Indeed, 2019 was an amazing year in the Nigerian music industry that saw a new crop of talented artistes emerge. Leveraging on the internet, these rising stars inundated the industry with hit songs, bagged endorsements and performed at some of the biggest events. Their creativity is sure to earn them more recognition in 2020.
FOLARIN Falana, who is more known as FalzTheBahdGuy, is the son of a lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana. As an actor, comedian and musician, the talented rapper is an all-rounder entertainer.
Falz began last year with a controversial single, titled ‘Talk’, is off his fourth studio, ‘Moral Instruction.’ The song, a follow-up to his hit song, ‘This Is Nigeria’, addresses some societal ills in the country.
In May 2018, Falz released a music video, titled ‘This Is Nigeria’, was inspired by Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’. It highlights Nigerian issues, including corruption and bribery.
Months later, the song was banned by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), claiming it was a vulgar song. When Falz was asked about the development, he said: “If they ban this song, then I do not understand them because that song is definitely not a vulgar song”.
He later sued the NBC for N100 Million.
In 2019, he added a feather to his cap as a movie producer with his movie, ‘Falz Experience, The Movie’. Some of his works include ‘ Awolowo’, ‘Brother’s Keeper’, ‘Loving,’ among others.
30-YEAR-OLD ‘Mama Africa’ crooner, Yemi Eberechi Alade, who is more known as Yemi Alade, gained prominence a few years ago.
But Yemi has continued to dish out songs such as Ghen Ghen Love, Tangerine, Ferrari, Single and Searching and several others. And her fourth album, ‘Woman of Steel’, was released in 2019.
She was awarded the Best Female MTV African Music Award in 2015 and 2016. In July 2019, Yemi became the first African female artiste to reach one million subscribers on YouTube. Her hit song ‘Johnny’ currently holds YouTube record for the most-watched African female music video of all time. Yemi was featured on ‘Don’t Jealous Me’, a track from Beyoncé’s sound track album, ‘The Lion King: The Gift’. She appeared on the track alongside Mr Eazi and Tekno. Rolling Stone magazine revealed that Yemi also recorded a verse for an earlier version of ‘My Power’ in June.
VICTOR AD is not new to the game. Born Victor Adere, he hit stardom in 2018 when he released the single, ‘Wetin
Riding on the success of the song, Victor AD, on January 26, dropped his third single, titled ‘Tire You’, featuring Davido.We Gain.’ The visual of the song garnered more than 9,000,000 million views on Youtube.
At the Headies, Victor AD emerged as Best Pop Single award nominee (2019), Song of the Year (2019) Nominee and Next Rated Nominee (2019), while he won Best African Act 2019.
AFRO-FUSION singer, Damini Ogulu aka Burna Boy recently joined the league of top Nigerian singers that have been nominated in the Best World Music category. The list includes the likes of King Sunny Ade, Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti.
The 28-year-old singer was shortlisted for his album, ‘African Giant,’ in the Best World Music Album category.
The question on the lips of Nigerians is whether Burna will break the jinx to win the Grammy. The vocalist was nominated alongside Angelique Kidjo, Altin Gün, Bokanté & Metropole Orkest, Nathalie Joachim and Spektral Quartets.
Burna Boy’s grandfather, Benson Idonije, believes his grandson will bring home the Grammy award this year.
Idonije, in an interview, said his grandson is bigger than other music acts nominated in the Best World Music category at the 2020 Grammys.
“I think Burna will win his category because his music is stronger (than the music of others) and his image is bigger. I think that the whole trajectory is leading him to winning the Grammy. I am very optimistic,” he said.
For the New Year, the singer will be hitting several cities across the United States and Canada, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, NYC, Boston, Toronto, Chicago and Atlanta. OBVIOUSLY, last year was ‘A Good Time’ for Afrobeat superstar, David Adeleke aka Davido, as he performed across the globe.
