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 Burna Boy: Biography

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 Burna Boy: Biography

Burna Boy

Background information

Birth name Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu
Born 2 July 1991 (age 28)
Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Genres: Afro-fusion reggae dance hall
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2010–present

Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu (born 2 July 1991), known professionally as Burna Boy, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. He rose to prominence in 2012 after releasing the lead single “Like to Party” from his debut studio album, L.I.F.E (2013). In 2017, Burna Boy signed with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally. His third studio album Outside (2018) marked his major-label debut. In 2019, he won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards. He was also announced as Apple Music‘s Up Next artist. His fourth studio album African Giant was released in July 2019.

Early life

Damini Ogulu was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. His father managed a welding company and his mother worked as a translator. Benson Idonije is his grandfather. Ogulu grew up in southern Nigeria.

2012–2015: L.I.F.E and On a Spaceship

Aristokrat Records released Burna Boy’s debut studio album L.I.F.E on August 12, 2013. It serves as the follow-up to his second mixtape, Burn Identity (2011). L.I.F.E sold 40,000 copies on the first day of its release. Aristokrat Records later sold the album’s marketing rights to Uba Pacific for ₦10 million. The album’s release was preceded by five singles: “Like to Party”, “Tonight”, “Always Love You”, “Run My Race” and “Yawa Dey”.

Produced entirely by LeriqL.I.F.E features guest appearances from 2face IdibiaM.ITimayaOlamideReminisce, and Wizkid. Nigeria Entertainment Today ranked the album 10th on their list of the 12th best albums of 2013. The music of L.I.F.E draws heavily from the music of Fela KutiKing Sunny Ade, and Bob Marley. The album received generally positive reviews from music critics, who applauded its production. It was nominated for Best Album of the Year at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. In August 2013, L.I.F.E peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.

In 2014, Burna Boy split from Aristokrat records. In 2015, he created his own record label called Spaceship Entertainment.

He released his second album On a Spaceship on 25 November 2015. In September 2016, he released the 7-track EP Redemption. It’s lead single “Pree Me” debuted on Noisey.

2018–present: Outside and African Giant

In January 2018, Burna Boy was featured on “Sunshine Riptide“, a track from Fall Out Boy‘s seventh studio album MANIA (2018). He released his third studio album Outside on January 26, 2018. Described as a mixtape, Outside consists mostly of Afrobeatsdancehallreggae and road rap. It features guest vocals from English musicians J HusLily Allen, and MabelOutside was supported by six singles: “Rock Your Body”, “Streets of Africa”, “Koni Baje”, “Sekkle Down”, “Heaven’s Gate” and “Ye“. Its production was handled by Leriq, Baba Stiltz, Jae 5, Juls, Chopstix, Steel BanglezFred Gibson, Phantom, and FTSE. The album received critical acclaim and was ranked by Pulse Nigeria and Nigerian Entertainment Today as the best Nigerian album of 2018. It won Album of the Year at the 2018 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. In February 2018, Outside debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. The album’s biggest single “Ye” ended up atop most Nigerian publications year-end list as the biggest song of 2018.

On 7 October 2018, Burna Boy performed before a sold-out crowd at London’s O2 Academy Brixton. A day prior to the show, he held a pop-up event at Red by Little Farm and sold limited boxes of his Space Puffs cereal, as well as custom notepads, lighters, and graphic tee-shirts. On 9 October 2018, Burna Boy was announced as one of Spotify‘s New Afro Hub Takeover Artist. The announcement coincided with him being named YouTube’s Artist on the Rise for 3 months.

On 3 January 2019, he was announced alongside Mr. Eazi as one of the artists performing at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. He won four awards at the Soundcity MVP Awards Festival, including African Artiste of the Year, Listener’s Choice and Best Male MVP.

On 21 March 2019, Burna Boy released a 4-track collaborative EP with Los Angeles-based electronic duo DJDS, titled Steel & Copper.

On June 24, 2019, Burna Boy won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards. In July 2019, Burna Boy was announced as Apple Music‘s Up Next artist. His inclusion into the program was accompanied by a Beats 1 interview with Julie Adenuga and a short documentary.

Burna Boy’s fourth studio album African Giant was released on July 26, 2019. It has been supported by six singles: “Gbona“, “On the Low”, Killin Dem”, “Dangote”, “Anybody” and “Pull Up”. He began recording the album in 2018. He told Billboard magazine that the album is his most personal yet. He first revealed plans to release the album in April 2019 and held a private listening session in Los Angeles. Photos and videos from the listening session were shared on social media. African Giant was initially announced as a 16-track album. In order to promote the album, Burna Boy will headline the African Giant Returns tour, the second leg of his African Giant tour.

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