Nigeria is blessed with a plethora of musical talent. Many of the world’s most popular musicians of black origin are Nigerians. The likes of Davido, Wizkid, Burna Boy, Olamide Badoo, Zlatan Ibile and Naira Marley, among others, have drawn more attention to the quality of music being produced in Nigeria. In 2019, for the first time, top music star Beyonce Knowles collaborated with Nigerian music icon Wizkid on the song ‘Brown Skin Girl.’ Since then, several other collaborations have taken place involving Nigerian acts and American artistes.
In 2018, Burna Boy a.k.a. ‘The African Giant’ took Africa and the world by storm. Like a ghost from the shadows, he emerged from obscurity like a rocket-propelled jet, straight into the limelight. His songs have aired all over the African continent, and he has also been recognized in international quarters. This post is all about him. Here we explore his bio, all you need to know about him and his most notable achievements to date.
Born Ebunoluwa Damini Ogulu on July 2nd 1991; Burna Boy is a top Nigerian musician. He was born and raised in the city of Portharcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria to the family of Mr and Mrs Ogulu. His father was a welder while his mother was a local language translator. He began to explore the world of music at an early age. He would make and mix beats using FruityLoops, which was very popular at that time. Soon, he relocated to Lagos state for his basic and secondary school education. He attended the Montessori International School, Lagos, and finished at the prestigious Corona School, Agbara, Lagos. After graduation, he travelled to the United Kingdom for his university studies.
Career and Achievements:
Burna Boy released his first studio album titled L.I.F.E. in August 2013. In the album, he featured top acts like 2Face Idibia, M.I Abaga, Olamide Badoo, Timaya and Wizkid. The album was produced by Leriq and recorded sales of 40,000 copies on the day it was launched. The album was only an inkling of what was to come from Burna Boy. Many applauded the lyrics and production of the album as well as the five preceding singles. With that album, he won a nomination for the award category of ‘Best Album of the Year’ at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
In the year 2014, his career took a dramatic shift. He resigned from Aristokrat Records and founded his record label, Spaceship Entertainment. One year later (2015), he released his second album titled ‘On a Spaceship.’ Early in 2018, he launched his third studio album titled ‘Outside.’ The album consisted mainly of unique Afrobeats, Rap, Raggae and a bit of Dancehall. The album was produced by a team consisting of Leriq, Chopstix, FTSE, Juls, Baba Stiltz, Phantom, Jae 5 and Fred Gibson. It consisted of the following six singles:
- Rock Your Body
- Koni Baje
- Streets of Africa
- Heaven’s Gate
- Sekkle Down
The album won the award of Best Nigerian Album by Pulse Nigeria. Subsequently, the album also won the Album of the Year award at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards in 2018. ‘Ye’ topped all the charts and ended the year as the fans’ favourite.
Late in 2018, Burna Boy performed live in London at the O2 Arena. After his performance, he was named as one of the fastest-rising artists on YouTube. In January 2019, he performed alongside Mr Eazi and other top artistes at the Coachella Valley Music Festival. Later that month, he would go on to win the following awards: Best Male MVP, Listener’s Choice and African Artiste of the Year at the 2019 SoundCity MVP Awards.
In June 2019, he won the award of Best International Act at the BET Awards. In July, Apple Music announced that Burna Boy had become their ‘Up Next Artist.’ Later, he also featured on Beyonce Knowles’ album titled, ‘The Lion King: The Gift.’
In July 2019, Burna Boy released his fourth and most recent studio album titled ‘African Giant.’ It features sixteen hot tracks including the following: ‘Dangote’, ‘On the Low’, ‘Pull Up’, ‘Gbona’, ‘Killin Dem’ and ‘Anybody.’ According to him, work on the album actually started in 2018, and in a bid to promote the album he embarked on a cross-continental ‘African Giant Tour.’
In addition to his already stellar award collection, in January 2020 he won the International Male Solo Artist award at the Brit Awards. Burna Boy’s music is a unique blend of Afrobeat, Reggae, Dancehall, Rap and R & B. He aptly calls it ‘Afro-fusion.’ His uniqueness has won him several awards, nominations and endorsement deals within and outside Nigeria. He is currently one of the most viewed and most followed Nigerian and African artistes on YouTube. His song, ‘On the Low’ is currently one of the most viewed videos on YouTube with a total of 90 million views as of 18th January 2020.
Burna Boy notoriously keeps a tight lid over his personal life. Not so much is known about his family, siblings or parents. However, just like many other top artistes, Burna Boy is no stranger to controversies, especially those of a sexual nature. In May 2016, a certain lady named Stella Uju Johnson accused him on Instagram for dumping her and his baby after learning that she was carrying his pregnancy. The estranged baby mama also claimed that he once raped a girl in the UK and fled. Burna Boy’s response to the situation partly confirmed the accusations. He admitted that he indeed had sex with her once, but he tactfully distanced himself from the pregnancy. Presently, he is not married, nor in any known relationship. He also does not father a child, despite Stella Johnson’s repeated claims.