Burna Boy electrified the audience at the 66th Grammy Awards event in Los Angeles, United States, in the early hours of Monday.
The Afrobeats star opened his performance at around 4 a.m. with a performance of his popular song ‘Sittin’ On Top of The World’ with Brandy and 21 Savage amidst cheers from the crowd.
His performance marked a historic milestone for Nigerian music as it is the first time an Afrobeats star has performed live on the world’s most prestigious music stage.
Introduced by host Trevor Noah, Burna Boy’s energetic and dazzling performance was ushered in by rhythmic talking drums and a rendition of “E no go tire me”, which morphed into his hit song “City Boys”.
Then came the sonorous and familiar voice of Brandy, who was followed to stage moments later by 21 Savage and they treated the audience to a powerful performance of “Sitting On Top of The World”.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 04: Burna Boy perform onstage during the 66th GRAMMY Awards at Crypto.com Arena on February 04, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy/AFP (Photo by KEVIN WINTER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)
Burna Boy, real name Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, bagged a Best Global Music album Grammy award at the 2021 Grammys. His ‘Twice as Tall” album won ahead of Tuareg Desert Rock group Tinariwen, NYC afrobeat outfit Antibalas, Brazilian-American Bebel Gilberto, and British-Indian sitar player Anoushka Shankar.
The win came a year after African music legend Angelique Kidjo beat him to the award.
At the latest showpiece, the 66th Grammys, the ‘City Boys’ singer was nominated in four categories: Best Melodic Rap Performance for “Sittin’ on the Top of the World;” Global Music Performance for “Alone;” Best African Music Performance for “City Boys;” and Best Global Music Album for his seventh album, “I Told Them….”
He, however, failed to win in any of the categories; neither did any of the five other Nigerians who were up for Grammys year.
Nigerian artists dominated the inaugural ‘Best African Music Performance’ category at the 2024 Grammys, making up four of the five acts in contention.
In addition to Burna Boy’s “City Boys”; Olamide and Asake’s “Amapiano”, Davido’s “Unavailable”, Ayra Starr’s “Rush”; and “Water” by the South African singer Tyla were the other songs nominated in the new category..
Tyla emerged the winner of that category, setting the tone for a night of losses for the Nigerian contingent..
The Best African Music Performance category was announced in August 2023, as one of three new categories aimed at making the Grammy Awards process “more fair, transparent and accurate,” according to the Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr.
On a night when Nigerian stars were in the race to win five awards, Burna Boy’s dazzling performance was a bright spot and consolation for eager fans across the world.