It has been more than a long time coming for Damini Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy who gets a second chance at winning the elusive Grammy and this may just be his time.
Missing out on arguably the most prestigious award Burna had been nominated for made him sick to the marrow and for a singer who took over the global scene with his disruptive ‘African Giant’ album, it was a defining moment for the Port Harcourt-born singer.
It defined his next move – not giving up, and his next album – ‘Twice as tall’. In the opening track, Burna bears out the anguish he felt, saying:
“I remember when I couldn’t level up
‘Cause the Grammys had me feeling sick as fuck
Throwing up and shit
Asking questions like, “Why it wasn’t us?”…
Tell ’em, say them can’t bury us…”
For many of his peers, a Grammy nomination would have been enough. They would put it in the most noticeable place in their living room and bask in the euphoria of the recognition. But that is not Burna. He sees himself as peerless in his generation and strives to stamp it and make it known. He has won all the awards others have won bar one – The Grammy.
And it is probably the only chance he can get to go on Twitter and say “I’m indeed the best ever” and no FC would be able to shout him down. His personality has often attracted criticisms, especially on social media but even his harshest critics would not deny his music brilliance and vigour.
So, he picks himself up and starts recording again. He disclosed that Angelique Kidjo, the legendary Beninese singer who denied Burna a Grammy last year, had told him all he needed to know about winning one. She herself had won it three times, including last year’s, such a piece of advice was likely to be taken with all seriousness by Burna.
Then came ‘Twice as tall’, an album with not just music but also strategy. Puff Daniel overseeing it meant it was an all-out attack and it didn’t disappoint.
Now, for the second year running, Burna is back in contention for Grammy. He already stands out from his peers by having his personal project nominated. His colleagues in the industry who had nominations benefited from foreign collaborations.
The two nominations – Best International Act and Best African Act – he got from MOBO are unlikely to catch his fancy. The obsession with Grammy is unflinching and with him being the only Afrobeats artiste to be nominated alongside resources put into the album, this might just be when he gets over the finish line.
Kola Muhammed has imprint across local and international media. He is passionate about trends in the domains of culture, communication and technology.