• FireboyDML Seizes Spotlight With Five Awards
• Wizkid Breaks Record As Most-awarded Artiste
It was a feast of colourful attires, bright lights and energetic performances, last Sunday, at the Eko Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, where the 14th edition of Headies Awards was staged. Aside from lucky guests that had the opportunity of seeing the show at the venue, though with strict adherence to COVID-19 regulations, the award ceremony was telecasted live via HipTV, giving millions of fans the opportunity to be part of the fun-filled night.
While the show successfully braved all odds to hold this year, it was still a fresh feeling for music lover’s professionals who were witnessing it virtually, for the first time. However, the show still had a sitting audience of very few entertainers, such as Tubaba, Annie Idibia, Laycon, Wizkid, Illbliss, Iyabo Ojo and others.
For the night, an array of deserving music projects and artistes – released between July 2019 and September 2020 – were recognised in several voting and non-voting categories.
The event started and ended with a lot of surprises – some good, some disappointing. Firstly, on a largely sour note, it started significantly later than usual, as the show had several technical issues while transmitting – a glitch that continued till the end of the show. Notwithstanding, it was a night of glitz and glamour.
Meanwhile, the colourful and creative attires worn by the crème of the entertainment industry, got tongues wagging. From Iyabo Ojo, who won N250, 000 for being the best dressed lady, to Erica Nlewedim, Chike Osebuka, DJ Neptune, Lilian Afegbai, Bovi, Wathoni Anyasi, Annie Idibia, and others, kept viewers stuck on the red-carpet section, till the main show began at about 9:50 p.m.
Interestingly, the show took a very positive turn as Wizkid arrived the premises, draped in a dapper all-white Polo jacket, trousers and slippers. The Starboy would later go home with two awards (Artist of the Year and Viewer’s Choice Awards), while emerging the show’s most awarded artist with 11 awards so far.
A Night Of Fireboy
When the Afro-fusion singer was called out to receive his award for best RnB album, little did he know that he would be leaving the show that night, with four awards, much to the chagrin of fellow nominees.
For the Olamide YBNL protégé, it has been a story of grace, hardwork and consistency, as within the space of two years, he released two albums, which were awarded respectively, for their brilliance. While Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps won Best RnB Album, APOLLO emerged Album of the Year and Best Pop Album.
It was quite surprising, again, that APOLLO emerged victor in the very much competitive Album of the Year category, which housed heavyweight nominations such as Burna Boy’s Grammy-nominated album, African Giant; Chike’s classic debut, Boo of the Booless; Adekunle Gold’s groove-laden Afro Pop Volume 1; and Brymo’s timeless Yellow.
Fireboy was figuratively on fire as he literally seized two other awards with his stellar discography. He clinched the Headies Revelation Award, the Best RnB single (Tattoo), totaling five awards in the single night.
“This is huge; I have no words. Thank you so much,” the award-winning singer noted as he collected one of the awards.”
Fireboy began his music career, at age 16, while he was studying English language for his first degree. Shortly after, fate took him through the fated hands of Olamide of YBNL label where he honed his craft and stole the hearts of Nigerians with his genre-bending music. His debut album, Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps shone his iconic vocal strength and poetic songwriting in the Centre stage of the Nigerian music industry.
Ozymandyias was definitely one of Brymo’s best songs of 2020 released under his critically acclaimed seventh studio album, Yellow released last year. The soft-pop song, which used a Greek mythological character as its subject to speak on political dictatorship and social revolutions, was awarded for Recording of the Year, in a non-voting category.
The Port-Harcourt bred singer, Omah Lay, also received the prestigious Next Rated Artiste award, in a voting category, while YBNL-newcomer, Bad Boy Timz carted home the prestigious Rookie of the Year award, in the heavily competitive voting category that had Olakira, Alpha P, Jamopyper and Zinoleesky. The Rookie of the Year category rewards newcomers who have a catalogue of hit-releases without releasing any album within the year under review.
The Best Music Video award was given to Director K for the stunning visuals on Davido’s 1Milli, amid notable nominations like Clarence Peters (Eli, by Fireboy DML), Meji Alabi (Smile by Wizkid), TG Omori (Billionaire by Teni), Ovie Etseyatse (Shekere by Yemi Alade).
