The Grammy Award, or just Grammys, is an award presented by the Recording Academy to recognize achievement in the music industry worldwide, regarded highly as only the Best of the best artistes go home with a Grammys. The Grammy award night has since its inception been a night anticipated by musicians and fans worldwide as fans in different countries wait to see their favorites win.
For some, the Grammys is a validation for the hours of work that sales cannot provide, for others, it’s a place in history. Nigerians over the years have thus worked hard and it is an achievement to say that they are now recognized worldwide for their acts, and talent especially in the music industry. As idolized as the Grammys is, here is a list of Nigerians who have in one way or the other gotten nominations, recognitions and even won the prestigious Grammys.
Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu popularly known as Burna Boy was first nominated for the Best World Music Album category for his album African Giant in the 62nd Grammys ceremony but unfortunately, the award was taken by Angelique Kidjo (Celia) and the hearts of many Nigerians fell. The Afro-fusion singer went back and came back Twice as Tall, an album he released in the middle of 2020; ready and determined to take the Grammys. Burna Boy was again nominated for the 63rd Grammys for Best Global Music. Not beaten a second time, the singer won his first Grammys and joined the list of Nigerians who have won a Grammy.
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, known professionally as Wizkid was nominated and also won a Grammy at the 63rd Grammy Awards ceremony for Best Music Video for his song with Beyonce; Brown Skin Girl from the Lion King: The Gift album. Even though the Starboy wasn’t the one that went home with the Grammys but Beyonce, it is still in record that he has a Grammy nomination and win to his name.
8. Sikiru Adepoju
Sikiru Adepoju is a very talented and multifaceted percussionist and recording artist primarily in the genres of traditional African music and world music. Once a member of the Ebenezer Obey’s Inter Reformers Band, he moved to Olatunji’s Drums of Passion in which he met Mickey Hart. The talking-drum specialist won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album on the 8th of February, 2009 for his contribution to the title album of Mickey Hart’s Global Drum Project at the 51st annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. This was the first year there was a Grammy in that category.
7. Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel (Seal)
Born Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel in 1963, he is professionally known as Seal, a British-Nigerian musician, singer and songwriter best known for his 1994 hit song, Kiss from a Rose. He has 14 Grammy nominations to his name and has won four. His song, Kiss from A Rose earned him three Grammys in 1996 and in 2011, he nabbed his fourth with Imagine. He holds one of the highest numbers of Grammy awards by a Nigerian.
6. Lekan Babalola
Lekan Babalola is a Nigerian jazz percussionist and musician born in 1960 who started playing the conga at an early age. He has seven albums to his name and two Grammys. He began his professional career after joining a band called Samba Samba Band and later New York City-based Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers band, where he perfected playing the Bongo drums and performing jazz music. In 2006, he became Nigeria’s first Grammys winner for his work on All Farka Toures In the Heart of the Moon which he was credited in three tracks. He also won a second Grammy in 2009 for his work on Cassandra Wilson’s 2008 album titled Loverly.
5. Kevin Olusola
Kevin Olusola is a Nigerian-Grenadian musician, beatboxer, cellist, rapper, record producer, singer, and songwriter best known as the beatboxer of the vocal band Pentatonix. He has three Grammy awards to his name. On February 8, 2015, Pentatonix won a Grammy in the “Best Arrangement, Instrumental or a cappella” category for their song Daft Punk, a medley of songs by Daft Punk.
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On February 15, 2016, Pentatonix won a Grammy in the same category, this time for Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from their That’s Christmas to Me album. On February 12, 2017, Pentatonix won Grammys in the “Best Country duo/group performance” category for Jolene which featured Dolly Parton.
4. Helen Folashade Adu (Sade Adu)
Helen Folasade Adu in 1959 at Ibadan but is professionally known as Sade Adu, the singer, songwriter cum actress grew up in Essex, England. She is known as the lead singer of her eponymous band. She holds the title of the first artiste of Nigerian origin to win the prestigious award. Her first Grammys was in 1986 for “Best New Artist” then another followed in 1994 with No Ordinary Love for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. She earned her third Grammy in 2002 with Lovers Rock in the Best Pop Vocal Album and bagged her fourth in 2011 with Soldier of Love for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
3. Hakeem Temidayo Seriki (Chamillionaire)
Born to a Nigerian father but grew up in Houston, Texas, Hakeem Temidayo Seriki professionally known as Chamillionaire is an American rapper and entrepreneur. At the 2007 Grammy Awards he received a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the Grammy Awards.
2. Fela Kuti
Fela Anikulapo Kuti was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist. He is regarded as the pioneer of Afrobeat, an African music genre that combines traditional Yoruba and Afro-Cuban music with funk and jazz. The music guru is four time Grammy award nominee at different years and under different categories. His works which have gotten Grammy nominations over the years include; Fight to Win (2003)-Best World Music Album, Day by Day (2010)-Best Contemporary World Music Album, Africa for Africa (2012)-Best World Music Album, No Place For My Dream (2014)-Best World Music Album.1. King Sunny Ade
Chief Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye MFR, known professionally as King Sunny Adé, is a Nigerian jùjú singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is regarded as one of the first African pop musicians to gain international success, and has been called one of the most influential musicians of all time. In 1999 his work Odu got a Grammy nominated for Best World Music Album, although he didn’t win it.
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