Nigerians’ Grammy Award Stories – Davido, Femi Kuti, Sunny Ade etc

Estimated read time 11 min read

The contribution and achievements of Nigerians in the Grammy Awards have increased significantly in recent years. In this article, we will explore the achievement made Nigerians since the inception of the Grammy Awards in 1958. 

We’ll discuss which Nigerians have won the Grammy award. Which Nigerians have Grammy nominations? The First Nigerian artist to win a Grammy? What is Wizkid, Davido and Tems’ achievement in the Grammy? And a lot more.

The Grammys or Grammy award is a yearly ceremony event organised the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) of the United States meant for the recognition of the success and achievements of composers, musicians, singers, music producers, directors, and other professionals in the entertainment industries.

First Nigerian to win a Grammy Award

Helen Folasade Ado (Sade Adu) is the first Nigerian and African first to win a Grammy Award. She is British-born Nigerian. She won the award for her original work in the Best New Artist category in 1986. Sade Adu has gone ahead to win two other Grammy awards afterwards. 

However, Angélique Kidjo remains the highest Grammy award winner in Africa. Angélique Kidjo has won the Grammy award for a record four times while Sade Adu also has won the highest number of Grammys a Nigerian. She has three Grammy awards.

Which Nigerians have won the Grammy award?

There are two categories of Grammy award winners. The artist that won the Grammy for their original work and the artist that won the Grammy after featuring in the work of another artist. Nonetheless, you are a Grammy award winner regardless of how you won it.

Nigerians that have won the Grammy Award

  • Burna Boy 
  • Sade Adu
  • Babatunde Olatunji
  • Sikiru Adepoju
  • Lekan Babalola
  • Hakeem TemidKeayp Seriki
  • Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel (Seal)
  • Wizkid
  • Tems
  • Kelvin Olusola
  • Jean Nkiru

Sade Adu Grammy Award

Sade Adu is a Nigerian-British singer, songwriter, and composer who is best known as the lead singer of the band Sade. The band is known for their smooth soulful sound, which blends elements of jazz, and R&B, and their music has been popular for several years

Sade and her band have won multiple Grammy Awards throughout their career, including the award for Best New Artist in 1986, and several other nominations for Best R&B Performance a Duo or Group with Vocals . Sade Adu’s powerful and distinctive voice, as well as her impact on popular music, has made her one of the most influential and respected musicians of her generation.

Burna Boy Grammy Award

Burna Boy remains one of the few Nigerian Artists to have won a Grammy award for his original work. Burna Boy’s Album, Twice as Tall won the Best Worlds Music Album in 2020. Burna boy has over four other grammy award nominations in various categories. 

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Wizkid Grammy Award

Wizkid has won the Grammy once. He was also nominated twice for the Grammy. Wizkid won the award as a featured artist in the category of, Best Music Video. Brown Skin Girl Beyonce featuring Saint John and Wizkid earned him the award.

Tems Grammy Award

Temilade Openiyi popularly known as Tems won the Grammy award for the song Wait For You Future which also features Kendrick Lamar and DJ Khaled. 

She won the Grammy award in the category of Best Melodic Rap Performance. Prior to wining the Grammy in 2023, Tems recorded and produce her first single, Mr Rebel in 2018.

 Wizkid song, Essence has also contributed in further exposing her talents to the world. This song earn her global recognition and collaborations with various artist. 

Kevin Olusola

Kevin Olusola is a Nigerian Two time Grammy award winner. He won the Grammy with a pop group called Pentatonix. The group has over 20 million Youtube subscribers. Kelvin Olusola is a saxophonist, songwriter, producer singer and many more.

 Kelvin Olusola has won three Grammy award. The first Grammy was in 201n 5, for the category of Best Arrangement, Instrumental category for their song “Daft Punk”, Daft Punk. 

Jean Nkiru

Jean Nkiru is another Nigerian artist that has won a Grammy. Nkiru is a music director and artist. She has worked as a director for Beyonce and Jay Z. Jean Nkiru won her Grammy for directing the video of Beyonce’s Brown Skin Girl.

Lekan Babalola

Lekan Babalola is a professional Nigerian artist that has won two Grammy Awards in 2006 and 2009. His awards were for his contribution to the work of Harli Faiti Tours* Heart Of the Moon and Cassandra Wilson’s album Loverly. 

He worked with the band called Samba Samba Band and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers Lekan Babalola specialised in playing Bongo drums. Lekan Babalola has over seven albums to his name 

Sikiru Adepoju

 is a Nigerian percussionist and recording artist that has won a Grammy Award. He won the award in the Best World Music Album category, 1991 for his contribution to the album “Planet Drum” which was produced Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. 

Adepoju has been a frontrunner in the world music genre, blending traditional African percussion with contemporary music to create a special sound. 

His Grammy win has solidified his place as a leader in the world music community and also helped to bring attention to the musical heritage of Africa. Adepoju continues to perform and record music, bringing his unique blend of world rhythms to audiences around the world.

Babatunde Olatunji 

Babatunde Olatunji was a Nigerian drummer, social activist and percussionist who received recognition for his contributions to the world of music. Though he did not win a Grammy Award directly, he was nominated for Best World Music Album in 1991 for his album “Planet Drum,” which he recorded as part of an assemble of percussionists led Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. The album later went on to win the Grammy in that category. 

