Here are the 5 Nigerian artists taking Afrobeats to the world
Afrobeats is fast becoming a global wave and here are five Nigerian artists at the forefront of the movement.
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, the Afrobeats movement is up, running and totally piloted by Nigerian artists.
The story of the Nigerian pop scene as it exists today – with its popularity, acceptance and seemingly booming nature is entirely down to the efforts of indigenous artists and the fanbase back home.
No doubt the window opened by the UK community, which saw someone like DJ Abarantee lay claim as the creator of the name, 'Afrobeats' and the influence of international superstar like Drake with his collaborations with Wizkid has also helped foster the genre.
But the accolades for its growth fully goes to those who have championed the course from home with little or no structure to support them.
Sometime in 2012, at the basketball event of the London Olympics, D'banj's 'Oliver Twist' hit the speakers during the interval of the basketball game between Russia and Brazil.
Released months earlier, Oliver Twist produced by Don Jazzy became a global phenomenon with the video featuring a cameo from hip-hop superstar Kanye West.
This was a defining moment, one that six years later is beginning to fully yield fruits for the younger talents.
Afrobeats finds its inspiration in Afrobeat [at least a bit of it], a genre created by the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and even though there is a sharp contrast in the sound, the elements of heavy instrumentals, jazz and highlife still find its way in what is offered today.
Other acts who have done their bit in pushing the borders of the genre include 2face Idibia, whose solo career timeline kicked off at about the same time MTV set its 'base' in Africa, with his songs opening the borders of Nigerian music beyond the continent.
Figures such as Ice Prince have also played their part, but the last couple of years has witnessed a significant exposure with international deals, wider acceptance and headline concerts around the world. The narrative belongs to those who really are the leaders of the movement.
Here are the five major Nigerians artists pushing Afrobeats to the world
From the moment 'Ojuelegba' was released, nothing stayed the same again for this young talent.
As the song shut down major platforms back at home, Drake gifted it with a verse alongside Skepta, which catapulted its status on the international scene.
Back to back collaborations with Drake on 'Come Closer' and the chart topping, 'One Dance' have also helped make Wizkid a feature on the global radar.
His reggaeton influenced single, 'Daddy Yo' served as a soundtrack on the movie 'Pacific Rim' and after sealing a dealing with Sony Music/RCA Records, Wiz released the body of work,'Sounds From The Other Side' strategically targeted at the American market.
In the last 12 months, Wizkid has sold out the Royal Albert Hall in London, the 20,000 capacity O2 Arena, listed to perform at the Coachella festival [which he failed to attend], spotted with the likes of Diddy, with his songs gaining constant rotation globally.
The OBO has successfully turned a poor project to work in his favour. When he signed a deal with Sony and made the incursion into the global market with his Son of Mercy EP, the outcome went against all he had hoped for.
The project failed to capture the attention he sought and both home and away, it was a forgettable EP, one that even the singer refers to as 'Wack'.
This however kicked off his 'Back to Basics' blueprint, one that saw him return to familiar terrain in terms of producers, sound and theme leading to a string of success on both fronts.
Songs like 'If', 'Fia', 'Fall' and 'Assurance' are anthems in places as far as Suriname, South America.
Davido is performing before a crowd of 40,000 at the Wireless festival in the UK, his music is heard everywhere and he is ending the year with a US tour after a successful 30BG tour that saw him perform in cities across Africa and Europe.
Very few people actually acknowledge the contributions of the Banku Music boss to the art form, but he is one who perhaps has made the most intentional moves yet.
After emerging on the scene with the singles, 'Skin Tight' and 'Holl Up' in 2016, Eazi followed the success of the songs with his debut EP, Life is Eazi Vol 1 the following year.
Later that year, Mr Eazi was nominated for a MOBO Award and the singer is also credited as the only Afropop artist to feature on Simon Cowell’s Grenfell charity track, 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'.
In July 2017, he became the second Nigerian after Majek Fashek to appear on 'The Late Late Show with James Corden' after emerging as Apple Music Beats 1 Up Next artist.
And he ended the year by performing at Jay Z's Tidal Charity launch, which took place in Brooklyn, US.
Today, Eazi owns his label, Banku Music, has a deal with International DJ, Diplo's Mad Decent, licensing deal with Universal Music for Africa and Columbia Records for UK, has performed in places like Barcelona, Norway, Denmark and the UK.
His new singles, 'London Town' features prominent UK rapper, Giggs and has over 2.7M views in 2months of release as he gears up to the release of his sophomore project, Lagos to London later in the year.
He is also scheduled to join Lauryn Hill on the 20th Anniversary tour for her Miseducation album.
Tiwa Savage will be headlining her concert at the Indigo at the O2 Arena this Friday, August 24.
The Mavin Records artist who has a management deal with Jay Z's Roc Nation was on stage at Made in America concert in 2017, and featured American star, Omarion on the remix of her song, 'Get it Now'.
Her singles like 'All Over', 'Ma lo' with Wizkid and 'Bad' have all found its way to music charts globally.
The singer kick-started an online debate when she placed her popularity on the same terms as that of Wizkid and Davido in a recent interview.
In her words, ''I respect everybody, we all inspire each other in this industry...
There is actually no number one because your top five artists in Nigeria that are the biggest in Africa can shut down the exact same capacity, the same capacity Wizkid holds down in Africa, I hold it down, the same capacity Davido holds down in Africa, I hold it down, the same venues, we all shut it down.''
How do you argue against this statement, when the numbers back up her claim?
Yemi Alade in April sold out the 800 capacity O2 Islington Academy arena in London, becoming the first female Afrobeats artist to headline an event at the venue.
She recently concluded successful tours in European cities like Amsterdam, London, France, Germany, Italy among others, and is presently on the US leg of the tour, that has seen her perform in Canada and Haiti.
Her video for 'Johnny' holds the most views of any Nigerian artist with over 93M views and she is a household name across Africa.
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