Burna Boy Is On Elton John's Radar: Will The African Giant Crack The US Market?


This is most likely the highest level an African artist has ever reached in terms of a PR campaign. Burna Boy is at a stage where many African artists hope(d) to reach. The facts are endless. The most recent development is the appraisal and commendation of the Afro-fusion artist from multiple award-winning-musician Elton John.

The legendary singer, in his jingle for Beats 1 Radio, gave Burna Boy a mention. You don’t think this is a big deal? Take a second and think again.

The Burna Boy Story

At this point, there is little or no need for recounting Burna Boy’s story. I don’t need to tell you that Burna Boy has a tremendous collection of hit songs. The man could literally piece his hit songs together to set an explosion in motion. In the sense that our brains will irrupt from the motley of melodies.

He has worked his way from his days of Like To Party (under Aristokrat) to getting a standalone track on Beyonce’s The Lion King album. He is regarded as an African Giant, and no, it’s not only about his regalia. He was one of the two African acts that performed at Coachella earlier this year.

The Nigerian music industry has seen some of its representatives attempt at breaking into the global music industry. These artists set out like gladiators, going to war with the sole mission of gaining grounds. It’s a tough battle to fight. Afrobeats isn’t the only contender. There are other indigenous genres that are fighting for mainstream attention as well: Latin pop, K-pop.

Few Nigerian acts and their Market penetration

The main targets of these Nigerian acts are the American and UK audience. They have properly-arranged structures that lessen the amount of piracy and allow artists reap from their hard work. In every way, it benefits any Nigerian artist that successfully cracks the market.

D'banj - Kanye west collabo

When D’Banj met with Kanye West and introduced him to the Nigerian sound, the ear of the genius immediately picked it up. His interest in Nigerian music grew and he went on to sign D’Banj and Don Jazzy to GOOD Music. Shortly after, the duo - D’Banj and Don Jazzy - created a masterpiece in Oliver Twist.

The song went viral and opened the eyes (and ears) of many international music fans. D’Banj went ahead to feature Snoop Dogg on the remix of Mr. Endowed. P-Square also collaborated with international acts like Akon and Rick Ross.

After D’Banj came the likes of Wizkid, Ice Prince, Davido, Tiwa Savage. These are individual acts that have helped establish a place for Afrobeats in the global space. When Davido featured Meek Mill on Fans Mi, some people believed that it wasn’t organic and Davido paid heavily to get the feature.

Wizkid and Drake

However, when Wizkid went ahead to collaborate with Drake on Ojuelegba remix, One Dance, and Come Closer, it became apparent that the Nigerian sound had seeped deeply into the international market. Some people swore that Afrobeats had reached its peak at this point.

Although Burna Boy isn’t the only African artist who is making strides in the global music landscape, it would appear as though he has the most potential to fully go mainstream in the US. His songs Ye, Dangote, Killin Dem, Anybody are enjoying massive airplay rotation in the US.

The African Giant

His latest album African Giant is warming its way into the hearts of the international audience. Burna Boy was awarded the Best International Act at BET earlier this year. He has worked with interesting acts such as Jorja Smith, YG, J Hus, Major Lazer, and many others.

Burna Boy US Market

Burna Boy - African giant

The African Giant has been on a press run in the US for some-time now, thanks to Atlantic Records. This has seen him attend interviews with Sway, The Breakfast Club, Jimmy Kimmel show, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He has gotten features on Billboard, Vogue, GQ, and more. Joe Budden is happily sharing Burna’s music with whoever cares to listen.

Now, he’s on Elton John’s radar. Isn’t this an indication that Burna Boy has earned himself a reputable spot in the same space as other international acts?