In recent years, Nigerian music has travelled far and wide. We have collectively witnessed the immense rise of Afrobeats as it pervades foreign markets across the world. 2022 saw artists like Burna Boy, Rema and Tems dominate global charts including the Billboard Top 100 and Official UK Top 40. On the local scene, a slew of artists which includes the likes of Asake, Young Jonn and Seyi Vibez attained mainstream recognition, etching their footprints in the sands of time and blocks of history. As we enter 2023 gracefully, we’re shot out of the cannon by the influx of new sounds and artists that will emerge from Nigeria. If you don’t want to miss out on the names who are likely to be in the spotlight soon, check out our list of Nigeria’s emerging artists of 2023.
Since the release of his ethereal EP Blind, Oladapo has been on the radar of many music listeners. With breathtaking vocals and sweet-sounding melodies, Oladapo is one of the exceptional Afro-fusion singers bringing a new dimension to Nigerian music. In the last quarter of 2022, Oladapo featured alongside Ladipoe on a track titled “E Fit No Be Me”. The singer shines for his brilliant songwriting and his natural flair for sensual love songs, which often reveal his insatiable desire for intimacy. He currently has a deal with Sony Music Entertainment West Africa and is poised to take over in 2023.
In 2021, Kayode made an impression on music listeners with the release of his viral hit single “Live Forever.” The Emo-trap song was unlike the popular sounds that saturated the market at that time. It has since soundtracked several videos on TikTok. Kayode released his debut single “Confessions” in 2019 and hasn’t slowed down ever since. His music varies between Afropop and hip-hop, but particularly trap and drill music. The 24 year old singer, who began writing his own music at the age of 13, seems ready for takeoff.
Following the years when he desperately chased a career in the music industry as a songwriter for the likes of Seyi Shay, and trying his hand at music production which yielded some positive results, Majeeed decided to chart his own course as a musician in 2020. His single “Time.” which he released in 2021, announced his presence, peaking at number 8 on Apple Music Nigeria and number 10 in Mauritius. Majeeed released his debut EP Bitter Sweet in 2022, which was preceded by “Yawa No Dey End” – a song that later featured Joeboy on its remix. 2023 looks like a promising year for the singer.
Ladé went from being unknown to a viral sensation thanks to TikTok, which launched her into superstardom. After releasing her eponymous 5-track debut EP Omolade in 2021, Lade gained popularity when her single “Adulthood Anthem” became a trend on TikTok, spawning videos that accumulated millions of views. Although Ladé appears to be a new name in the industry, she’s been in the industry since 2015. However, she got her first major gig in 2021 when she collaborated with Airtel Nigeria for a commercial.
WhoisAkin’s nascent career has bloomed since his debut in 2020. Drawing inspiration from Mr. Eazi, he decided to officially pursue his passion, releasing an EP Full Moon Weekends in the first half of 2020. The EP generated buzz and earned the singer a cult following as songs like “Space” and “Energy” made it to official charts and playlists. The singer has used different personas to release music over the years – he transitioned from ‘Wolf’ to ‘Biker’ in 2022. He released a project titled After The Full Moon, Before The Blues and a single “Damaged” under the ‘Biker’ persona in 2022.
Recognized for being multitalented, YKB has steadily amassed a fan base with a number of hit songs including Zlatan-assisted “Dey Your Dey” and his 2022 love ballad “San Siro.” The vibrant act made his debut in 2019 when he released “Swaggu,” earning a reputation for his brilliant wordplay and mesmerising lyrics. His 2021 EP Before I Blow showcased his versatility, giving listeners a peek into his world of diverse sounds. He is primed to reach towering heights in 2023.
While his latest single “Wowo,” released towards the end of 2022, is rising up charts and getting heavy rotation on airplay, Minz has been at it for a minute. Discovering his gift from his early years, Minz began officially releasing music in 2016. With his laid-back style of singing, Minz has a knack for fusing traditional African rhythms into pop and R&B sounds. As a producer, he has a profound understanding of music which contributes greatly to his process whenever he’s recording. He’s more than prepared for the year as his upcoming EP reportedly features the likes of Runtown and Moliy.
Odumodu Blvck has been underground for some years. Known for his provocative and raw style of hip-hop, the Abuja-based rapper got his big break when he released a single “Picanto,” featuring Zlatan Ibile and Ecko Miles, debuting on Apple Music Nigeria Top 100, making it his first entry on the official chart. The rave of the moment, Odumodu Blvck has continued to garner massive attention on social media with his freestyle videos. He signed a record deal with NATIVE Records (in partnership with Def Jam Recordings) in 2022.
At 18, Raebel is well on her way to becoming a shining light after breaking into the Nigerian music scene with her single “Miniskirt”. Using her music to demolish the structures of convention, the honey-voiced singer is winning over the audience with her sound that is a refined blend of Neo-soul, RnB and dancehall. She is endowed with an unnatural ability to compose songs within a short period of time, impressing onlookers with crafty lyrics.
One of the most interesting things about Soundz is how he’s gradually building a fan base by consistently releasing music. It was in 2020 that he first had a taste of a hit song after the release of “Darasimi.” Doubling as a producer, Soundz has worked with heavyweights in the music industry. He put out his EP titled In The Rough in 2022 and it didn’t take long before a song off the EP Attention blew up on digital platforms and on the streets. His name has continued to come up in conversations about Nigerian acts ushering in newfangled sounds.