The ‘Fall’ crooner’s latest album titled, ‘A Good Time’, features many A-lists acts, including Naira Marley, Zlatan, Popcaan, Summer Walker, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, WurlD, and many more. The album’s latest single, “Risky,” featuring Popcaan, was one of the best Nigerian songs of 2019.
In the beginning, a lot of people doubted his creativity until the international tabloid, The New York Times, profiled him as the new guard of music in Nigeria. Since then, Emeka Akumefule known as Blaqbonez, has
Blaqbonez’z raps are smooth, simple, but with controversial punchlines. He went viral on internet when he branded himself as ‘Best Rapper in Africa.’ He became the trendy topics on social media for days. The Chocolate City signee recently released his extended play (EP), titled Mr. Bombastic, and headlined his first concert.continued to prove that he is lyrically endowed.
To display his flexibility and innovation to the Afrobeat sound, he released two EPs, titled Freestyle EP and Bad Commando. The Mavin youngster was crowned as the Next-Rated Act at the last Headies Award.AFROPOP act, Divine Ikubor, popularly known as Rema, rose to prominence with the release of his song, ‘Iron Man’, which appeared on Barack Obama’s 2019 summer playlist. Since then, he has become a force to reckon with in the Nigerian music industry. The Edo native grabbed the attention of music lovers when he dropped his well-known single, ‘Dumebi’, which later topped several music charts in Africa.
Rema could easily be the rising star to step forward and become the next superstar
Some perceive him as a bad influence on the youth, but to his followers, he is their semi-god. Nigerian musician, Afeez Fashola aka Naira Marley, is one of the celebrities who skyrocketed to fame through controversy.
“If I’m a bad influence, I’m still trying to work out what influenced me to be bad. Why don’t you all care? I’m a youth too,” he posted on Instagram. The 25-year-old singer began the year as a rising act, but hit the spotlight when on May 20, 2019, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecuted him on an 11-count charge of conspiracy, possession of counterfeit cards and fraud. His arrest by the EFCC helped him find his way up.
The ‘Marlian’ crooner went on to release his mega single, Am I A Yahoo Boy, featuring indigenous rapper, Zlatan, and then followed up with a danceable song, ‘Soap,’ which became the street anthem.
His song usually comes with witty bars and punchlines powered by his husky tone. Naira Marley’s latest song, ‘Tesumole’ produced by Rexxie, comes with dance steps. And to wrap up the year, he recently dropped an EP titled, ‘Lord of Lamba’ (LOL), while his first concert, MarlianFest, which held on December 30 sold out.
On December 24, 2019, Wizkid, in a series of tweets, hinted that he would settle down with a woman. AYODEJI Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid, has said he would be getting married this year.
“Next year! I’m getting married,” he said.
The singer, who will clock 30 on July 16, declared that he will be dropping his last album as Wizkid. He hinted he may be having a rebranding of his stage name from Wizkid to a new name he has not disclosed.
The multiple award-winning artiste had earlier vowed never to settle down with anyone woman.
Many of his followers think Wizkid is under pressure as his music counterpart, Davido, announced that he would be getting married to Chioma.
In 2018, Wizkid dropped several songs and extended play, titled ‘Soundman Vol. 1’. The seven-track musical project, comprising songs like Jam ft. Chronixx, Blow ft. Blaq Jerzee, Cover Me ft DJ Tunez, Mine ft Kel P, Ease Your Mind, Thankful and Electric.
SHE rocked 2019 with the release of a superb song titled ’49-99 off The Shift’ album. Tiwatope Savage, who is simply known as Tiwa Savage on the song, tapped the line of the Afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti’s ‘Shuffering and Shmiling’, to render a smooth tune.
Tiwa, 39, sings in English and Yoruba and her music is a blend of Afrobeats, R&B, pop and hip-hop.
In November 2018, Savage won the Best African Act at 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards, becoming the first woman to win the category.Her contributions to the Nigerian music industry have earned her several achievements.
