9 Most nominated Nigerian artists at the Grammys
The Grammy Awards stand as a pinnacle of recognition in the global music industry, symbolising outstanding achievements and excellence.
Widely regarded as the most prestigious and significant honour in the music world, the recent unveiling of nominations has brought unprecedented joy to the Nigerian music scene. With over eight Nigerian singers securing spots on the list, this historic moment marks a new chapter for the nation's representation at the Grammys.
Before delving into the current generation of Grammy nominees, it is crucial to pay homage to the trailblazers who paved the way for Nigerian artists on the coveted Grammy stage. Notably, legendary Juju singer King Sunny Ade stands out as the first Nigerian artist to receive a Grammy nomination back in 1983. Additionally, percussionist and recording artist Sikiru Adepoju etched his name in history by becoming the first Nigerian to clinch a Grammy award in 2008.
The recent Grammy nominations have set a remarkable precedent for Nigerian artists, with over eight representatives making the prestigious list. This newfound recognition amplifies the global impact of Nigerian music, highlighting its influence and resonance on an international scale. NotjustOk has compiled a comprehensive list of the 10 most-nominated Nigerian artists at the Grammys.
1. Burna Boy (with 10 Nominations)
In the realm of Nigerian music, Damini Ogulu, widely recognised as Burna Boy, stands as the African giant who has etched his name in Grammy history. With an impressive track record, Burna Boy has secured a total of 10 Grammy nominations, making him the most-nominated Nigerian artist at the prestigious awards.
Burna Boy's journey with the Grammys began at the 62nd edition, where he received his first nomination in the Best Global Music Album category for his groundbreaking album "African Giant" (2019). The talented artist continued to make waves and achieved a significant milestone at the 63rd Grammy Awards, winning the same category with his album Twice as Tall (2020) and becoming the first Nigerian artist to earn back-to-back nominations.
Recently, Burna Boy made headlines by garnering four nominations for the upcoming 66th Grammy Awards set to take place in February 2024. This achievement not only solidifies his position as a trailblazer but also sets a new record for the highest number of Grammy nominations in a single night for a Nigerian artist.
Burna Boy's 66th Grammy Awards nominations include:
- Sittin’ On Top Of The World - Best Melodic Rap Performance
- I Told Them… - Best Global Music Album
- Alone - Best Global Music Performance
- City Boys - Best African Music Performance.
Burna Boy's unprecedented success at the Grammys is a testament to his musical prowess and the global impact of Nigerian music. As the most nominated Nigerian artist in Grammy history, Burna Boy continues to elevate the nation's music scene on the international stage, setting new standards and inspiring the next generation of artists.
2. Femi Kuti (with 6 Nominations)
Renowned Afrobeat legend Femi Kuti has clinched the second spot on the list of the top 10 most Grammy-nominated Nigerian artists, amassing an impressive six nominations throughout his illustrious career.
Femi Kuti's Grammy journey commenced at the 45th edition of the Grammy Awards in 2003, where he received his first nomination in the prestigious Best Global Music Album category for his iconic 2001 album Fight To Win. Subsequently, in 2010, he earned another nod in the Best Contemporary World Music Album category for his 2008 release Day by Day.
Femi Kuti's most recent Grammy recognition occurred at the 64th Grammy Awards, where he not only received a nomination in the Best Global Music Performance category for his song Pà Pá Pà but also secured a second nomination alongside his son Made Kuti in the Best Global Music Album category for their collaborative 2021 double album Legacy +.
With a total of six Grammy nominations to his name, Femi Kuti's musical contributions continue to be celebrated on the global stage. His legacy in Afrobeat, coupled with his consistent Grammy recognition, solidifies his standing as one of Nigeria's most influential musical ambassadors.
Femi Kuti's position as the second most Grammy-nominated Nigerian artist attests to his enduring impact on the world of music. As he continues to push boundaries and showcase the richness of Afrobeat, Femi Kuti's legacy stands as an inspiration for future generations of Nigerian artists aiming for international acclaim.
