BURNA BOY – Artist Spotlight Stories

BURNA BOY – Artist Spotlight Stories

INTERVIEWER:How did your name,
“Burna Boy,” come about?
What does it mean?BURNA BOY:
I used to take comic books
and, like, draw comics
and stuff.
It was strictly
superhero stuff,
like Spider-Man, you know?So I ended up wanting to be
a superhero as well.
[LAUGHS]And I didn’t have no name,
so I just picked
“Burna Boy,” you know?
I grew up in Port Harcourt
most of my life.
That’s the south side
of Nigeria.
I don’t know.
It’s a different world.
There’s a lot of similarities
between us and every other
developing country.
There’s heaven and hell.
[CHUCKLES]And the same place is heaven
for the people that have
money and connections.
And it’s hell, or even worse
than hell, for people
who don’t, you know?
It’s like we’re a very strong
people who are very good
at adapting to situations
and making the best
of the worst situations.
That’s the spirit
we have, you know?
I feel like that’s what
the music tried to say.
[CHILDREN SINGING]I used to do songs off
of anything I could find.
I’ll get beats from video games
and movies and stuff.
And that’s how
I used to get the tune,
and then I found out
about FruityLoops,
and I started making
and producing my own stuff.
There’s some songs
where it’s like… People don’t realize
until much later that, “Yo, he wasn’t making
this song for anyone
to dance.” [CHUCKLES] LikeSoke,
everyone was dancing
in the club to it, but, really, there’s some
real stuff. I’m telling you
how there’s no lights,like electricity,
where I come from.
The water, we don’t…
You know, no money,
there’s like police,
you know…
[LAUGHS] Basically,
it’s crazy, man. I don’t wanna go
into all this, man, but, really, this is what
I’m saying in my music. It’s like my punching-bag time. Well, from the start,
it would be
the Damini Ogulu story. [CHUCKLES] It wouldn’t be
the Burna Boy story.Always asked
a lot of questions.
Every sentence started with,
“But why?” And wouldn’t stop
doing anything out of fear,
and just getting hurt.
“I’m Batman. I’m Superman.”
Other kids are being proper
and singing nursery rhymes
and all of that.
And my son was singing
Naughty by Nature,

Hip Hop Hooray,with all the moves
and everything.
Well, I got over
the initial embarrassment
because I had come
to realize I probably
wasn’t very normal myself. BURNA’S FRIEND:
We always used to
get punished by the school
because we were
always causing trouble.
So a lot of teachers would saythat we were
not gonna go far in life, that “if you’re
living life like this, “how far are you gonna go?”Ah, we had a different opinion.BOSE:So I knew
he wasn’t going to be
a great academic.
But he was interested in music.They would come
to my house and all that, always composing rap songs
and all that. The records that were
in my house then,they were Fela’s records
and jazz records.
So he listened
to what I had in the house,
I mean, every day.
That was the grounding
for what he’s doing. Because he’s versatile. And then in school,
set up a music band, and they performed
at school functions. And one of the directors
of the school called me towards the end of
his secondary school
and was like, “Mrs. Ogulu, your son
is going to be a superstar.” I was like, “What? Really?” “Mark my words,
he’s going to be
very big, very rich. “Get ready
for fame and fortune.”[DARKOPLAYING]Just, growing up, being exposed
to different kinds of music
and different kinds of culture.We hung out in Biarritz a lot.
It’s a rock city.
Hanging around the surfers
and all of that.
You know, he would
spend summers in
my brother’s house in London,
not in his house,but everywhere underground
that there was music.
So he hung out
a lot in Brixton.
the new song.BurnaisYeon steroids, because what he’s done is, he’s now found out that
that Afro-beat,
it is working, has worked for him. He’s now sat on it
and developed a monster. That’s why, in five days,
it’s the most…
It’s a hit record. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
So that’s fine. Easy, easy. You know, the space
that he’s sitting in is
a very unique space for us. Absolutely. Because he’s not a Wiz,
he’s not a David. He’s not Patoranking.
He’s not Flayboy. I mean, he is Burna. MAN: He’s on his own… That’s the most… And that sound is almost like taking
a little bit of Fela… MAN: Yeah. Then spinning it around! [HIP-HOP MUSIC PLAYING] WOMAN:It makes me feel good.
I get up and I dance to it.
And I feel like that’s
the whole point of Afro-beat.
You need to dance. Shake your a… [LAUGHTER] WOMAN 2:
We’ve been listening
to him since uni, so…
We love you.
