Entertainment

December 30, 2023

Biggest takeaways of Nigerian music landscape in 2023

Biggest takeaways of Nigerian music landscape in 2023

By BENJAMIN NJOKU

Nigerian music superstars undoubtedly solidified their enviable spots on the global music scene, during the outgoing year, 2023.

They topped music charts and broke barriers by owning all arenas as they maintained their dominance on world stage with their unique Afrobeats music.

Rema’s Calm Down

The stage was set by Afrobeats sensation Rema when his hit single, “Calm Down” topped chart Mp3 download as the number 1 song in India in January.

The remix featuring Selena Gomez also recorded the same feat, moving from number 8 to become the number 1 song on the Billboard Global Excl, in the United States chart song and top collaboration.

The track reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking in June 2023. It spent a total of 57 weeks on the chart, making Rema’s first song to crack the Hot 100, and the “Only Murders in the Building” star’s ninth top 10 hit on the tally.

Not only that, the song equally won Best Afrobeats song at the 2023 Billboard Music Awards held in November. The same month the smash hit was ranked as the most ‘shazammed’ song of 2023 globally. It made history as the first African song to top the Global Shazam Year-End list, beating Miley Cyrus’ ‘Flowers’ and Lady Gaga’s ‘Bloody Mary’ which ranked second and third respectively, to achieve the feat.

More so, the song was ranked number 12 most streamed song in the world on Apple Music in 2023 as well as number 45 most-streamed song of 2023 in the U.S. on Apple Music. It topped charts in North Africa and the Middle East, earning Rema a Guinness World Record. The song, which was released on February 11, 2022, as one of the lead singles off Rema’s debut studio album, titled, “Rave & Roses”, also reached 700 million views on You Tube.

It as well charted in multiple European countries such as Belgium, reaching Number 1 on the Belgian Ultratop 50, Dutch Top 40, and Dutch Single Top 100. In the United Kingdom, the song peaked at Number 3 and spent 27 non-consecutive weeks in the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart. Rema crowned the year by winning the maiden “Best Afrobeats” award at this year’s MTV Europe Music Awards. He also recorded the most appearances for an African artiste on the 2023 Billboard Year-End Charts (34), including artistes’ year-end charts, airplay, albums, and song chart entries.

Burna Boy’s ‘Love Damini stadium tour’

Another Nigerian superstar who made a strong impact on the global stage is Burna Boy. Apart from his ‘Love Damini stadium tour’ that took the self-acclaimed African Giant through the length and breadth of the world, this year saw Burna Boy maintaining his dominance of the global scene. The release of his seventh studio album, titled “I Told Them” set the global music scene on fire in addition to his tour of Europe and America. For the third year, the African Giant secured four nominations for the 2024 Grammys, including “Sitting On Top of the World” (Best Melodic Rap), “I Told Them” (Best Global Music Album), “Alone” (Best Global Music Performance) and “City Boys” (Best African Music Performance). But his ‘Love Damini stadium tour ‘ was the event of the year.

The self-acclaimed African Giant kicked off the tour in London, where he shutdown the 80,000-capacity West-Ham London stadium in the United Kingdom. The sold out performance was a testimony to Burna Boy’s urge to rule the world stage.

The 3-hour nonstop concert drew an incredible crowd, completely selling out the stadium and cementing a historic moment in Burna Boy’s flourishing career. He was also at the huge Gelredome stadium, in Arnhem, The Netherlands, for the second leg of his ‘Love Damini’ Stadium tour. The first concert was sold-out, and the organizers were impressed to re-invite him for another successful outing, which he didn’t disappoint.

 He also made another big feast this year, after he joined Brazilian superstar, Anitta alongside Swedish sensation, Alesso to headline the 2023 UEFA Champions League final. It was so big that the African Giant said “I know it doesn’t get any bigger than the UEFA Champions League. That’s why I’m so excited to be performing on the Pepsi stage at this year’s final.”

In addition to his success story, Burna Boy became the first African act to obtain a gold-certified record in France, and the sell out of the 21,000-capacity State Farm Arena in Atlanta, USA. He also became the first African artist to get RIAA certifications for songs from three different albums.

