Fireboy DML: Beyond Afrobeats – Embracing the Label of an African Artist

Fireboy DML: Beyond Afrobeats – Embracing the Label of an African Artist

Popular Nigerian musician Fireboy DML has recently garnered attention following his appearance on CNN’s African Voices segment on Sunday, August 27th.

In this interview, he made a noteworthy statement regarding his musical identity.

Despite being commonly referred to as an Afrobeats artist, Fireboy DML expressed that he does not identify himself as such.

Instead, he prefers to be recognized as an African artist, highlighting a distinction in how he perceives his music.

Rise to Fame and Musical Style

Born as Adedamola Oyinlola Adefolahan, Fireboy DML made a significant impact on the Nigerian music scene with his breakout track titled “Jealous.”

Originally featured on ybnl Nation’s collaborative album “ybnl Mafia Family” in 2018, the song later gained prominence when it was re-released as a single in March 2019.

“Jealous” stands out for its fusion of African indigenous sounds and soulful elements, contributing to Fireboy’s unique musical style.

Album Releases and Critical Acclaim

The success of “Jealous” paved the way for Fireboy DML’s debut album, “Laughter, Tears, and Goosebumps,” which was released on November 29, 2019.

The album received enthusiastic reviews from both critics and fans alike.

In the subsequent year, 2020, Fireboy released his sophomore album titled “Apollo.”

This album also garnered positive attention, and it notably achieved an impressive 8.3 out of 10 rating on Pitchfork, a respected music publication, at the time of its release.

Notable Collaboration and Music Labeling

Following the release of “Apollo,” Fireboy DML collaborated with Ed Sheeran on the song “Peru,” which quickly became a hit.

While Fireboy’s music is often categorized as “Afro-life,” as stated on his Wikipedia profile, he openly challenges the classification of being an Afrobeats artist.

The distinction between these terms carries significance in his perception of his musical journey.

Several music and fan pages shared a video snippet of Fireboy DML’s CNN interview, where he emphasized his perspective on his musical identity.

He stated, “I wouldn’t call myself an Afrobeats artist to be honest, I’m just an artist from Africa.”


Fireboy DML’s appearance on CNN’s African Voices segment sparked discussions surrounding his self-identification as a musician.

Despite his association with Afrobeats, he chooses to define himself as an African artist, shedding light on the complexities of musical genres and identity in the contemporary music landscape.

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