By BENJAMIN NJOKU

It’s no longer news that Nigerian music is fast spreading in the global space. Rather, what’s news today is the fact that the country’s superstars are currently highly loved and perhaps and well sought after entertainers across the world.

This rare accomplishment oftentimes has been attributed to the likes of Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid, Olamide, Omah Lay, Kizz Daniel, Rema, Mayorkun, Fireboy DML, whose brands of music have since gained massive global recognition.

But unknown to many that beyond these superstars, there’s also a crop of Nigerian songbirds who have contributed and are still contributing to this success story.

Till date, you cannot talk of globalizing the country’s music, without making reference to the impactful works of the songbirds including alternative soul singer Tems, Tiwa Savage, Asa, Nneka Egbuna, Teni The Entertainer and Yemi Alade.

In spite of the odds, these songbirds have continued to soar higher on the global stage, leaving nothing to chance in their bid to rule the world with their music.

It was not the same story a few years back, when the likes of Onyeka Onwenu, Tina Charles, Evi Edna Ogoli, Nelly Uchendu and Christy Essein-Igbokwe of blessed memories had the spotlight. The yesteryear’s songstresses despite their unique lyrics and rich content were unable to break into the global scene. But what they failed to accomplish musically, these emerging singers have surpassed and even aiming for the skies.

Initially, soul singer, Asa and Nneka Egbuna were known to be leading the way, but the emergence of firebrand Tems, Tiwa Savage and Yemi Alade on scene suddenly changed the story, turning the spotlight on their refreshing vibes. And what we have today, is a generation of pop queens that are steadily making impacts in the global arena.

Tems

Temi is the first queen of pop that comes to mind. Since she came into the global limelight after featuring on Wizkid’s hit song, “Essence” and going on to perform the same on stage with the Starboy at the London O2 arena, the alternative RnB singer has grown in leaps and bounds, becoming the favouite of many international artists.

Interestingly, before Tems’ emergence, the likes of Tiwa Savage and Afropop queen, Yemi Alade were waxing stronger on the global stage. But the “Try Me,” singer emerged from the blues and suddenly overtook the space in a manner that has continued to rattle many music pundits.

The 26-year-old Tems has not looked back in her quest to conquer the world with her music. Then it used to be either Tiwa Savage or Yemi Alade headlining a particular show in Europe or America. But today, the story is different. Tems is leading the way and the world is embracing her music.

Perhaps, there are indications that soon, Tems would become a household name in many music homes across the world.

This is even as many pundits have predicted that the singer’s popularity will soon surpass that of her male counterparts from Africa. With her steady rise to fame, Tems is definitely the future of Afropop music. Her short musical journey will help one to create a mental picture of what the future holds in stock for the promising singer.

Indeed, Tems would also agree that 2021 was an eventful year for her. Last year, the sexy magical performer embarked on her first-ever US tour tagged “Vibe SZN” which saw her touring six states. The same year, she toured seven European countries and had 15 concerts, touring countries like the United Kingdom, Portugal, Netherlands, France, Sweden, Norway, Canada and the United States. She, however, postponed two international shows last year after she was diagnosed with a vocal cord illness called Reflux laryngitis.

But even at that, Tems has continued to live up to her billing, while seducing the world with sonorous voice and sound. As a matter of fact, the alternative soul singer will be on duty tonight as she joins other international artists to wow audiences at the 10th anniversary of the Global Citizen Festival, in New York City’s Central Park.

Tiwa Savage

Accept it or leave it, the Queen of Afrobeats music is another top female singer rivaling her male counterparts from this part of the world. In fact, since she broke into the country’s music scene in 2010 at the age of 30, Tiwa Savage has remained on top of her game, dishing out hit songs after hit songs and headlining sold-out shows around the world.

In her 12 years of sojourn on the country’s music scene, Tiwa Savage has dominated the local and made impact globally. She was the first female African Afro-beats act to headline a show at the world famous O2 Brixton Academy in London. That was when she held the final leg of her ‘Water and Garri’ live performance, which was live streamed free to about 120 million Airtel TV phone patrons in Africa,

Despite some controversies, Tiwa Savage has done well for herself as a singer. From her days as the first lady of Marvel Records all the way to her signing a recording deal with Universal Music Group, Savage has stayed focused and consistent as one of the leading  female acts in the world. Her readiness to hit the global stage was witnessed in 2016, after she signed a management and publishing deal with Roc Nation.

