Who is Burna Boy?
Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu best known by his stage name, Burna Boy is no doubt one of the top five biggest and most influential artists in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Ever since his emergence in the Nigerian music scene in 2012 with his lead single “Like To Party” off his debut album – L.I.F.E., he has since stood out among his fellow Nigerian singers, all thanks to his unique style of music.
Within a few years of joining the music industry, Burna Boy achieved as a rising singer what his contemporaries — whom he saw as idols — accomplished. As such, he has received back-to-back nominations from Grammy (first in the history of Nigeria) and even won one at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards for his 2021 album – “Twice as Tall,” for the “Best Global Music Album.”
His unique sound of an embellished fusion of Pidgin, Yoruba, and Igbo in his Afro-pop, Dancehall, and Afrobeats songs, has helped him carve a niche for himself as one of the top talented, skillful, and charismatic singers.
|Name||Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu|
|Date of birth||July 2, 1991|
|Occupation||Singer, Rapper, Songwriter|
|Place of Birth||Ahoada, Rivers State, Nigeria|
|Active years (Music)||2011–present|
|Record labels||Spaceship, Bad Habit, Atlantic, Warner Music, Universal Group|
|Music Genre||Afro-fusion, Afrobeats, Dancehall, Hip-hop, R&B, Pop|
|Marital status||Not married|
|Net Worth||$15 million (as of 2021)|
Burna Boy: Biography
Despite growing fame in Lagos State, what many aren’t aware of is his origin. Burna Boy is originally from a small town called Ahoada, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. He was born to the family of Samuel and Bosede Ogulu. His father was popular for managing a welding company, while his mother worked as a translator for the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce.
He is the eldest of his two siblings, of which the other two are girls, making him the only son in the family. At just 10 years, Damini Ogulu (Burna Boy) started making his own music after a classmate gifted him a copy of FruityLoops (a music production software). He spent his entire childhood in Port Harcourt before moving to Lagos State to complete his secondary school education at the prestigious Corona Secondary School. He furthered his education at the University of Sussex in the U.K. at age 17 to study Media Technology. Shortly afterward, he proceeded to the Oxford Brookes University to study Media Communications and Culture. Not long after did he drop out to chase his music dreams.
Burna Boy’s most popular and controversial dating history was when he was in a high-profile relationship with English rapper and singer – Stefflon Don in 2018. Also, as a big Manchester United fan, he was honored to be a part of the launch of the club’s latest ‘away’ kit in 2020.
Rise to Fame
After his mum secured him an internship at a radio station (Rhythm 93.7 FM) due to his seemingly unending love for music, he made it a habit to always record songs in the studio after the day’s work. Burna signed a contract in a record deal with “Aristocrat Records,” where he officially launched his music career.
After launching his career in late 2010, Burna Boy dropped his first record, “Shobeedo (Freestyle),” in 2011. The song was subsequently followed by “Burn Notice” and “Burn Identity.” He didn’t rise to stardom until 2012 when he released his big lead single “Like To Party” off his debut studio album – “L.I.F.E.” – Living Impact For Eternity, which won the hearts of many Nigerians. Following the success of his album, he released other banging tracks still played to date, such as Yawa dey, Tonight, Check and Balance, Soke, and many others.
The album, which sold over 40,000 copies on the first day of its release, was sold to “Uba Pacific” for ₦10 million on a marketing rights deal. The Leriq-produced album saw then fast-rising and established artists like Wizkid, Timaya, Olamide, M.I, and 2face.
Burna Boy’s music inspiration is drawn from highly contemporary and distinguished music legends like Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, and Kind Sunny Ade.
Despite the L.I.F.E. album gaining huge mainstream attention, numerous positive reviews, and award nominations, Burna Boy decided to break his contract deal with Aristocrat Records which was majorly involved in the album’s production. Just eight months (2015) after ending his contract with Aristocrat Records, he started his own privately-owned record label – Spaceship Entertainment Records.
