Posted July 15, 2020 by Jeff in Tunes

African Singer Burna Boy Seeks to Show How Music Can Unite

Burna Boy by Nicolas Gerardin
Burna Boy by Nicolas Gerardin

The 2019 BET Awards Best International Act winner Burna Boy has released “Wonderful,” the first official single from Twice as Tall, his forthcoming studio album.

The high-energy, percussion-driven song serves as a musical representation of Burna’s personal journey and growth during the transition from last year’s African Giant to Twice as Tall. “The song boasts a beautiful message of growth, pride, perseverance, true hustle and soaking in the wonderful things the world can offer us,” reads a press release.  

“It’s important for me to show that music is a uniting force that transcends state lines, barriers and borders,” Burna Boy says in a statement. “This song is about the ‘wonders’ of seeing the impact of my music on people’s lives as they shared their joy, pain and pleasure with me while I toured the world. It serves as a note that no matter how far you go, or how hard you work; you must be ready to come home, the pandemic forced us all to take refuge in our homes. Above all, Africa is home; it is the motherland to all people. For us to truly matter, Africa has to matter.”

Last year, the Nigerian star made his U.S. late night television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! followed by appearances on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He also appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk, performing four live songs including his global hit “Ye.” 

 At the 2019 BET Awards Burna Boy won Best International Artist in addition to receiving an in-depth profile piece with the Wall Street Journal which explores how the Nigerian star is finding success on his own terms in the United States. He also had an extensive year of live performances, traveling across North America on his the African Giant Returns tour with sold-out stops in Toronto, New York, and LA through September, spending an additional two months for its European leg from Paris through Leicester, and had two fiery live sets at both weekends of Coachella.

Burna Boy was born in Port Harcourt City and started producing music when he was just 10 years old. After graduating from school, he relocated to London for university but dropped out and moved back to Nigeria to pursue music. His father always listened to dancehall and reggae music, an early influence and integral part of his musical style.

Burna Boy’s grandfather managed Fela Kuti for the first 15 years of his career; that has shaped Burna Boy’s sound and his understanding of himself as an artist that represents Nigeria and Africa. Burna Boy classifies his own music as Afro-fusion, a genre he says he invented.

Burna Boy Image by Nicolas Gerardin


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].