We love your music.
And you’re beautiful.
You gotta shake it. Uh-huh.
When the beat drops,
you just gotta
shake what you got. You know what I’m saying? WOMAN 4:When you hear it,
it does bring people together,
people from different walks
of life, different cultures, and it just makes you
feel good on the inside.It makes you feel at home.MAN:You can see that
he’s all about the music.
He loves what he does.
He’s a great songwriter.
I mean, I’ve been
with him on the road, and he just makes things up
just there and then.
He just writes music, like, off the top of his head. Hey, Matthew? MATTHEW: Huh? When was the last time
I was in London, bro? [LAUGHS] [CROWD CHEERING] BURNA BOY:
Brixton was basically my home.
It just kind of
shows you the path.
It’s like, you can go this way.
You can go this way.
You can go this way…
[LAUGHS]Whatever way you choose,
you’re the one that chose it,
so you’re responsible for it.So you have to make
the best of it.
Most of the things
that have shaped me
into the man I am,
that’s what London taught me.[CROWD CHEERING] [LAUGHS]It deserves
a lot of credit, this place.
Ladies and gentlemen,
four o’clock!♪ Anyway♪ I thought you was a G
but you’re any snake
♪ I swear down you can’t come
Around my estate
♪ And ah gwarn like say
You bad and brave
♪ Because where me come from
Man are moving bait
♪ An’ they got the whole block
Ducking jakes
♪ So if none of you man
Gimme space
♪ I’ll show you ’bout knocking
On heaven’s gates
♪ Heaven’s gates♪ My love what’s it gonna be?♪ When they sound the alarm
Will you come find me?
♪ Mr. Bad and Boujee
Will you come pick me up?
♪ Can you guarantee?♪ When it’s time to pick a side
You’ll be on my team?
♪ Now it’s kicking off saying
World War Three
♪ Boy-oh-oh♪ You snuck up on me ♪[CROWD CHEERING] [HIP-HOP MUSIC
PLAYING ON PHONE] BOSE:It’s huge. You have
to pinch yourself and see…
[LAUGHS] You’re already
having concerts. You know, he’s just…
He’s a normal person
with lot of talent. I have to tell myself that. Um… I don’t even know
if the Grammys are
a dream anymore. It’s an expectation. [BAND PLAYING JAZZ MUSIC] BOSE:He went to school
in London.
Didn’t finish the schoolbecause he was clearly
focusing more on music
than being in uni
and studying.
[LAUGHS]He didn’t particularly want
to come back, but he literally
had no choice.
I remember, I got him a job
interning on radio
’cause I was like,
“Even if you’re going
to be a musician,
“you’re going to need
some discipline. You need
to have a routine of sorts.”He would close
at the radio station
and go to a studio session
and record.
He used to have his generator
in the trunk of his car
’cause there may be no power
in the studio.
What I didn’t know
was where the studio was. If I had known, [LAUGHS]
he wouldn’t have gone
more than once. He was in the pipelines
of Port Harcourt. The head of programs
heard one of the songs, and they just threw it
out on radio. And that was his first song.
It’s called
Freedom Freestyle.
Labels came.
“Who is this person?
We want to know the artist.
“Where does he come from?”At that point,
when you’re new, getting paid
is not the real goal.
The goal is just being known
and sharing your music.
And I think YouTube
helped a lot with that.[FREEDOM FREESTYLEPLAYING] BURNA BOY:YouTube is…
For me, that’s how people
start seeing me
and not just hearing.
That was the way to get
yourself across.
It’s like, you put your thing
on YouTube, and you have
people calling you
from Panama and stuff,commenting under your things,
and you know…
It travels, man.It’s also, on the flip side,
you know… It’s kind of exposed
a lot of the world to me that I didn’t even
know existed, bro. And it’s free. [LAUGHS] You know? So you go to these TV stations,
and you have to pay for your video to be played. It’s tough if you’re not signed
to no major label… ‘Cause you have to understand,
I started recording music in the Treehouse,
in the pipelines
of Port Harcourt. [LAUGHS] You understand?
So it’s a lot, you know? It’s something
to be thankful for,
you know?[KILLIN’ DEMPLAYING] BOSE:I think it’s not
just about African music.
I think it’s the whole
African culture.
I think it’s always been here.Now, I think it’s the Internet.I think YouTube played
an important role
in getting to not just hear
the music but see
how the people live
and respond to the music
in their own environment.
My people been through
and go through so much,
so I have nothing to
talk about, you know?