Pheelz Riddim-a-cooler-yo clinched the Producer of the Year award for his work on Teni Apata’s hit single, Billionaire, another heavily contested category comprising of nominees like Spax, Kel P, and Sarz.
DJ Neptune’s Nobody (featuring Joeboy and Mr Eazi) won The Song of the Year award, another major category rewarding the most popular song of the year under review was bagged by. The best-selling song also clinched the Best Pop Single of the year.
In a rather shocking twist, the Best Street-Hop Artiste category was clinched by Mayorkun for his work on Geng, besting other A-list nominations like Naira Marley and Young John’s Mafo; Reminisce’s Instagram (featuring Olamide and Naira Marley); Rudeboy’s Audio Money; IVD and Zlatan’s Bolanle; and Olamide’s Pawon. Interestingly, Naira Marley whose songs were censored from the award show’s considerations in the 13th edition, due to his controversial fraud charges at the time, have now accepted considerations for the singer’s work in this edition, despite his ongoing litigations.
Significantly, Ladi Poe confidently emerged winner of the prestigious Best Collaboration award, for his song titled Know You (Featuring Simi), in a voting category that was keenly dueled by DJ Neptune’s Nobody; Davido’s Sweet in the Middle (featuring Naira Marley, Zlatan and Wurld); Joeboy’s Don’t Call Me Back (featuring Mayorkun); ID Cabasa’s Totori (featuring Wizkid and Olamide) and Phyno’s Get The Info (featuring Phenom and Falz).
Veteran Juju Singer, King Sunny Ade, was also recognised in the Hall of Fame category, for his impactful contributions on the entertainment industry, while Eedris Abdulkareem also bagged a Special Recognition award.
For the first time, the award ceremony awarded the Songwriter of the Year; Simi clinched the award in this non-voting category for her effort in Duduke. The category also recognised Fireboy (Dreamer), Burna Boy (Way Too Big), Omah Lay (Bad Influence), Wurld (Ghost Town), Adekunle Gold (1Milli by Davido), as its nominees.
In its drive for inclusivity, the award show also recognised the Best Alternative Album and Best Alternative song this year. The Igbo Highlife-fusion fraternal band, Cavemen, emerged winner of this novel category, which also housed powerhouses such as Brymo (Yellow), Asa (Lucid), Bez (The Light) and DRB Lasgidi (Pioneers). Also, the Best Alternative Song, although not a new category, went to the Moelogo-record, I Wonder, while Lady Donli (Corner feat. Vanjess and Cavemen); Deena Ade (Bitter); Gbasky (Money Devotion); OLU (God Save The Queen); and Cavemen (Anita).
The EndSARS protest was also spotlighted again in the award ceremony with Omah Lay dedicating his award to the lives lost in connection with the incident, while the show’s host, Bovi, was styled in a sleeveless Kaftan designed with an image of a blood-stained Nigerian flag, for one of his appearances.
The EndSARS protest held, in October 2020, where thousands of Nigerians marched to the streets to protest police brutality and extra-judicial killings. In the latter part of the protest, criminals, who perpetrated arsons and violence across the country, hijacked it. On October 20 of the same month, Lekki Toll Gate, a key protest spot, was sacked by soldiers, leaving behind a controversial trail of fatalities.
From Hip-hop World to Headies
At the time when independent award shows were still scarce in Nigeria, veteran publisher and Media executive, Ayo Animashaun set up the Hip-hop World Awards in 2006. The award show which was curated by Animashaun’s franchise, Hip-hop World Magazine, spotlighted exceptional Nigerian musicians and their projects, with a bias for the Western Hip-hop and RnB genres, which were envogue at the time. It later morphed, in 2010, to the Headies awards and was hosted by Animashaun’s HipTV franchise.
The unique ‘shouting head’ plaque used by the Headies was created to symbolize “the image of a young vibrant individual whose talent can challenge that of renowned local and international artistes combined, but who has almost lost confidence in his abilities in the face of discouraging circumstances presented by the peculiar Nigerian environment,” Animashaun once noted.
The prestigious award-ceremony is headed by a discreet board of judges comprising of industry stakeholders who decide the nominations for all 27 current categories.