Recently, the mother of one has been rumoured to be in a romantic relationship with 29-year-old singer, Wizkid. They shared a kiss during a performance at Starboy Fest in Paris, France, before they performed a song titled ‘Malo’.
“We are friends, very good friends. There are a few benefits; we do shows together, we do music together, we make money together,” the Mavin queen said.
Born in Isale Eko, she relocated to London at the age of 11 for her secondary education. Five years later, she began her music career doing back-up vocals for artistes such as George Michael and Mary J. Blige.
T Classic, who started having interest in music at an early age, released his sophomore single ‘Nobody Fine Pass You’ and has continued to garner attention from troves of online listeners with his freestyles.FAST-RISING singer, Tolulope Ajayi who is popularly known as T Classic, invaded the music circle with his hit song, titled ‘Fall in Love,’ featuring Mayorkun.
His popularity came when ‘Starboy’ Wizkid featured him on a monster single, ‘Soco.’ Terri killer tunes on his verse of the song granted him the “next superstar”
Since then, the 26-year-old has become one of the most sorted after singers in the Nigerian music circle. Terri later signed under the imprint of Stayboy record label. His groovy single titled “On Me”, is currently enjoy airplay across radio stations. Hopefully, 2020 looks brighter to this talented act.
TO kick off the year, she infected the airplay with her smashed single, ‘Try Me.’
The recording artiste and songwriter, Temilade Openiyi, who is simply known as Tems seems to be aware of the male-dominated scene and is ready to take charge with her soft delivery. She rode on with her single, ‘Looku Loooku.’
Definitely an attention-grabber, Tems performed on several big stages, including Gidi Culture Festival 2019 and Homecoming alongside talented acts like Niniola, Rema and Skepta.
CASH Nation Entertainment singer, Barry Jhay, has successfully built for himself a robust reputation among his peers in the Nigerian music circle.
Born Oluwakayode Junior Balogun, Barry Jhay, is a recording artiste who hails from Ibadan, Oyo State. He shares the lineage with the late Fuji music icon, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. Barry Jhay, who blends the Fuji and Afropop genres in his songs, has churned out songs, including Aiye, Don Pablo, Olodo, Ogara and more.
The youngster was crowned by City People Music Award for Best New Act of the Year, The Headies Award for Rookie of The Year.
SINGER and song writer, Lawal Raheem, who is professionally known as Lyta, has had his low and high moments. The 20-year-old Kwara State indigene was forced to quit his record label, YBNL, by the famous indigenous rapper, Olamide.
Though he tapped the fame when he featured his boss, Olamide, in a song, ‘Time’, but after dumping his former record label, Lyta has continued to press on with his music career. He released a few songs, including Monalisa, featuring DMW act, Davido, and worked with Jaywon on the remix of Aje. He’s certainly a must-watch act!
YBNL singer, Adedamola Adefolahan aka Fireboy DML, absolutely had a fast and furious year.
The talented vocalist and composer had a breakthrough with his popular track, ‘Jealous’.
The youngster, who described his genre of music as Afro-Life, fired up with his debut album, ‘Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps.’ On the album, Fireboy proved his distinctiveness as he displays a diverse approach to the Afrobeat sound. His style of lyricism is perfectly blended with his sharp voice.
No doubt, he has penetrated into the hearts of fans, especially females.
CALL him an internet magician and you won’t be wrong. Joseph Akinfenwa Donus simply known as Joeboy tried his luck by leveraging on Mr Eazi’s emPawa initiative to film his music video for ‘Baby’ and turned out to be well accepted by fans. The video got 16 million Youtube plays and stayed at the top 10 of Apple Music’s charts in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya for weeks.
The 22-year-old singer pressed forward to drop another hit single, ‘Beginning’, which is currently enjoying massive airplay. Joeboy’s songs sound melodious and are easy to listen to. With just a few singles to his credit, it’s worth seeing how far he goes.