5 Musicians Who Are Changing The Nigerian Music Industry
The Nigerian music industry has come a long way since Idris Abdulkareem’s JagaJaga, Ruggedman’s Ruggedybaba, 9ice’s Gongo Aso, to mention a few. Those were the days. We loved our music the way it was. Looking back now, we wondered how we ever loved some artistes, lol. But, Nigeria as a country has produced some movers and shakers in the music scene globally. And Nigeria is also known as the country that helps artists to “blow”, unofficially though.
In recent times,
There has been a revival of the music genre, Afrobeats. This music genre is almost synonymous with Nigeria. This revival was spearheaded by prolific performer Wizkid and many artists have jumped on the train. However, Nigerian music is gradually undergoing a major reconstruction. Everyone knows that music doesn’t belong to any one person or tribe or collective. Everyone knows that true music defies boundaries and colors and race. And this is starting to reflect in the kind of music that Nigerians are beginning to listen to.
With the introduction of the music website, Soundcloud, the traditional ways of getting music out there have changed, probably forever. Previously unknown artists who would probably have spent their entire lives in a dinghy studio somewhere are gaining massive recognition across the globe. And more and more people are starting to listen to something other than mainstream Afropop.
It is in this light, that we decided to present to you a list of five musicians that are changing the way that Nigerians think about music. This list is based on the lyrical content, sounds, and energy that these artists create and inspire in their listeners. This list is not about award nominations or number of endorsements or popularity. Rather this list is strictly based on real, quality music. Enjoy!
The modern Fela, the guy that has gone on to surpass numerous expectations and continues to do so. Burna has come a long way since his singles Yawa Dey, Like to Party, and Ye. His sound, which features a fusion of afrobeat, dancehall, and reggae, is distinct and flavored with his deep, raspy vocals. Burna Boy is a major vibe, being one of the few artists in Nigeria that have been able to strike a balance between commercialism and real music. His lyrics are potent and address real issues without being “too much”. Burna boy is undoubtedly one artist that is changing what afrobeat is and showing us what it could be like. If you think otherwise, please listen to his albums, African Giant and Twice As Tall.
The singer, songwriter, and record producer is a beautiful breath of fresh air on the Nigerian music scene. Her single, Try Me featured sounds that are rarely heard on a Nigerian song, coupled with her lovely alto range. Tems is gearing up to be Nigeria’s RnB princess. And we will not be worried if she spearheads an RnB revival in Nigeria. Truth be told, RnB has never really gained a foothold in the Nigerian music industry. Anyways, Tems is one to look out for as she is definitely not doing the usual “Nigerian Diva” kind of song. And we are waiting for an album, too.
When we heard “Jealous”, we instantly vibed to it, and tongues began to wag. Who was this guy? And hearing that he was signed to Olamide’s YBNL mafia family came as a shock. The label isn’t exactly known for signing on the likes of Fireboy. But, the young man has continued to explore his sound, not confining himself to one particular sound or style. Fireboy has shown some great versatility with his voice and musicality, and still appeals to the larger Nigerian populace who prefer street anthems and dance hits. Fireboy DML has the potential to do some major work in the Nigerian music industry and take us along with him, hehe.
If you haven’t listened to any of their music, you probably do not like good music, no offense. The cavemen are a duo, two brothers who ironically speak terrible Igbo. But they sing really beautiful lyrics in their mother tongue. They burst onto the scene with Osondu, and they have been thrilling us ever since. This band principally does high life with jazz, folk music, and soul fusions. These guys are bringing back the music that characterized the 70’s and 80’s and it is a beautiful thing to watch and listen to, too. Try listening to their newest album, ROOTS, you’ll thank me later.
For most Nigerians, alternative music is an acquired taste. And most are not ready to acquire that taste. Hehehehe. Contrary to what most people think about alternative musicians, they are not a bunch of spoilt, rich kids. Neither are they messing around with synthesizers and drum machines. Alte`, as Nigerian alternative music is fondly called, is more than that, and Tay Iwar is at the forefront of that. Tay’s sound defies convention and unleashes a wide variety of emotions in the listener. It is hard to believe that he is a Nigerian, those sounds are deemed foreign. But, Tay appeals to a lot of people who believe in the flexibility of music and that is all the more reason why he’s included on this list.
Nigeria’s music industry is growing in leaps and bounds, but her musical tastes have somewhat refused to grow at the same pace. And so, genuine music is sometimes forced to take a back seat to commercialism. Nigerians need to broaden their musical horizons and see what beautiful indigenous talent they have in their schools, churches, and homes.