Jukebox Top Ten Artistes To Watch Out For In 2021
While the Coronavirus pandemic largely affected all aspects of life in 2020, it still did not stop new age acts from coming to the forefront.
Some made their debut in 2019/2020, some have been around for longer, but something is evident; they kept the fire burning throughout. They rose to the top due to their unique sound and immense talent in the Nigerian music industry.
So, without further ado, dive into the stories of acts to make a splash this year in no order. Now, these artistes that you should lookout for in 2021. Expect nothing but great music from them.
Alt-R&B singer, songwriter, and record producer; Temilade Openiyi has not slowed down since she released her single ‘Try Me’ in 2019 which became a hit single and had over 4 million views on YouTube. Her fans call themselves “The de facto leader of the Rebel Gang.”
Another follow up hit was her single Damages from her For Broken Ears EP. It garnered over 2.7 million views on YouTube. She was featured on Wizkid’s song Essence off his recent Made in Lagos album. Essence also appeared on Barack Obama’s 2020 summer playlist.
With such a huge success in a short time, there is no doubt that Tems is a huge force to reckon with in the Nigerian/African music industry.
Fast rising Afro-beat singer and songwriter; Amu Kingsley Chibuike, popularly known as Kendickson is a stylish and versatile artiste. He released a hit single JOJO in 2019 which got quite a number of awards, including the renowned City People Music Award as the best new act of the Year, 2019 Stream Awards, and some others as the next rated superstar.
In January 2020, he dropped a mad inspirational reggae song Blessings. Kendickson is incredibly talented in Afro-beat, contemporary, Hiplife and Jollof music which has made him collaborate and work with A-list personalities in the Nigerian music industry.
In 2020, the 24-yr-old singer released another top notch hit single again; WAYO. Kendickson has an extraordinarily strong vocal prowess and we are pretty sure he has something good for us all, in 2021.
Meet Port Harcourt born artiste, Stanley Omah Didia popular known as Omah Lay. This exceptionally talented artiste dropped his debut EP ‘Get Layd’ on May 22, 2020. This album consisted of five mind blowing tracks. Get Layd peaked at No. 1 on the Apple Music charts, and four of the five songs on the EP occupied the top four spots on the Apple Music top 100 songs within Nigeria.
In May, Apple Music selected Omah Lay as its favourite new artiste of the month. The Afro-fusion artiste’s song “Bad Influence” was featured on Dj Cuppy’s Africa Now by radio show as the ‘First ever Africa rising track’. In July, he was picked for Apple’s Africa Rising Campaign as the debut star. The aim of this campaign is to spot talents in Africa and project them all through the continent and internationally.
Chike-Ezekpeazu Osebuka, popularly known as Chiké, is a singer, songwriter and actor. He is well known for his participation on the reality competition, Project Fame West Africa in 2015 and also in the talent competition TV show The Voice Nigeria Season 1; he finished as runner-up on the 31st of July 2016. Chike is currently an ambassador for Airtel Nigeria. Chike made his acting debut as Mayowa Badmus on the Africa Magic Showcase telenovela Battleground.
After The Voice Nigeria, Chike was signed to Universal Republic along with the other top four contestants on the show and released his debut single Fancy U in December 2016 under the Universal Republic. In November 2017 he left Universal Republic and pursued becoming an independent artist. He released his next single titled “Beautiful People” in February 2018.
In 2020, Chiké released his album titled Boo of the Booless which contained 14 tracks. It became the most listened to and number one album on 19 February 2020. We all can’t wait to see what Chiké has for us this year.
Ikuforiji Olaitan Abdulrahman, popularly known with his stage name Oxlade. Oxlade is a young singer who hustled his way through music. He was a student at Lagos State University (LASU) for two years before dropping out to pursue a career in music. He hustled from being a ‘star’ in Surulere – a Lagos suburb – to performing at Wizkid’s Starboy Fest, a sold-out show at the O2 Arena in London.
Oxlade’s break in the music industry came when Blaqbonez heard his single Sour and collaborated with him on the hit track Mamiwota. He later featured on Fireboy DML’s hit single Sing. This caught the attention of world-famous singer Davido. On March 27th, 2020 Oxlade dropped an EP which contained six tracks that was produced mainly by Spax the Producer. One of the tracks in the EP, Tables Turn features British Nigerian artist Moelogo. The EP was followed by the release of an album titled Oxygen. Having caused waves across the Nigerian and African music scenes with his infectious, signature Afro-fusion sound, Oxlade is among the most promising young singers in Africa.
