TOP TEN NEW SCHOOL ARTISTS IN NIGERIA
Every year presents us with fresh sounds, new artists who are busy shaping the soundscape, shaping the country’s musical culture. A few of them may not have hit the commercial mark, but market forces aside, the sheer talent of the Musicians in this list makes one proud not just to be a Nigerian, but to be a young nigerian in their time. Over 80% of the Artistes in this list are Musicians(can actually play an instrument), all of them are strong songwriters, all their materials are exportable and cross the boundaries of nationality and language; these New School Artists have shown what interests them the most: the music.
Orinayo Ojo has one of the finest baritone voices I’ve heard from a Nigerian. Think Michael Kiwanuka, Orinayo’s music is not pretentious, not trying to force any feeling, it’s raw, with harsh-times lyrics, that make you think twice if you the lucky person that has found love and wants to let go. The piano vibrates, the vocals command, Orinayo is spellbinding and still very young; I can just imagine him in five years time. Hopefully we’d be here to cover him.
9. Jasen Blu
‘Music, like I once heard, is the only gift given to man on earth that will still exist in heaven‘
Jasen is a Singer as well as a Producer, a master at crafting sounds, this Ikeja based R&B Singer has consistently shown a remarkable ability at telling stories in a sonic manner. His Album ‘Blu Life’ is coming out this year, and we expect so much from that album not only because it would be his debut and give us a full revelation of his artistry and statement, but also because it stands a chance at being a reference point: in what was a slow year, R&B singer cum producer releases an album in an attempt to make R&B mainstream.
There are so many hard questions that we’re hoping Jasen has answers to, like will R&B ever relive its glory days in Nigerian Music, if it does what did Jasen add, if it doesn’t what didn’t he add? A lot for a young Artiste, but if we are to judge a book by its cover, then we know Jasen has what it takes.
Afro House Singer, Uriel Oputa, has made a lot of music lovers notice her gripping and sweet igbo hooks laced with South African House Music. A few similarities here and there with Niniola, Uriel’s blend of House has a much faster pace. Her new single titled ‘Anya’ , has all the energy associated with African Music along with the tested Western traditions of Songwriting. We’re expecting more music from this exciting Artiste.
Denitia and Sene were a music duo made up of a female singer and a male producer. Their music lit up the New York underground scene, effortless productions with a sumptous voice belting out simple lyrics. The sumptous vocals were provided by Denitia Adesuwa Odigie, whose soft voice cuts through the wind like holes on a recorder. Adesuwa is her stand alone stage name, and recently she released a song titled ‘Air Light’, that not only got recognition but also turned hearts of stone to an omelette.
Classical Music trained Singer, Ranti, has in no small measure added colour to the Nigerian Music Soundscape. With a path similar to Michael Buble but different in both artistic delivery, style and content, the Afro Folk Singer, sings in no rush with melodies that have made a home in our ears from when we were little. Her unique take on classic folk songs with a slight slice of contemporary sound(offered by the eminent Cobhams Asuquo), she’s one alternative singer whose material excites us everytime.
5. Falana & Lindsey Abudei
Falana is about to wrap up her Pop-Up Live Series, where she performs at different venues for her teeming fans. Thankfully, her music isn’t wrapping up anytime soon. The gifted Folk Singer and Guitarist, has soft, tender vocals with a good songwriting ability; her music makes time float by like the side-ways glide of white clouds.
‘I will make music that comes natural to me, and that’s the best I can do but I’m open to intentionally experiment with sounds that I like, because my type of music cannot be placed into one box or class.’
You can compare her to early Asa and you’d be right, but with her own minimalist style in her music to her looks, you sense that maybe you’re wrong, maybe there’s just Falana.
I heard about Lindsey when a close friend of mine saw her perform live in Abuja, he was moved and her name was on his lips throughout as we played FIFA together. I lost every game that night and it wasn’t Lindsey’s fault. But when you listen to her music, a clarity assumes human form, you all of a sudden feel a peace, that you’ve searched for so long, that has proven elusive that she with the finest of voices seems to find and share with you through music.
‘’I’m not the stereotype kind of person, I have never wanted to do music for Nigeria alone, I have always wanted to do music that if it goes out, somebody else can listen to and it’d meet the standard”
Her last Album, ‘And the Bass is Queen’ was more about heartbreak unlike her debut collection ‘Brown (The EP)’ which was richer in content. However, the ambition in ATBQ is enough to convince any listener about her craft, she’s the songbird with just enough colors on her feathers.
4. Ric Hassani
Alternative Soul Artist, Ric Hassani, hails from Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. What immediately separates Ric Hassani’s music, is the sheer simple style of his songwriting and the captivating hooks. ‘I’ve always sung, been in the classical choir since I was 7′says the Singer who has shown versatility across various genres, with varying degrees of success from the jumpy Afro Pop single ‘Double Double’, to the climactic and inspirational ‘Joy’ and to recently the roller ballad, ‘Gentleman’. Often spotted wearing different suits, Ric’s music would often show same trend.
A member of the avant-garde loose group, the Collective, Funbi is an Alternative Soul Singer, with a smooth, soft voice. The singer and guitarist has released a slew of singles recently, showing evermore his obsession with strong musical narrative and direction. he says, ‘i’ve been working on a body of work for four years, I just want to have the right sound‘. The meticulous singer has a new single titled, ‘Hallelujah’ which foreshadows our greatest joy: timelessness.
Pronounced as JAY-BLE, this Soulbeat(a fusion of afrobeat and neo-soul) Singer, takes his time with his notes in the manner similar to *Lana Del Rey* but his baritone vocals and sumptuous harmony that dart about the record like mongolian spots on a fair skin leave you repeatedly playing his songs over and over like a wheel falling down a mountain whose peak touches the heavens. Jable’s music is accompanied also by the rebel-nature of Afrobeat, giving the foreign sensibilities a Nigerian edge, a target that only Jable can reach for now. Think of Jable as a less political more love-stricken Brymo, with the strangest of lyrics and melodies. My favorite song from this talented singer still remains Pretty Masquerade but he has so much more. Below are ‘Pretty Masquerade’ and ‘Voices’, two songs that encapsulate Jable’s sound.
1. Johnny Drille
Afro Country Star, Johnny Drille, lit up the Nigerian Music scene last year when he did a refix of Dija’s heart warming single, ‘Awwww’. It was a resounding chorus from all quarters that Johnny Drille’s version was better than the original, and while we were still picking meat from our teeth, Johnny released another beautiful song, this time an original titled ‘Love don’t lie’. But he wasn’t finished, Johnny would go on to release ‘Wait for Me’, our personal favorite ‘My Beautiful Love’, ‘Dear Future Wife’ and many more including collabos like the one with Niniola titled, ‘Start All Over’. Johnny Drille produced all the songs above. He has shown immense musical artistry, and with his unique blend of music, like a streak of violet in the clouds has been more than a purple lining, his music has become a revolution to be who you truly are.