Happy Birthday Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti, popularly known as Femi Kuti, is a Nigerian musician born in London and raised in Lagos. He is the eldest son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and a grandchild of political campaigner, women’s rights activist and traditional aristocrat Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.
Femi Anikulapo Kuti was born in London to Fela and Remilekun (Remi) Ransome-Kuti, and grew up in the former Nigerian capital, Lagos. His mother soon left his father, taking Femi to live with her. In 1977, however, Femi chose to move in with his father. Femi started playing the saxophone at the age of 15 and eventually became a member of his father’s band. He studied at Baptist Academy and Igbobi College.
Though Femi is the son of an international icon, he considers his mother, Remilekun Taylor, to be his greatest influence.
He created his own band, Positive Force, in the late 1980s with Dele Sosimi (Gbedu Resurrection), former keyboard player of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. His international career began in 1988 when he was invited by the French Cultural Centre in Lagos and Christian Mousset to perform at the Festival d’Angoulême (France), the New Morning Club in Paris and the Moers Festival in Germany.
In 2001, Femi collaborated on his album Fight to Win with a number of US musicians, including Common, Mos Def, and Jaguar Wright.
Femi Kuti’s voice is featured in the videogame Grand Theft Auto IV, where he is the host of radio station IF 99 (International Funk 99, described as “playing a great selection of classics from West Africa, the US and elsewhere”).
Femi has been nominated for a Grammy award four times in the world music category in 2003, 2010, 2012 and 2013 but has never won.
On 19 December 2014 a management deal between Chocolate City Music Group and Femi Kuti was reached. The news was announced via the Chocolate City Music official Instagram account, as well as Audu Maikori social media accounts.
On 5 February 2021, Femi Kuti and his son, Made Kuti, released their two-album project, Legacy+ under Partisan Records. The project includes Femi’s eleventh album Stop the Hate and Made’s debut album For(e)ward