Afro-pop music has been growing in popularity worldwide over the past few years, and Nigeria has been a hub for some of the genre's most talented artists. In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the best Afro-pop musicians from Nigeria. From Burna Boy's socially conscious lyrics to Yemi Alade's activism and advocacy work, these artists have contributed to the rise and success of Afro-pop music in Nigeria and beyond.
1. Burna Boy
Burna Boy is a Nigerian Afro-pop singer, songwriter, and musician who rose to fame in 2012 with his debut album “L.I.F.E.” His music often addresses political and social issues, and he is known for his powerful vocals, socially conscious lyrics, and unique sound. Burna Boy has received several accolades for his music, including a Grammy nomination, and he is also involved in philanthropic activities through his organization “Reach.” He has collaborated with many international artists and is one of the most successful Afro-pop musicians of his generation.
2. Yemi Alade
Yemi Alade is a dynamic Nigerian singer/songwriter who took the music world by storm. Alade's fame came in 2014 with her chart-topping single “Johnny,” which catapulted her to stardom and earned numerous accolades. Yemi Alade's music is a mix of Afro-pop, R&B, and highlife, with lyrics addressing love, relationships, and the meaning of life. Her hit albums include “King of Queens” (2014), “Mama Africa” (2016), and “Woman of Steel” (2019). But Yemi Alade is also an actress, with appearances in several Nigerian films and shows. Alade is a philanthropist too and advocates for gender equality, working with organizations that support women and girls in Nigeria and across the globe. Alade has received countless awards and nominations for her music, including the Best Female West Africa at the 2015 African Muzik Magazine Awards and the Best International Act at the 2016 BET Awards. In 2020, Yemi Alade was honored with the ELOY Awards for Female Artist of the Year and the African Entertainment Legend Awards for Female Artist of the Year. Yemi Alade is an exceptional artist and activist who is using her talent to promote African culture and female empowerment.
Rema, whose birth name is Divine Ikubor, is a Nigerian singer, rapper, and songwriter hailing from Benin City. He developed a passion for music at a young age and began creating music in his teenage years. In 2019, Rema became a sensation with the release of his self-titled debut EP, which featured chart-topping hits like “Dumebi,” “Iron Man,” and “Corny.” His distinctive blend of Afrobeat, trap, and pop propelled him to stardom in Nigeria and beyond. Since then, Rema has released several successful projects, including “Bad Commando EP” (2019), and the “Rema Compilation” (2021). He has also collaborated with numerous international artists, such as Becky G, Manny Norté, and Skepta. Rema's music frequently addresses themes of love, youth, and success. He is recognized for his catchy melodies, smooth delivery, and versatile style. His seamless blending of various genres and distinctive approach to music have earned him praise. Rema is also engaged in various charitable efforts. He has leveraged his platform to advocate for better education and healthcare in Nigeria.
Simisola Kosoko, professionally known as Simi, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and actress, and she began her career as a gospel singer before transitioning to mainstream music and gaining fame with her hit single “Tiff” in 2014. Simi's music combines afrobeats, pop, and R&B, with lyrics touching on themes of love, relationships, and societal issues. Apart from her music career, she is also an accomplished actress, having appeared in various Nigerian movies and TV shows. Simi has won numerous awards for her music, including Best Female Vocal Performance at the 2018 Headies Awards and Album of the Year at the 2019 Headies Awards, and has been actively involved in philanthropic activities supporting education and healthcare in Nigeria.
Fireboy, a Nigerian singer and songwriter, was born Adedamola Adefolahan in Abeokuta, Ogun State. After studying English language at Obafemi Awolowo University, he signed with YBNL Nation in 2018, founded by rapper Olamide. Fireboy's music blends Afrobeat, R&B, and soul, exploring themes of love, heartbreak, and self-discovery. He gained recognition with his debut album “Laughter, Tears, and Goosebumps” in 2019, featuring hit songs like “Jealous” and “What If I Say.” Fireboy has won awards for his music and supports philanthropic causes like education and healthcare, making him one of Nigeria's best artists.
6. Tiwa Savage
Tiwa Savage is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and actress. Tiwa began her music career as a backup vocalist for international artists such as George Michael and Mary J. Blige, before moving to Nigeria to pursue her own music career. She gained mainstream success in 2010 with her debut single “Kele Kele Love” and has become an influential female artist in Nigeria. Tiwa's music is a blend of afrobeats, R&B, and pop, with lyrics that explore themes of love, relationships, and female empowerment. She has released a lot of successful work, including “Once Upon a Time” (2013) and “Sugarcane” (2017). Tiwa has won several awards and nominations for her music, including the Best African Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards. She has also been recognized for her involvement in the #EndSARS protests against police brutality in Nigeria in 2020.
