Top 10 Popular Musicians in Nigeria
The Nigerian music industry is undoubtedly the biggest and most influential music industry in Africa. This is why Nigerian musicians top the charts and lead other African musicians across the continent.
Nigeria is also home to some of the most talented musicians in Africa. More than any other African country, Nigeria has more musicians than any other and the best part is that Nigerian musicians have more international reach than other African artists.
In this post, we look at the top popular musicians in Nigeria how well they have managed to hold their own since they debuted or gained recognition.
Top 10 Popular Musicians in Nigeria
In no particular order, below are the 10 most popular musicians (artists) in Nigeria:
1. Wizkid (Big Wiz)
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun professionally known as Wizkid (now Big Wiz) is one of the biggest artists out of Africa with an international reach. The Nigerian singer and songwriter has enjoyed massive recognition since his breakout and has remained consistent over the years. Wizkid is currently regarded as one of the most influential and popular Nigerian artists in the world. Although he seems like a quiet person, the Star Boy Record label boss commands massive social media followership mostly across Twitter and Instagram and has worked with several globally recognised international artists such as Beyonce, Drake, Skepta, Chris Brown, Trey Song, Tony Montana, Justine Skye, etc., cementing his versatility as one of the best successes out of Nigeria and Africa in recent years. Wizkid is signed to RCA Records/Sony Music International.
Davido’s name often pops up when Wizkid’s name is mentioned and vice-versa. Born David Adedeji Adeleke, Davido is a household name in Nigeria and owns some of the biggest hit songs in the Nigerian music industry. The 30BG boss, unlike Wizkid, holds his squad dearly and treats them with a fair degree of love. Davido has raised popular artists through his record label such as Mayorkun and Peruzzi. Just as Wizkid, Davido has enjoyed massive recognition within and outside the shores of Africa. The Nigerian-American singer has collaborated with globally recognized artists such as Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Popcaan, Quavo, Khalid, NAS, Pop Smoke Hiro, etc., stamping his international reach presence as one of Nigeria’s influential and globally recognized artists. Davido is also signed to RCA Records/Sony Music International
Olamide might not be exactly where Wizkid and Davido are but he definitely packs some power as one of the biggest artists in Nigeria and commands one of the largest social media followership in Nigeria, particularly after the aforementioned artists. Olamide’s owned YBNL has produced successful Nigerian artists who dominated the Nigerian music space at some point. While some have left, there are some who remain strong artists and still command respectable music, such as Adekunle Gold. Similarly with Wizkid and Davido, Olamide has been consistent over the years and has one of the most powerful fan bases in the Nigerian music industry. In 2020, Olamide announced a joint venture between his own label and EMPIRE.
4. Burna Boy
Controversial Burna Boy might be unnecessarily loud and garrulous, particularly after winning the Grammy Award, he remains one of the biggest artists in Nigeria. Although Burna Boy claims he is not a Nigerian artist, the Port Harcourt-born dancehall and afro-fusion musician has gradually won hearts over with his music and style which many have come to fall in love with. Unfortunately, Burna’s obsession with being the best Nigerian artist ever has seen him lose fans, particularly fans of Wizkid who pitched tents with him as a result of their Star’s friendship with the self-acclaimed African Giant. Owing to this, Burna Boy has not only rubbished the efforts of Davido only, but he has also done the shaded Wizkid over his style of music. Burna’s versatility has seen him worked with internationally recognized artists such as Sia, Justin Beiber, Ed Sheeran, Jorja Smith, etc. Burna Boy is signed to Bad Habit/Atlantic Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
Innocent Idibia, known professionally as 2Face Idibia, 2Face, Tu Face or 2Baba, is a popular Nigerian Afro-Pop musician and undoubtedly the most recognized and decorated Afro-Pop artist in recent time. 2Baba is regarded as a living legend and has been on resilient singer whose music has not only evolved over the years but remains one of the most sought after artists in Nigeria. The African Queen crooner, in some quarters, is regarded as the greatest Nigerian musician ever. Unlike the aforementioned, 2Baba does not boast of international collaborations but remains one of the most respected artists in Nigeria.
6. Tiwa Savage
Tiwatope Savage, professionally known as Tiwa Savage, is regarded as the first lady of the Nigerian music industry and one of the popular artists in Nigeria. The Isale-Eko-born Nigerian singer and songwriter started her music career as a backup singer for vocal powerhouses such as Beyonce, George Michael and Mary J. Blige. The tiny-voiced singer has proven, through her works that she is a big deal in the Nigerian music industry and rightly so. Although Tiwa Savage might not command the same level of strength as her male counterparts, she undoubtedly holds her own in Nigeria and Africa as one of the continent’s biggest artists.
Bukola Elemide, professionally known as Asa is a Nigerian-French singer and songwriter whose sound many consider to be rare and special. Asa has not only carved a niche for herself since her breakout with “Aṣa“, her self-titled album which was released in 2007. Upon the release of the album, it charted across Africa, Asia and Europe, earning her the prestigious French Constantin Award in 2008. Since then, Asa has gone ahead to release three additional studio albums and a live album, putting all her albums in total to five. The Paris-born Nigerian singer though barely performs in Nigeria remains one of the strongest Nigerian artists with a unique sound. Asa is recognized in Africa, Asia and Europe where she mostly tours presently.
8. Femi Kuti
Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo, professionally known as Femi Kuti is the son of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. He might not be as young as the other Nigerian artists on this list but he is warming up his way to becoming a legend in his own right. The son of the late Afrobeat pioneer has over 8 albums on his belt and is mostly regarded as the legitimate torchbearer of the Afrobeat sound despite several attempts by other artists to step into Fela’s shoes. An interesting thing worthy of note is that Femi’s song bears a strong similarity to his late father’s whose themes are corruption, the emancipation of blacks/Africans, love, pan-Africanism, good governance among a host of others. Femi remains one of the greatest artists in Nigeria and Africa at large and the Afrobeat is a genre that is loved by millions of music lovers across the world.
9. Yemi Alade
Yemi Alade is the third female entry on this list as one of Nigeria’s most popular musicians in Nigeria. The self-acclaimed “Mama Africa” has never hidden her intention about representing Africa through her music, dress sense/costume and music. In achieving this, Yemi Alade has collaborated with well respected African legends including but not limited to Angelique Kidjo, Sarkodie, and Sauti Sol. Mama Africa, as is she is often described has always focused on themes such as pan-Africanism, culture and diversity of Africans. Yemi Alade is a known face across Africa and beyond the shores of Africa.
10. Naira Marley
Nothing but controversies earned Naira Marley a spot on this list. The young songwriter and record label owner has courted massive controversies over the years that associating him with controversies is regarded as the new normal. Despite his disturbing music style, Naira Marley commands a good social media followership and has his own dedicated fan base, Marlians, who are governed by some antisocial rule, has remained a force to be reckoned with in the Nigerian music industry.