Fireboy DML: The Nigerian Artist Setting the World Ablaze with Music and Fashion

Photographer: Down To Be Artsy @dtba_

In the world of music, certain artists possess an undeniable allure that captivates audiences and transcends borders. Fireboy DML is one such luminary whose meteoric rise began in 2019 with his chart-topping debut album, “Laughter, Tears, and Goosebumps.” Since then, he has continued to set the music scene ablaze with his third studio masterpiece, “Playboy,” released in August 2022. This album boasts remarkable collaborations with global sensations like Ed Sheeran, Chris Brown, Shenseea, and Asake. With his album “Playboy” surpassing 1 billion streams within its first three months, Fireboy DML’s music is striking a resounding chord. Billboard named him March R&B/Hip-Hop Rookie of the Month, and a nomination for Best International Act at the BET Awards underscores his international acclaim. Notably, Fireboy became the first Afrobeats artist to take center stage at the BET Awards.

One of the pinnacle moments in Fireboy’s journey was the release of the collaborative rendition of his song “Peru” with Ed Sheeran, which made waves on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and ascended to the second position on the United Kingdom’s Official Singles Chart in 2022. His inaugural US tour was a milestone achievement, and his record “Peru” achieved platinum certification in both the UK and the US, boasting over 500 million streams. This chart-topping success saw the track rise on the Billboard Hot 100 and secure the number one spot on the Billboard Afrobeats Chart, with remixes featuring renowned artists such as Ed Sheeran, 21 Savage, and Blxst.

His music has not only garnered millions of streams but also graced the airwaves, earning him the coveted Listener’s Choice Award and a Song Of The Year nomination at the prestigious 2020 Soundcity MVP Awards Festival. An accolade that underscores his status as the most-streamed Nigerian artist on Spotify. In the intimate setting of NPR Tiny Desk, Fireboy DML delivered a captivating performance. Furthermore, he lent his talents to Madonna’s “Frozen” (Remix) alongside Sickick, solidifying his global influence in the music industry.” His performance at Afronation Miami, a live show streamed on his official YouTube channel and the Metaverse, demonstrates his multifaceted artistic prowess.

Yet, Fireboy DML’s talents stretch far beyond the realm of music. Armed with a degree in English, he demonstrates a deep passion for poetry. His latest album, “Apollo,” draws inspiration from the Greek God of song, music, and poetry. This title symbolizes his profound connection to these artistic forms and mirrors his personal journey of growth, love, and pain. This rising star has been invited to EMPIRE’s Africa Writing camp, solidifying his position as one of the most prominent African stars on the global stage.

Not content with merely making waves in the music world, Fireboy is equally celebrated for his innovative fashion sense. His Instagram account, boasting over 4.5 million followers, reflects his unique style and artistic identity. As we look to the future, Fireboy DML has exciting projects in the pipeline. He graced the front row at the Burberry S/S 23 show in London, a nod to his burgeoning status in the fashion world. He made a dazzling debut at Paris Fashion Week and Haute Couture, gracing events like the Marine Serre and Sacai Spring-Summer 2024 Men’s Collection Shows.

2023 has been a year brimming with musical gems from Fireboy DML, showcasing his boundless talent. From the alluring ‘One of a Kind’ to the emotionally resonant ‘Someone,’ each release adds a unique layer to his musical journey. In May 2023, Fireboy DML dropped his latest single, “Someone,” showcasing his unrelenting commitment to his craft. He recently partnered with Clarks for the “Beyond Worlds” campaign, a testament to his ever-expanding influence. His amapiano infused single ‘YAWA’ brings its infectious rhythm and lyrical charm, setting the stage for what’s to come, while the ‘Elon Musk – Remix’ offers a creative twist that’s nothing short of genius. ‘Me and My Guitar’ takes us on a more introspective and soulful journey, underlining his versatility as an artist. Meanwhile, ‘Drink Water’ quenches our musical thirst with its melodic brilliance. These songs are not just melodies; they are stories and emotions woven into music, a testament to why Fireboy DML remains a musical sensation.


Thank you so much for the opportunity to shoot your feature images, you had such a vibrant energy! It was very refreshing to work with you, you were so receptive to the ideas in the room and you were very generous with your Hennessy. Despite having a million things to do in a short amount of time, we successfully shot your images, and your energy remained constant. What keeps you grounded?

Thank you for having me. I had a great time at the shoot. Everyone was nice, everyone was professional, the atmosphere was beautiful and the energy was right. I stay grounded by surrounding myself with the right people and understanding that I’m a human being first before anything else. Treating people with respect is very important to me, no matter who I am or how much success I amass. Going through life and going through this industry with that understanding helps me stay grounded in more ways than one. 

