The Recording Academy Grammy Awards is often regarded as the most respected award every musician aspires to earn as a testament to the impact of their career.Well, you might think Burna Boy’s African Giant is the first nomination or a Nigerian music star to receive a Grammy nomination. That is untrue. However, when (hopefully) Burna Boy win the award, he will be joining this illustrious list of 5 Nigerians who have won this prestigious awards;1. Sikiru Adepoju | 1991 (Planet Drum) | 2009 (Global Drum Project): Sikiru Adepoju is a master of the talking drum and many other Yoruba percussion instruments. Born in Eruwa, Nigeria, Sikiru hails from the traditional lineage of Yoruba talking drummers culturally referred to as Ayan which means “one who has descended from drummers lineage,” and began playing under the tutelage of his father Chief Ayanleke Adepoju at the age of six. Along with his brothers Saminu and Lasisi, Sikiru accompanied the family’s talking drum ensemble for several years. After moving to the San Fransico Bay Area in 1985, Sikiru joined the influential and pioneering Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji and his Drums of Passion. This marked a lengthy period of high productivity from Sikiru which saw him recording and performing throughout the world until a year before Olantunji’s death in 2003. During this period he was introduced to Grateful Dead drummer, Mickey Hart, who has called Sikiru “The Mozart of the talking drum,” and employed him on many of his personal projects including the Grammy awards-winning albums Planet Drum (1991) and Global Drum Project (2009).2. Sade Adu: Sade is the queen of queens. She has 4 Grammys in her inspirational career and they were won in 1986, 1994, 2002 and 2011. Musician, singer. Born Helen Folasade Adu on January 16 1959, in Ibadan, Nigeria. Raised in London by her English mother, Sade developed several interests as a teen, including singing, fashion design and modelling. She sang with a few local bands before signing with Epic Records and recording her first album, Diamond Life, in 1984. A huge hit in her native England, the album also had mass appeal across the pond thanks to such singles as “Smooth Operator.” In 1986, she won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Sade’s subsequent multi-platinum albums, Promise, Stronger Than Pride and Love Deluxe, established her as a top-selling soul and pop artist. She took a new route with her 2000 album, Lovers Rock, which was released eight years after Love Deluxe and incorporated a more mainstream sound. The record, and particularly the chart-topping single, “By Your Side,” helped her win over new audiences. Two years later, the album and ensuing tour inspired her first live recording, Lovers Live. Sade returned to the studio and released her sixth album In February 2010, Soldier of Love.3. Sealhenry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel: Seal is very Nigerian and even visited the country recently. He has 4 Grammy awards, winning 3 in 1996 and 1 in 2011. Sealhenry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel was born in London, England, on February 19, 1963, of Nigerian heritage. Seal went on to score a major U.K. hit, “Killer,” before releasing his 1991 debut album. He’s become an internationally renowned singer/songwriter with albums like Human Being and hits like “Crazy,” “Prayer for the Dying” and “Kiss From a Rose,” which won multiple Grammy Awards. He was married to supermodel and TV host Heidi Klum for several years.4. Kelvin Olusola: Kevin is a beatboxer in the renowned acapella group Pentatonix and has won 3 Grammy awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Kelvin picked up an award alongside his acapella band, Pentatonix, taking home the award in the ‘Arrangement, Instrumental or Acappella’ category for their medley ‘Daft Punk’, a remake of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”.5. Lekan Babalola: Lekan is a Conga player with 2 Grammy awards to his name. He won the awards in 2006 and 2009. Born in Lagos State, Nigeria where he began playing the conga at a young age, he has released seven albums and jointly won two Grammy Awards. Two-time Grammy awards-winning Nigerian percussionist, Lekan Babalola, is well known for his innovative musical style, using his native Yoruba tongue infused with traditional music, Afrobeat and funky dance overtones.
However, some Nigerian icons have also been nominated for this award, the likes of; Sunny Ade, Wizkid, Timaya, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti is the latest Nigerian to make the coveted compilation to an extent of even landing a Grammy night performance.Photo Credit: Getty