The Cavemen is a band, comprising of brothers; Kingsley and Benjamin Okorie. This unique duo is on a mission to reintroduce highlife to a new generation. Officially formed in 2018 when the brothers reunited after their studies, they play their own genre called Highlife Fusion which combines afrobeat, highlife, jazz, and soul music, bringing together the indigenous and the diasporic.
Their new album, ROOTS, is a sonic spectrum. To their blend of sounds, they add an electric modernity. A fan describes one of their songs, Bolo Bolo as making her “feel red sands beneath your feet and the scent of palm wine trailing laughter from hoarse voices in the backyard”. That effect from their stage, is intentional.
The Cavemen are inspired by the likes of Rex Lawson and Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe. Some of their songs are titled after worldviews, Akaraka is Igbo for destiny and Osondu which means the race for life. This duo is the future of highlife music in Nigeria.
Olamilekan Moshood Agbeleshe, known professionally as Laycon is a rapper, singer and songwriter. He was the winner of Big Brother Naija season 5 and is currently the youth ambassador of Ogun State, Nigeria.
In 2014, he was among the ten artistes that performed at the Coke Studio University of Lagos event. He was also a top ten finalists of the 2017 MTV Base LSB challenge. His consistency and creativity were noticed by many record labels. Laycon was later signed into Fierce Nation record label in 2019. On 21 February 2019, he released a track, “Fierce” with Chinko Ekun and Reminisce from his second EP Who Is Laycon? He released another single “Senseless” on 28 August 2020. Laycon’s versatility is unmatched; in his words, “I am a mixture of everything.”
Akinbiyi Abiola Ahmed, known as Bella Shmurda, is a budding Nigerian independent artiste that rose to limelight when he remixed his debut single Vision 2020 with his boss, Olamide. The artiste is currently signed to YBNL; one of the biggest record labels in Nigeria. The hit single received massive airplay in various media houses in Nigeria. He has an estimated networth of $500,000 dollars.
After a successful 2019, Bella Shmurda another body of work titled “HIGH TENSION” the EP which consist of 7 tracks: 5 new sounds and 2 of his great hits ‘Vision2020‘and ‘Upgrade ‘. Later, Bella Shmurda joined forces with Zanku master – Zlatan and Lincoln for the release of his most source after song – “Cash App“produced by Dopesticks.
This new record titled “Cash App” is a follow up to his recent release ‘Dangbana Orisa’ which is still basking, entering, and climbing top music charts and digital playlists. Cash App is currently enjoying massive airplay. He is certainly a must-watch act!
Odunsi (The Engine)
The Lagos-born Bowofoluwa Olufisayo Odunsi is a foremost singer and Alté Movement personality who dropped out of a Ghanaian university in 2015 and ended up in a recording studio in Accra. He is a 22-year-old Nigerian singer and songwriter.
He pulls inspiration from genres like EDM, R&B, Reggae, Soul & Afrobeat sounds.
Odunsi stole the heart of Nigerians with his ‘Rare’ album in 2018.On the syrupy track “Star Signs,” featuring the Afrobeats star Runtown, Odunsi fuses classic highlife melodies with auto-tuned verses about falling in love.
Odunsi collaborated with the British singer Raye on the pop song “Tipsy,” catapulting him to the international stage.
Temmie Ovwasa (YBNL Princess)
Temmie Ovwasa (aka YBNL Princess) is an award-winning Nigerian songwriter, singer, spoken word artiste, guitarist, and poet. The Ilorin-bred artist became the first female artist to be signed to Olamide’s record label YNBL Nation, and in April 2016 she was referred to as the YBNL Princess. Her first song under YBNL titled ‘Jabole’ garnered more than 50,000 views on YouTube. She also has other songs ‘Bamidele’, ‘Holy Water’, and ‘Afefe’.
Temmie also plays the keyboard and talking drum. She describes her style of music as a blend of afro-pop, soft rock, and soul. Temmie has refused to change her name from YBNLPrincess after leaving singer Olamide’s label. The 24-year-old is pursuing her career as an independent artiste. After causing a lot of online controversies, she released her debut album, ‘E Be Like Say Dem Swear for Me!’ in 2020. 2021 might be a great year for the controversial artiste.