On March 14, 2021, superstar musician Burna Boy made history by becoming the first solo Nigerian artist to win a Grammy Award. The self-acclaimed ‘African Giant’ won the Best Global Music Album during the 63rd edition of the awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
In the 65-year history of the Grammy Awards, some Nigerian acts have won the award, but not as solo artists; they won it as part of a collaboration.
The late Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji is the first Nigerian to win a Grammy Award, but he achieved this feat in 1991 as part of the Mickey Hart Planet Drum projects that won the Best World Music Album category with their Planet Drum album.
Ten years after Babatunde Olatunji’s achievement, high-profile Nigerian percussionist and recording artist Sikiru Adepoju would become the second Nigerian to win a Grammy in 2009. The Nigerian won the Best Contemporary World Music Album category for his contribution to Mickey Hart’s Global Drum Project title album.
On March 14, 2021, the Nigerian duo of Burna Boy and Wizkid were recipients of the global award. While Burna Boy’s “Twice As Tall’’ album bagged him the Best Global Music Album prize, Wizkid, just like other Nigerian artists before Burna Boy, won the Best Music Video category of the award for his role in ‘Brown Skin Girl,’ a song off Beyonce’s “Lion King: The Gift” album.
Other Nigerian music acts, such as Femi Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Seun Kuti, Made Kuti, Tems, and Kah-Lo, have been unsuccessful in their bids to win a Grammy. Multi-award-winning Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was also nominated for the Album of the Year category in 2015 due to her contribution to Beyonce’s “Beyonce’’ album, but did not win the prize.
On February 5, 2023, the 65th edition of the Grammy Awards will be held at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. Burna Boy’s “Love, Damini,’’ album is on the nominations list for the Best Global Music Album category. His 2022 hit track “Last Last’’ is also in contention for the Best Global Music Performance category.
The ‘Bank On It’ crooner will be aiming to win his second Grammy and become the only Nigerian to have won a solo Grammy twice.