Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, popularly known as Burna boy, is a Nigerian singer/songwriter who started his musical career and rose to prominence in 2012. His debut single “like to party” was an instant hit and led up to the release of his first studio album L.I.F.E in 2013. Burna boy signed a record deal with Atlantic records in 2017.
At the beginning of 2019, just as we rang in the new year, Burna boy, alongside Mr Eazi were announced as one of the artists performing in the 2019 coachella festival. Burna went on to win four awards at the soundcity MVP listeners choice and Best Male MVP. Shortly after, Burna Boy released a collaborative 4-track EP with the music duo DJDS titled “Steel and copper”. This EP was released on 21st March 2019. (DJDS is an electronic music duo based in Los Angeles.)
Burna boy was nominated for BET’s Best African act alongside Teni Makanaki and Mr Eazi and went on to win it. His mom, Bose Ogulu, went on stage to receive the award on behalf of her son.
In July 2019, Burna Boy was announced as Apple music’s Up Next Artist. His introduction into this group was soon followed by a beats 1 interview with Julie Adenuga and then a short Documentary. He went on to announce “Ja Ara e” (which is yoruba for “wise up” or “Be sharp” or “Use your head”) on Beyoncé’s Lion King : the gift Album. This album was the soundtrack of the Lion King animated movie and Burna Boy was the only guest artist with his own track on the album.
Burna Boy released his Fourth studio album on the 26th of July 2019. It was heralded by 6 singles which also made the album: “Gbona”, “On the Low”, “Killing them”, “Dangote”, “Anybody” and “Pull up”. He began recording the album in 2018 and told Billboard magazine that it was his most personal album yet.
Though Burna boy had gone on tour in 2018, he announced that he would go on an African Giant world tour in 2019 to support the album. The tour included live performances across Canada, America,the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. A popular review of his music is that he embodies the Afrobeat King Fela Anikulakpo Kuti. Burna Boy has also mentioned several times that Fela was one of his greatest Idols.
On November 20th 2019, the nominees for the 62nd grammy awards were announced. Burna Boy’s Album African giant was nominated in the Best World Music award category. He was nominated alongside Angelique Kidjo, Altin Gün, Bokanté metropole Orkest conducted byJules Buckely, Natalie Joachim. This nomination is a nod to Burna boy’s hard work and consistency, although he called it on the first track of African Giant, the album. The song, aptly called African Giant, had a line in it where Burna is heard speaking with conviction about winning a Grammy.
Burna boy rounded up his year by headlining the last day of the Flytime Music Festival on Christmas day. He proved his African Giant status by selling out the Eko convention Centre venue days before the main event. His performance was electrifying and entertaining. He carried the crowd along and performed some of his hit songs like “Anybody” and “Ye”. One of the high points of the night was when he announced and performed alongside Starboy Wizkid. The crowd went wild with excitement and most people were happy with the show.
Burna boy definitely had an amazing 2019 and proved that hard work, tenacity and consistency are recipes for success. Even though he didn’t win the Grammy he was nominated for, we celebrate him and applaud how he has contributed to putting the African continent and Nigeria on the map, and we appreciate his efforts towards making beautiful, conscious music curated specifically for Africans.