You recently made your debut at New York Fashion Week. How has this experience been, and how does fashion influence you?

The debut at New York Fashion Week was amazing. I had a great time and I learned a lot. Obviously fashion is a different industry than where I started and where I have my expertise, but learning about and joining into a whole new industry is something else entirely and it’s been a really nice experience for me. Working with Michael Philouze has really been helpful and productive, and beyond that it’s just fun because he’s such a great guy. I’ve always been a fashion guy with the way I like to dress up and the way I like to present myself when I make appearances. I like to be edgy because I believe as an artist, you cannot be regular in anything you do, or at least in most of the things you do. You have to stand out and you have to look the part whenever you step out. That’s very key to me. As much as I like to keep things simple and dress comfortable, I understand that as an artist, I have to look the part. That has always guided the way I approach things, the way I dress up, and the way I make music sometimes too. 

What’s something you always bring with you when you travel?

It changes from a range of things, usually it’s speakers but right now it’s my Nintendo Switch. I use it to pass the time when I’m alone or when I just need to relax. You know life on the road can be very demanding and stressful so sometimes I like to just take my mind away from it.  

What is your favorite men’s cologne? 

I am a cologne freak. It’s an obsession I started like a year or two ago. Since then I’ve been collecting a lot of fragrances. I love to smell good everywhere whether it’s my house, my body, my car… A good scent is a way to make people feel comfortable and at ease around you. My favorite men’s cologne has got to be Clive Christian Addictive Arts. It’s such a beautiful, rich, fresh smell. It smells like wealth, comfort and ease. It’s so sexy, I really love it. I only wear it on special occasions. I have a lot of favorites, but that one is just special to me right now.

What’s one article of clothing or accessory that holds a lot of meaning to you?

I’ll say anything that goes on the hands – rings, watches, bracelets. People pay a lot of attention to hands – a lot more than we think. When the attention goes there, just to your hands, it shows attention to detail. Those accessories stand out, no matter what you’re wearing. Also my diamond grills, it’s just such a great accessory when I’m dressing up because I could literally wear anything, and still look like a superstar. I could just be in a tank top, some nice pants and shoes with bracelets and a beautiful watch, but then the grills when I smile, people are like “oh he’s a superstar” and that’s such a vibe. Those accessories mean a lot to me right now when I’m dressing up. They’re important to my look and it’s imperative that I have those on me when I go out.

Your fashion sense has garnered attention for challenging gender norms. What message do you hope to convey through your fashion?

I can be very fluid when it comes to fashion because I believe that there are some outfits that are just not gender restrictive. Anyone can wear them as long as they just give off that vibe. There are some outfits that just look right on anyone no matter who you are. I really don’t care about who should wear this or that. I feel like if I look at something and I think it will look good on me, I will wear it as long as I’m comfortable in it and that’s what matters the most. Sometimes I want to go for the laidback, simple, calm vibe, but I’m a creative. You don’t expect me to just step out looking like a regular Joe you know. One message I like to get across – things like music, fashion, and art, generally, that’s freedom, so just feel free to explore. As long as you’re not hurting anybody, do what you like.   

How is your creativity disrupting culture and pushing boundaries?

Right now Afrobeats is doing it’s thing and its been doing that for the past 3-4 years. I’m just glad that my generation is the one that basically introduced Afrobeats to these new heights it’s been achieving. My creativity as an artist is one thing that keeps me pushing my boundaries all over – beyond Africa, Naija, Afrobeats, and African music. I wouldn’t say that I make Afrobeats all the time. I make pop. I make R&B. I do all genres of music but I always like to make sure that that identity, that Afrobeats identity, is still maintained somehow in the music. I feel like that’s what’s most important – as long as people know where you’re from and who you are, it doesn’t matter what kind of music you make. Your identity is very important and that’s one thing that’s kind of helped keep us in the game and also helped us to break boundaries in the industry. We’re staying true and showing originality in our music. I’m speaking not just for myself, but for my peers as well. It’s been beautiful so far and I’m just grateful.  

How has your cultural background as a Nigerian influenced your artistry and sound?

I was just talking about my cultural background as a Nigerian and as a Yoruba boy from the Yoruba tribe, my identity, staying true, and it’s really the same thing I just mentioned… My background has heavily influenced my artistry and my sound. I grew up in Abeokuta in the Ogun state. It’s a relatively sleepy town in the southwestern area of Nigeria. I didn’t do much – it was just home, school and church. I was just writing music, writing poems, reading books, and that actually really helped me a lot when I was transitioning from a songwriter to an artist. I started as a studio runner, or a studio rat as some people would call us, cleaning up the studios and helping people make music and record. From there I started helping people write. So my background really helped me to stay grounded and just learn to appreciate the creative process. The creative process in music involves a lot of you just being in your zone, locked in, and just doing your thing. Growing up, that’s mostly what I was doing. 

