Who is Burna Boy?

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Burna Boy, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter born in Nigeria at Port Harcourt in the year 1991/07/02. Full-name Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu,  He rose to prominence in 2012 after releasing “Like to Party”, the lead single from his debut studio album L.I.F.E (2013).

In 2017, Burna Boy signed with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally. His third studio album Outside (2018) marked his major-label debut. In 2019, he won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards and was announced as Apple Music’s Up Next artist.

His fourth studio album African Giant was released in July 2019; it won Album of the Year at the 2019 All Africa Music Awards and was nominated for Best World Music Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.

Damini Ogulu was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. His father managed a welding company and his mother worked as a translator. His grandfather Benson Idonije once managed Fela Kuti. Ogulu grew up in southern Nigeria and began making his own beats using Fruity Loops. He completed high school near Lagos and relocated to London to further his studies.

Burna Boy describes his music as Afro fusion, a genre that blends Afrobeat, dancehall riddims, reggae, American rap, and R&B. August Brown of The Los Angeles Times said Burna Boy’s sound is “savvy and modern but undistracted by obvious crossover moves”. In 2019 Burna Boy received a chain inspired by Fela Kuti and designed by DJ Nu Kidd.

In January 2018, Burna Boy was featured on “Sunshine Riptide”, a track from Fall Out Boy’s seventh studio album MANIA (2018). He released his third studio album Outside on 26 January 2018. Described as a mixtape, Outside consists mostly of Afro beats, dancehall, reggae, and road map. It features guest vocals from English musicians J Hus, Lily Allen, and Mabel. Outside was supported by six singles: “Rock Your Body”, “Streets of Africa”, “Koni Baje”, “Sekkle Down”, “Heaven’s Gate” and “Ye”.

Its production was handled by Leriq, Baba Stiltz, Jae 5, Juls, Chopstix, Steel Banglez, Fred Gibson, Phantom, and FTSE. The album received critical acclaim and was ranked by Pulse Nigeria and Nigerian Entertainment Today as the best Nigerian album of 2018. It won Album of the Year at the 2018 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.

In February 2018, Outside debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. The album’s biggest single “Ye” ended up atop most Nigerian publications’ year-end list as the biggest song of 2018.

On 7 October 2018, Burna Boy performed before a sold-out crowd at London’s O2 Academy Brixton. A day prior to the show, he held a pop-up event at Red by Little Farm and sold limited boxes of his Space Puffs cereal, as well as custom notepads, lighters, and graphic tee-shirts.

On 9 October 2018, Burna Boy was announced as one of Spotify’s New Afro Hub Takeover Artistes. The announcement coincided with him being named YouTube’s Artist on the Rise for 3 months.

On 3 January 2019, he was announced alongside Mr. Eazi as one of the artists performing 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.

On 21 March 2019, Burna Boy released a 4-track collaborative EP with Los Angeles-based electronic duo DJDS, titled Steel & Copper.

On 24 June 2019, Burna Boy won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards. In July 2019, Burna Boy was announced as Apple Music’s Up Next artist. His inclusion into the program was accompanied by a Beats 1 interview with Julie Adenuga and a short documentary. He recorded “Ja Ara E” (Yoruba: “wise up” or “use your head”) for Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift and was the only guest artist with their own track on the soundtrack album.

Burna Boy’s fourth studio album African Giant was released on 26 July 2019. It has been supported by six singles: “Gbona”, “On the Low”, Killin Dem”, “Dangote”, “Anybody”, and “Pull Up”. He began recording the album in 2018. He told Billboard magazine the album is his most personal yet. He first revealed plans to release the album in April 2019 and held a private listening session in Los Angeles.

Photos and videos from the listening session were shared on social media. African Giant was initially announced as a 16-track album. In order to promote the album, Burna Boy headlined the African Giant Returns tour, the second leg of his African Giant tour. Burna Boy recorded “My Money, My Baby”, a track that appeared on Queen & Slim’s soundtrack album. Described as an “Afrobeat-tinged track”, “My Money, My Baby” contains a sample of Fela Kuti’s 1972 song “Shakara”.

SINGLES Year Title Album Producer

2011 “Shobeedo” (Freestyle) Non-album single

2012 “Like to Party” L.I.F.E Leriq

2012 “Tonight” L.I.F.E Leriq

2013 “Run My Race” L.I.F.E Leriq

2013 “Yawa Dey” L.I.F.E Leriq

2013 “Celebrate” Non-album single GospelOnDeBeatz

2013 “Won Da Mo” (featuring D’banj) Non-album single DeeVee

2014 “Rockstar” Non-album single Leriq

2014 “Don Gorgon” Non-album single Spellz

2014 “Check and Balance” Non-album single Spellz

2015 “Soke” On a Spaceship Orbeat

2015 “The Realest” On a Spaceship Simba Tagz p>2015 “Rizzla” On a Spaceship J Fem

