According to the IFPI, Sub-Saharan Africa generated $70.1m of revenues from recorded music in 2021 – one of the first times we’ve had an ‘official’ industry figure for the region.
This is the golden age for the music industry on the African continent as it is becoming easy for artists to market their music on a variety of streaming platforms.
Forbes Africa has dressed a list of ten young African artists who made music their business and who may tomorrow fill up the biggest venues of the world.
“From Afro-psychedelic rock and roll to Afrobeats, hip-hop, R&B, and the genre-busting, these musicians exemplify the potential of the African continent to do it all”, opines Lillian Roberts
1. BANTU CONTINUA UHURU CONSCIOUSNESS (BCUC)
Their songs are as long as their name. Getting together in 2003, the band of seven from Soweto has slowly crept into the mainstream. They sing in all 11 official languages of South Africa, self-described as Afro-psychedelic in sound, infused with shebeen and church songs, mbaqanga; all with a rock and roll undertone.
2. NDIVHUWO ELAINE MUKHELI (ELAINE)
A 23-year-old R&B artist from Pretoria, South Africa, Mukheli began singing at six years old, later in school choirs and talent shows. In high school, she began writing her music. University saw her recording in her co-producer’s garage, and her other co-producers dorm room.
Her multi-platinum EP Elements was self-released in 2019, and her debut album with Columbia Records is on the way. The sultry single You’re The One has more than 10 million streams on YouTube and won ‘the most streamed song of the year at the SAMA awards.
3.WALUKAGGA SHAFIK (FIK FAMEICA)
Also known as Fresh Bwoy, Walukagga Shafik is a Ugandan rapper. He describes his sound as homemade African. However, he still embraces music from the rest of the world.
He debuted with the song Pistol in 2015, under the label Black Man Town. Later songs gained him a recording contract with Kama Ivien Management.
By 2017, he was the most-booked Ugandan artist in the country.
4.TEBOHO MOCHAOA (MORENA LERABA)
He’s a shepherd musician and singer from Matholeng, in the Mafeteng district of Lesotho. The 6-piece band uses Famo-lyrics, electro-instrumental music with percussion instruments, a sound that is hard to pin down.
‘Fela sa Ha Mojela’ is a 5-song EP on the way, their first-ever release as a band after performances across the globe since 2017 — meaning “song or poem of Ha Mojela”. Three more EP’s are also in the works.
5.MUZIWAKHE MCVICTOR MAZIBUKO (MUZI)
FORBES AFRICA spoke to Muzi, the Zulu Skywalker, while he was on tour in the United States, doing 13 shows in 11 cities. His full name is Muziwakhe McVictor Mazibuko, and he is a South African DJ, singer, songwriter, and record producer.
He has released four albums, the latest Interblaktic in 2021, a genre-blending album on his self-founded label WE.THE.BUNDU. He also has done three EPs.
His latest single A Day in Chicago dropped in mid-June – with dance moves inspired by his daughter.
Shameless is a three-piece Soweto-based band in Johannesburg South Africa, self-described as ‘iRock Yase Kasi’ (rock from the hood) with influences of metal, blues, kwaito, amapiano, mbaqanga, isiGxaxa, some jazz, and psychedelic.
Musa Zwane is lead guitar, Thabo Masina is on drums, and Thabang Khonje on bass. They all sing, and no one takes the lead – everyone does everything. It’s a DIY affair, a ‘bonafide Zulu Rage Against The Machine as some have dubbed them, something Zwane chuckles about.
They released an EP Impicibadala in December 2021, and they plan to release another EP by year-end. The song 4by4 highlights their fusion of edgy fast-paced rock and laidback catchy tunes.
7.DENNIS NANA DWAMENA (KIDI)
He is a Ghanaian Highlife and Afrobeats singer-songwriter.
What does the future hold for KiDi? “Big things,” he laughs, speaking to FORBES AFRICA from his home studio. “I keep telling people that like you said, ‘oh, he’s won awards, he’s been here, he’s done this,’ those things don’t move me right now.”
KiDi is signed to Lynx Entertainment and is best known for his hit single Odo. The single won Highlife Song of the Year at the 2018 Ghana Music Awards.
He’s won many awards the latest being Artist of the Year at the Ghana Music Awards in 2022. His latest hit is Say Cheese garnering over 5.5 million views on YouTube.
8. JACKLINE ACHEAMPONG (GYAKIE)
A Ghanaian Afro-Soul/Fusion singer, she debuted with her EP Seed in 2020, garnering 150 million streams on six platforms. She’s climbed to stardom fast, with her strong, velvety voice, becoming the inaugural artist on Spotify Equal, which came with a playlist cover and a billboard in Times Square, New York.
Acheampong met her producer while she was a student at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, recording the song Love Is Pretty on campus. She recorded the song to share just with friends and family. Growing up, she didn’t realize she would do music professionally, despite her dad being Highlife musical legend Nana Acheampong.
In 2021, together with her team Flip the Music, she announced the record deal with Sony Music Entertainment, RCA Records UK, and Sony Music Africa.
Forever and Forever featuring Omah Lay has 31 million views on YouTube. It was the top shazam’d song in Nigeria in 2021, and Apple Music Ghana’s Top Song the same year.
MaxXandLove, a duo blues band from Johannesburg, South Africa, has just arrived on the scene. Since 2021, they’ve begun making waves with their foot-tapping storytelling and soulful sound. MaxX (Max Monticoe) plays lead guitar and Love (Sechaba Ramphele) sings, often slamming down a chain or with a tambourine.
10.TITOSE NATASHA MACHA (TITOSE)
Macha is a young alternative R&B singer and songwriter from Gaborone, Botswana, and her popular name ‘Titose’ means ‘we are together’.
She released her debut single Drowning in 2019. In November 2021, Titose released her first EP Was It Something I said, which hit 1 million streams on Apple Music in a month.
She’s the first artist based in her country to partner with Apple’s artist services company Platoon, and with the platform’s help, she released her debut project. Her EP also features South African rapper The Big Hash on the track Best Friends.
Her songs Forest and I Do have become popular, with Forest getting a million streams on Apple Music in June this year. She’s featured on the artist Anything With Yusef’s song Pretend.