African Music Culture

8 Female Artists From West Africa Ruling the Airwaves

Yemi Alade
Written by Jesca

West African female singers are a shining example of the immense strength and talent coming out of Africa. These talented women have shaped the way music is heard and celebrated in the region, paving the way for generations of artists to come.

Many of these female artists have seen international success with their unique blend of traditional rhythms and melodies with elements of modern music creating a sound that is beloved across the globe. Artists like Efya from Ghana, Tiwa Savage from Nigeria, and Angélique Kidjo from Benin are some of the West African female singers who are a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Who is the Best Female Vocalist in Africa?

Juliana Kanyomozi, The legendary Diva and songstress from Uganda, is one of the best female vocalists in Africa. She has been singing for over two decades, and her unique style of music blends traditional Ugandan rhythms, soulful melodies, and contemporary pop beats. She was a judge at the popular Tusker project fame between 2009 to 2013, alongside judges like Ian Mbugua from Kenya and Tanzania’s Hermes Joachim.

Who is the Best Female Musician in East Africa?

1. Tems

West African Female Singers

Tems attends the Tems at the Annual Academy Awards – Arrivals. Photo/ Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

The captivating Nigerian artist Dollface Tems is mesmerizing with her soulful voice and thought-provoking lyrics. Born Temilade Openiyi, her unique fusion of hip hop and Afrobeats has gained her recognition and admiration around the planet. Since 2018, Tems has seen immense popularity due to her several hits that, include her smash hit “Mr. Rebel”, plus Wizkid’s Essence. Besides winning the Grammy awards, Tems is a record breaker in Africa in many ways.

She became the first African woman to have five Billboard hits and currently holds the title of Africa’s best-selling female musician with her infectious collaboration alongside Wizkid “Essence”. This year, the singer also earned her place in history by becoming Nigeria’s first-ever Oscar nominee for her collaboration with Ryan Coogler and Rihanna on “Lift Me Up” from Wakanda Forever.

2. Yemi Alade- Nigeria 

Yemi Alade

Yemi Alade. Photo/NAIJAlebrity.

The African continent has been celebrated for its beauty, culture, and of course, its music. Yemi Alade has been at the forefront of bringing African music to the world, becoming one of the most popular West African female singers in recent years. With her unique blend of pop and afrobeats, she has created an artistic identity that draws fans from all over the globe. Starting with her smash hit “Johnny”, Yemi Alade’s music is upbeat and danceable, with a message of empowerment for young women. Upon release, “Johnny” became the first African song to gain over 100 million views on its accompanying video.

3. Becca-Ghana 


Becca/Rebecca Akosua Acheampomaa-a Ghanaian singer, songwriter, and actress. Photo/

Becca from Ghana is the newest West African female singer to captivate listeners across the globe. With her soulful voice and impressive songwriting, she has gained many awards and collaborated with internationally renowned artists like 2face Idibia, P-Square, and Waje. Becca’s music is heavily influenced by contemporary R&B and African rhythms, creating energetic pop songs that speak to her fans. Her music enthralls audiences with its energy, passion and authenticity and has been named ‘The Pride Of Africa’ for promoting traditional African music worldwide.

4. Simi- Nigeria 

Simi nigeria

Simi nigeria. Photo/Daily Post Nigeria.

Simi is the angelic-voiced Nigerian singer changing the face of African music. She has earned a prestigious standing in the Nigerian music industry with her passionate lyrics and soothing soundscape. Her voice is as melodious as honey, and its influence transcends the boundaries of Nigeria. ‘Duduke’, her heartfelt single for her daughter, achieved astronomical success in Africa, hitting number one on African Charts. Duduke’s impact has touched many expecting mothers across Africa while continuing to captivate listeners globally with each note she sings.

5. Amaarae- Ghana 


Amaarae- Ghana. Photo/Unorthodox Reviews.

The Ghanaian singer Amaarae has been shaking up the African music scene with her unique blend of afrobeat and soulful melodies. Her sound is captivating, blending classic R&B beats with bold lyrics about female empowerment. She recently released her debut album ‘The Angel You Don’t Know’ which solidified her as one of the most sought-after West African female singers. Global media outlets such as Pitchfork have praised her original blend of alternative pop and Apple Music even chose her to be their Africa Rising face for two months. Already an enormous success in Ghana and Nigeria, her extraordinary sound unites traditional West African elements with modern vibes – making it essential listening for all contemporary music lovers.

6. Angelique Kidjo – Benin 

Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo is a Beninese singer, songwriter, and actress. Photo/

Angelique Kidjo is a Grammy-winning Benin artist widely known for her incredible vocal range. She was one of the first West African female singers to break into the international music scene and has been captivating audiences with her diverse sound ever since. Her musical style contains various influences from cultures and genres worldwide, such as jazz, soul, funk and reggae, harmoniously blended with traditional African sounds. She is renowned for her powerful voice that captivates listeners in every performance she puts on, and she dedicates herself to activism work within Africa.

7. Fatoumata Diawara, Mali 

West African Female Singers

Fatoumata Diawara, Mali. Photo/Darren Farnsworth.

International music star Fatoumata Diawara has made a remarkable impression with her captivating traditional West African sounds, blues, jazz, and world music. Her poignant lyrics speak to themes such as women’s liberation and justice all over Africa. She is widely decorated for her artistry, most notably winning World Music Album of the Year at The Grammy Awards.

As an activist, she strives to bring attention to issues that affect African females, such as female genital mutilation. Fatoumata’s music is both beautiful and inspiring, making her one of the most important West African female singers today.

8. Oumou Sangare

West African Female Singers

Oumou Sangare. Photo/Southbank Centre.

The self-proclaimed ‘Songbird of Wassoulou’, Oumou Sangaré has captivated audiences for decades with her mesmerizing melodies and moving lyrics. She was the first female artist to succeed in her home country of Mali. Oumou is a respected political figure, advocating for the rights of women and minority groups across West Africa. This songbird has released many albums that rivet together classical West African beats and modern sounds.


The talent of West African female singers is undeniable and clear for all to see through their captivating melodies, thought-provoking lyrics, and innovative sounds. Each starlet has a unique style, making them essential listening for contemporary music lovers. From Angelique Kidjo to Fatoumata Diawara and Oumou Sangare, these women are creating music that transcends genres and languages, speaking to people all over the world. Their stories are inspiring, their lyrics are powerful, and their music is essential to the continued evolution of African music.

About the author


Besigye is a Ugandan writer and a teacher by profession. She loves adventure and travelling that's why she loves writing travel blogs.

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