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Babatunde Olatunji was a huge figure in the world music scene, and his work helped to bring African drumming and percussion to the global audience. He was also a passionate educator and cultural ambassador who uses his music to share the rich traditions of Africa with audiences around the world. Babatunde Olatunji passed away in 2003, but his legacy still inspire musicians and fans alike.

Hakeem TemidKeayp Seriki

Hakeem TemidKeayp Seriki is known the stage name Chamillionair. He is an American artist of Nigerian Origin. Chammillionair won the Grammy for the category of Best Rap Performance a Group / Category. This was in 2007 from his work Riddin . He was also nominated for the best rap song of the same year.

Famous Nigerian artists that never won a Grammy award

  • 2Baba
  • King Sunny Ade
  • Femi Kuti
  • Dbanj
  • P square
  • MI
  • Tiwa Savage
  • Yemi Alade

King Sunny Adé

King Sunny Adé is a Nigerian, bandleader, guitarist and singer who is considered to be one of the leaders of modern world music. He is best known for his contributions to the genre of juju music, which is a style of Nigerian popular music which combines elements of African and Western music.

 King Sunny Adé has won several accolades throughout his career but not the grammy instead had two nominations nominations. Though, he did not win a Grammy Award, King Sunny Adé continues to perform and record music, and his influence can be felt in the work of countless musicians who have followed in his style.

Femi Kuti 

Femi Kuti is another prominent Nigerian artist that did not win a Grammy Award. Femi Kuti is a Nigerian saxophonist, singer, and bandleader who is the son of the legendary musician and political activist Fela Kuti. Femi Kuti has continued his father’s legacy playing a prominent role in the world music scene and using his music to address social issues and political issues

During his career, Femi Kuti has received several Grammy Award nominations but he never won any. Infact, he had four nominations


Davido, whose real name is David Adedeji Adeleke is a Nigerian singer, producer and songwriter who is one of the most successful musicians in Africa. He has won several awards and accolades for his music but Davido he has not yet won a Grammy Award.

 However, he has received recognition from the Grammy Awards, as he was featured on the 2021 Best Global Music Album-winning album “Black Messiah” Robert Glasper. This was his first Grammy recognition, and has helped to bring attention to the thriving music scene in Nigeria. Davido continues to perform and create and music that blends traditional African rhythms with contemporary sounds.


Michael Babatunde Okiki Adeoba popularly known MI as Yung MI, is a Nigerian rapper, singer, and songwriter. He is considered one of the founder of Nigerian hip-hop music and is known for his unique style of music that mixes elements of hiphop, Afrobeats, and other African musical genres.

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MI rose to fame in the early 2000s with his debut album, “Talk About It,” which was well-received audiences and critics alike. The album was a commercial success, and MI quickly became one of the most recognisable names in Nigerian hip-hop industry.

MI never won a Grammy award. He has however; received several awards and nominations for his contributions to the Nigerian music industry, including the Headies Award for Best Rap Album, the Nigerian Entertainment Award for Best Rap Act and the MTV Africa Music Award for Best Hip-Hop.

 P Square

P-Square, also known as Peter and Paul Okoye never won a Grammy award. P Square were Nigerian musical duo made up of twin brothers. The duo were active in the music industry from 2003 till date. Though they went there different ways in 2017 and later return together in 2021. 

P-Square was considered one of the most successful and influential musical acts in Nigeria. They combined elements of R&B, African pop, hip-hop, and traditional African music.

P Square debut album, “Last Night,” was released in 2003 and was well-received audiences and critics. They have released several other successful albums, including “Game Over,” “Get Squared,” and “The Invasion,” which cemented their position as one of the leading musical acts in Africa.

P-Square were highly recognized for their musical achievements. They received several awards and nominations which include the Nigerian Music Award for Best R&B/Pop Album, the Kora Award for Best African Group, and the BET Award for Best International Act

Tiwa Savage

Tiwa Savage did not win the Grammy. She is a Nigerian actress, singer and songwriter. She is generally regarded as one of the leading female voices in Nigeria music and has achieved great success both locally and internationally.

Tiwa Savage rose to prominence in the 2010s with her debut album, “Once Upon a Time,” The album helped to establish her as a top talented with powerful vocalist. , and her subsequent releases, including “R.E.D” and “Sugar Cane,” further solidified her position as a leading figure in the African music industry.

Throughout her career, Tiwa Savage has work with numerous other artists, both locally and internationally, and has performed on stages around the world. Her unique sound, which blends elements of Afrobeats, pop, and R&B, has earned her a large and dedicated fanbase, and she is widely regarded as a role model for young women in the Nigeria music industry.

Tiwa Savage has received several awards and nominations including the Headies Award for Best Vocal Performance (Female), the BET Award for Best International Act and the Nigerian Entertainment Award for Best Female Act. Though she never won the Grammy.

 Yemi Alade

Yemi Alade is a reknown Nigerian singer, songwriter, and actress. She rose to prominence with her hit single “Johnny,” on 2010. Since then, Yemi Alade has released several critically acclaimed albums, including “King of Queens,” “Mama Africa,” and “Woman of Steel,”

Despite her success Yemi Alade never won the Grammy award. She has collaborated with numerous other artists, both locally and internationally.

In conclusion, these are the list of the standout artist in Nigeria. Regardless of not wiining the Grammy these artist have contributed in the development of music in Nigeria and should be celebrated. Whether or not the Grammy is the ideal yardstick assess an artist is yet to be seen.

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