The global music industry is turning its attention to Africa, and Nigeria’s new generation of artists is quickly becoming its biggest success — thanks to a combination that includes talented artists, exceptional producers, DJs, local and international promoters, leading entertainment PR and marketing professionals, and a growing local audience.
Top of the list of these Nigerian artists is Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy. The Afro-fusion artiste hit the music world like a storm with the release of his global breakout album, African Giant, and has since staked a claim as one of the biggest stars on the music scene worldwide — a crossover sensation who refuses to compromise.
Known for using his music as a tool for telling the story of his life and his surroundings, Burna Boy’s ability to weave tales of love and educate listeners on politics and expressions of vulnerability, while creating authentic Afrobeats, is how he’s been able to capture the world’s attention.
Despite the fact that he didn’t release an album in 2021, this has still been a standout year for Burna Boy, who has won a string of awards and sold-out venues across the globe. The two-time Grammy nominee won the award for Best Global Music Album in the World Music category for his 2020-released Twice as Tall album. As he noted while receiving his Grammy Award, “This is a big win for Africans of my generation all over the world”.
His recent features on chart-topping singles like Question, Ginger and Yaba Buluku reinforces his vocal appendage as an Afro heirloom that artists the world over seek to possess on their songs. From the thick gold chains that adorn his neck to his vast collection of rings and gold and jewel-encrusted teeth grills, Burna Boy has also carved a fashion niche for new-generation Afro-fusion acts.
With huge global monthly listeners, Nigerian singer, rapper, and songwriter, Burna Boy is undoubtedly one of Africa’s biggest musical exports.
In Spotify’s recently released 2021 Wrapped data, Burna Boy featured prominently among the top 10 artists in almost every listed country in Africa. He ranked among the top 10 streamed artists in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The lowest position in these countries is number five in Kenya.
According to the Wrapped data, his album Twice as Tall is among the top 10 albums for the year in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, as well as Uganda, and ranked in the top 30 in Kenya.
Burna Boy’s growth in the music industry and his many successes are inspirational. Every step he’s taking elevates him, the music industry in Nigeria, and the continent of Africa at large. As Burna Boy continues to march on, there’s a great possibility that the doors he walks through will be left open for the up-and-coming music artists to follow in his footsteps.
He has been resilient in his pursuit to remain the ‘Odogwu’ or better still, the ‘African Giant’ of African music, most especially, the Afro sound.