Davido’s dreams of bringing home his first Grammy at the 66th Grammy Awards ceremony didn’t come to fruition. Despite nominations in three categories—Best African Music Performance, Best Global Music Performance, and Best Global Album—the Afrobeats superstar walked away empty-handed. While fans expressed their disappointment online, seasoned Grammy watchers might not have been entirely surprised.
Davido’s nominations marked his first foray into this award, putting him up against established names in the global categories. These often favour artists with a more international reach and cross-genre appeal, making it an uphill battle for even the most popular artists from less mainstream scenes. Additionally, the Best African Music category itself was newly established, raising questions about its criteria and potential for regional bias.
Despite the outcome, Davido’s nominations were undoubtedly a significant achievement, highlighting his growing global influence and the rising tide of Afrobeats music. While the coveted golden gramophone wasn’t meant to be this time, his presence on the Grammy stage served as a major recognition for both himself and the African music scene.
This year’s nominations pave the way for future opportunities, and who knows, maybe next time he’ll return home a Grammy winner.
Here are three reasons Davido failed to win any of his nominations:
While Davido’s Grammy nominations were a historic moment for Afrobeats music, taking home the golden gramophone on his first try proved a tall order. The world of the Grammys, especially the global categories, often favours artists with a longer track record of nominations and wins, creating a sort of “pedigree” effect. This was evident in the past experiences of other prominent African artists.
Burna Boy, despite his global reach, lost his first nomination in 2020 to the seasoned Angelique Kidjo, who already had a Grammy win under her belt from 2008. Similarly, Wizkid’s 2022 nominations faced stiff competition from Kidjo once again and ultimately lost to a rising Pakistani artist with previous nominations.
Davido’s nominated song “Feel” found itself up against “Pashto,” a collaboration featuring multiple Grammy winners like Béla Fleck, a bluegrass legend with a whopping 15 awards. This stacked competition highlights the challenges faced by even the most popular artists from less mainstream scenes in these categories.
However, remember that Davido’s nominations themselves represent a significant achievement. They not only show his own growing global influence but also pave the way for future recognition of Afrobeats music as a whole. While the coveted award might not have graced his hands this time, it’s simply the first chapter in a story with potential for future Grammy glory, both for Davido and the African music scene he represents.
The Grammys favour traditional folk composition
When it comes to winning Grammys in the global categories, the Recording Academy tends to like music with strong cultural roots and a mix of sounds from different continents. Think traditional instruments and deep cultural connections.
This explains why Burna Boy was the only artist to win with a mainstream pop album (“Twice As Tall” in 2021). Other attempts by him and Wizkid to snag an award fell short to artists using more traditional folk sounds in their music.
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Davido’s “Timeless,” while awesome, is a polished, mainstream Afrobeats album with subtle African influences. This might be why it lost to Shakti’s “This Moment,” which mixes Indian folk instruments with jazz in a unique way. The same goes for “Pashto,” the winning song in the Best Global Music Performance category. It blends bluegrass legends with Indian masters, creating a powerful fusion.
So, while Davido’s nominations were a big deal, the competition in the global categories is fierce, favouring music that truly pushes boundaries and celebrates various cultures through sound. That’s something to remember for next time.
Tyla had a much bigger song
While Davido’s fans dreamt of him bringing home the first-ever “Best African Music Performance” Grammy for his catchy tune “Unavailable,” the award ultimately went to South African singer Tyla’s “Water.” Though some fans might be scratching their heads at this outcome, a closer look reveals some key factors that influenced the judges’ decision.
Firstly, “Water” achieved notable mainstream success in the US, climbing to the coveted number 7 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. To solidify this, the song even graced listeners with a remix featuring none other than hip-hop heavyweight Travis Scott. In comparison, Davido’s “Unavailable” didn’t manage to crack the chart, putting it at a disadvantage from the get-go.
Secondly, Tyla managed to cultivate a strong presence within the US music scene, garnering considerable mainstream traction and publicity for “Water.” While Davido boasts a larger global fanbase, Tyla’s strategic efforts to capture the American audience resonated well with the Grammy judges. Remember, the awards themselves are rooted in the US, making domestic popularity a significant factor.
Adding another layer to the story, some music publications like Pitchfork even predicted Burna Boy’s “City Boy” as a potential winner, further suggesting that “Unavailable” might not have been the strongest contender amongst the nominees.
Taking all these elements into account, Davido’s loss at the Grammys, though disappointing for his ardent fans, shouldn’t be seen as a setback. Instead, it marks the beginning of a promising journey on the prestigious stage.
By continuing to create cool music and strategically engaging with the US audience, Davido’s time to shine and bring home that golden gramophone might just be closer than anticipated. His dedication and talent are undeniable, and who knows, maybe next year, the award will finally have his name etched on it.
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