2016 “Pree Me” Redemption Leriq

2016 “Mandem Anthem” Non-album single Fresh

2017 “Hallelujah” Non-album single Killbeatz

2017 “Rock Your Body” Outside Juls

2017 “Streets of Africa” Outside Leriq

2017 “Koni Baje” Outside P2J

2017 “Sekkle Down” Outside Jae5

2018 “Heaven’s Gate” (featuring Lily Allen) Outside Fred Gibson

2018 “Ye” Outside Phantom

2018 “On the Low” African Giant Kel P

2018 “Gbona” African Giant Kel P

2018 “Killin Dem” (featuring Zlatan) African Giant Kel P

2019 “Dangote” African Giant Kel P

2019 “Anybody” African Giant P2J

2019 “Pull Up” African Giant Kel P

2020 “Odogwu” Twice As Tall

2021 “Question”

2022 “Common Person”

2023 “Aboboyaa”

Guest appearances Year Artist Title Album

2013 Wande Coal “Amorawa” Non-album single Ice Prince “Gimme Dat” (also featuring Yung L and Olamide) Fire of Zamani

2014 DJ Spinall “Gba Gbe E” Non-album single AKA “All Eyes On Me” (also featuring Da L.E.S and JR) Levels Sarkodie “Special Someone” (also featuring AKA) Sarkology

2016 Skales “Temper” (Remix) Non-album singles

2017 Airboy “Ayepo” (Remix) Skales “Gbefun One Time” The Never Say Never Guy Jesse Jagz “Violation” Odysseus

2018 Four of Diamonds “Name On It” TBA Fall Out Boy ”Sunshine Riptide” Mania Lily Allen “Your Choice” No Shame DJ Spinall “Serious” Iyanu Larry Gaaga “Baba Nla” (also featuring 2Baba and D’banj) Non-album single Major Lazer “All My Life” Africa Is the Future Show Dem Camp “Legend” Palm Wine Music 2 Peruzzi “Champion Lover” Heartwork

2019 Sauti Sol “Afrikan Star” Afrikan Sauce Dave “Location” Psychodrama Mahalia Burkmar “Simmer” Love & Compromise Beyoncé “Ja Ara E” The Lion King: The Gift DJ Snake “No Option” Carte Blanche Jorja Smith “Be Honest” TBA IDK “December” Is He Real Wretch 32 “All In” Upon Reflection Stormzy, Ed Sheeran “Own It” Heavy Is the Head

2020 J Hus “Play Play” Big Conspiracy

Year Title Director Ref

2015 “P.A.I.D” Sesan

2016 “Pree Me” Meji Alabi

2017 “Deja Vu” Clarence Peters “Hallelujah” Mat Max

2018 “Heaven’s Gate”/”Sekkle Down” “Ye” Clarence Peters “Gbona” “On the Low” Meji Alabi

2019 “Killin Dem” Prodigeezy “Dangote” Clarence Peters “Anybody” “Pull Up” Meji Alabi “Gum Body” “Own It” (with Stormzy & Ed Sheeran)

Awards and Nominations

Year Event Prize Recipient Result Ref

2013 South South Music Awards Best Pop “Like to Party” Won Nigeria Entertainment Awards Best New Act of the Year Himself Won The Headies Next Rated Nominated

2014 MTV Africa Music Awards Best New Act Nominated The Headies Best R&B Single “Don Gorgon” Nominated Best R&B/Pop Album L.I.F.E Nominated Hip Hop World Revelation of the Year Nominated Album of the Year Nominated Nigeria Entertainment Awards Best Album of the Year Won

2015 Best Pop Artist of the Year Himself Nominated

2019 Soundcity MVP Awards Festival Listener’s Choice “Ye” Won Song of the Year Won Best Male MVP Himself Won African Artiste of the Year Won BET Awards Best International Act Won The Headies Viewer’s Choice Nominated Artiste of the Year Won Best Recording of the Year “Ye” Nominated Best Pop Single Nominated Song of the Year Won Best R&B/Pop Album Outside Nominated Album of the Year Nominated Best Collaboration “Killin’ Dem” (featuring Zlatan) Won MTV Europe Music Awards Best African Act Himself Won African Muzik Magazine Awards Best Collaboration “Killin’ Dem” (featuring Zlatan) Nominated Song of the Year Won Video of the Year Nominated Best Live Act Himself Nominated Artist of the Year Won Best Male West Africa Nominated Crossing Boundaries with Music Nominated All Africa Music Awards West African Male Artiste of the Year Won Album of the Year African Giant Won

2020 Soundcity MVP Awards Festival Song of the Year “Killin’ Dem” (featuring Zlatan) Won Best Collaboration Nominated African Artiste of The Year Himself Won Best Male MVP Won Listeners’ Choice Burna Boy for “Killin’ Dem” Nominated Viewers’ Choice Burna Boy for “On the Low” Nominated Grammy Awards Best World Music Album African Giant Nominated Brit Awards International Male Solo Artist Himself Pending

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