Artist Focus: Burna Boy The African Giant
Burna Boy is at the top of his game!
Real name: Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu Stage name: Burna Boy Date of birth: July 2, 1991 State of Origin: Rivers Nationality: Nigerian Genre: Afro-Fusion, Reggae, Dancehall
We have seen a lot of artists rise and fall, with many fading into oblivion. Those who have ascended the ladder of success can attest to the fact that it was a long and arduous journey. A few, however, have done that in an amazingly short time, bursting onto the music scene with creative prowess.
Out of the few stands one who has made a name for himself. His imprint is everywhere around the African continent, and he is taking the world by storm. His name is Burna Boy.
Born in the city of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Nigeria, Burna Boy was raised in Ahoada and later moved to Lagos with his family. He is from Mbiama in Ahoada West Local Government area in Rivers. His father worked as a manager in a welding company and his mother was a translator.
The Afrobeat star attended Montessori International School and Corona, Agbara Lagos (the latter for his secondary education) and began making music at the age of 10 when a classmate gave him a copy of the production software Fruity Loops. He started to create his own beats on an old computer.
Burna Boy started his musical career in 2010, dropping his first record titled Shobeedo (Freestyle) in 2011. This was followed shortly by Burn Notice and Burn Identity.
His debut studio album L.I.F.E. was released by Aristokrat Records on August 12, 2013. It was a follow-up to his second mixtape Burn Identity. The album sold 40,000 copies in its first day of release.
L.I.F.E. was preceded by five singles, Like to Party, Tonight, Always Love You, Run My Race, and Yawa Dey. It featured artists like 2face, M.I., Timaya, Olamide, Reminisce, and Wizkid. It was ranked 10th on Nigeria Entertainment Today’s list of the 12 best albums of 2013. The album draws inspiration from Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, and Bob Marley.
L.I.F.E. garnered generally positive reviews and was nominated for Best Album of the Year at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. It also got to number 7 on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart.
Burna Boy parted ways with Aristokrat Records in 2014 and established his own label called Spaceship Entertainment in 2015.
He released his second album On a Spaceship on November 25, 2015, and dropped the 7-track EP Redemption in September 2016.
Outside, his third studio album was released on January 26, 2018. It features musical genres like Afrobeats, dancehall, reggae, and road rap. It was hyped by the singles Rock Your Body, Streets of Africa, Koni Baje, Heaven’s Gate, Sekkle Down, and Ye.
Outside received critical acclaim and was ranked by Pulse Nigeria and Nigeria Entertainment Today as the best Nigerian album of 2018. It won the Album of the Year at the 2018 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. Its main single Ye was considered the biggest song of 2018.
On October 9, 2018, Burna Boy was announced as one of Spotify’s New Afro Hub Take-over Artists. At the same time, he was named YouTube’s Artist on the Rise for 3 months.
January 2019 saw the music artist announced as one of the performers (alongside Mr. Eazi) at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
He won four awards at the Soundcity MVP Awards Festival, including African Artiste of the Year, Listener’s Choice and Best Male MVP.
Burna Boy released a collaborative EP with Los Angeles-based electronic duo DJDS titled Steel & Copper on March 21, 2019.
As his fame increased, so did he continue to stack up awards, winning the Best International Act on June 24, 2019, at the BET Awards and in July 2019, Burna Boy was announced as Apple Music’s Up Next Artist.
His fourth studio album African Giant was released on July 26, 2019. It was bolstered by the singles Gbona, On the Low, Killin Dem, Dangote, Anybody, and Pull Up. He says it is his most personal album yet.
In November 2019, Burna Boy won the Best African Act at the MTV EMA Awards. That same month, his African Giant album earned a Grammy nomination in the Best World Music Album category and he emerged the Young Person of the Year at the Future Awards in the same month.
Burna Boy is a certified international star and he has done collaborations with foreign artists like Damian Marley, Lily Allen, and Angelique Kidjo. The strides he has taken in the music industry are groundbreaking and his superstardom is as evident as his staggering accomplishments. One doesn’t need a seer to know that his future is written in gold!