Music entrepreneurship is on the rise throughout Africa. Many young people are turning to the music industry as a result of necessity and high unemployment rates. Young people are strategically utilizing their artistic talents to create multiple streams of income. Youths can be seen using their creative skills and abilities to develop their brand and visibility, which they then leverage upon for various opportunities to include sponsorships, campaigns, endorsement deals, tours amongst other profit-making ventures. This year, Wizkid and Davido dominated the music scene in Africa and globally. Both entertainers received recognitions, broke world records, won numerous awards and collaborated with leading American artists. Davido and Wizkid also have a healthy rivalry, where they keep each other on their toes and do everything that they can to keep their fans engaged. The commercial success and popularity of entertainers like Davido and Wizkid has certainly enticed many young people into the music industry. Asides music, I look forward to seeing Davido and Wizkid venture into fashion, invest in African technology startups, and take on a more visible role mentoring other artists. Who will dominate the music scene in 2018? Here are some other entertainers to look out for.
- With close to three million instagram followers, Augustine Miles Kelechi also known as ‘Tekno’ is a songwriter, singer, and producer. This year, he was nominated ‘Best International Act’ at the BET awards. Tekno is doing something quite unique in Nigeria’s music space. He is documenting his album making process via social media by sharing live videos and broadcasting his time in the studio through instagram stories. This process enables him to engage his dedicated fans and allows them as fans, an opportunity to provide him with feedback in real time. Tekno is known for songs like “Pana” and helped to produce chart-topping hits like “If” for Davido. We look forward to seeing what Tekno will bring to the table in 2018.
- Born Emma Chukwugoziam Obi, ‘Emma Nyra’ left the United States for Nigeria after graduating with a degree in Healthcare Administration from Texas Southern University. With close to three hundred thousand instagram followers, Nyra is about women supporting women in music and has collaborated with other female artists to include Cynthia Morgan and Victoria Kimani. A former cheerleader, Nyra is well known for her racy costumes, backflips and acrobatic moves on stage. She founded her own music label, Nyra Nation.
- Olawale Ashimi known with the stage name ‘Brymo,’ is a talented singer, songwriter, and composer whose songs has featured in Ishaya Bako’s film ‘Road to Yesterday’ and Wakaa – The Musical, a Bolanle Austen Peters Productions. I have had the opportunity to watch Brymo perform on several occasions in Lagos and he remains one of my favorite artists. In 2018, I would like to see Brymo go on tour throughout Africa and internationally.
- Last but not least is Daniel Oluwatobiloba Anidugbe also known as ‘Kiss Daniel.’ Anidugbe is an entertainer known for songs like “Woju,” “Mama,” “Laye,” and “Yeba.” He has received numerous awards to include the Nigerian Entertainment Award, Coson Music Award, and the Headies. There is still so much to expect from this young man in 2018 as he recently founded his own music label, Flyboy Inc.
It is without a doubt that music entrepreneurs in Nigeria and in Africa are on the rise. Many artists today have gone on to launch their own record labels. There is also an increase in litigation between record label owners and artists. Young artists desperately seeking a platform, sign unfavorable contracts without a lawyer present and getting out of these contracts usually prove to be a challenge as they try to find their path in the business. Despite this, the extensive consumption, integration and adoption of commercialized African music globally is a good one for artists financially as they fill concert halls with ease, go on tours and are often invited to perform at various events around the world. Africa however, needs more conscious music and conscious artists who are willing to take risks like Fela did with his career, and who can spend more time shedding light on issues and challenges on the continent.