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Afrobeat to the world: African stars bag Grammy nominations

Features
 Nigerian Afrobeats star Tems. (Courtesy)

The Afrobeat sound, characterised by drums, bass guitar, trumpet and rhythmic vocals among other elements- has become force to reckon with in the music world.

Now African stars are taking the beat to the Grammys, with the 65th annual ceremony due to take place in February 2023.

The nominee list is officially out, with Nigeria’s Burna Boy, Tems and Beninese star Angelique Kidjo making it, among others.

Ugandan artiste Eddy Kenzo also bagged a nomination and becomes the first Ugandan to be nominated for a Grammy Award.

Other nominees for the glamorous award are Ghana’s Rocky Dawuni, South Africa’s Zakes Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode and Wouter Kellerman.

This nomination is impressively Burna Boy’s third in a row for the Best Global Music Performance, this time for his song ‘Last last’. He is also nominated for his album 'Love, Damini'.

The celebrated Nigerian act won a Grammy for the Best Global Album for 'Twice As Tall' in 2021.

“This marks his first career Grammy win. They are the first winner of the recently renamed category, formerly known as Best World Music Album,” The Grammys wrote on its website in 2021.

Burna Boy, real name Damini Ogulu has risen to be internationally recognised and beloved, since he skyrocketed to popularity following the release of his 2012 track 'Like To Party'.

That year, the formidable performer also made strides with tracks like 'Tonight'- whose video featured cameos from African musical bigwigs like WizKid, Dammy Krane, Shank, General Pype and Vector.

“The Nigerian pop star, who in recent years has become Africa’s most successful, is smart, open-minded and unafraid in words and music,” The Guardian writes on a review of his 2020 album 'Twice As Tall'.

“He knows that, in the age of the internet, global black music styles need to be embraced, not shied away from, and he’s willing to welcome most of them, providing they come in on his terms and know not to put their feet on the furniture.”

As he won a Grammy for the album in 2021, the self-proclaimed African Giant said in his acceptance speech that “this is a big win for generations of Africans across the world.”

“No matter where you are from, no matter what you plan to do, you can achieve it,” he said.

Nigerian singer, songwriter Tems, on the other hand has been nominated for Best Rap Song and Best Melodic Rap Performance. She has been nominated for her writing on Beyonce’s 'Renaissance' album and for her contribution on rapper Future’s 'Wait For You' song.

The Nigerian singer and songwriter, whose real name is Temilade Openiyi rose to international stardom after singing on Wizkid’s 2020 track, Essence.

“Within a few short moments in the global spotlight, she cemented her spot in music history as the first Nigerian and female African artist to win the Best International Act at the 2022 BET Awards — proving that the world stage is exactly where she belongs,” Global Citizen reports on it’s website.

“She is also the first Nigerian musician to debut at number 1 on the Billboard 100 chart.”

Following the release of the nominee list, Uganda’s Eddy Kenzo has expressed that he is thrilled and honoured at the recognition.

“We are so grateful to God almighty for such a great moment in our country,” Kenzo wrote on Instagram alongside a clip celebrating with friends and family.

“My fellow artistes I wanna thank you, this is for all of us. And to my motherland Uganda, thank you for raising me,” he wrote.

Beninese sensation Angelique Kidjo proves to be a force to reckon with, as she already has 5 Grammy wins under her belt.

“Last year, Kidjo picked up the Best Global Music Album Award, while South Africa’s Black Coffee won the Best Dance/Electronic Album Award,” entertainment website Music In Africa reports.

The website adds: “Speaking to the press in Ghana in September, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr revealed that the Grammy oversight body is considering an Afrobeats category at music’s biggest awards.”

Other notable nominees on this year’s list are legendary singer Beyonce, who leads the pack with nine nominations, rapper Kendrick Lamar with eight, pop superstar Adele and Brandi Carlile with seven each.

There have also been some major snubs, with stars like rapper Nicki Minaj and RnB/Soul singer Summer Walker missing out on the enviable slots.

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