Nigerian music is among the best music in Africa, and the multi-billion-dollar industry is still growing. Covid -19 may have put a damper on tours and concerts, but the industry is still going strong. Here are some of the top 10 and upcoming musicians from Nigeria.
Nigerian singer cum songwriter Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, better known as Wizkid, is one of the most prominent R&B musicians. He has worked with massive stars like Chris Brown, Drake, Skepta, among many others.
His first song, “Holla at Your Boy,” was wildly successful and was on his debut album back in 2011. After a 2016 collabo with Drake called “One Dance,” he became a global phenomenon that shot number one in over ten countries.
#2. Burna Boy
Lagos-born Damini Ogulu, aka Burna Boy, began making music at ten years of age. Burna Boy emerged in 2010 with his signature fusion of reggae, dancehall, pop, and Faro-beat.
His single “Like to Party” in 2012 was the break-out song that allowed him to release his debut album L.I.F.E in 2013. In 2018, he released” Outside,” which won the Album of the Year in the Nigeria Entertainment Award and rose to the third position on the Billboard reggae chart.
D’banj is a Nigerian Afro musician who made in debut in 2005 with his album No Long Thing. His real name is Oladapo Daniel Ovebanjo. Tongolo, his first song on his “No Long Thing” album, was a fusion of Afro-pop and urban dance-pop that saw D’banj shoot to fame and success. The rest, as they say, is history, and D’banj has won numerous music awards for his music.
Davido is arguably one of the most famous musicians in Nigeria Music. He is a producer cum vocalist and blends mainstream pop with conventional African elements to produce an exciting sound, and his real name is David Adedeji Adeleke. He dropped out of school to pursue music and moved to Lagos to release his debut single in 2011.
The single garnered a lot of attention with its fusion of high-energy vocals, Afro-pop rhythms, and club-like production. His second single followed soon after called Dami Duro. He started working on his debut album Omom Baba Olowo, which he released in 2012. He has since continued making hit after hit.
Olamide Adedeji decided to go into music in 2000 but started his career ten years later when he signed to Coded Tunes. He released the single Eni Duro, and it became a classic and instant hit. He is a prolific rapper and has won numerous awards for his many hit songs.
He sings and raps in Yoruba and English, blending hip-hop, dancehall, Afro-pop, and many other styles. His best albums include Baddest Guy Ever in 2013 and Eyan Mayweather in 2015, both named by the Nigerian Entertainment Wards as Album of the year.
Chidinma Ekile is a woman of many talents. She sings, writes songs, and acts. Chidinma became famous when she won Project Fame 3 or Project Fame West Africa. The reality show advanced her career by giving her some musical experience. She released two singles in 2011. In the same year, she released two more singles- Run Dia Mouth and Kedike. She has been a rising star ever since.
#7. Tiwa Savage
Tiwatope Savage relocated to England from Nigeria with her family when she was 11 and even competed in the X-factor (U.K). She is one of the best pop musicians from West Africa in 2010. She was in the music industry as a songwriter and backup singer and entered the music scene with a type of dance-pop that fused reggae, contemporary R&B, and Afro-pop in a mix of Yoruba and English. By 2013 when she released Once Upon A Time, she was already successful in her own right.
#8. Yemi Alade
Yemi Eberechi Alade is a famous singer in Nigeria who performs in R &B and Afropop. She became famous after she won the Peak Talent Show back in 2009. Yemi Alade signed with Effyzzie Music Group in 2012. She became more notable in 2013 when she released Johnny, which topped music charts in various African countries and the U.K.
Patoranking or Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie is a Nigerian dancehall/reggae vocalist and songwriter. Great artists influenced him like Lucky Dube, Buju Nanton, Fela Kuti, Tuface, and other successful Nigeria musicians in the dance hall, reggae, and Afrobeat genres. He used these influences to create his unique sound and started releasing his originals in 2012, which had Nigerian fuji influences. He has since released multiple albums and is among the top Nigeria Music artists.
