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AFRIMA ‘22… Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Ckay, Fireboy Battle For Continental Honours 

By Chinonso Ihekire
17 September 2022   |   4:17 am
In the official AFRIMA 2022 nominees’ list, which was unveiled, Wednesday, Burna Boy’s mega smash hit, Last Last, Ckay’s Emiliana, and Fireboy’s Ed-Sheeran-assisted Peru (Remix), and Tiwa Savage’s Somebody’s Son, all earned the artistes nods at the continental awards.

Burna Boy

• Asake, Portable, Magixx, Director Pink Bag Nods
Burna Boy. Ckay. Fireboy. Tiwa Savage. Apart from peaking on global music charts, garnering hundreds of millions of song plays, and being among the most listened musicians of their generation, the latest denominator with this group is the fact that they have been announced as the only Nigerians to be listed among the nominees for the Artiste of the Year category, at the 2022 edition of the All African Music Awards (AFRIMA).

In the official AFRIMA 2022 nominees’ list, which was unveiled, Wednesday, Burna Boy’s mega smash hit, Last Last, Ckay’s Emiliana, and Fireboy’s Ed-Sheeran-assisted Peru (Remix), and Tiwa Savage’s Somebody’s Son, all earned the artistes nods at the continental awards.

With top contenders from the Eastern, Northern and Southern regions, it seems like a tough call for the trio, but if there is any hope in numbers then they seem to be on a tough footing to win in this voting category.

The other nominees on the list include the Congolese Maestro, Dadju, who is racing among the top 10 with his recently-released bop, Ambassadeur, as well as the Tanzanian maverick Diamond Platinumz for his Zuchu-assisted hit, Mtasubiri; the Southern African heavyweight Kabza De Small also earned a nod with his smash hit, Asibe Happy; while his South African counterpart Zakes Bantwini also measures up with Osama; leaving the remaining two nominations for the Moroccan superstar Manal, with her hit song, Makhelaw Magalou, and her Egyptian counterpart Wegz with his mega hit, El Bahkt.

Interestingly, from the fore, the Nigerian mavericks have a strong hand when it comes to diasporic support. Burna Boy’s Last Last seems to not be seeing the end of days anytime soon. Across the UK and US, it has peaked as the number 1 song, across several notable charts, including the Billboard Hot 100. The heartbreak song, which ironically has become the theme song for every party across town, is Burna Boy’s official lead single from his acclaimed Love, Damini record.

Fireboy’s Peru Remix, Ckay’s Emiliana, and Tiwa Savage’s Somebody’s Son are also strong contenders as well; all of these songs have broken into the US and UK market, apart from spreading across the African market.

Within the home front, these mavericks also seem to be doing the numbers. For instance, in Kenya, Burna Boy’s Last Last, is the most listened song right now on the streaming giant Spotify. In South Africa, it is the third most listened to song. Ckay achieved the same feat for several weeks, when he released Emiliana. Tiwa Savage also replicated a similar feat.

However, when it comes to digital streams, the other nominees are also heavyweights in their own rights. For instance, Manal’s Makhelaw Magalou, which was released two months ago, already has over 27 million views on YouTube alone. Diamond Platnumz Mtasubiri, similarly, is currently at 20 million views, while Kabza De Small and Zakes Bantwini, are still racing with 8.6 million, and 3.7 million views, respectively.

Instructively, these numbers do not wholly represent the quality of records, as it is achievable to get song plays with low quality music these days. However, with award wins, it is partly a numbers game, and whoever has the most votes wins.

Remember the Malian rapper, Iba One, who defeated Wizkid and Burna Boy last year to win in five different categories, including Album of the Year, and Best Male Artiste in Western Africa, all because he had the whole of Mali voting for him. Without the support from their fans, Ckay, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy and Fireboy, might face a similar scenario this year.

In similar news, AFRIMA also seems to be the hub for spotlighting emerging talents. This year, Mavin Records’ recent signee, Magixx, seems to be having a healthy run, as after his Headies nominations, earlier this year, he also appears among the list of nominees for the Most Promising Act across Africa. The RnB chanteuse, Fave, also earned a nod in this category. The trick with this category is that all the acts there are emerging, and it is really another numbers game to see who claims the top spot at the end of the day.

It is also interesting to see that Nigerian Hip Hop still has a fighting chance among the big players this year, after suffering a decline for years. Ladipoe’s Afro Jigga, as well as LAMB’s (Loose Kaynon, A-Q, MI Abaga, and Blaqbonez) The Last Cypher also earned the artistes nods, respectively, among the best African Rappers and Lyricists.

Nigeria’s Asake also surfaced among the list with his smash hit, Palazzo, earning him a place among the Breakout of the Year nominees. It is interesting to see Asake reaping the fruits of his enduring labour as this is his first major award nomination since his breakout earlier in the year. Pheelz, the music producer turned singer, has shocked everyone with his marathon achievements as a singer. Adding to his feats is his nomination in this same category, for his Bnxn-assisted jam, Finesse. It’s another one for the history books as well.