According to the African Giant himself, he describes his style of music as a blend of Afrobeats, Dancehall, Reggae, American rap, and R&B, all forming his uniquely created Afro-fusion genre of music.
Although, an American media personality – August Brown, describes Burna Boy’s sound as “savvy and modern, but undistracted by obvious crossover moves.”
Whichever way the Grammy award-winning superstar’s genre/style of music is, Nigerians (and those living in the diaspora) and Africa as a whole would keep listening to his songs. His songs alone have Influenced so many generational international acts due to his sense of promoting Pan-African messages, preaching unity and diversity, and fighting against oppression and discrimination. Ever since his 2013 debut album, he has been dubbed the Fela Kuti of his generation.
• Like to Party (2012)
• Tonight (2012)
• Yawa dey (2013)
• Streets of Africa (2017)
• Heavens Gate (2017)
• Ye (2018)
• On the Low (2018)
• Gbona (2018)
• Killin Dem ft. Zlatan (2018)
• Dangote (2019)
• Anybody (2019)
• Pull Up ft. Jorja Smith (2019)
• Odogwu (2019)
• Gum Body (2019)
• Wonderful (2020)
• 20 10 20 (2020)
• Monsters you made ft. Chris Martin (2020)
• Real Life ft. Stormzy (2020)
• Way too big (2020)
• Kilometre (2020)
• Onyeka (2019)
• Question ft. Don Jazzy (2021)
• Want it all ft. Polo G(2021)
• L.I.F.E. (August 12, 2013)
Label – Aristocrat Records
• Outside (January 26, 2018)
Labels – Atlantic/ Bad Habit/ On a Spaceship
• African Giant (July 26, 2019)
Labels – On a Spaceship/ Bad Habit/ Atlantic/ Warner Music/ Universal Group
• Twice as Tall (August 15, 2020)
Labels – On a Spaceship/ Bad Habit/ Atlantic/ Warner Music/ Universal Group
• Redemption (2016)
• Steel & Copper (2019)
• Nigeria Entertainment Awards – “Best New Act of the Year” (2013)
• Nigeria Entertainment Awards – “Album of the Year” (2014)
• MTV Africa Music Awards – “Best Collaboration” (2015)
• All Africa Music Awards – “Best African Collaboration” (2015)
• African Musik Magazine Awards (A.F.R.I.M.M.A.) – “Best African Dance Hall/Reggae Act” (2018)
• Nigeria Entertainment Awards – “Album of the Year” (2018)
• Soundcity M.V.P. Awards Festival – Listener’s Choice, Song of the Year, Best Male M.V.P., African Artiste of the Year” (2018)
• B.E.T. Awards – “Best International Act.”
• The Headies awards – “Song of the Year, Artiste of the Year, and Best Collaboration” (2018)
• MTV Europe Music Awards – “Best African Act” (2018)
• Future Awards Africa – Future Award Prize for Musi and Future Prize for Young Person of the Year (2019)
• African Muzik Magazine Awards – “Artiste of the Year, Best Male Artist in West Africa” (2019)
• All Africa Music Awards – “West African Male Artiste of the Year and Artiste of the Year in Africa” (2019)
• Ghana Music Awards – African Artiste of the Year, Crossing Boundaries with Music” (2020)
• Soundcity M.V.P. Awards Festival – “Best Male M.V.P., Song of the Year, African Artiste of The Year.”
• African Muzik Magazine Awards – “Best Collaboration” (2020)
• B.E.T. Awards – “Best International Act” (2020)
• Edison Award – “Best World Album, Best International Act” (2020)
• MOBO Awards – “Best International Act” (2020)
• Grammy Awards – “Best Global Music Album” (2021)
• Global Music Awards Africa – “Artiste of the Year” (2021)
• B.E.T. Awards – “Best International Act” (2021)
After years of bagging so many endorsement deals, brand ambassadorial contracts, and music sales, the well-loved Nigerian artist is purportedly worth around $15 million as of 2021.