Deftly mixing lush Afrobeats with R&B swagger, Nigerian singer Fireboy DML became a breakout success with the 2019 release of his debut album, Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps. Songs like “Jealous” and “Vibrations” put him on the map ahead of his 2020 follow-up, Apollo, but it was the Ed Sheeran collaboration “Peru” and its 2022 parent album, Playboy, that brought him widespread international exposure.
Born Adedamola Adefolahan in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Fireboy began taking music seriously during his university days and later signed a deal with Olamide’s YBNL Nation label largely on the strength of his song “Jealous.” The label featured it on their 2018 collaborative album YBNL Mafia Family, then re-released “Jealous” on its own the following year. A second single, the romantic “What If I Say” preceded the November 2019 release of Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps, which also yielded the streaming hit “Vibrations.” The album topped the Nigerian charts, and Fireboy capitalized on his momentum by delivering a follow-up, Apollo, less than a year later.
By this point he’d made a dent in markets outside of Africa, including the U.S. and U.K. In July 2021, he released the solo track “Peru,” which became a breakout number two hit on the U.K. Singles Chart. By December Fireboy had reworked a version of the song to feature British star Ed Sheeran, which helped usher “Peru” onto numerous global charts, becoming his biggest hit to date. He kicked off 2022 with “Beauty in the Madness,” a non-album collaboration with Rexx Life Raj and Wale, then in August of that year delivered his third LP, Playboy. Featuring both versions of “Peru” as well as the highly streamed title track, the record continued Fireboy’s global assault and in the U.S. reached the latter half of the Billboard 200. ~ Timothy Monger