Burna Boy is on the cover of Billboard‘s BBMusicCon issue. In the feature, written by Heran Mamo, he talked about his music genre – Afro-Fusion – his mission as a music star, his next album – Love, Damini – among other things.
Here are a few takeaways from the feature story.
Burna Boy gives his all to his performances
In the feature, Ronami Ogulu, Burna Boy’s sister, stylist and creative director said: “He gives his all. And when he comes off (stage), you’ll see him in the dressing room, falling flat out on the floor and shaking. Then he comes up and we patch him altogether and we go again the next day.”
We see the results of him giving his all. You can feel the energy from the room, even if you’re kilometres away, streaming the show from your mobile phone.
“He’s a fantastic performer. Even though I’ve watched Burna more than 100 times on stage, I still get excited,” says Osita ‘Duke’ Ugeh, CEO of promoter Duke Concept. “When the artist gives you good music and gives you a fantastic show, you’re able to sell the artist. Burna puts in the work with his performance, his production,” Ugeh concludes.
Burna Boy wants to use his music as a bridge-builder for all Black people worldwide
The music star tells Heran that his calling is to spread his signature Afro-fusion music all over the world. “It has always been my vision to build a bridge between all Black people in all parts of the world through the music and performance. Music is the No. 1 messenger,” he states.
He took the stairs to greatness in the live performance sector, says “momager” Bose Ogulu
Burna Boy’s mom and manager Bose Ogulu told Heran: “We took the stairs. We didn’t do any elevators. We spent a lot of time and money planning to go around the world. We ran through the label’s tour support pretty quickly, so we were using money he’s making from shows in other places, particularly in Africa, to bankroll our initial touring. Yes, it has been hard, but there is no way we’re performing 16,000- to 20,000-capacity venues when we didn’t start with 3,000.”
Burna wants to set a standard for live performances that’ll outlive him
With global applause for his sold-out show at Madison Square Garden, Burna Boy said he’s not resting on his oars when it comes to giving his fans and the audience a good show.
“It’s like I’m better at (performing) than making music. And that says a lot because I’m really good at making music. You see how with Christ, there’s B.C. and A.D.? I feel like that’s how it is for me with performing. There’s going to be a ‘Before Burna Came’ and ‘After Burna’s Death’ time period in the performing arts world. That’s my legacy.”
Recording music is “more therapy than business” for Burna Boy
With his Twice As Tall album which won the Best Global Music Album at the 2021 Grammys, Burna Boy wanted to speak to the whole world. The album, executive-produced by Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Bose, also had American stars Timbaland and Naughty by Nature making appearances in it. With the album topping charts in the U.S, Burna is doubling down on reaching more people in the U.S and North American market, but that’s not really what is major for him, he says.
He says that recording music is “more therapy than business — it’s business second,” he says. However, “you can only say that if you have money. I’ve got the money. It’s not about that for me. It’s about that for my mom and my sister, though. That’s why we have arguments when it’s time to release stuff, because I just want to do what I want to do. And sometimes what I want to do is not the best thing for business,” he concludes.
According to Bose Ogulu, the business side of things is left to “the marketing team, the whatever team, and above all, we leave it to God.”
Burna Boy wants to conquer more unconventional stages
What are Burna Boy’s dream concert venues? He says, “other than all the stadiums in the world, (they) are unorthodox, like a theme park or a f—ing train station. A concert in a big-ass train station, and there are no trains and the whole tracks are filled with people. I just want to do weird sh-t like that for my own pleasure.”
His Next Album
The album, titled “Love, Damini,” will be released July 2 this year, as Burna Boy announced during his MSG concert.
“That’s how I like to sign all my letters because I didn’t know the proper (signoff). It’s a bit personal (because) it’s bringing you into my head on my birthday — when you turn 31 and ain’t got no kids, everything is going good and bad at the same time. You reflect and then you get as lit as possible. Then you sleep and wake up and reflect again. I’m reflecting on everything — what I’m doing and what’s happening where I’m from. Where I’m from is a part of where I’m going.”
Photo Credits: Seye Isikalu | Billboard