Last week, Sir Elton John featured Burna Boy’s hit song Anybody on his weekly radio show Rocket Hour. He called the track ‘fantastic’ and gave Burna Boy some quick praise. The recognition was a huge honor. Sir Elton John is a distinguished British pop rock icon and one of the highest selling music artists in the world. Burna Boy reacted on Instagram in an amusing video where he played and replayed Sir Elton’s voice in shock.
Sir Elton John is not the first global celebrity to acknowledge the young superstar and this is just one of Burna Boy’s most exciting moments this year. In July, Burna Boy performed the song Anybody on America’s late-night Jimmy Kimmel Live! The show attracts more than 2 million viewers worldwide and has hosted several high profile personalities like Kanye West, Brad Pitt, and Jada Pinkett. Burna has also appeared on another American talk show, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, where he shared some hilarious moments with the South African comedian and then performed a live medley of Ye and Anybody. In addition to all of that, Burna Boy won the BET Award for Best International Act in June, performed at the Coachella Music Festival in April, and was the only Nigerian artist with a solo feature in Beyoncé’s soundtrack album Lion King: The Gift, which she dropped in July this year.
His latest album, African Giant, has been a huge success. On Apple Music, the album has settled into the Top 5 spot in more than 15 African and South American countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, and the British Virgin Islands. The album entered the Official Albums Chart in the second week of its release, and has remained in the Top 100 for the past three weeks. On the Billboard Charts, songs from the album like Pull Up and African Giant hit some records in World Digital Song Sales. But even before the release of African Giant, Burna Boy was enjoying heavy airplay, thanks to his sizzling collaboration with Zlatan on the song Killin Dem, as well as the early release of Dangote, Gbona, and On The Low.
A quick history of Burna Boy’s music career
By the year 2013, Burna Boy had already built an eager and loyal fan base for himself with a mixtape and the songs Run My Race, Tonight and Like To Party. His fans received his first album, L.I.F.E, with hungry joy, and Burna Boy gave them two fiery hot singles – Don Gorgon and Won Da Mo – before he released his second studio album. Unfortunately his late 2015 album, On A Spaceship, didn’t do as well as his first. Soke was the only song worth mentioning, and several fans and critics voiced their disappointment openly. Many thought Burna Boy had lost enthusiasm because L.I.F.E failed to win any awards.
Things continued to take a downward turn until he released his third studio album, Outside, in 2018. The response was almost a standing ovation. The album was a stimulating collection of beautifully crafted songs like Sekkle Down, Heaven’s Gate and Ye. It won Album of The Year at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards in 2018, and Ye was one of the biggest songs of 2018. The rest is history.
Compared to the rest of his career, 2019 has been an epic year for Burna Boy. In March, he was the subject of a Youtube Music documentary, and in July he was named an Apple Music Up Next Artist. Commenting on his success in an interview with Billboard he said, “This has always been my vision. Not like I planned it, just that I knew I should stick to doing what I’m doing. It’s almost like climbing steps — you keep going up.”
Featured image source: On Tour This Fall