It is no secret that Nigerians are very talented. Our special skills trace all the way back to our ancestors. They danced and sang as a way of expression, it was how they celebrated, told stories, and even mourned. So, musical talent runs deep in our veins. It is something we all embrace, one way or another. Another young talent making waves in this era is Burna Boy, popular for his jams that are heavily influenced by reggae and dancehall. He too has captured the hearts of many and gained popularity and supporters. But there is more to Burna boy that meets the eye, in this article, I will give you a little history on the young Nigerian musician, continue reading to learn more facts from Burna Boy biography.
Let's go back in history
Burna Boy whose birth name is Damini Ogulu was born on the second of July, 1991 in Mbiama of River State, Nigeria. Just in case you are wondering "How old is Burna Boy?" He recently celebrated his twenty-sixth birthday with his family. Burna Boy rang in the new age with his parents, Bose and Samuel Ogulu and little sister, Nissi Ogulu.
In terms of education, Damini is a well-educated individual who attended both primary and secondary school. He completed his primary education at a Montessori International School in his birth place. After that, he relocated and attended Corona Secondary School in Agbara of Lagos State, Nigeria. Upon graduating secondary school he migrated to the United Kingdom. While in London, Burna Boy started tertiary school but later gave it up to return to Nigeria and follow his dreams.
Burna Boy's early influence in music stemmed from his surroundings. His favorite artiste of all time is Fela Anikulapo Kuti, whose manager happened to be his grandfather, Benson Idons. Benson Idons is no stranger to the game and has contributed greatly to the music industry and the careers of musicians. Another individual who made a musical impact on Damini's mind and heart was his father, Samuel Ogulu. His father was a big fan of Jamaican music, Reggae, and Dancehall. Mr. Ogulu would play it and Afro Beats every Sunday from the records, vinyls, and CDs they had back then. Damini was also introduced to R&B by a childhood sweetheart back in the day. From all that we have learned so far, I think it's safe to say that he came from a family who loved music and contributed to the industry one way or another. His mother, Bose Ogulu also served as his manager for some time.
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Burna Boy and the music industry
Damini Ogulu began his career back in 2010 when he signed a two-year contract as Burna Boy with an upcoming label called Aristokrat Records. He wrote his own music and released them. His first hit song "Abeg Abeg Abeg" made him known. However, it was not until 2012 that he got his big break after releasing a song entitled “Like To Party." It was shot and directed by Square Ball Media. That track propelled him higher on the music charts and popularity ladder. He was no longer just an inner city artiste who was only big on South Side, Nigeria. He became a musician who started to get worldwide recognition and endorsement deals. Since then he has dropped an album that sold over fifty thousand copies on the first day. That was a huge accomplishment.
This Nigerian musician believes that he is different from the mass as he brings a different style of music to the table. Being influenced by Fela and the likes of Buju Banton, Ninja Man, and Super Cat, just to name a few, he describes his music as "Afro Fusion." He opted for that description because his music combines dancehall, R&B, Hip Hop, and Afro Beats. Some of his music speaks on controversial issues while others are meant for dancing and seizing the moment. Only a few people are able to properly deliver such kind of music in an effortless manner.
Back in 2011, Burna Boy released two mixtapes, namely "Burn Notice" and "Burn Identity" while signed to Aristokrat Records. From his album "Burn Notice" came the hit "Abeg Abeg Abeg", the heartfelt song "Sweetest Girl ft Leriq" and dancehall inspired, "Wombo Lombo Something." Since then he released the album, “L.I.F.E.", which means “Leaving an Impact For Eternity" in 2013. That was then followed by the "On A Spaceship" album in 2015. Burna Boy also has an EP (Extended Play) named "Redemption" released in 2016 and a myriad of singles.
Burna Boy has also sampled Frank Ocean‘s “Novacane”, which he uses to share with us more about how he got where he is today. It is entitled “My Journey” and features sensations like Davido, Pretty Real, and Entertaining (P.R.E) of Twisted Mindz, The Sauce Kid, and Korkormikor just to name a few.
Burna Boy's hard work has definitely paid off. Fortunately for him, he has secured a few awards and nominations under his belt. Back in 2013, he won the "Best New Act of the Year" from Nigeria Entertainment Awards and "Best Pop" from South South Music Awards. He was also nominated for "Next Rated" at The Headies 2013.
In 2014, he secured himself the award "Best New Act" from MTV Africa Music Awards and "Best Album of the Year" from Nigeria Entertainment Awards. Burna Boy was nominated for four other titles, the same year, from The Headies, namely "Best R&B Single, Best R&B/Pop Album, Hip Hop World Revelation of the Year and Album of the Year."
In 2015, he just received the nomination for "Best Pop Artiste of The Year" from Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
It might come as a shock to some that Damini Olugu, a.k.a Burna Boy who was raised well by both his parents had found himself in trouble with the law quite a few times. We are unsure if the change in the environment from Nigeria to London had affected his behavior during his childhood in some way but what we do know is that he became uncontrollable and disrespectful. This behavior and his involvements in crime led him to be put in jail while schooling.
In 2010, while living in the United Kingdom, Burna was said to have been involved in a gang that murdered an individual. This led to his arrest and he was tried as a minor then sent to jail. There he spent eleven months, after which he was released and put on two months parole with community service as a result of good behavior. He disobeyed his parole and traveled to Nigeria to sign his first deal. Upon his arrival back to the United Kingdom he was arrested at the Airport and Deported back to his country of origin, Nigeria. As a result, he is no longer permitted to travel to the United Kingdom until after fifteen years.
Message to fans
Unlike some celebrities, Burna Boy does not want to be a role model and he has made that clear. Burna Boy has made it known that he has faced a lot more than a person his age should. With that being said, he urges his supporters to live a life that is not based on others, in essence, he is telling you to be yourself because you are special and amazing. Discover your purpose and show love in abundance. If you ask me, that is a pretty inspirational message, especially in our current generation!
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