3. Tems (with 5 Nominations)
In a remarkable feat, Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems, has claimed the third spot among the top 10 most Grammy-nominated Nigerian artists, amassing a total of five nominations for her illustrious name.
Tems' journey at the Grammys began with her first nominations as a featured artist on Wizkid's Essence, earning a nod for Best Global Music Performance at the 64th Grammy Awards. Her prowess further shone at the 65th annual Grammy Awards, where she achieved a triple nomination. This remarkable feat included a nomination in the coveted Album of the Year category for her contribution to Beyoncé's RENAISSANCE.
Tems' collaboration with Future and Drake on the track titled Wait For You earned her two additional Grammy nominations in the categories of Best Rap Song and Best Melodic Rap Performance. Notably, she emerged victorious in the latter category, showcasing her exceptional talent and versatility.
With a total of 5 Grammy nominations, Tems has swiftly ascended the ranks among Nigeria's most celebrated artists, solidifying her status as a rising star on the international music scene.
Tems' consistent recognition at the Grammys reflects the depth of her musical artistry and the impact of her collaborations on the global stage. As she continues to break new ground, Tems stands as a formidable force, contributing to the ever-growing influence of Nigerian artists in the international music landscape.
4. Wizkid (with 4 Nominations)
Nigerian international star Ibrahim Ayodeji Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid, stands as a Nigerian musical icon and one of the most Grammy-nominated artists from the nation, amassing over four prestigious nominations.
Wizkid's initial Grammy recognition unfolded at the 59th annual Grammy Awards, where he secured his first nomination in the Album of the Year category for his collaboration on the international hit One Dance with Drake. This marked the beginning of Wizkid's illustrious journey at the Grammy Awards.
The pinnacle of Wizkid's Grammy journey came at the 63rd Grammy Awards in 2020 when he not only earned another nomination but also clinched his first Grammy award. The victory came in the Best Music Video category for the iconic Brown Skin Girl.
With the release of his groundbreaking album, Made in Lagos (2020), Wizkid continued to make waves in the global music arena. This exceptional work garnered him a double nomination at the 64th Grammy Awards. Wizkid was nominated for Best Global Music Album, recognizing the brilliance of the entire album, and Best Global Music Performance for his chart-topping hit, Essence.
Wizkid's status as one of Nigeria's most Grammy-nominated artists reflects not only his undeniable talent but also the impact of his contributions to the global music landscape. As he continues to captivate audiences worldwide, Wizkid's legacy remains a testament to the vibrant and influential Nigerian music scene.
Wizkid's Grammy journey is a testament to his musical genius and the global resonance of his work. With over four nominations and a historic win, Wizkid's impact transcends borders, contributing significantly to the elevation of Nigerian music on the international stage.
5. Davido (with 3 Nominations)
001 for a reason. Renowned and multi-award-winning singer David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, has added another milestone to his illustrious career by earning three nominations for the upcoming 66th Grammy Awards, scheduled for February 4, 2024.
Davido's triumphant return to the Grammy stage sees him securing nominations in three distinguished categories. His highly anticipated comeback album, Timeless, earned him a nod for Best Global Album, showcasing the singer's enduring impact and musical versatility.
Davido's global hit, Unavailable, has not only resonated with audiences worldwide but has also earned him a nomination for Best African Performance—a testament to the track's cultural influence and widespread appeal. Additionally, the singer's song Feel has garnered recognition in the Best Global Music Performance category, further solidifying Davido's position on the global stage.
With four studio albums under his belt, Davido has carved out a space for himself as one of the greatest and most influential musicians in the history of Nigeria. His contribution to the music industry extends beyond borders, as evidenced by his numerous hits that have captivated audiences around the world.
Beyond his musical achievements, Davido's widespread popularity is evident on various social platforms, where he commands a massive following. As one of the most followed African celebrities on platforms like Twitter and Instagram, Davido's influence transcends the realm of music.
