GRAMMY AWARDS: What Wizkid And Davido Can Learn From Burna Boy
Burna Boy joined the likes of Seun Kuti, Femi Kuti, King Sunny Ade whose albums got nominated in the ‘Best World Music category,’ for his fourth studio album ‘African Giant’.
Other Nigerians like Wizkid and Timaya have received Grammy nods for featuring in other projects, and everyone is still hopeful that Davido will eventually get a Grammy nomination.
The first question is-Did Burna Boy do anything differently? Let us start with what the ‘top 3 strikers’ of the Nigerian music industry have in common.
Davido Wizkid and Burna Boy have all won BET Awards as the top artiste out of Africa in different years, with Burna Boy winning the 2019 edition.
They have also performed at top music festivals around the world. This year Wizkid was announced to perform as a headliner at The Ends Festival in the UK, Burna Boy performed at one of the biggest festivals in the world- Coachella in America, and at The Ends Festival with Wizkid.
While Davido had back to back performances at two music festivals in America, the Roots Picnic in Philadelphia as well as Hot 97 Summer Jam in the same weekend.
If it is selling out concerts the trio did not disappoint this year. Wizkid and Davido sold out the 20,000 seats at the O2 Arena in London this year. While this will be Wizkid’s second run at the venue for his StarboyFest, Davido proved that he could also make a big splash at the O2.
Wizkid’s feat means that he is the only African to sell out that venue twice.
Burna Boy also broke concert records in 2019 by holding a sold-out concert at the SSE Arena, formerly called Wembley Arena.
The three artistes are signed to foreign record labels as well as Nigerian record labels, Davido and Wizkid are both signed with Sony records, while Burna Boy has a deal with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally.
They basically have the same leverage, international exposure and musicality. You could argue that Wizkid’s last album was the 2017 ‘Sounds From The Other Side’, while Davido just released an album ‘A Good Time’
Remember in 2017, when Wizkid was the ‘beautiful bride’ from Africa, who made songs with Drake, Chris Brown and some of the biggest names in the music industry internationally? Well from that time till now he only got nominated based on his contribution to other people’s music projects.
Even in 2019, his Grammy claim is his feature on the single ‘Brown Skin Girl’ with Beyoncé for the Lion King themed album ‘The Gift’.
So, what can Davido and Wizkid learn from Burna Boy’s album Grammy nomination?
First it starts with his style, the 28-year-old artist has created a style called Afro-fusion, even though it has still been tagged under Afrobeats, like every other sound out of Nigeria, Burna Boy still reminds the public that what he does is Afro-fusion which incorporates Afrobeat, R&B, dancehall and reggae to create a unique sound.
Before the release of his album in July, it was obvious America and the rest of the world were listening after he performed at Coachella, won a trophy at June’s BET Awards, won MTV’s European Music Awards as the Best African act, had his song featured on the America TV series ‘Ballers’ and landed a spot on Beyoncé’s recent promotional album for “The Lion King.”
To take advantage of his growing global audience he dropped his album ‘African Giant’, and unlike his fellow ‘world surfers’-Davido and Wizkid, Burna Boy goes ‘deep’ on the album.
Like Femi and Seun who were nominated before him, the themes on his album are expansive as it addresses topics from unconditional love to politics and even British colonization of Nigeria.
Over a fusion of Afrobeat, R&B, dancehall reggae and more on “African Giant” audiences get to see his artistry, learn things about his roots and get a feel of both his romantic and spiritual sides.
One unique feature of Burna Boy is his deep and dank voice that still finds a way of floating gracefully over the instrumentation that slowly draws the listener in.
Burna Boy knows that the Grammy is mostly decided by people who live in America, so it was important that when he began his international tour, the singer made stops at radio stations and the biggest TV shows in that country- He appeared on the ‘The Daily Show’ with Trevor Noah and on Jimmy Kimmel Live where he performed ‘Anybody’.
Like Seun Kuti, Burna Boy also included Grammy Award winners on the album. In fact, for star power he put both past winners on one song. He features Bob Marley’s son, Damian Marley and Angelique Kidjo in ‘Different’.
Damian Marley has five Grammy awards, while Angelique Kidjo has won it three times and is nominated alongside Burna Boy in the same category for 2020.
Burna Boy’s album fits the nomination criteria like a glove, the artistic achievement, the technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry is locked down, and hopefully in 2020 he will make history. Burna for the win.
Wizkid and Davido are you taking notes?