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Ten Nigerian Artistes To Watch In 2020

2019 was a bliss year for afrobeat and even more so for Nigerian music because our sound, energy, and culture were put on display multiple times for the world to enjoy, and they did [oh yes, they did].

It is obvious that Nigerian music has broken into the global music scene and that means Nigerian artistes now have a much bigger platform and audience to cater to. 

Keeping in line with our new tradition, we are spotlighting 10 Nigerian artistes who have the skill, tenacity, and versatility to grab 2020 by the throat and make it their year.

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Here are the ones to watch in 2020;

 

  • Rema

Rema | Photo: COLORS

Divine Ikubor popularly known as Rema, is a Nigerian singer and rapper, signed to Jonzing World, a subsidiary of Mavin Records.

Since he was ‘activated’ by his label earlier in the year, he hit the ground running with his first EP REMA EP. Funnily enough, the majority of his songs centre around his pursuit of beautiful girls who he can’t resist. Beyond his two most well-known tracks “Dumebi” and “Iron Man” [which was the only Nigerian song to make it to Barack Obama’s 2019 summer playlist]. 

Rema has been able to greatly attract younger audiences by positioning himself as a voice for “his generation” and making music to suit that age bracket.

Throughout the year, he has not only amassed a huge following online, but he also won The Headies Next Rated award, AFRIMMA Awards for video of the year, City People Music Award for Revelation of the year and many other nominations. He closed the year by covering The Fader, an achievement held in the past by peak artistes like Drake and Ariana Grande.

2019 was a great starter year for Rema and we’re excited to see what 2020 holds for him.

  • Naira Marley

Naira Marley, Photo. Youtube

Afeez Fashola popularly known as Naira Marley is a Nigerian born British artiste based primarily in Lagos. 

Naira Marley came to limelight after the release of his hit track “Issa Goal” in collaboration with Olamide and Lil Kesh which oddly became an anthem for the World Cup in 2018 although that was not the intention, it was just a happy accident.

Earlier in the year, due to banter on social media and subsequent investigations, he was arrested for internet fraud-related activity and this became a propeller for his career. While in custody he released two tracks ‘Why’ and ‘Opotoyi’ which saw his fanbase grow exponentially and the term ‘Marlians’ was born. 

Today Naira Marley boasts one of the strongest fanbases of any Nigerian celebrity and two major sold-out concerts in Lagos and London respectively.

Looking forward to seeing what the new year holds for him and his music.

  • Fireboy DML

Fireboy DML | Photo: GQ Buzz

Adedamola Adefolahan who is widely known as Fireboy DML or simply “Fireboy” is a Nigerian born Afro-pop singer and songwriter signed to Olamide’s YBNL Nation.

The artiste has a unique approach to making music and he was earlier touted by many as YBNL’s replacement for Adekunle Gold. Although untrue, the artiste has proven himself to be an independent artist capable of making beautiful music.

His debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps was very well received and the comment section was flooded with positive feedback and multiple nods from notable artistes including Wizkid.

He proved himself in 2019 and we hope he can keep the fire going in 2020.

  • Lady Donli

Lady Donli | Photo: Stephen Tayo

Zainab Donli, professionally known as Lady Donli, is a Nigerian singer from Kaduna. 

Her music can be categorized as pure Neo-soul with a blend of Hip-Hop, Jazz, and RnB.

Donli had her first big break in 2016 when she released her project Wallflower

Though at the time she was recording Wallflower, Donli was juggling both school and family, she spent most of her time recording everything herself. Donli cites Erykah Badu, ASA, Nneka and Andre 3000 as her major influences.

Although she has been around for quite some time, 2019 was a very significant year for her career as she went on an international tour through the United States and still has more lined up in the U.K for next year already.

Her album Enjoy Your Life is a beautiful collection of sound, memories, and energy that earned her huge acclaim and a feature in The Fader.

We’re excited to see what the new year holds for her.

  • WurlD

WurlD | Photo: Pinterest

Sadiq Onifade, known professionally as WurlD, is a Nigerian born American singer and songwriter. He describes his style of music as electro-fusion.

WurlD has been active on the Nigerian music scene since as far back as 2012 when he dropped his first single “Beyond Our Dreams” but his career took a great leap this year as his efforts earned him three nominations at the 2019 Headies Award.

His collaborative album with Sarz I Love Girls With Trobul is currently topping the charts as well.

We wish him Godspeed in 2020.

  • Zlatan
Zlatan Ibile

Zlatan Ibile. Photo/626Blaze

Omoniyi Temidayo Raphael (born 19 December 1994), known professionally as Zlatan, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and dancer.

Zlatan has always had a passion for music and when he was 19 years old, he won Airtel’s “One Mic Campus Tour” music competition, held in Abeokuta and that was the beginning of everything for him.

He has risen in the ranks and become a certified hitmaker with his signature adlibs “Ayiiii”, “Ibile”, and most notably “Kapaichumarimarichopaco”. 

In addition to collaborating with almost every bigwig in the Nigerian music industry, Zlatan also started a major dance trend “Zanku” which has since gone international.

We hope 2020 will gbe body for the artiste.

  • Joeboy

Joeboy | Image: Rolling Stone

Joseph Akinfenwa Donus known for his stage name “Joeboy” is a Nigerian singer and songwriter specializing in Afro-pop and R&B.

Joeboy has been making music since the age of 16 but providence shone on him when he did a cover of Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You which helped Mr Eazi discover him and offered provisional mentorship.

With chart-toppers like Baby, Beginning, Don’t call me back among others, it is safe to say that the mentorship was well utilized.

Today Joeboy boasts multiple nominations at the just concluded Headies Award and a win at Afrima. 

Looking forward to what the new year holds for Joeboy.

  • Tems

 

Tems | Image: Vibe NG

Temilade Openiyi popularly known as Tems is a Nigerian Music Artist, Singer-Song Writer, and upcoming music producer.

Tems dropped her first single Mr Rebel earlier this year and followed it with multiple tracks including her hit single Try Me which could boldly be described as her breakout song. 

Talking to The Guardian Life about her inspiration, she says; “Try me’ is a call to break free from societal, mental and spiritual bondage, it’s inspired by the need to be oneself unapologetically and standing up for what you believe in.

Asides from being a singer, she is actively involved in music production [mostly for her own songs] and as of right now, she seems to be gearing up for an explosive 2020.

  • Oxlade

Oxlade | Qed

Lagos based singer Oxlade whose real name is Ikuforiji Abdulrahman Olaitan is definitely one of the new promising acts with the potential to go far. 

He first gained prominence in the industry because of his hook on BlaqBonez’ Mamiwota. The song topped several charts and this boosted Oxlade to the limelight. He also featured alongside YBNL’s Fireboy DML on Sing. This was the song that really caught Davido’s attention and heightened his interest in the young singer’s career.

Boy Ox as he calls himself has laid the foundation in 2019 and 2020 would hopefully be his for the taking.

  • Dami Oniru

Dami Oniru | Image: TW Magazine

Dami Oniru is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. Her first EP, Cliche, came out in 2017. Since then the singer-songwriter has released a handful of singles like “Iyawo” and “Fallin” that has brought her more recognition among Nigeria’s new school listeners. 

Oniru’s latest body of work Bri’s Lounge shows remarkable growth in her vocal strength, melody and soothing lyrics. The 7-track EP also tells a variety of stories ranging from mortality, loss, and growth from the mind of the talented artiste.

We look forward to good things from Oniru in 2020. 

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