Davido's triple Grammy nominations underscore his continued impact and relevance in the global music scene. As the 66th Grammy Awards approach, fans eagerly anticipate the results, recognising Davido's significance as a trailblazer in Nigerian music history.
6. King Sunny Ade (with 2 Nominations)
King Sunny Adé, a trailblazing Nigerian jùjú singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, holds a significant place in music history as one of the earliest African pop musicians to achieve international success. Revered as one of the most influential musicians of all time, King Sunny Adé made history as the first Nigerian artist to receive a Grammy Award nomination.
In 1983, King Sunny Adé's album Synchro System earned him a nomination for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording at the 36th annual Grammy Awards, marking a groundbreaking moment for Nigerian music on the global stage. His impactful presence continued in 1998, when his album 'Odu' secured another Grammy nomination, this time in the Best World Music category.
Although King Sunny Adé did not clinch a Grammy win, his nominations paved the way for upcoming international singers and left an indelible mark on the world music scene. His success acted as a catalyst, opening the floodgates for other world music artists such as Senegalese sensation Youssou N'Dour and Mali's revered Salif Keita.
Beyond the accolades, King Sunny Adé is highly respected for his role as a pioneer, breaking barriers for Nigerian and African artists to gain recognition beyond their borders. His contributions have cemented his status as a musical icon, inspiring future generations to venture into the global music landscape.
King Sunny Adé's Grammy nominations signify not only personal achievements but also a landmark moment for Nigerian music. His groundbreaking success on the international stage has set a precedent, allowing a broader audience to appreciate the richness of African musical traditions. As a respected pioneer, King Sunny Adé's legacy continues to resonate, influencing artists worldwide and leaving an enduring impact on the global music landscape.
7. Sikiru Adepoju (with 1 Nomination)
Sikiru Adepoju, a legendary percussionist and recording artist, has etched his name into the annals of music history, earning a well-deserved spot among the top 10 most nominated Nigerian artists at the Grammys. While having just one Grammy nomination to his name, Sikiru's impact transcends the number of nominations, as he achieved the historic feat of being the first Nigerian to win a Grammy Award.
Sikiru Adepoju's momentous Grammy win took place at the 51st annual Grammy Awards in 2008. His contribution to Mickey Hart's "Global Drum Project" earned him the accolade in the Best Contemporary World Music Album category, making him the trailblazer who broke new ground for Nigerian artists on the global stage.
Hailing from a musical family in Oyo State, Sikiru Adepoju inherited a passion for drumming from his father, Chief Ayanleke Adepoju. His journey to the United States in 1985 proved to be a pivotal moment when he joined O.J. Ekemode's Nigerian All-Stars. It was during this time that he crossed paths with Babatunde Olatunji, who introduced him to Mickey Hart—a connection that would shape his Grammy-winning trajectory.
Beyond the Grammy win, Sikiru Adepoju's legacy is marked by his contribution to numerous projects alongside Mickey Hart. His expertise as a percussionist has not only influenced the global music scene but has also opened doors for collaboration and recognition for Nigerian artists on the international stage.
Sikiru Adepoju's singular Grammy nomination may seem modest in number, but his historic win speaks volumes about his impact and the strides he made for Nigerian musicians globally. As a pioneer and trailblazer, Sikiru Adepoju's legacy continues to inspire and contribute to the rich tapestry of Nigerian music on the world stage.
8. Babatunde Olatunji (with 1 Nomination)
Babatunde Olatunji, a distinguished Nigerian drummer, educator, social activist, and recording artist, left an indelible mark on the world of music, notably as the leader of the acclaimed percussionist band, Drums of Passion. Renowned for his rhythmic prowess, Babatunde Olatunji also earned a place among the most nominated Nigerian artists at the Grammys, with a singular but impactful nomination.
Babatunde Olatunji's musical journey reached its pinnacle with the leadership of the influential ensemble, Drums of Passion. His rhythmic innovations captivated audiences worldwide, and his influence extended beyond the band, making him a respected recording artist with a following among jazz musicians.
