Who is The First Nigerian to Win a Grammy?Nigeria is a country renowned for its vibrant music industry, with talented artists and producers contributing immensely to the African music scene.

Nigerian musicians have won several awards on the global stage, but none is more prestigious than the Grammy Awards. Winning a Grammy is considered the highest recognition in the music industry, and it is a dream come true for most musicians.

In this blog post, we will explore the first Nigerian to win a Grammy Award and their impact on the Nigerian music industry.


The Grammy Awards, also known as the Gramophone Awards, is an annual ceremony hosted by the Recording Academy to recognize outstanding achievements in the music industry.

The awards ceremony features different categories, including Best Album, Best Song, and Best New Artist. Winning a Grammy is one of the most significant achievements for any musician, as it signifies their contribution to the music industry.

For Nigerians, winning a Grammy is not just a personal achievement but a testament to the country’s thriving music industry.

Who is the First Nigerian to Win a Grammy?

The first Nigerian to win a Grammy Award is Babatunde Olatunji, a master drummer, and percussionist. He won the award in 1991 in the Best World Music Album category for his album, “Planet Drum.”

Babatunde Olatunji was born on April 7, 1927, in Ajido, a small fishing village near Badagry, Lagos State. He began his musical career as a drummer and percussionist in the early 1950s and quickly gained recognition for his unique style.

Babatunde Olatunji’s Musical Journey

Babatunde Olatunji’s music was heavily influenced by his Yoruba heritage, and he often incorporated traditional Yoruba rhythms into his performances.

In the late 1950s, he moved to the United States and began performing with various jazz musicians, including John Coltrane, Quincy Jones, and Herbie Hancock.

He released his first album, “Drums of Passion,” in 1960, which became a massive success and introduced African music to a wider audience.

Over the years, Babatunde Olatunji continued to release several albums and collaborate with different musicians, including Carlos Santana and Mickey Hart.

He also founded the Olatunji Center for African Culture in New York City, where he taught traditional African music and dance to young people. His contribution to African music and culture earned him several awards, including a Grammy in 1991.

Impact on Nigerian Music Industry

Babatunde Olatunji’s Grammy win was not just a personal achievement but a significant milestone for the Nigerian music industry.

His win opened doors for other Nigerian musicians to gain recognition on the global stage and inspired many young people to pursue a career in music. He was a trailblazer and a role model to many Nigerian musicians, and his legacy lives on today.

The Nigerian music industry has evolved significantly since Babatunde Olatunji’s win in 1991, with several talented artists and producers making a mark on the global music scene.

From Fela Kuti to Burna Boy, Nigerian musicians have continued to push the boundaries and introduce new sounds to the world.

Who is The First Nigerian Female to Win Grammy?

Nigeria, a country known for its diverse cultural heritage, has produced many talented musicians over the years.

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However, it was not until 2021 that a Nigerian woman made history by becoming the first female artist from the country to win a Grammy Award.

Tems is the first Nigerian female musician to win a Grammy Award.

This groundbreaking achievement was accomplished by none other than the talented and tenacious singer-songwriter, Burna Boy’s protégé, Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as “Tems.”

Who is Tems?

Tems was born on June 11, 1996, in Lagos, Nigeria. She grew up in a musically inclined family, and by the time she was six, she was already singing in the choir.

Despite her passion for music, she initially pursued a degree in Economics at the University of Lagos. However, she soon realized that her true calling lay in music, and she dropped out of school to focus on her music career.

In 2018, Tems released her debut single, “Mr. Rebel,” which quickly gained traction and earned her a loyal following.

Her unique sound, which blends elements of R&B, Afrobeat, and soul, soon caught the attention of Burna Boy, one of Nigeria’s most successful musicians, who invited her to collaborate on his hit song, “On the Low.”

Tems’ career took off from there, and she continued to release a string of successful singles, including “These Days” and “Damages.”

In 2020, she collaborated with WizKid, another Nigerian superstar, on the song “Essence,” which became an international hit and was even featured on former President Barack Obama’s playlist.

However, Tems’ biggest achievement to date came in 2021 when she was featured on the song “Essence,” which won the Best Global Music Performance award at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.

This was a historic moment for Tems and Nigeria, as she became the first female artist from the country to win a Grammy Award.

Tems’ win at the Grammys is a testament to her talent, hard work, and perseverance. She has been an inspiration to many young women in Nigeria who aspire to pursue careers in the music industry.

Her success has also helped to put Nigeria’s music scene on the map and has opened doors for other Nigerian artists to gain international recognition.

In conclusion, Tems’ achievement at the Grammys is a milestone for Nigerian music and a symbol of hope for young women across the country.

Her dedication and passion for her craft have paid off, and she has cemented her place as one of Nigeria’s most talented musicians. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this rising star.


Babatunde Olatunji’s win at the Grammy Awards in 1991 was a significant achievement not just for him but for the Nigerian music industry as a whole.

His unique style and contribution to African music and culture earned him global recognition and opened doors for other Nigerian musicians.

Today, the Nigerian music industry is thriving, with several talented artists and producers making a name for themselves on the global stage. Babatunde Olatunji’s legacy lives on, and his contribution to African music and culture will always