Long before Burna Boy and Davido, before Wizkid became a global darling and Rema transformed into an international sensation, Nigerians have been making their marks on the world music scene.
Many believe Fela’s first son, Femi Kuti is the first home grown music act to be nominated for the Grammys following his adventure with his Shoki Shoki album but this is practically incorrect. Although Nigerian born acts garbed in the nationality of other nations have won the prestigious awards at various times including wins by Sade Adu, Seal, Chamillonaire amongst others, another can be credited as the first ever homegrown music act to have gotten a Grammy award nod.
This is no other person than Juju music legend, King Sunny Ade.
Born Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye over seven decades ago, the iconic musician is the first Nigerian music act to be nominated for a Grammy Award. This he however got twice.
KSA got his first ever nomination 40 years ago at the 26th Grammy Awards. He was nominated in the ‘Best Ethnic Or Traditional Folk Recording’ for his impressive Synchro System album released under Island Records. Although he lost the award to Clifton Chenier, an American Creole musician, KSA made a mark as a star to watch out for.
KSA would return to the Grammy nominations list two decades and half later when he was again nominated for the Best World Album category at the 41st edition of the awards. This was five years before Afrobeat legend, Femi Kuti got his famous first nomination at the Grammys. Brazilian singer, Gilberto Gil won the category.
Coincidentally, iconic Beninese music star, Angelique Kidjo also got her second nomination in this particular category. She has however gone on to win the Best World Album category a record 5 times making her the musician to have won the category the most.
Interestingly, KSA during this era of international recognition also featured in Hollywood movies; ‘Breathless’ (1983), ‘OC and Strings’ (1985) and ‘One More Saturday Night’ (1986).