The Grammys is unarguably the most prestigious award in the music industry. To Nigerians, it’s a foreign award since most of the categories and nominations are for artists in North America more than any other region. Nevertheless, many Nigerian singers dream of winning the Grammys one day.
While others dream, there are Nigerian musicians who have actually won the Grammys. Find out who they are below;
1. Sade Adu
Sade Adu, a British-Nigerian singer, was the first Nigerian artist to win a Grammy. Sade was born in Ibadan, Nigeria but she grew up in London. She was nominated for nine Grammys and won four.
Her first Grammy was in 1986 for Best New Artist. In 1994, she won Best R&B Duo or Group Performance with Vocals for “No Ordinary Love.” “Lovers Rock” received a Grammy in 2002 for Best Pop Vocal Album, and in 2011 for Best R&B Performance by a Group with Vocals for “Soldier of Love.”
2. Sikiru Adepoju
Sikiru Adepoju is a Nigerian percussionist and recording artist who specializes in traditional African and international music. He is a multi-instrumentalist. Adepoju was a part of Ebenezer Obey’s Inter Reformers Band till 1985. In the US, he joined O. J. Ekemode’s Nigerian All-Stars and met Babatunde Olatunji three months later.
He joined Olatunji’s Drums of Passion and met Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart through Olatunji. In the first year that the Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music Album was given, he was a member of Mickey Hart’s group Planet Drum.
He was also with Mickey Hart’s current ensemble Global Drum Project, whose title album won the Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music Album on February 8, 2009 in Los Angeles.
Seal, whose real name is Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel, was born in 1963. He scored a hit in 1994 with the song “Kiss from a Rose”. He’s been nominated for 14 Grammys and won four. In 1996, he won three Grammys for “Kiss From A Rose” and a fourth for “Imagine”. He has the most Grammy honors of any Nigerian.
4. Lekan Babalola
Lekan Babalola, a Nigerian jazz percussionist, began playing the conga at a young age. He has seven albums and two Grammys. He joined New York City’s Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers band, where he polished his Bongo drumming and jazz performance skills.
With three tracks on Ali Farka Touré’s In the Heart of the Moon, he became Nigeria’s first Grammy winner in 2006. His work on Cassandra Wilson’s 2008 CD Loverly earned him a second Grammy in 2009.
Chamillionaire is a rapper from Houston, Texas. His father is a Muslim from Nigeria. In 2002, he released his first album, Get Ya Mind Correct, with fellow Houston rapper and childhood friend Paul Wall. In 2005, he signed with Universal Records and released The Sound of Revenge.
It featured the hit singles “Turn It Up” with Lil’ Flip and “Ridin’” with Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. The song was nominated for a Grammy in 2007. He won the Grammy in 2007 for Best Rap Performance. It was also a rap song nominee. From 2004 to 2009, Chamillionaire released his highly anticipated Mixtape Messiah series.
6. Kevin Olusola
Kevin Olusola is a Nigerian-American musician. He was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, to Nigerian psychiatrist Oluwole Olusola and Grenadian nurse Curline Paul. Olusola’s parents recognized his musical ability at six months old and enrolled him in music classes. He began piano at 4, cello at 6, and alto sax at 8.
Olusola is a member of the singing group Pentatonix’s beatboxer. After winning NBC’s The Sing-Off in 2011, the group released five albums that all reached in the top five on the Billboard 200, sold over 2 million copies, and garnered over 2 billion views on YouTube.
His trio won the Grammys for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella in 2015 and 2016. For the song Jolene, with Dolly Parton, they won Best Country Duo/Group Performance in 2017.
7. Cynthia Erivo
Cynthia Erivo is British-Nigerian actress, singer, and songwriter who starred in the Oscar-nominated movie Harriet. Cynthia Onyedinmanasu Chinasaokwu Erivo Born January 8, 1987 in Stockwell, England. She won a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album for Colour Purple in 2017.
8. Burna Boy
Burna Boy is one of the modern-day Nigerian singers who are taking Afrobeats to the world. The talented singer who hails from Rivers State has one of the best discography. He boasts of 5 albums, 2 mixtapes, and 2 EPs. Burna Boy won the Grammys award for Best Global Music Album in 2021.
He won the award for his Twice As Tall album which he released a year before. Burna Boy had been previously nominated for the Best Global Music Album in 2020. This was for his 2019 hit album African Giant. However, Burna Boy lost the award to Angelique Kidjo.
Starboy Wizkid needs no introduction. The Lagos-born singer has dominated Nigeria, Africa, anc is now on to the world. Wizkid has been nominated for a Grammy Award twice and he won one. His first nomination was in 2016 for his contribution to Drake’s Views album. Particularly on the track One Dance which he featured in.
The album was nominated in the Album of the Year category and lost. In 2021, Wizkid won the Grammy Award for his contribution in the music video for Beyoncé’s Brown Skin Girl. Wizkid had featured in the song and the video won the Best Music Video category.
There you have it. Listed above are the 9 Nigerian singers who have won Grammys with the latest being Burna Boy and Wizkid.