Babatunde Olatunji's versatility as a percussionist led to collaborations with jazz luminaries of his time. Notable artists such as Cannonball Adderley, Horace Silver, Quincy Jones, Pee Wee Ellis, Stevie Wonder, Randy Weston, Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, and even Grateful Dead members sought his rhythmic expertise, contributing to the fusion of diverse musical genres.
Babatunde Olatunji's impact on the global music scene earned him a Grammy nomination at the 40th annual Grammy Awards in 1998. The nomination in the Best World Music Album category was for his remarkable work titled "Love Drum Talk," solidifying his status as a Grammy-nominated artist and engraving his name on the sands of time.
Beyond the Grammy nomination, Babatunde Olatunji's legacy lies in his profound impact on the cultural and rhythmic landscape of music. His advocacy for social change and education further cements his position as a multifaceted artist whose contributions resonated far beyond musical realms.
Babatunde Olatunji's rhythmic brilliance, educational endeavors, and Grammy recognition collectively contribute to a legacy that transcends borders and generations. As one of the most nominated Nigerian artists at the Grammys, Babatunde Olatunji's enduring influence continues to inspire musicians and enthusiasts worldwide, leaving an everlasting imprint on the world of percussion and global music.
9. Seun Kuti
Seun Kuti is a Nigerian singer and youngest son of the Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti. Continuing his father's legacy, Seun leads the iconic band Egypt 80 and has earned a place among the top 10 most nominated Nigerian artists at the Grammys, despite having just one nomination to his name.
Seun Kuti's connection to Afrobeat runs deep, inheriting the mantle from his legendary father, Fela Kuti. Leading the renowned Egypt 80, Seun has been instrumental in preserving and evolving the Afrobeat genre, showcasing its cultural significance both within and outside Nigeria.
In 2008, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 released the album Many Things, marking a significant moment in his musical journey. Since then, he has continued to release numerous albums and collaborate on various songs, contributing to the vibrant and diverse tapestry of global music.
Seun Kuti's recognition on the international stage came at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards when he secured a nomination in the Best World Music Album category. The nomination was for his 2018 album Black Times, affirming his position among the esteemed Nigerian artists acknowledged by the Grammys.
Seun Kuti's singular Grammy nomination places him at the tenth spot among the top 10 most nominated Nigerian artists at the Grammys. While he may not have as many nominations as some counterparts, his influence and dedication to Afrobeat have solidified his standing in the global music scene.
Seun Kuti's journey as a musician and cultural custodian has been marked by both continuity and innovation. His Grammy nomination serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of Afrobeat and the impact of the Kuti musical dynasty. As he carries the torch forward, Seun Kuti remains a vital force in celebrating and expanding the reach of Afrobeat on the world stage.
The roster of Nigerian artists making waves at the Grammy Awards extends beyond the historical figures, with a new generation leaving an indelible mark on the prestigious platform. Made Kuti, alongside his father Femi Kuti, garnered attention at the 64th annual Grammy Awards with a nomination for Best Global Music Album, showcasing the continued musical prowess within the Kuti lineage.
In a groundbreaking moment, Olamide and Asake earned their debut Grammy nominations for the collaborative track Amapiano, recognised in the Best African Music Performance category. Ayra Starr also made a noteworthy appearance in the same category, securing a nomination for her global hit Rush, adding another accolade to her burgeoning career.
Further diversifying the representation, Fireboy DML and Ckay entered the Grammy stage with nominations in the Album of the Year category. Their contributions to Jon Batiste's World Music Radio and Janelle Monáe's The Age of Pleasure, respectively, underscore the expanding influence of Nigerian artists in the global music landscape.
As the Grammy Awards continue to provide a platform for recognition and celebration, the diverse talents emerging from Nigeria reaffirm the nation's status as a powerhouse in the world of music, transcending genres and making an impact that resonates on an international scale. The collective achievements of these artists symbolise the rich tapestry of Nigerian music, both past and present, leaving an enduring legacy that paves the way for future generations to shine on the global stage.