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Before Burna Wins, Here’s All The Nigerians That Have Been Nominated For Grammys In The Past

The 62nd edition of the Grammy Award is billed to hold on Sunday, January 26, 2020 and Nigerians are all hyped up about this one.

This is because our very own Burna Boy is nominated and looks like a strong contender to win the award for Best World Music Album.

This is not the first time a Nigerian would be nominated for an award at the biggest of all music awards, but this time it looks like Oluwa Burna might just nick it ahead of other musicians in the category including legendary Beninese songstress, Angelique Kidjo.

But before we begin to pop bottles in celebration of Burna Boy being the first Nigerian to win a Grammy for their original work, let us take a look at those who have been nominated in the past.

KING SUNNY ADE (1984, 1999)

Legendary KSA was nominated in 1984 for the Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording category for his Syncro System project. The award was eventually won by American singer, Elizabeth Cotten

In 1999, he was nominated for Best World Music Album for his Odu album. The award was eventually picked by Brazilian legend, Caetano Veloso.


Relatively unknown to many, the late Babatunde Olatunji was nominated for Best World Music album in 1998 for his Love Drum Talk project. He lost to another Brazilian, Gilberto Gil.

FEMI KUTI (2003, 2010, 2012, 2014)

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 09: Nigerian musician Femi Kuti performs on stage with The Positive Force at KOKO on May 9, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Andy Sheppard/Redferns via Getty Images)

Afro-beat king, Femi Kuti has had his fair share of disappointments at the Grammys with 4 unsuccessful nominations. In 2003, 2012 and 2014, he was nominated for the Best World Music Album categories but lost to Ruben Blades (Panama), Tinariwen (Mali) and Ladysmith Black Mambazo (South Africa) respectively. In 2010 he was nominated for Best Contemporary World Music but lost to America’s Bela Fleck.

SEUN KUTI (2018)

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s last son, Seun who tours with the Egypt 80 band  was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album. Like his brother four years earlier, he lost the category to South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo.


Several Nigerian artistes have been nominated as contributing artistes to other people’s work.

They include:

Chimamanda Adichie (2015) for Beyonce’s Best Album nomination

Wizkid (2017) for Drake’s Best Album nomination

Kah-Lo (2017) for Riton’s Best Dance Recording nomination.

Timaya (2018)  for Morgan Heritage’s Best Reggae Album nomination.

Burna Boy (2019) for Fall Out Boy’s Best Rock Album nomination.

One Nigerian, Sikiru Adepoju has however won the Grammy in 2009 for the Global Drum Project with Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain and Giovanni Hidalgo.

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Written by Ephraim Adiele


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