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7 Nigerian Musicians Who Have Won Grammy Awards

Since their inception in 1954, the Grammy Awards have been largely recognized as the highest form of recognition for musicians, highlighting and rewarding musical talents all around the world.

It began recognizing outstanding projects by African artists in the 1960s, when South African performer Mariam Makeba became the first African performer to receive a Grammy.

Here are seven African Grammy winners.

1. Helen Folasade Adu – Sade Adu (Nigeria, 3 Grammys)

Sade Adu, a singer, composer, and actor, was born in Ibadan as Helen Folasade Adu in 1959 but grew up in Essex, England. She is well recognized as the lead singer of her own band.

She is the first artist of Nigerian ancestry to get the prestigious honor. Her first Grammy was for “Best New Artist” in 1986, and her second was for “No Ordinary Love” in 1994, for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals.

She won her third Grammy in 2002 for “Lovers Rock” in the Best Pop Vocal Album category, and her fourth in 2011 for “Soldier of Love” in the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals category.


2. Sikiru Adepoju (Nigeria, 2 Grammys)

Adepoju, a two-time Grammy Award winner, rose to international notoriety in 1991 when he received the Grammy Award for “Best World Music CD” for his contributions on American drummer Mickey Hart’s 1991 album “Planet Drum.”

Adepoju, along with Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, and Giovanni Hidalgo, won another Grammy in 2008 for the album “Global Drum Project” in the category of “Best Contemporary World Music Album.”


3. Lekan Babalola (Nigeria, 2 Grammys)

Lekan Babalola is a Nigerian jazz percussionist and musician who began playing the conga at a young age. He has seven albums to his credit and two Grammy nominations.

He began his professional career by joining the Samba Samba Band and later Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers band in New York City, where he honed his skills on the Bongo drums and performed jazz music.

He won his first Grammy Award in 2006 for his work on Ali Farka Touré’s In the Heart of the Moon, for which he was recognized on three tracks. He was also nominated for a second Grammy in 2009 for his work on Cassandra Wilson’s 2008 album Loverly.


4. Babatunde Olatunji (Nigeria, 1 Grammy)

Olatunji of Nigeria received a Grammy Award in 1991 for “Best World Music Album.” Olatunji, who has since died, participated with thirteen other musicians on Mickey Hart’s 1991 “Planet Drum” CD, which won Grammy nominations for all fourteen acts.


5. Tems (Nigeria, 1 Grammy)

Temilade Openiyi, also known as Tems, won a Grammy in the category of “Best Melodica Rap Performance” in 2023 for her contribution to Future’s smash tune “Wait For U.”


6. Wizkid (Nigeria, 1 Grammy)

Wizkid, a Nigerian artist, made headlines in 2021 when he won a Grammy for his collaboration on Beyonce’s 2019 smash album “Brown Skin Girl.” Wizkid was named the category ‘Best Music Video’ winner.


7. Burna Boy (Nigeria, 1 Grammy)

Damini Ogulu, alias Burna Boy, of Nigeria, won the Grammy Award for ‘Best World Music Album’ in 2021. Burna earned the award for his album Twice As Tall.



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