]
2019 "Dangote"[80]
"Anybody"[81] P2J
"Pull Up" Kel P
"Money Play"[82] Non-album single Mr. Kleb
2020 "Odogwu"[83] Kel P
"Wonderful"[84] Twice as Tall Telz
"20 10 20"[85] Non-album single The Elements, Gaetan Judd
"Monsters you made" Twice as Tall LeriQ
"Real Life" (featuring Stormzy) Mario Winanz, Telz
"Way too big" Diddy, Timbaland, Mike Dean, LeriQ
2021 "Kilometre"
"Question" (featuring Don Jazzy)[86] Don Jazzy

Guest appearances

Year Artist Title Certification Album
2013 Wande Coal "Amorawa"[87] Non-album single
Ice Prince "Gimme Dat" (also featuring Yung L and Olamide) Fire of Zamani
2014 DJ Spinall "Gba Gbe E" Non-album single
AKA "All Eyes On Me" (also featuring Da L.E.S and JR) Levels
Sarkodie "Special Someone" (also featuring AKA) Sarkology
2016 Skales "Temper" (Remix)[88] Non-album singles
2017 Airboy "Ayepo" (Remix)[89]
Skales "Gbefun One Time" The Never Say Never Guy
Jesse Jagz "Violation" Odysseus
2018 Four of Diamonds "Name On It" TBA
Fall Out Boy "Sunshine Riptide" Mania
Lily Allen "Your Choice"[90] No Shame
DJ Spinall "Serious" Iyanu
Larry Gaaga "Baba Nla" (also featuring 2Baba and D'banj)[91] Non-album single
Major Lazer "All My Life"[92] Africa Is the Future
Show Dem Camp "Legend"[93] Palm Wine Music 2
Peruzzi "Champion Lover" Heartwork
2019 Sauti Sol "Afrikan Star" Afrikan Sauce
Dave "Location"
  • BPI: 2× Platinum[69]
Psychodrama
Mahalia "Simmer" Love & Compromise
Beyoncé "Ja Ara E" The Lion King: The Gift
DJ Snake "No Option"[94] Carte Blanche
Jorja Smith "Be Honest" TBA
IDK "December"[95] Is He Real
Wretch 32 "All In"[96] Upon Reflection
Stormzy, Ed Sheeran "Own It"[97]
  • BPI: 2× Platinum[69]
Heavy Is the Head
2020 J Hus "Play Play"[98] Big Conspiracy
2Baba "We Must Groove"[99] Warriors
Pop Smoke "Enjoy Yourself" (Remix) Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon (Deluxe)
Master KG featuring Nomcebo "Jerusalema" (Remix)[100] Jerusalema
Shocka "Intro" (Burna Boy Speaks)[101] Impact Over Numbers
Sam Smith featuring Burna Boy "My Oasis" Love Goes
Wizkid featuring Burna Boy "Ginger"[102] Made in Lagos
2021 Sia featuring Burna Boy "Hey Boy"[103] Music – Songs from and Inspired by the Motion Picture
Justin Bieber featuring Burna Boy "Loved by You" Justice
Jon Bellion featuring Burna Boy "I Feel It" TBA

Selected videography

Year Title Director Ref
2015 "P.A.I.D" Sesan [104]
2016 "Pree Me" Meji Alabi [105]
2017 "Deja Vu" Clarence Peters
"Hallelujah" Mat Max
2018 "Heaven's Gate"/"Sekkle Down"
"Ye" Clarence Peters [106]
"Gbona"
"On the Low" Meji Alabi
2019 "Killin Dem" Prodigeezy [107]
"Dangote" Clarence Peters [108]
"Anybody" [109]
"Pull Up" Meji Alabi [110]
"Gum Body"(with jorja smith) [111]
"Own It" (with Stormzy & Ed Sheeran) Nathan James Tettey [112]
2020 "Odogwu" TG Omori [113]
Wonderful Director K
"Monsters you made" Meji Alabi [114]
"Real life" (featuring Stormzy) [115]
"Way too big" [116]
2021 "Hey Boy" (with Sia) Rafatoon [117]
"Ginger" (with Wizkid) Meji Alabi [118]

