Over the years, several Nigerian artistes have promised that they would “bring home” the Grammy, most popularly Terry Apala, Skales, 9ice, Vic O, and Blackmagic who said he would be the first Nigerian act to bring home the highly coveted golden gramophone; the most prestigious award in the world, given to deserving musicians who have distinguished themselves through their work.
However, very few people actually know that out of the many Nigerians that have made it into the nominees lists, at least 6 Nigerians have won the award since its inception, some as many as four times.
1. Sikiru Adepoju
Sikiru is a percussionist and recording artist, a master of the talking drum who primarily does traditional African music.
He has won the Grammy award twice. First as a member of the group Planet Drum in 1991, and again in 2009 with the group Global Drum Project. Both awards were won in the Best Contemporary World Music Album category.
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2. Lekan Babalola
The Lagos-born Conga player has seven albums to his name and has jointly won two Grammy Awards.
In 2006 for he won his first Grammy for his work on In the Heart of the Moon by Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré – he was credited in three tracks, even though there are claims that he played in ten. He also won a second Grammy in 2009 for his work on Cassandra Wilson’s 2008 album titled Loverly. He is said to have spent weeks at her house in Upstate New York writing music for the album.
3. Kevin Olusola
Kevin is a beatboxer, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter is a member of the pop acapella group, Pentatonix.
He has won 3 Grammys with the group. First in 2015 in the Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella category for their song “Daft Punk”, then in 2016, in the same category, this time for “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from their “That’s Christmas to Me” album, and finally in 2017, they won in the Best Country duo/group performance category for the song “Jolene” which featured Dolly Parton.
4. Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel
You most likely know this dark skinned, scar-faced gentleman as Seal. His most popular song yet is “Kiss from a Rose”, which was on the soundtrack to the film Batman Forever.
He is one of two Nigerians with the most number of Grammys to their name – four Grammys!
He took home three Grammys in 1996 alone for the ageless song ‘Kiss From A Rose’ in the Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance categories. His fourth Grammy came in 2011 for his collaboration with Paradiso, in ‘Imagine’ (Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals).
5. Helen Folashade Adu
Popularly known as Sade Adu, this Ibadan-born singer has been nominated for the awards nine times and has won four grammies. She is also the first artiste of Nigerian origin to win the prestigious award. and holds the record of the Nigerian with the most Grammys, alongside Seal. She won in the Best New Artist category in 1986, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1994 for the song “No Ordinary Love”, Best Pop Vocal Album in 2002 for “Lovers Rock”, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 2011 for “Soldier of Love”
6. Hakeem Seriki
Hakeem, better known by his stage name Chamillionaire, was born to a Nigerian father and an African-American mother. The rapper won the Grammy in 2007 for his song ‘Riddin’. The song won the award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
Bringing it Home....
King Sunny Ade is perhaps the first ever Nigerian to be nominated for the awards. He got nominated first in 1983, in the Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording for his album ‘Synchro System’. And again in 1998 for his ‘Odu’ album in the Best World Music category.
Other Nigerians that have been nominated at some point include Timaya, Kah-Lo, Wizkid, Femi Kuti (four times!), and writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for her contribution to Beyonce’s 2015 album
We still look forward to a Nigerian act “bringing home” the grammy since most of these ones haven’t, in essence, brought it home since they are based in the US, UK and Canada.
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