In my music you always hear my Yoruba – you’ll be like okay this one’s the Yoruba boy, this one’s the Afrobeats artist, etc. Even when I’m making R&B, I try to use my local dialect and make it pop. You’ll hear it… We like to exclaim a lot, we’re very dramatic as a tribe. So in our expressions you’ll hear the occasional “Ho!” “Yee!” “Ha!” in between lines and it’s those little minute details that have people wondering – where is this guy from? And then “oh he’s from this part of the world, that’s interesting” and it goes from there. So I think originality is always a good way to maintain your artistry and break boundaries. 

You were on the soundtrack for Black Panther, what significance does this have for you?

Being on the soundtrack for Black Panther was such a huge moment for me in my career. It really solidified all the hard work I had been doing up until that point and it meant a lot to me. Being a part of a movie that is so important to black culture was a huge honor for me. So today and until the end of time, I will always be grateful for that opportunity because that is how you really make your mark in history and make sure that you are remembered for life. 

You have collaborated with artists like Madonna, Chris Brown and Ed Sheeran. Who would you love to collaborate with in the near future?

Collaboration has really helped my career thus far. Working with big artists like Madonna, Chris Brown, and Ed Sheeran has been life changing to say the least. One artist that I would really love to collaborate with, and I’ve said it so many times in so many interviews, is Post Malone. Apart from his music, I just love his personality and I love that he’s such an artist in whatever form or shape he takes and whatever he likes. You can just always tell that he is a genuine artist that has a lot of respect for the art and has a lot of respect for people too. As a fan, I’ve watched a lot of videos of him and I’ve seen how he’s relating with people and that just inspires me. No matter what level of success I achieve, it’s always important to stay true to yourself and treat people with respect. I really really admire that about him. He’s true to himself and a true artist.  

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your latest album “Playboy” and any memorable moments during its creation?

My last album Playboy – that was an era. That was a ride. It was fun. It was a point where my success had reached that global superstar international stage. I was just living in and loving the moment. And I felt you know what? This is the moment where you get out of your head and stop overthinking and just play, just chill and relax. Play boy. Playboy. That’s basically what that word means. In all honesty it could mean all versions, all forms, all definitions of “playboy” that you have in every urban dictionary in the world. It’s just me coming out of my shell to really enjoy the success that I’ve worked so hard for. 

I have a lot of memorable moments, but the one that stands out for me will always be when I was making Peru in San Francisco after I just flew in from Miami. It was a beautiful time. I was with Ghazi and the entire Empire team and we were just all chilling. I got to the studio, he played the beat, and I was like you know what – this is it. I started popping off. It was such an unusual way of recording for me because I never usually just go in the booth and go hard like that. It’s not my style. I usually like to sit, listen, cook up melodies, and write up some lyrics before I try to do any sort of raw take, but that night I just sort of got out of my head for the first time in a long time. I got in the booth and just started singing. I was singing every melody in my head and the song just happened. In like 40 minutes we were done and everyone in the studio knew we had a banger. It was crazy. Such a memorable moment.    

I hear there is some music in the works! Can you tell our audiences what to expect next from Fireboy DML?

It’s been a while and I’m currently working on my next album. It is exciting for one reason – I’m just really excited for my fans that have been with me from the very beginning. I’m not going to say much about this next album, all I’m going to say is that the fans are really going to enjoy it. It just feels good to not just create for yourself, it’s also important to create for the people that have been there with you over the years. I’m finally getting back in that bag and I’m just really excited for that. 

What advice do you have for talented, young artists looking to gain exposure?

It’s always going to be the same when people ask me this question – take your time to find your sound. Once you find your sound, the rest will automatically follow. I’ve realized that music is a very selfish lover. If you’re in it, you’re in it. Stick to it and make sure that you’re giving it all the time and attention you have and everything you’ve got. Before you know it, you’ve found your sound. Once you’ve found your sound, as long as you keep working, everything else falls in place. That’s how it’s been for me and I feel like as a young talented artist, that’s all you need to do. Put yourself in the right frame of mind, find your sound, and the right people will find you. As long as you continue to put yourself out there, put out music of course, and are sure you have your identity and your sound locked in, you’ll be good for life. 


Photography: Down To Be Artsy @dtba_

Photo Assistant: Demé Brown @demegawd_

Interview & Galore Senior Editor: Shirley Reynozo @moyamusic_

Production: @actualmonroe

Stylist: @starblurleigh

Stylist Assistants: @amberranastudios + @ellaangelinadesign

Retoucher: @keiithb

Editor in Chief: Prince Chenoa @princechenoastudio

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