Tiwa Savage’s thrilling performance at coronation of King Charles III

It was a historic moment for Nigeria’s songstress, Tiwa Savage, when she mounted the stage to deliver a thrilling performance at the coronation concert of King Charles III and Queen Camilla at Windsor Castle in May this year. She wowed the audience with her rendition of “Keys to the Kingdom,” a song she recorded with Mr Eazi and featured on Beyoncé’s album “The Lion King.”

Clad in a green dress designed by Lanre Da Silva, Tiwa Savage performed on an incredibly lit stage, accompanied by an orchestra that included violinists, drummers, and backup singers who sang in the Yoruba language. The concert also featured performances from global music icons like Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Take That, Freya Ridings, Alexis Ffrench, Andrea Bocelli, and Sir Bryn Terfel. It was indeed a big outing for Tiwa Savage and African music stars.

Davido soars with ‘Timeless ‘

Davido has released many hit songs in the past, but his latest album, “Timeless” has taken him round the world, thus becoming a global anthem. The album, which was released this year, was one of the songs that earned the Aye’ crooner three nominations for the 2024 Grammy Awards, including Best Global Album for his latest album, “Timeless.”

 The other two nominations are for Best African Performance for his song “Unavailable” and Best Global Music Performance for his song “Feel”. This is the first time Davido has been nominated for Grammy Awards, and he was obviously overjoyed with the good news as he took to his Instagram page to express his excitement, saying, “3 nominations at the Grammys!! Delay is not Denial”.

Wizkid’s giant strides

Like Davido and Burna Boy, Wizkid came through on the global scene this year. His “More Love, Less Ego” concert at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London went down in history as one of the sold out shows at the London stadium.

The concert, held in July, saw the Starboy treating the crowd of fans to an electrifying performance. Starting from his iconic “Superstar” album, Wizkid serenaded the audience with tracks from “Ayo” and powered through to “Made in Lagos,” two albums that have solidified his position as a global music icon. The concert added to the growing popularity of Nigeria superstars on the global stage.

More collaboration between Nigerian superstars and their foreign counterparts

Following the recognition Nigerian music is currently enjoying on the global scene, the country’s music superstars have sustained their collaborative efforts with their foreign counterparts. This year saw more of such collaboration in full force. Rema collaborated with Selena Gomez to remix his hit single, “Calm Down,.” Burna Boy on his part featured top acts like Rapper J Cole, 21 Savage and Seyi Vibez in his 15- track album, “I Told You.” He also featured 21 Savage in his single titled “Big 7” and “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” while “Talibans II,” featured Byron Messia.

Mohbad’s controversial death

One of the biggest setbacks recorded in the country’s entertainment industry this year was the controversial demise of popular singer, Mohbad, which gained international attention. The death of the singer on September 12, opened a can of worms, leading to nationwide protests with the #justice for Mohbad,’ arrest and detention of marlian record president, Afeez Fashola, aka Naira Marley alongside Sam Larry and the Lagos State Police Command inaugurating a 13-man special investigation team to probe the mysterious death of the singer.

Ayra Starr soars higher

Mavin Records artiste, Ayra Starr made an impressive outing this outgoing year. She embarked on her first ever headline tour of North America, Africa, Australia and Europe tagged ‘21: The World Tour’ and it was an experience of a lifetime for her. “It’s my first headline tourrrrr !!! I’ve been touring around the world, opening for other artists, opening stages at festivals, Now it’s an Ayra Starr show,” she wrote on Instagram.

The Beninese born singer’s status was elevated alongside Tyla as they formed part of 10 acts who made the long list announced ahead of a ranked shortlist and the announcement of the annual winner on 5 January 2024 on Radio 1. The compilation of the list involved insights from 149 music experts, encompassing artists, DJs, radio and TV producers, journalists, streaming experts and festival bookers.

Signed to Don Jazzy-led Mavin Records, Ayra Starr is among Nigeria’s most streamed female acts across major digital platforms. Last year, she was tipped by music video network Vevo as an artist on the cusp of global breakthrough in 2023 as part of its DSCVR Artists to Watch initiative.

Best known for her global hit ‘Water’, Tyla last week became the highest-charting African female solo act of all time after securing the Number 10 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.