African music has taken a massive shift in the past decade, filled with rich and diverse rhythmic tunes distinctively African. It is this diversity in the music that has captured the attention of the whole world.
However, a new sound hints at a contemporary vibe that is more evident in new artists. It is this crop of artist that is tipped to usher African music into the future and beyond. Below we will look at just a few artists making waves in the African music scene and are the ones to watch in 2021
Elaine (South Africa)Elaine is quickly establishing herself as one of the continent’s finest R&B voices. The 21-year-old keeps true to her natural voice in an era when many artists use autotune.
Last August, she signed with Columbia Records in the United States, which should help her develop a solid starting point. Elaine wowed audiences with her sincerity and the song. You’re the One, which she released in 2019. As a result, she became one of South Africa’s most-streamed artists. Elements, her debut EP, was a powerful introduction to her captivating voice and unforgettable songs about love and relationships set to trap-soul and R&B.
Fik Fameica (Uganda)Fresh Boy, commonly known as Fik Fameica, is currently among the most intriguing rappers in East Africa. With the tune Kutama, the musician debuted in the music industry in late 2017. The 24-year-old steers clear of traditional Ugandan music in favour of experimenting with his reggae-influenced style. Fik Fameica has previously collaborated with well-known singers from around Africa, like Patoranking, Vanessa Mdee, and Joeboy, to break through barriers and connect with many youngsters through his music.
Gaz Mawete (Democratic Republic of Congo)Gaz Mawete rose to stardom in the realm of Francophone music in 2018 with his song Olingi Nini, an enjoyable, warm, and beautiful melody. After competing in talent shows at home, the Congolese dancer, who rose to fame after competing in talent shows, has worked with music aristocracy such as Fally Ipupa, who starred on C’est Raté. Dadju’s CD Poison ou Antidote featured Mate as well. Mate has a launch date set for 2021 after being nominated for the MTV Europe Music Awards’ Best African Act category last year.
Kabza De Small (South Africa)Kabza De Small has built a name for himself since he began releasing songs in 2016. The DJ and record producer has been dubbed the King of Amapiano, a South African music genre. Melodic, vibrant, friendly, and contagious music is his trademark. Kabza De Small has become a proponent of a sound gaining traction in other African countries and beyond the world. His impact can be heard in music recorded throughout Africa, as evidenced by his nomination for MTV Europe’s Best African Act category last year.
KiDi (Ghana)KiDi, a pioneer of a young crop of Ghanaian musicians, received his big break when his album Sugar earned an album of the year at the 2020 Ghana music awards. His music is relevant to the youth outside of Ghana thanks to his youthful Afrobeats and Highlife vibe. KiDi’s song Say Cheese, off his Blue EP, won him international fame in 2020 after Teddy Riley, an American vocalist, collaborated with him on the remix. Other West African singers with whom the 27-year-old has cooperated include Davido and Mr Eazi.
Omah Lay (Nigeria)Following the release of his song Bad Influence, Omah Lay caught everyone’s attention. The fast-rising musician has established himself as one to watch with his beautiful voice and clearly defined sound over a mix of Afrobeats, Afrofusion, and soul. He’s also a leader among Nigeria’s new school artists, collaborating with American singer and rapper 6lack. Oh, Lay had a tense few days last year after being taken into custody in Uganda for allegedly breaking coronavirus restrictions. Still, his growing popularity was evidenced by a massive social media campaign calling for his release.
Sha Sha (Zimbabwe)Sha Sha is a talented vocalist who launched her soulful sound on her 2019 EP Blossom.
The Zimbabwean singer’s powerful voice shines brightly over Amapiano sounds, which she prefers, and this distinguishes her. Sha Sha was named one of the top ten most-streamed female artists in South Africa on Spotify in 2020, with her single Tender Love featuring DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small being one of the most popular tracks. She was also named Best New International Act at the BET Awards last year.
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Soraia Ramos (Cape Verde)
Soraia Ramos addresses topics of love and relationships with her beautiful voice and lyrics in Portuguese and Creole. She’s given kizomba a new lease of life by drawing inspiration from hip-hop and R&B. The Cape Verdean singer is now causing a stir with her single O Nosso Amor, which she co-wrote with Calema, as well as the Lisandro remix of her hit Bai. Her music videos for both the original and remix versions of Bai have over 15 million views on YouTube.
Terms, a Nigerian singer-songwriter on the rise, have commanded attention to release her 2019 track Try Me. Her music is layered over an infectious sound emphasized with soul, hip-hop, and R&B elements, and she is known for her powerful vocals. Her lyrics have a certain freedom to them, stressing that the artist is in charge. Terms is expanding her fan base outside Nigeria and the continent with her EP For Broken Ears.
Zuchu (Tanzania)Zuchu’s progress as a young artist has been incredible. The artist sings in Swahili and English and enjoys playing with Tanzania’s Bongo Flava genre. The singer released her debut EP, I Am Zuchu, last year and signed with Diamond Platnumz’s record company, WCB Wasafi. Her EP was the most played album in Tanzania in 2020, according to the BoomPlay streaming service, and her music videos have racked up millions of views on YouTube.