Sade Adu, not Tems is Nigerian’s first female Grammy winner

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Temilade Openiyi, known professionally as Tems won her first Grammy award on Sunday at the 65tth edition of the global music awards show at the Arena, Los Angeles. Since her achievement, several media portals have since reported that she is the first Nigerian female to win a Grammy award. But Sade Adu is actually the first ever female Grammy award winner from Nigeria. Here is how…

Not to take anything away from Tems and her hard work that got her featured on “Wait For U” by Future alongside Drake, but to throw more light on something that has been kept under the carpet.

In 1986, at the 28th edition of Grammy which was hosted at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, a then 27-year-old woman emerged winner of the Best New Artist category. Her name is Sade Adu, short for Helen Folasade Adu. She had overcame competition from Norwegian synth-pop band A-ha, America’s Freddie Jackson, British rock band Katrina and the Waves as well as another Brit Julian Lennon.

By virtue of her win at the time, she became the first African/Nigerian to win an award at the Grammy. That was 34 years before another Nigerian in Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu known as Burna Boy won his maiden Grammy.

Who is Sade Adu?

Sade Adu, short for Helen Folasade Adu is a Nigerian-born British singer. She was the lead singer for Sade, an English band formed in London in 1982 and named after the lead singer Folasade Adu. The band was made of Helen Folasade Adu, Paul Anthony Cooke, Stuart Mathewman, and Paul Spencer Denman.

Sade, lead by Sade Adu won the Best New Artist in 1986 and again their 2000 released album which was their fifth studio album got nominated for “Best Pop Vocal Album” which they won. The band led by Sade Adu has also won “Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal” twice in 1994 with “No Ordinary Love” and in 2011 with “Soldier of Love”.

Sade Adu was born in Ibadan to a Nigerian father who was a teacher and British mother who was a nurse. She left with the mother and her elder brother when she was four years old. She was born in 1959 and is from Ekiti State and the father is of Yoruba background which explains her middle name “Folasade” which means “Honour earns the crown”.

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