Looking back on the year, it’s safe to say that 2021 was full of mixed emotions and uncertainty, especially for Nigerians who had to deal with a financial crisis and fluctuating currency rates, which resulted in the arrest of a ‘Aboki’ in London.

Despite the unpredictability, one thing has remained constant: music.

Last year, Nigerian artists took it to the next level, demonstrating to the world what it truly means to be the Giant of Africa.

Tems, a previous honoree of this annual forecast, rose like a phoenix alongside Wizkid, who made history by becoming the first African artist to sell out the 02 Arena in England three times [within minutes] in less than a month and enter the Billboard Top 10 charts with his global hit song ‘Essence.’

Burna Boy is also set to headline the prestigious Madison Square Garden in the first quarter of next year, just a year after finishing a rigorous global tour and winning his first Grammy.

Ckay, last year’s honoree, rose to global acclaim thanks to the success of his smash hit ‘Love Nwantiti.’

It’s been incredible to witness, and Nigerians everywhere are overjoyed.

In keeping with our tradition, for the fourth year in a row, we’ll be highlighting ten Nigerian artists who have shown tremendous growth potential, as well as one phenomenal non-Nigerian talent for the first time.

Here are the ones to keep an eye on in 2022: TEN NIGERIAN ARTISTES TO WATCH IN 2022

1. Arya Starr

Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibige, better known as Ayra Starr, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. Unbeknownst to some of her fans, she began her career as a model at the age of 16 before transitioning to music.

She posted her first original song in December 2019 after covering many songs by popular artists and sharing them on her Instagram account. This drew the attention of record executive Don Jazzy, who signed her to Mavin Records.

Since then, she’s dominated the charts, first with her debut EP ‘Arya Starr,’ and then with her album ’19 & Dangerous.’ The lead single “Bloody Samaritan” peaked at number one on the Turntable Top 50 chart, making it the first solo song by a female artist to do so in the chart’s history. She’s clearly on the rise, and it’s exciting to follow her as she makes her way to the top.

2. Lojay 

Lekan Osifeso Jnr., better known as Lojay, is a Nigerian musician, singer, songwriter, and performer. Lojay began his professional music career in 2016. In October of this year, he released “Ariel.”

He rose to prominence early in the year as a result of a collaborative project with Sarz titled ‘LV N ATTN.’ Wizkid was the only feature of the project. Because his mother is a pastor, he grew up listening to a lot of gospel music. Lojay would eventually discover other musical influences, both domestic and international, that would shape his sound and help him develop into the multi-talented artist he is today. He’s on a roll, and the year 2022 looks promising.

3. The Cavemen

Kingsley Okorie, a bassist, and Benjamin James, a drummer, make up the Nigerian Highlife band The Cavemen. In 2020, they released their debut single “Osondu,” and in August 2020, they released their debut album, Roots. The album was entirely produced by them and was recorded in their living room.

Since then, they’ve gone on to win the hearts of music fans all over the world with their electrifying performances and unique take on highlife that leaves listeners completely enthralled.

They also won the 2020 Headies Award for Best Alternative Album, and you can bet they’re not done yet. For this super-talented duo, the sky is the limit.

4. Victony 

Anthony Victor, also known as ‘Victony,’ is a singer and songwriter who has been through a lot this year but has managed to shine through because of his talent.

Victony’s professional musical career began in 2017, when he was a rapper. He made his debut on SoundCloud with a mixtape titled “The Outlaw King,” which is why some of his fans still refer to him by that moniker.

His breakthrough year was 2021, when his record “Pray” began to gain traction, as it was released following an unfortunate fatal accident that took the life of his friend and complicated his health. A timely collaboration with Mayorkun on ‘Holy Father’ is the clincher that cements him as one of 2021’s breakout stars.

5. Ruger

Ruger, also known as Michael Adebayo, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. He rose to prominence earlier this year due to his distinct sound and unusual appearance, which included an eyepatch.

He is influenced by Fuji music by artists such as King Wasiu Ayinde (K1 De Ultimate) and R&B by American artists such as Boys II Men. He, like others on this list, used social media to release musical content for fun, which landed him on D’Prince’s radar. He was unveiled to the public after proper grooming and recording sessions, and he hit the ground running.

The release of his five-track EP titled Pandemic, which includes songs like “Ruger,” “Abu Dhabi,” and “Bounce,” among others, helped make his sound memorable to Nigerians, particularly “Bounce,” which topped many charts, including Apple Music Nigeria’s.

He’s currently basking in the acclaim that comes with a successful year, and one can only imagine what the coming year has in store for him.


6. Fave

GodsFavour Chidozie, also known as Fave, is a 21-year-old Nigerian singer and songwriter. She used social media platforms, specifically Twitter, to showcase her talent and share videos of herself freestyling, which resulted in recognition and social media shares.

She began in the choir, honed her skills, and has progressed to the point where she can serve up hit songs. Her song ‘Baby Riddim’ went viral on Tik Tok and became an internet sensation. As a result, it began to climb the charts and became a certified hit.

Despite the fact that Fave still has some ground to cover, she is demonstrating that she can easily make her way up.

7. Zinoleesky 

Oniyide Azeez, also known as ‘Zinoleesky,’ is a rising Nigerian artiste with an incredible range and the ability to surprise listeners on any given song.

He began his musical journey on social media with his friends and associated artists Lil Frosh and Ibradosky.

He is currently under Naira Marley’s tutelage and signed to Marlian Records. He has dominated charts with his releases this year, and he does not appear to be slowing down in 2022.

8. Shayo Davids 

Shayo Davids is a Nigerian musician with a distinct sound and an outlandish personality. He began making music at the age of 15 and hasn’t stopped since. He works closely with previous honorees of this annual forecast, including Buju, Laime, and Psycho YP.

You can always hear the truth of his life in his music, which is greatly inspired by his circumstances and personal experiences.

Shayo Davids, with his persevering spirit and limitless potential, is bound to make significant progress in the coming year.

9. Somadina 

Somadina Onuoha, a British-Nigerian R&B singer and songwriter better known as ‘Somadina,’ is an intriguing new talent who has demonstrated her range through sonorous music.

Her five-track “EP Five Stages,” which followed her 2019 single “Lay Low,” was well received and propelled her onto the radar of music fans worldwide.

She has a distinct voice that is difficult not to be swayed by.

She had previously toured with Odunsi The Engine on his UK tour, and she had held it down every time she took the stage.

In addition to her musical abilities, she is a feminist activist who takes the cause very seriously. There are many sides to this artist, and we are excited to see what she has in store for us in 2022.

10. Amaarae (Honorable Mention)

Ama Serwah Genfi is an American-Ghanaian singer-songwriter known for her powerful vocals and ability to elicit emotion through her music.

It is appropriate to note that she has been on the publication’s radar for years, but because the list is dedicated to Nigerians, it took a little longer to highlight her.

Her work reached new heights in 2020, and she truly became a more visible force in the global music scene, and her collaborations with other musicians, including Nigerians such as Tems, Blaqbonez, Tiwa Savage, and Yinka Bernie, to name a few, have demonstrated that her talent knows no bounds.

Amaarae’s debut studio album, “The Angel You Don’t Know,” was released on November 12, 2020, and according to Owen Myers of Pitchfork, “The Angel You Don’t Know crackles with innovation, a pacesetter at a time when industry bigwigs are waking up to the long-held truth that Africa is setting the global tempo for pop music.”

She is unquestionably deserving of a mention, and 2022 is hers to take.


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