[LAUGHS]So, yeah, it’s a great honor
to be able to build
or to paint,
to show the world the pictures
of me and my race
and my country
and my continent as a whole
and my kinship.[SONG CONTINUES] [MUSIC PLAYING] YouTube has done a lot
for African music. And for African music, me, I’m thinking
of especially Afro-beats. Afro-beats. BURNA BOY:
The most influential
is definitely Fela.
Definitely, hands down.He created a sound
like a movement
that’s still existing today.
BENSON:This whole
generation of musicians,
this generation of musicians,
uh, they all have been
inspired by him.
Whether they are playing
Highlife now or Afro-beat or Afro-pop,
whatever they call it,he has influenced all of them.[ALL CHEERING]Everybody say, “Yeah, yeah.”ALL: Yeah, yeah!Everybody say, “Yeah, yeah.”ALL:Yeah, yeah!WOMAN: No, no, no.
Just one photo. Love you all. Thank you. Take one from her phone.
She wants one from her phone. They want tickets
for tonight.
Can we still buy? It’s just three
of you, eh? No, and she wants to go. And I want to go, too. BURNA BOY:
Where is she? Where is she? My God. Yes! I need tickets for them. [MUSIC PLAYING] Whoa!Louder, louder. Bass, bass.Loud.[BEHIND BARZPLAYING] ♪I got people depending on me♪ You just not gon’
Be f… with me
♪ This forever
I’m stuck with my team
♪ Tell ’em shallow
I f… know deep
♪ I got ten toes on my feet♪ So, it’s ten toes
How you mean
♪ Better watch how
You talking on me
♪ If you talking bad
You better mean it
♪ Mean it♪ Me, I do this for my people♪ Me, I do this for myself♪ I ain’t here for no reason♪ I don’t think you understand♪ Couple’ niggas
Didn’t like me
♪ They just couldn’t
Get it like me
♪ I told you it ain’t love♪ I said that I got
People depending on me ♪
MATTHEW: I think we left
here at 12:20. We were like, “All right,
we’ll get there at 1:00.
The show starts at 1:30.” The second we pull off,
like immediately… And nobody knew where
we were staying, but the second we got
into the street, all the kids ran up on the car.
It’s like 300, 400 deep,holding the car, slapping
the car, and he just bought
this Range Rover.
All of them,
they’re screaming, “Ye.”
Ye! Ye! Ye! MATTHEW:Singing “Ye.”And he’s just like,
“Yo, this is too much.”
There was a point where
we were like, “Yo, should we
just turn around?”
We got cornered
in the parking lot
of the Eko Hotel.
The driver’s trying to get out
and just gets blocked off.
That’s when s… got wild.[LOUD CLAMORING] [ALL CHEERING][YEPLAYING] BURNA BOY:As for me,if I talk about something
that’s happened to me,
it’s gonna appeal to somebody
that it’s happened to.
People are gonna be like,
“Whoa, he’s talking about me.”
It’s like they are me.That’s why a lot of artists,
you don’t hear about them
after a little while,
because they’re here
for the wrong reason.
They don’t understand
the gravity of music.
Music is not a game.♪ Oluwaburna
Uh-huh, yeah, yeah
♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeahOn your phones,
turn the lights on
for the national anthem.
♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!♪ Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah…
BURNA BOY:That’s what
really matters, man,
is how many people you touch
and how people feel
the feeling, the actual
out-of-body experience.
From my happy place,
to create a happy place
for a lot of people,
I feel like that’s
the biggest achievement
anyone can ever get.
You can’t plan that.That is God’s work.♪ Oluwaburna
Uh-huh, yeah, yeah
♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah♪ Yeah, uh-huh, yeah, yeah♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah♪ Yeah, uh-huh, yeah, yeah♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah♪ This one na gbedu
Wey dey ja pata
♪ Me, I no get time
I dey da pada…
WOMAN:I am sat down now
with Burna Boy, who just gave
an iconic performance.
What message have you got
to the fans that have been
watching you all night?
BURNA BOY:Thank you, guys,
for putting up with
my dumb a… all night.
Same thing, man.
Just thankful to God
and to everyone involved,
you know? Tonight was special.
Very special to me.♪ My nigga, what’s it gon’ be?♪ G-Wagon or de Bentley?♪ The gyaldem riding with me♪ I no fit, die for nothing♪ Oh, baby, your body’s on fire♪ Yeah, body’s on fire♪ Oh, baby, your body’s on fire♪ Yeah, body’s on fire ♪

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