Like acting, singing could sometimes be a family affair, and it makes more sense when we have the most iconic duos, trios coming from the same family. Burna Boy is a famous musician who has won hearts with hit songs that have continued to sell well across the African borders. Still, not many know his sister Nissi Ogulu, who has touched lives with her musical talent like the self-acclaimed African giant.
Nissi may not have gained so much ground in the entertainment industry like Burna Boy. Still, she is one Nigerian singer that is readily pushing the boundaries of afrobeat and is not afraid to take up space and make room for the celebration of black women’s natural beauty in all its shades and textures. This piece gives you every detail of Nissi Ogulu’s life behind the camera and how she rose to fame.
Nissi Hails from a Family with Great Musical Talents
Born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, in 1994, Nissi is the daughter of Bose and Samuel Ogulu. She was born and brought up at Mbiama, Ahoada West LGA in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State. Nissi’s family is a popular one, especially as regards the music industry. Long before she and her brother Burna Boy was born, their parents already found their path in the music industry.
Her grandfather, Benson Idonije, was a well-known radio broadcaster who worked directly with the legendary multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti. Thanks to that, Nissi and her siblings mastered various music genres like Afrobeat, highlife, and Jazz at a young age. Their mother, who single-handedly raised them, was instrumental in her choice. Like a “powerhouse,” she helped her children discover the need to balance their education and musical talent.
Her father’s calming energy was also very helpful. Generally, Nissi describes her family as one with a rich mix of strong characters instrumental in her journey to stardom in the music industry. Her siblings and parents helped her build the confidence that made her put herself out there and know that nothing is out of reach. Outside her music career, Nissi is a graduate of mechanical engineering. She reportedly graduated from a reputable university in the UK. She also studied design, and after graduating from the university, she created a company that produces animations for sale.
She is Burna Boy’s Younger Sister
For someone raised by their mother, finding Nissi bonding well with her siblings shouldn’t be surprising. The young female artist is not just Burna Boy’s younger sister, but she is the last of the three children born to their parents. Nissi’s oldest sibling is Romani, while Burna Boy is her older brother and only son. Although Nissi has managed to separate her music persona and soon-to-be fame from her famous sibling, they share a strong bond and are somehow involved in each other’s business under the close watch of their mother.
Nissi Ogulu Discovered Her Singing Talent at a Young Age
Describing herself as lucky enough to have an eventful childhood experience, Nissi said she discovered her music talent at the age of 9. However, being exposed to various musical instruments, she learned and started playing the piano at age 5, and by the time she was 13, she was already recording her own songs. While growing up, she became more exposed to her brother’s music style and soon became a fan.
As a teenager, Nissi Ogulu would perform at parties with her friends, but as she grew older, she became more connected to songs by “emotionally expressive” singers like Alicia Keys, Nina Simone, and Etta James. When it was time for her to fully decide her path in the music world, she, like her brother, turned down afrobeat, not out of criticism for the growing genre, but because she never wants to be caught in the web of genres. However, she describes her music style as Afro rooted, which gradually developed into “Afro-jazz or Afro-funk.”
Her Rise to Fame in the Music Industry
Nissi’s journey as a professional musician could be said to have begun in 2016 when she released her first official single called ‘Pay Attention.’ The track, which is also the lead single from her debut EP titled Downtown, is described as a reflection of “the chaos that is our world today.” The song has Nissi speaking out against the brutality, killings, and discrimination based on race, gender, religion, and ethnicity, which have become dominant worldwide. It also has her calling out for more solidarity among the people.
Following the success of her debut single, Nissi went ahead to release another single titled ‘Favourite List’ in 2017. Between 2018 and 2019, she put out ‘Little Trouble.’ With a brother who is an A-list music artist and an award-winning music critic as a grandfather, this UK-based singer is out to carve a niche for herself as an artist. Nissi Ogulu has a few songs to her name, including “Move X 2,” “Ignite,” “Over here,” and “Judi.” Her style of music is creative and unique. She is more into Afro-jazz music like Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who she claims also influenced her into loving the music style.
Nissi Ogulu is currently signed to Spaceship Entertainment, a record label owned by her brother, Burna Boy, and handled by her family. She is the first and only female to be signed to the record label. Her songs are gradually gaining ground, and she has gained many fans globally. Nissi is not only trying to acquire fame for herself through music, but she is also acquiring enough wealth for herself. One of her new bodies of work, IGNITE, has been well received by fans worldwide.
Nissi’s Musical Success Compared to Burna Boy
Though both siblings are musicians, they don’t have the same style of song. While Burna Boy is more into reggae, RnB, and Afrobeats, his sister Nissi is into jazz. As a London-based musician, Nissi Ogulu’s songs are a mix of different genres but more of jazz. She describes her music style as Afro-Jazz, which is a blend of highlife and jazz. She said she hopes to connect with people through messages about the realities of life, which also sometimes includes our fantasies.
Although she is yet to be as popular and successful as her self-titled African giant brother, Nissi’s musical talent, her gift of storytelling, and her uncanny ability to break musical boundaries have set her in a class of her own. Obviously, this Spaceship Collective’s first lady knows how best to artistically design her song so that it sends the message while making you swirl to the beats.
Nissi and her brother are yet to make any musical collaborations despite being siblings and their career managed by their mother. This could probably be because of the differences in their path to musical success. Though a true fan of her brother’s songs, Nissi appears not in a hurry to collaborate with him. In an interview with a popular Nigerian newspaper, Nissi mentioned artistes like Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, J.Cole, Jay z, Janelle Monae, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Asa to the new age – Jess Glynne, H.E.R, Masego, Daniel Caesar, Solange, among the many top-rated music artistes she hopes to make music with.
She is Yet to Record any Awards in Her Name
Nissi Ogulu is yet to win any music award. However, she has been productive in the music industry with many singles, including hits like ‘Over Here’ and ‘JUDI’ to her name. Her brother Burna Boy has earned several awards, thanks to his many hit tracks and studio albums that have continued to trend worldwide. It is to this effect that he is listed as one of the biggest and most successful African artists. For Nissi, she may be a newbie in the professional music world, but her determination to make it positions her among the fastest-rising female artists of our time.
Does Her Brother Burna Boy Have a Twin?
There have been rumors about Nissi’s brother Burna Boy having a twin brother named Jesse Ogulu. The rumor followed a YouTube video about a certain northern Ghanaian artist based in Belgium, whose voice and tone are like that of the self-claimed African giant. While it is unclear where and how Jesse Ogulu came about and how the name became linked to Burna Boy, some sites names Jesse as one of Burna’s two siblings, with the other being Nissi Ogulu.
However, several interviews granted by both Nissi and her brother prove that Burna Boy never had a twin brother. Instead, he has two sisters- Nissi and Romani. The Ghanaian artist, whose name is Bakilla, is a member of a music duo called Menez -GH. He is a dancehall, reggae, and Afrobeats artist inspired by artists like Bob Marley, Timaya, Busy Signal, Stephen Marley, Sizzla, and others. While he agrees to have a low bass tone like the Nigerian artist Burna Boy, Bakilla is also a fan of Burna Boy and his music.