But she was not in a hurry to explode then. Over the years, Tiwa Savage has reinvented herself,  craft and sound. She was so confident after sealing a deal with UMG that retaining her style and sound would guarantee her global success. And today, her dream of conquering the world has come true.

“I was doing a lot more shows outside Nigeria/Africa and I felt like it was time to place my music on a much bigger platform. This new contract is “like a reinforcement that I’m ready for the global market,” she was quoted as saying.

Teni The Entertainer

Teni is next on the list of songbirds who are rivaling their male counterparts on the global market. From the time she came into prominence in 2017, after Fargin, a product of one of her numerous social media freestyles went viral till date, the tomboyish singer has carried herself well, playing a pivotal role in changing the sound of global pop..

Following her growing influence on the global scene, fans in 2018 voted her the best artiste of the year, coming right behind African giant, Burna Boy. People are still talking about Teni’s 2018 global tour, “Teni Live” which saw the “Uyo meyo” singer perform in 20 cities around the world, wowing audience and further stamping her supremacy on the global stage.

The performance at 9.30 Club was part of her month-long ‘Empress Tour’ of some cities in the United States. This year alone, Teni has been out there, flying the country’s flag and redefining the world beat. It’s predictable that before long , Teni and other unstoppable amazons will rule the world with their sounds.

Yemi Alade

Fans call her the queen of Afro-pop, but Yemi Alade remains a true reincarnation of Mama Africa,Miriam Makeba who was known for her projection of African culture through her music. And Yemi Alade is not doing anything less than what the late South African music icon accomplished while she lived.

Alade’s sound and costumes reflect the essences of the black race, and taking the same to the world through many of her shows outside speaks volumes of her secured place on the global stage. Just last year, she shutdown 9:30 Club, a popular nightclub in Washington, D.C, where she wowed her teeming fans. She’s still on the road, selling the country’s culture, music and people to the world.

Alade’s music draws from many African styles, but it takes more from hip-hop, dancehall reggae and digital-age rhythm and blues. Unlike the previous generation of international Afro-pop stars, the 33-year-old performer hardly employs any traditional instruments or front a large band with multiple percussionists; most of her songs are built atop spare synth-beats that include tones both rubbery and metallic. This is what has put her in the global spotlight.

Asa

Nigeria’s premier soul music diva, Asa hit the global limelight even before most of the artistes from this part of the world could blink their eyes. She slowed down along the line, leaving her teeming fans all over the world guessing and yawning for more of her cool vibes. But the good thing is that the French-Nigerian soul singer staged a comeback early this year, when she released her fifth studio album, ‘V’ to reclaim her spot in the international scene. She’s still on top of her game, making waves across the world. It’s on record that Asa’s 2007 eponymous, platinum-selling debut album which became an instant classic put her in the class of British soul singer Adele and American singer Aretha who’s often referred to as the “Queen of Soul.”

Best known for creating a rich soundscape blending indie-pop, soul, jazz, folk and RnB genres into an irresistible package that went straight for the mainstream, charting in Europe and landing in the Billboard Heatseekers chart in the United States, Asa has influenced a new generation of alternative artists looking to express themselves outside the confines of radio-friendly pop. If you like, she’s in a world of her own, doing her thing and earning accolades abroad.

Nneka Egbuna

Though not much has been heard of her lately, Nneka Egbuna is indeed a formidable force when you talk of crossing boundaries with Nigerian music. Despite her quiet presence off-stage, the German-Nigerian songstress has lived music and made an impressive impact with her fiery onstage persona, and energetic performance at the international scene. Interestingly, Nneka bounced back last year, when she released

her fourth album “Love Supreme.” Her new album was released after a five-year musical hiatus, during which time Nneka decided to release her music independently rather than through a record label. This creative change has helped the soul singer regain her mental and physical health, as well as her work-life balance.

Subscribe for latest Videos

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.