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Burna Boy to headline the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final Kick-off show


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Ataturk-Olympic-stadium in Instanbul, 2023 Champions League Final venue where Burna Boy will perform

By Peter Makossah

The only way is up, and up only. And, it appears, there is no climbing down for the African sounds styled as afrobeats, at least for now and perhaps the foreseeable future.

Granted, African music is on the rise; and, it seems there is nothing that anyone can do about it because African music, especially, the modern fused sounds have conqured the world.

Fresh from making history as the first African music act, alongside fellow Nigerian Afro-beats Nigerian royalties, Divine Ikubor, known professionally as Rema and Tems whose real name is Temilade Openiyi to perform at the all-important and ubiquitous NBA All-Stars half-time showcase, the Burna Boy is just about to set yet another record.

The African Giant and Nigerian music superstar Grammy award winning Burna Boy, whose government name is Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, will be a co-headline act at this year’s UEFA Champions League Final kick-off show, which will be held at the Ataturk-Olympic-stadium in Instanbul.

With Burna Boy taking centre stage at Europe’s most treasured football tournament, under the auspices of Pepsi, without an iota of doubt, it feels like the Champions League keeps getting bigger and bigger with each passing year and so is the African music and Nigerian Afro-beats in particular.

The prestigious Champions final, in particular, is a massive world-wide event and each year UEFA pulls out all the stops to make it even more memorable than the last. 

UEFA has announced that the London-based Nigerian superstar, Burna Boy, will co-headline the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show by Pepsi, alongside another yet-to-be-announced artist. 

European clubs top prize football honour, Champions League Cup

Now in its seventh year, previous editions have featured performances by some of the world’s biggest artists. 

The “Last Last” hit-maker has also teamed up with Pepsi ambassadors and football royalty—world champion Leo Messi, Euro-winning Lionesses star Leah Williamson and reigning UCL champion Vinicius Jr—to encourage fans to post their best dance moves or ball skills on TikTok with the hashtag #PepsiKickOffShow.

The best will then be hand-picked and invited to show off their talent as part of the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show by Pepsi performance.

“As a huge football fan, myself, I know it doesn’t get any bigger than the UEFA Champions League,” Burna Boy said: “That’s why I’m so excited to be performing on the Pepsi stage at this year’s final.

“Music and football are the ultimate combination, so you already know I’ll be bringing the vibes and making magic in Istanbul. The world ain’t ready for what we have in store!”

Gustavo Reyna, Pepsi’s Senior Director of Global Marketing, added: “The UEFA Champions League Final is the standout date of the club football calendar, and Pepsi prides itself on marking the occasion with the very best entertainment spectacles.

“The newly named Kick Off Show by Pepsi is going to be huge this year; we’re so excited to welcome Burna Boy, one of the world’s most exciting artists, to the Pepsi x UEFA Champions League stage and we can’t wait to see which fans are selected to feature as part of this truly unmissable performance.

Headded: “Stay tuned to find out who is co-headlining alongside Burna Boy in the weeks to come!” 

The UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show is a significant part of our joint efforts with Pepsi, providing an incredible opportunity to reach new and younger audiences with some of the biggest names and rising stars in music.

“We’re excited to showcase a line-up of talented artists at this season’s Final in Istanbul in what is sure to be an energetic and memorable performance,” said UEFA marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein.

Burna Boy, born 2nd July 1991 is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer. 

In England, only Liverpool has won the Champions League a record six times with Manchester United coming a distant second having won it three times while Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest have won it once each respectively.

However, this year’s premier League contenders, frontliners Arsenal and the second placed Machester City have both never won Europe’s most treasured club football cup.

Burna Boy’s journey

Burna Boy is one of the most successful musicians in all fronts in Africa in the recent time.

He rose to stardom in 2012 after releasing “Like to Party”, the lead single from his debut studio album L.I.F.E which wasreleased in 2013.

In 2017, Burna Boy signed with Bad Habit/Atlantic records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally.

His third studio album Outside (2018) marked his major-label debut.

In 2019, he won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards and was announced as Apple Music Up Next artist that year.

His fourth studio album, titled African Giant, was released in July 2019.

It won Album of the Year at the 2019 All Africa Music Awards and was nominated for Best World Music Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.

Burna Boy performs at halftime during the NBA All-Star Game as part of 2023 NBA All Star Weekend on Sunday, February 19, 2023 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. – Getty Images

He was awarded African Artist of the Year at the 2020 Ghana Music Awards.

Burna Boy released his fifth studio album, Twice as Tall, in August 2020. It won Best World Music Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. He won Best International Act at the 2021 BET Awards.

Burna Boy’s sixth studio album, Love, Damini, was released in July 2022 and became the highest debut of an African album on the Billboard 200 chart. It also became the highest charted African album in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and France.

In October, Burna Boy was awarded the Member of the Order of the Federal Republic plaque for his achievements in music and in 2023, Rolling Stone ranked him number 197 on its list of the 200 greatest singers of all time.

The 2022/23 UEFA Champions League final will take place at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium on June 10. 

You can watch the show via your local broadcaster and through the official UEFA YouTube and TikTok channels and stay tuned for more exciting news by following the Pepsi Global social channels.

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