Ten Nigerian Artistes To Watch In 2022
Looking back at the year in review, it’s safe to say that 2021 has been full of mixed feelings and uncertainty, especially for Nigerians who dealt with a financial crisis and fluctuating forex rates that led to the arrest of an ‘Aboki’ in London.
However, amid all the instability, one thing has been consistent: music.
Nigerian artistes really took it up a notch last year and showed the world what it truly means to be the Giant of Africa.
Tems, a previous honouree of this annual forecast rose like a phoenix alongside Wizkid who made history by becoming the first African artiste to sell out the 02 Arena in England three times [within minutes] in under a month as well as enter the Billboard Top 10 charts for his global hit song ‘Essence’.
Burna Boy is also scheduled to headline the prestigious Madison Square Garden in the first quarter of next year, just after completing a rigorous global tour and winning his first Grammy all in the same year.
Last year’s honouree, Ckay also rose to global acclaim due to the success of his smash hit ‘Love Nwantiti.’
It’s been phenomenal to witness, and Nigerians everywhere are ecstatic.
Keeping in line with our tradition, for the fourth year in a row, we’ll be highlighting ten Nigerian artistes who have shown massive growth potential and, for the first time, one phenomenal non-Nigerian talent.
Here are the ones to watch in 2022;
Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibige, known professionally as Ayra Starr, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. Unknown to some of her fans, she started as a model at the age of 16 before making the switch to music.
After covering many songs by popular artistes and sharing them on her Instagram account, she posted her first original song in December 2019. This brought her to the attention of record executive Don Jazzy and led to her signing to Mavin Records.
Since then, she’s been topping charts first with her debut EP ‘Arya Starr’ and subsequently her album ‘19 & Dangerous’. The lead single “Bloody Samaritan” peaked atop the Turntable Top 50 chart, becoming the first solo song by a female artist in the history of the chart to reach the number-one position. She’s definitely on an upward trajectory and it’s exciting to watch her journey to the top.
Lekan Osifeso Jnr. popularly known as Lojay, is a Nigerian musician, singer, songwriter, and performing artist. In 2016, Lojay started his career as a professional musician. He released “Ariel” in October 2019.
He gained popularity early in the year after a collaborative project with Sarz titled ‘LV N ATTN’. The project had only one feature, Wizkid. He grew up on a lot of gospel music courtesy of his mum being a pastor. Lojay would eventually discover other musical influences both homegrown and international that would influence his sound and help him become the multi-talented artiste he’s growing into. He’s on a fast track and 2022 is looking real promising.
The Cavemen are a Nigerian Highlife band consisting of sibling duo Kingsley Okorie, a bassist, and Benjamin James, a drummer. They released their debut single, “Osondu” in 2020 and released their debut album, Roots, in August 2020. The album was recorded in their living room and was fully produced by them.
Since then, they’ve gone on to capture the hearts of music lovers around the world with their electric performances and unique take on highlife that would leave listeners utterly mesmerised.
They also won the 2020 Headies Award for the Best Alternative Album and you can be sure they’re not stopping there. The sky’s the limit for this uber-talented duo.
Anthony Victor who goes by the moniker ‘Victony’ is a singer and songwriter whose been through the fire this year but has managed to shine through tragedy because of his talent.
Victony’s musical career kicked off professionally in 2017 and at the time, he was a rapper. He made his debut with a mixtape on SoundCloud titled “The Outlaw King” which is why some of his fans refer by that nickname to date.
2021 became his breakthrough year when his record “Pray” started gaining traction, as it was released after an unfortunate fatal accident that took the life of his friend and complicated his health. A timely collaboration with Mayorkun on ‘Holy Father’ is the final nail in the coffin that cements him as one of 2021’s breakout stars.
Michael Adebayo, popularly known as Ruger, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. He rose to prominence earlier this year with his unique sound and interesting look, sporting an eyepatch.
He draws inspiration from Fuji music by the likes of King Wasiu Ayinde (K1 De Ultimate) to R&B by American artists like Boys II Men. Also utilising social media like others on this list, he put out musical content for fun and landed on D’Prince’s radar and. After proper grooming and recording sessions; he was unveiled to the public and he hit the ground running. The release of his five-track EP dubbed, Pandemic which houses records like “Ruger”, “Abu Dhabi”, “Bounce”… helped make his sound memorable to Nigerians especially “Bounce” which topped many charts including Apple Music Nigeria’s charts.
He’s currently enjoying the notoriety that comes with a successful year, and one can only imagine what the next year holds for him.
GodsFavour Chidozie is a 21-year-old Nigerian singer and songwriter known professionally as Fave. She utilised social media platforms, particularly Twitter, to showcase her talent and share videos of herself freestyling, which eventually got her recognition and social media shares.
Starting in the choir, she honed her skills and has risen to the level of serving up hit songs. Her song ‘Baby Riddim’ became an internet sensation after it took off on Tik Tok. Subsequently, it began rising on the charts and became a certified hit.
Although Fave still has some ground to cover, she is showing them she can easily make her way up.
Oniyide Azeez, better known as ‘Zinoleesky’ is a fast-rising Nigerian artiste with incredible range and the ability to surprise listeners on any given song.
He began his sojourn into music via social media alongside his friends and associated artistes Lil Frosh and Ibradosky.
He is currently under the tutelage of Naira Marley and signed to Marlian Records. He has dominated charts with his releases this year and he doesn’t seem like he’ll be relenting in 2022.
Shayo Davids is a Nigerian musician with a unique sound and eccentric personality. He started making music at age 15 and has not stopped since. He is close collaborators with previous honourees of this annual forecast—Buju, Laime, and Psycho YP.
Greatly inspired by his circumstances and personal experiences, you can always hear the truth of his life in his music.
With a persevering spirit and limitless potential, Shayo Davids is certain to make some big strides in the coming year.
British-Nigerian R&B singer and songwriter Somadina Onuoha, known to most as just ‘Somadina’ is an interesting new talent who has been able to show her range through sonorous music.
Her 5 track “EP Five Stages”, which followed her 2019 single ‘Lay Low’ was very well received and propelled her onto the radar of lovers of music everywhere.
She has a unique sound that makes it almost impossible not to be swayed by it.
Before now, she had toured with Odunsi The Engine on his UK tour and held it down every time she graced the stage.
In addition to her musical prowess, she is also a feminist advocate and takes the cause quite seriously. There are many sides to this artiste and we look forward to seeing what her 2022 presents.
Amaarae (Honorable Mention)
Ama Serwah Genfi is an American-Ghanaian known for her incredible vocals and ability to evoke emotion through her music.
It would be appropriate to point out that she had been on the radar of the publication for years but because the list is dedicated to Nigerians, it took a little longer to highlight her.
Her work reached new heights in 2020 and she truly became a more present force in the global music scene and her work with other musicians including Nigerian like Tems, Blaqbonez, Tiwa Savage, and Yinka Bernie to mention a few have definitely shown that her talent knows no bounds.
On November 12, 2020, Amaarae released her debut studio album, “The Angel You Don’t Know” to which Owen Myers of Pitchfork stated, “The Angel You Don’t Know crackles with innovation, a pacesetter at a time when industry bigwigs are waking up to the long-held truth that Africa is setting the global tempo for pop music.”
She is definitely a worthy mention and 2022 is hers for the taking.