Awards and nominations

Year Event Prize Recipient Result Ref
2013 South South Music Awards South South Music Awards Himself Won
Nigeria Entertainment Awards Best New Act of the Year Won
The Headies Next Rated Nominated [119]
Best R&B Single "Like to Party" Nominated
2014 MTV Africa Music Awards Best New Act Himself Nominated [120]
The Headies Best R&B Single "Don Gorgon" Nominated [121]
Best R&B/Pop Album L.I.F.E Nominated
Hip Hop World Revelation of the Year Nominated
Album of the Year Nominated
2015 Nigeria Entertainment Awards Best Pop Artist of the Year Himself Nominated [122]
Album of the Year L.I.F.E Won [123]
MTV Africa Music Awards Best Collaboration "All Eyes on Me"
(feat. Burna Boy, Da L.E.S, JR)
Won [124]
All Africa Music Awards Best African Collaboration "All Eyes on Me"
(feat. Burna Boy, Da L.E.S, JR)
Won [125]
2018 African Musik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) Best African DanceHall/Reggae Act Himself Won [126]
Best Live Act Nominated
Nigeria Entertainment Awards Album of the Year Outside Won [127]
2019 Soundcity MVP Awards Festival Listener's Choice "Ye" Won [128]
Song of the Year Won
Viewer's Choice Nominated
Best Male MVP Himself Won
African Artiste of the Year Won
BET Awards Best International Act Won [129]
The Headies Viewer's Choice Nominated [130]
Artiste of the Year Won
Best Recording of the Year "Ye" Nominated
Best Pop Single Nominated
Song of the Year Won
Best R&B/Pop Album Outside Nominated
Album of the Year Nominated
Best Collaboration "Killin' Dem"
(featuring Zlatan)
Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best African Act Himself Won [131]
Future Awards Africa Future Award Prize for Music Himself Won [132]
Future Prize for Young Person of the Year Himself Won [133]
African Muzik Magazine Awards Song of the Year "Killin' Dem"
(featuring Zlatan)
Won [134]
Best Collaboration Won
Video of the Year Nominated
Best Live Act Himself Nominated
Artist of the Year Won
Best Male West Africa Won
Crossing Boundaries with Music Nominated
All Africa Music Awards West African Male Artiste of the Year Won [135]
Artiste of the Year in Africa Won
Album of the Year African Giant Nominated [136]
Best African Collaboration "Killin' Dem"
(featuring Zlatan)
Nominated [137]
Song of the Year in Africa "On the Low" Nominated [138]
Ghana Music Awards African Artiste of the Year Himself Won [139]
2020 Soundcity MVP Awards Festival Song of the Year "Killin' Dem"
(featuring Zlatan)
Won [140]
Best Collaboration Nominated
African Artiste of The Year Himself Won
Best Male MVP Won
Listeners' Choice Burna Boy for "Killin' Dem" Nominated
Viewers' Choice Burna Boy for "On the Low" Nominated
Ghana Music Awards African Artiste of the Year Himself Won [141]
African Musik Magazine Awards Crossing Boundaries with Music Himself Won [142]
Best Collaboration "Jerusalema Remix"
(Master KG feat. Nomcebo Zikode and Burna Boy)
Won [143]
Best Male West Africa Himself Nominated [144]
Artiste of the Year Himself Nominated [145]
Best Live Act Himself Nominated [146]
Song of the Year "Anybody" Nominated [147]
Grammy Awards Best World Music Album African Giant Nominated [148]
Brit Awards Best International Solo Act Himself Nominated [149]
Song of the Year "Location"
(Dave featuring Burna Boy)
Nominated
BET Awards Best International Act Himself Won [150]
Edison Award Best World Album African Giant Won [151]
MOBO Awards Best International Act Himself Won [152]
Best African Act Himself Nominated [153]
MTV Europe Music Awards Best African Act Himself Nominated [154]
2021 Grammy Awards Best Global Music Album Twice as Tall Won [155]
BRITs Awards International Male Solo Artist Himself Nominated [156]
Global Music Awards Africa Artiste of the Year Himself Won [157]
Global Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year Himself Nominated [158]
BET Awards Best International Act Himself Won [159]

See also

References

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External links