Two Nigerian youngsters, Burnaboy and Wizkid, on March 14, 2021, carted home the Grammys plaques. In this piece, EMMANUEL JEREMIAH compiles the list of Nigerians, home and abroad, who have been nominated for or won the Grammys
Recognition through awards is the hallmark of every musician’s career. It is like another feather on a hat, showing how wide an artiste’s talent is appreciated, locally or globally. After putting so much work in making music, every artiste seeks reward for their skills, to stand out.
The Grammy, a yearly award organised by The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, beams the spotlight on outstanding artistes, music producers, songwriters and others under a review year. Unarguably the biggest music award, receiving recognition from such platform is definitely every artiste’s aspiration.
The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 14, 2021, recognised the best recordings, compositions and artistes of the eligibility year, running from September 1, 2019, to August 31, 2020.
It was a defining moment for African music, as Nigerian stars, Burnaboy and Wizkid, each won a Grammy. Burnaboy’s Twice as Tall won in the Best Global Music Album category, becoming the first Nigerian album to win a Gramm, while Wizkid’s win came through a collaboration with Beyonce and Blue Ivy in the Best Music Video category for Brown Skin Girl.
Here is a list of Nigerian Grammy Awards nominees and winners.
King Sunny Ade: Two-time Grammys nominee in the Best World Music Album category and Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording category, KSA is a Nigerian juju singer and songwriter, aged 74, from Osun State. He started his career with notable Nigerian musician, Victor Olaiya, and is one of the first Africans to attain success at international level. He was signed to Island Records in 1982 and his album, Synchro System (1983), earned him a Grammy nomination, the first for a Nigerian artiste, and a subsequent nomination in 1998 for his album, Odu. KSA is the first African to be nominated twice for a Grammy.
Femi Kuti: Fifty-eight-year-old Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti is the eldest son of Afrobeat king, the late Fela Kuti. Femi is a singer-songwriter and a multi-instrumentalist. He plays in the Afrobeat and Jazz genre with which he continues to follow his father’s strides by playing music and yet lending his voice to the socio-political issues of his native land, Nigeria. Femi is a four-time Grammy nominee and has never won any. His first nomination came in 2003 for his work, Fight to Win, an Afrobeat album released in 2001. He was again nominated in 2010 for Day by Day, 2012 (Africa for Africa) and in 2014 (No Place for my Dreams) all in the Best World Music category.
Seun Kuti and Egypt 80: Seun Kuti was nominated in 2018 in the Best World Music Album category for his work Black Times. He is the yoiungest son of Fela Kuti. He creates Afrobeat music and has been leading his father’s band, Egypt 80, since he turned 14, just after his father’s death.
Burnaboy: Burnaboy, aka Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, aged 29 years, from Rivers State, vast musical prowess and could meddle into genres like Afrobeat, Reggae, Dancehall, Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop and Afrofusion. His career has seen steady growth since the release of his first single, Like to Party in 2013, which has also earned him multiple national and international recognitions, the latest which is a Grammy award for the Best Global Music Album 2021. He had lost in the previous year to Angelique Kidjo. He becomes the first Nigerian with back-to-back nominations at the Grammys.
Babatunde Olatunji: Born in Lagos State, Babatunde is a Grammy-winning Nigerian drummer, educator, social activist and recording artist. His Grammy award in 1991 in the Best Global Music Album category came through a contribution on a World Music Album, Planet Drum, by Mickey Hart. Olatunji’s first studio album, Drums of Passion, an Afrobeat-cum-highlife production released in 1960, which helped popularise African music to the west, sold over five million copies.
Sikiru Adepoju: Sikiru is a percussionist and recording artiste that plays in the genres of traditional African and world music. He is a Grammy award-winning musician in the Best Contemporary World Music Album category, 2009 coming from a joint effort with Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, and Giovanni Hadelgo in Global Drum Project.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A Nigerian writer and novelist, Chimamanda was born in Enugu State, Nigeria. Her Grammy nomination for the Album of the Year came from a feature on Beyonce’s self-titled album, Beyonce, in 2013. Her Ted talk show, We Should All Be Feminist, was sampled on the album on the soundtrack, Flawless.
Olalekan Babatunde: Two-time Grammy award winner, Olalekan is a Nigerian Jazz percussionist and musician. He plays in the genre of Afrobeat and jazz. He started his career with the Samba Samba band and in 2006 he became Nigeria’s first Grammy award winner for his contribution on Ali Farka’s In the Heart of the Moon, with a second Grammy award coming in 2009 for his contribution on Cassandra Wilson’s album, Lovely, in the Best Jazz Vocal Album Category.
Wizkid: Ayobami Ibrahim Balogun, aged 30 years, is a Grammy award-winning Nigerian singer-songwriter. He came to limelight after the release of his first single, Holla at Your Boy, from the superstar album in 2011. His first Grammy nomination came following his collaboration with Canadian rapper, Drake, on the hit song, One Dance and won his first Grammy five years after in the Best Music Video category following a feature with Beyonce. He is Nigeria’s most decorated and arguably the most successful music star.
Kah-Lo: Faridah Seriki, a Grammy nominee, is an Electronic and House artiste. He is noted for her song Fasta and Rinse and Repeat nominated for Best Dance Recording at the 2017 Grammys.
Jenn Nkiru: Jenn is a Nigerian-British artiste and director. She won her first Grammy in the Best Music Video Category as a co-director for the Brown Skin Girl video.
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