Simisola Ogunleye is a successful Nigerian Afro-Pop songwriter, vocalist, and a trained sound engineer. She is highly talented, and her music is played both locally and internationally. Simi launched her debut album Ogaju in 20o8, with some of the hit tracks on the album being Ara Ile and Iya Temi. In 2014 she signed to X3M Music, and some of her successful songs include Jam Question, Smile for Me, Tiff, and Duduke.
10 Upcoming Nigerian Musicians
Nigerians are incredibly talented, and every day we see new entrants into the Nigerian music scene. Here are some of the rapidly rising stars.
#1. Omah Lay
Omah Lay or Stanley Oma Didia is a young Nigerian lad who shot into fame in 2019 with singles like Do Not disturb and Brother. At the start of 2019, he was not as famous until the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and people started streaming his new songs Bad Influence and You. He released other singles in 2020 like Ye Ye Ye, Damn, and LoLo. His songs garnered over 10 million streams, so he is one to watch out for!
Temilade Openiyi or Tems is another up-and-coming young alternative R&B songwriter, vocalist, and producer. She belongs to a new Nigeria music wave called the “Alte” and gained more recognition when she was arrested in Uganda alongside Omah Ley. Her singles Damages and Try me are popular with millions of streamers.
Blaqbonez is a talented rapper also known as Emeka Akumefule. In 2019 he released Mr. Bombastic, which was a significant hit. At the City Music Awards, he was nominated for the 2019 Rap Act of the Year.
#4. Fireboy DML
Fireboy is a new artist under the YBNL record label founded by Olamide. His real name is Adedamola Adefolahan, and his music is becoming very popular. Fireboy’s debut album, Laughter, Tears, and Goosebumps launched in 2019, and his song Jealous was nominated for Song of the Year at the Soundcity MVP Awards in 2020. His other songs include Vibrations, Tattoo, Champion, and Eli, among others.
#5. Bella Shmurda
Akinbiyi Abiola Ahmed, also known by his stage name Bella Smurda is a prolific songwriter. He is also one of the best upcoming Nigeria music singers. He rose to fame when he released “Vision 2020,” followed by a remix featuring Olamide.
Joseph Akinwale Akinfenwa-Donus, also known as Joeboy, is a songwriter and vocalist discovered in 2017. His genre is R&B and Afropop. He released his single “Baby” in 2019, which got 20 million views on YouTube and Spotify. Baby’s visualizer video got over 31 million views on YouTube. IN 2019, he released “Beginning,” and its visualizer video got over 23 million YouTube views.
Starboyterri, Terri or Akinre Terri was born Akiner Terri in 1993. He is a rising Nigeria music singer and songwriter with StarBoyRecords. In 2017, Terri got Wizkid’s attention when he posted a cover video of his (Wizkid) song “Oshe.” In 2018, the Starboy Entertainment label signed him on, and he released his single in the same year. His songs include Bia, Same You, Ojoro, Non-Stop, and On me.
Lyta, whose real name is Opeyemi Babatunde Rahim, is another upcoming songwriter and singer. He was signed to YBNL Nation in 2018 but left in 2019 after a disagreement with Olamide, the record label founder. In 2019, he released his five-track debut EP titled Id. His other singles include Monalisa, Time, Worry, Hold me Down, Everybody, and others.
#9. Ayra Starr
Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe, also known as Ayra Starr, is a model, Nigeria music singer, and songwriter. In addition, she mixes Afro-pop, soul, and R&B. She started by posting herself singing covers on her Instagram page when she was only 17. Her first original was in 2020, and it was noticed by Don Jazzy, a label executive who signed the singer to Mavin Records.
Oladuni Lawal goes by her stage name Dunnie, and she is a vocalist songwriter and produces her music solo. She effortlessly fuses Afropop, soul, and hip-hop. She recorded her first single in 2011, “E Go Getter,” which was Top Ten for weeks.
Nigerian music has come so far, and it can only get better. Nigerians are super talented, and artists are ready to pull each other up. Is there an artist that should have been on this list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.