Interestingly, his music producer turned singer counterpart, Young Jonn, has also made Nigerians proud by being nominated under the African Fans Favourite category, alongside Oxlade, Lojay and Joeboy.

It is also another proud moment for Nigerian female creators as fast-rising Video Director, Director Pink, who was also recently spotlighted on Guardian Music, has earned a nomination in the Best Video category, for her work on Chike’s Nwoke Oma music video.

She is nominated among other acclaimed mavericks such as TG Omori, and Dammy Twitch, who earned nods for their work on Kizz Daniel’s Buga, and Simi’s Woman, respectively.

After the Kemi Adetibas of the industry switched from active music video directing, there has been a risky scarcity of female music video directors in the Nigerian musicsphere. Thankfully, Director Pink’s nod would be an inspiring feat for other aspiring female music video directors.

Proving his lyrical mettle is Brymo, the self-acclaimed sonic artist. Apart from being nominated in the Album of the Year category for his 9:Esan record, alongside Rema’s Rave and Roses, and Burna Boy’s Love, Damini, the maestro has also earned a laudable nod for the Best Songwriter category, with his solemn bop, Fura Sara. Brymo’s poetic storytelling is definitely a strong contender in his category, as it is the only Nigerian record to be nominated in that category.

Other significant nominations garnered by Nigerians include Davido’s Stand Strong, which bagged a nod for the Best Male Artiste in Inspirational Music, alongside the Chike-assisted Masterkraft bop in Hosanna, which when added to his nomination forBest Artiste, Duo or Group in African Electro, gives him three nods in total at the awards.

Wizkid also bagged an award for Best Male Artiste in Western Africa, with his song, Anoti, which was released under his globally acclaimed Made In Lagos Deluxe edition. For these big two acts, they have had quite a slow year within the validity period for AFRIMA’s 2022 edition (August 20 – August 5, 2022), which is quite understandable, given that they both have unconfirmed albums on the way.

While TY Bello’s nod for Best Female Artiste in Africa is quite exciting, the most shocking nomination this year would be Portable’s nomination for Best Artiste, Duo or Group in Use of African Dance or Choreography, with his viral record Zazoo (Zeh). He duels Simi’s Woman, among a bunch of other hit records, in this keenly contested category. Artistically, the TG Omori flick deserves the merit, while the artiste continues to brand himself as an eccentric and trouble-loving character. Still, the work deserves its acclaim. So, it is time to separate the art from the artiste.

Finally, Kizz Daniel’s Buga showed up to the occasion, earning the artiste the respected Song of the Year category, alongside Burna Boy’s Last Last, Fireboy’s Peru Remix, and Rema’s Calm Down. Kizz Daniel arguably, dropped the anthem of the year, with Buga travelling across borders and defying any generational or classist stereotypes, with Presidents, Parents and Party heads all rocking to the infectious groove.

Commenting on the 2022 nominations list, AFRIMA jury member representing the Southern African Region, Adam Tiran, said: “The sheer breadth of music from all over the continent that we considered at the AFRIMA adjudication, for this year’s awards, is mind blowing. It’s really encouraging to see so many African superstars on the list, as well as other rising stars who have had an amazing year, and, finally, a lot of brand new music discoveries. The future is bright for the continent!”

Importantly, the public voting portal for the 2022 AFRIMA edition would be live on Sunday, 25th September, 2022, at 12:00pm CAT. African music lovers within the continent, and around the world, can visit the official website www.afrima.org to vote. Voting closes at 12.00 (CAT), December 10, 2022, before the AFRIMA main awards ceremony.

“The nominees list comprising 29 continental award categories and 10 regional award categories released for public voting on www.afrima.org. The remaining category for the “Legend Award” will be announced at the awards. Also, we brought back the “Best Soundtrack in a Movie, Series or Documentary” category, this year, due to the availability of quality entries for this year’s edition. Recall that we had to suspend it, last year, due to a shortage of quality entries.

“Overall, we are very proud and confident in our work, and we would continue to intensify our efforts to ensure AFRIMA remains the ultimate recognition of African music globally in line with its vision,” Head of Culture, African Union Commission on the Jury, Angela Martins, said.

Meanwhile, the 2022 All Africa Music Awards will now be held from the December 8 to 11, 2022. A special announcement will be made on the host country and location for the awards, on September 30, 2022.

The AFRIMA awards ceremony will feature a 4-day fiesta of music, glitz, and glamour aimed at celebrating Africa, recognising talents and expanding the economic frontiers of the culture and creative industry on the continent.

African music lovers can take part in the events on social media, live stream on the AFRIMA website at www.afrima.org and visit the social media platforms (Instagram/Facebook – Afrima.official; Twitter – Afrimawards), and they can watch the event coverage by tuning in to their local and cable TV providers.

In partnership with the African Union Commission, AFRIMA is a youth-focused music platform that recognises and rewards the work and talents of African artistes across generations.