Harps on Int’l collabos
By Benjamin Njoku
Burna Boy’s grandfather and former manager to Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Afrobeat legend, Benson Idonije, predicted after his grandson, Burna Boy, lost the coveted ‘Best World Music Album’ award to Beninoise singer, Angélique Kidjo, at last year’s Grammy Awards that he would eventually bring home the award. His prediction came to pass last Sunday when the African giant won the award and set a new record.
In a telephone conversation with Sunday Vanguard the former music critic says given his grandson’s talent, he has the prospects of winning more Grammy awards. He also talks about what Burna Boy should do to sustain the tempo, and why international collaboration should be encouraged among Nigerian musicians.
You predicted that your grandson would win the Grammy. How do you feel seeing the prediction come true?
I am happy that he has won the Grammy. He has done the country proud and we are all happy for him.
Now that he has won the Grammy, which is the dream of every musician, what else do you expect from him?
He will continue to win more Grammys. This is the first Grammy award he has won. He will win another one and he will continue to win. Some artistes have won over 20 Grammy awards. The sky is his limit.
But did you see it coming as you predicted last year?
Of course, yes. He missed winning the award narrowly last year. And I was not surprised he won it this year.
From your assessment as a veteran music critic, what do you think makes Burna Boy different from other musicians in Nigeria?
Burna boy has tremendous talent. That is what set him apart from other musicians in the country.
You have watched Burna Boy transform into a world-class singer. What did you think of him during his growing-up days?
I have always thought in my mind that he will succeed and get to the top of his career. He has been growing towards what he has become today.
Judging from your wealth of experience as a music critic, do you think any other Nigerian artiste has what it takes to win the Grammy in future?
Of course, yes. A lot of Nigerian artistes have talents that tend towards purposeful creativity. Many new talents are coming up and there is hope for more of them to win the Grammys and gain global recognition.
What do you think of international collaboration that helped your grandson to win the Grammy?
It should be the way to go for Nigerian artistes. Collaboration with foreign artistes is good and it helps expand the scope of your popularity. But in collaborating, you must be talented and seen to be good, or near-as good as the artiste you are collaborating with.
Having won the Grammy, how do you think Burna Boy can retain the spot?
There is what we call the art of staying on the top. Now that he has won the Grammy, he should continue to win more Grammys. To be able to win more awards, he has to up his game and sustain the tempo.