Davido, born David Adedeji Adeleke, is a renowned Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, but grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. He comes from a wealthy family: his father was a successful businessman. Davido began his music career in 2011 and gained fame with his debut single “Back When” in 2012. He is known for his blend of afro beats, hip-hop, and pop, with lyrics celebrating success and wealth. Some of his popular songs include “Dami Duro,” “Fall,” “Assurance,” and “Fem.” He has won numerous music awards, including Best International Act at the 2018 BET Awards and the Artist of the Year at the 2018 Headies Awards. He has also collaborated with local and international artists such as Chris Brown, Meek Mill, and Nicki Minaj. Apart from music, Davido founded Davido Music Worldwide (DMW) record label, which helped launch the careers of many Nigerian artists. He also supports charitable causes such as education, healthcare, and youth empowerment.
Wizkid, whose real name is Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer. He started his music career in 2001 and gained recognition in 2010 with the release of his debut album “Superstar.” Wizkid's music is a blend of afrobeats, reggae, and hip-hop, and he is known for his unique voice, catchy hooks, and infectious beats. He has collaborated with several artists, including Drake, Beyonce, and Skepta, and has won numerous awards for his music, including the Best International Act at the 2017 MOBO Awards and the Best African Act at the 2016 MTV Europe Music Awards. Wizkid is also involved in philanthropic activities and has used his platform to support causes like education and healthcare.
Tems is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and producer known for her alternative R&B, soul, and afrobeats sound. She gained recognition with her debut single “Mr. Rebel” in 2018 and has since released successful projects like “For Broken Ears” and “If Orange Was A Place.” Tems has collaborated with several local and international artists and has won awards for her music. Tems' music is also characterized by her powerful voice and soulful delivery, which have earned her comparisons to iconic singers like Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill. Her distinctive sound and artistic vision help her stand out in Nigeria's vibrant music scene, and she is poised for success in the years to come. She is also involved in philanthropic activities and advocates for social justice and human rights.
Falz, born Folarin Falana, is a multi-talented Nigerian artist who has made an impact on the music and entertainment industries and the legal profession. His music blends afrobeats and highlife and he has been praised for lyrics that address corruption, inequality, and police brutality. Falz is also an accomplished actor, starring in several Nigerian movies and television shows, and a qualified lawyer, with a law degree from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom and a barrister and solicitor of the Nigerian Bar Association. Falz's impact on Nigerian society extends beyond his artistic and legal achievements. He has been recognized for his involvement in the #EndSARS protests against police brutality in Nigeria in 2020. He has also been vocal about issues such as women's rights and better governance in Nigeria. Falz has won numerous awards for his music and acting, including Best Supporting Actor at the 2015 Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards and Best Rap Album at the 2016 City People Entertainment Awards. He has also been named one of the most influential young Africans by Forbes Africa and included in the annual “30 Under 30” list by Forbes Magazine.
11. Kizz Daniel
Kizz Daniel is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and performer whose real name is Oluwatobiloba Daniel Anidugbe. He gained mainstream success in 2014 with his hit single “Woju.” Daniel's music is a blend of afrobeats, highlife, and contemporary R&B, with lyrics that focus on love and relationships. He has released several successful albums, including “New Era” (2016) and “No Bad Songz” (2018), and has collaborated with several local and international artists. Kizz Daniel has won numerous awards for his music and is considered one of the most popular and successful musicians in Nigeria today.
Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie, also known as Patoranking, is a Nigerian reggae-dancehall singer and songwriter. Born on May 27, 1990, in Lagos, he started his music career in 2009 but achieved mainstream success in 2013 with the hit single “Alubarika” featuring Timaya. His music addresses themes of love, social justice, and personal struggles and has won him numerous awards, including the Best African Act at the 2015 MTV Europe Music Awards. Patoranking is also known for his philanthropic work, including the Patoranking Scholarship Programme, which supports underprivileged children's education in Nigeria.
In conclusion, Afro-pop music is a genre that continues to grow and evolve, with countless talented artists contributing to its rich and diverse soundscape. From the socially conscious lyrics of Burna Boy to the infectious rhythms of Yemi Alade, these 12 musicians have made an indelible mark on the Afro-pop world. There's no doubt these artists will continue to captivate audiences with their music, activism, and commitment to promoting African culture.
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