Burna Boy is in a happy place right now, and we can feel it. Things are going right for the singer again, with the focus now on his artistry and how to scale it.
Remember in August 2015, when the singer was featured on Pulse TV’s web show Facts Only With Osagie Alonge. That show exhaustively documented all the new lows the singer had hit in his career, and successfully pointed out all the ways in which the singer can get back on track and focus on his music.
That analysis was hotly contested. Burna was working on his sophomore album, “On A Spaceship”, and the intro sampled portions of the analysis. Time proved the album to be poorly received, as the project failed to gather the needed reception. Only ‘Soke’ was generally accepted. The rest, not so much.
But this year has been one of building from the scratch musically. He has returned to LeriQ, the architect of his great sound, and signed a new deal with Aristokrat to manage his content, help plug it through the channels, distribute and monetise. His 15-year ban from the UK was lifted after five years and Burna Boy made his first appearance in England. In 2013, reports had revealed that while in the UK, back in 2010, Burna Boy was arrested by the police for allegedly being part of a gang and stabbing someone to death. He was tried as a minor and sent to jail. He was released on parole, but he broke it, and chased the music to Nigeria where he has become a star.
That UK deal appeared to be the needed shot in the arm that the singer needed. The month of July which was his birth month, had Burna embracing his newfound UK berth as a springboard for new life in his career. With his presence in the UK, he made career moves by collaborating with Krept & Konan, and also Sneakbo.
According to sources close to him, more recordings have also been carried out. He has also been on the legendary Tim Westwood’s TV show, and had an interview with DJ Neptizzle, the Club DJ/Radio DJ on NTS and Reprezent 107.3 FM London. The new Beat FM in London also has had him stop by.
But it was his recent concert that marks his crowning moment.After a six year wait by UK fans, Damini Ogulu AKA Burna Boy, showed the mammoth crowd that stormed the Eventim Hammersmith Apollo for his first sold out ‘Homecoming’ UK concert (hosted by Julie Adenuga of Apple’s Beats Radio) why he was worth the wait.
On a night which coincided historically with Nigeria’s 56th Independence Anniversary, being the 1st of October, Burna Boy again demonstrated why he was the best that Nigeria had to offer in terms of lyrical content, stage craftsmanship, and artistic creativity, as well as versatility.
Burna Boy electrified the UK crowd as he delivered a highly anticipated Afro Fusion performance backed up with a commissioned full live band.
Kicking off his set with a comic show reel, and subtly making light of the extensive reports about why he had not performed in the UK in the past seven years, Burna Boy used the opportunity to set the records straight.
The crowd went into a frenzy as he emerged from the back of a police van, opening the act with his monster hit, aptly titled ‘All Eyes On Me’, a clear indication that he would be the cynosure of all eyes for the entire duration of the night.
His straight one hour forty-five minute set had the audience spell-bound, singing along and dancing to the multiple hits in his line-up, such as ‘Like To Party’, ‘Soke’, ‘Rizzler’, and ‘Don Gorgon’, whilst also paying homage to the friends who had been by his side over the years with a previously unreleased track titled ‘Mandem’.
The set also featured the tracks Mary Jane and his current single Pree Me, from his recently released Redemption EP, which has received celebrity endorsement from artistes such as Drake, Jidenna, and the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt.
“I think my homecoming concert is the best ever show in the UK by an African artiste in recent times”, Burna Boy told the press, after concluding his set.
What’s next for the singer are impending blockbuster collaborations with international recording artiste and Mercury prize winner Skepta, Krept and Konan, Lily Allen and of course, his upcoming feature on Sean Paul’s soon to be released album.
Burna Boy is currently on a roller coaster ride. We have seen this happen before. The singer has a penchant for extreme acts of controversy, which often spark outrage and takes the attention away from his music. Right now, he is focus on the music, and that’s what really counts.
Burna Boy possesses one of the most impressive and substantial talents from Africa. So far that has propelled him to his current height, but distractions and a lack of strong advisers and handlers have resulted in poor business decisions that have held him back. He needs to get the right team, keep his business on course, and continue to improve on his artistry. At the moment he seems to have his priorities right, and that has resulted in happiness and a real sustained winning streak.