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Top 10 rising stars making waves in 2020
By Sampson Unamka
Although the year 2020, due to the global pandemic, has been tagged slow for the entertainment industry, some rising acts have displayed immense talent in the music space.
The Nation highlights 10 rising acts who are believed to have the potential to still dominate the music scene for the rest of the year.
Odunsi the engine
ODUNSI the Engine (born Bowofoluwa Odunsi) is a singer and producer from Lagos, Nigeria.Odunsi the Engine gained recognition as a key figure in the growing Alté scene, with a new sound that blends genres into what he calls Afro-fusion. He’s been making music since he was in primary school.
Odunsi the Engine has production credits on several songs from a younger generation of Nigerian artists. He released his first EP ‘Time of Our Lives’ (T.O.O.L) in August 2016.
His debut album, “Rare,” released in October 2018 featured Afro Beat Star, Runtown on the track titled ‘Star Signs’. Odunsi got elevated to the international space after his collaboration with British Singer, Raye on the song ‘Tipsy’ and was featured on the New York Times style magazine.
Most recently, the Warner Music-signed performer collaborated with the British singer Raye on the swinging pop song “Tipsy.
Odunsi released his EP titled ‘Everything You Heard Is True’ last month and has also has appearances from others within the alté scene like Amaarae, Gigi Atlantis, and DETO BLACK.
ARRIVING on the music scene with his first ever project on Starboy, the Lagos-born and bred Edo State indigene, Akinre Terry aka Terri released a commendable 7-track EP titled, AfroSeries.
The first single off the album “Afroseries,” “Ojoro” was produced by Sarz and has gained massive airplay. He went through the EP with no features because according to him he was tired of proving things.Terri is one artiste who doesn’t need much of an introduction.
The singer was discovered after he performed a cover to ‘Oshey’ by DJ Jimmy Jatt featuring Wizkid.Terri is mostly known for his verse on Starboy’s hit track “Soco.” He then released his first single “Bia” and so far he has released other singles like “Shuu,” “On Me” “Same You,” and “Non-Stop”.
TEMILADE Openiyi popularly known as Tems is a Nigerian Music Artist, Singer-Song Writer, and upcoming music producer.
In 2019 Tems dropped singles “Looku Looku,” “Mr. Rebel,” and the viral hit “Try Me which earned her a Headies nomination, and a growing fanbase eager for more music.
In February shortly after Star Boi tweeted he ‘made magic’ with the singer which set the app on fire as fans anticipated for the yet to be unreleased jam.
Weeks after, American singer-songwriter Khalid in April dropped the remix to his latest release titled “Know Your Worth” where he featured Davido and Tems to deliver a textured production which retains the laid-back feel of the original while fusing elements of Afrobeats and dancehall.She dropped Her new single “These Days” which was produced by Rvdical The Kid last month.
OXLADE is fast turning into a force to reckon with inside the industry, with his debut Oxygen EP EP of six love songs which was released late march.
The singer was featured in April as Apple Music’s favorite new artist of the month and has been singing since he was 10 but his big break came in 2018 from a collaboration with Nigerian rapper Blaqbonez.
“Mamiwota,” the song born out of that collaboration, rose quickly to critical acclaim. Born Ikuforiji Abdulrahman Olaitan, the 22-year-old singer , It’s been two years since Oxlade came into the scene and in that time, he has established himself as one of the most exciting new acts, secured a Headies nomination and one of the biggest fanbases in Nigeria.
He started to put out music on Soundcloud in 2017 and the following year released his first official single ‘Shugar’ which instantly caught the attention of hordes of music fans. Also known for the hit song ‘Sing’ with Fireboy DML and collaborations with acts such as Reekado Banks and DJ Tunez.
Also in 2019, Oxlade featured alongside Sneakbo on Skengdo’s UK underground track ‘Brixton Boy’ and he performed to a 20,000-strong audience at the world famous O2 Arena in London at Wizkid’s Starboy Fest.
MEET Abuja raised singer, Lady Donli, Born in Cleveland, Ohio, and now living between London and Lagos, Donli moved to the UK fresh out of high school, and ended up studying law at the University of Surrey.
‘Wonda Wonda’ is the first single for the Nigerian singer after the release of her album Enjoy your Life in 2019. The track features Darkovibes, the coolest rapper in Accra, for a dancing and melodious Afrobeats.
Donli who’s real name is Zainab Elizabeth Donli is also considered as a figure of the Alté scene in Lagos, close to the artists Odunsi and Santi, and having appeared in the DRB LasGidi trio’s latest project.
Last year she penetrated the hearts of music lovers with her debut album, Enjoy Your Life, featuring Tomi Thomas, Tems, BenjiFlow, SOMADINA, Amaarae, Solis, the Cavemen, and R&B/Pop sibling duo, Vanjess and in December she released the remix of her hit song “Cash” featuring Afropop singer, Davido.
She names influences that include heroines Brenda Fassie, Erykah Badu, Angelique Kidjo, Asa, as well as local luminaries from Nigeria’s pop music pioneers like Tony Tetuila, Six Foot Plus.
THYRA Oji, better known by her stage name Ms Banks, is a British rapper and songwriter from Southeast London. The 24 year old was born to a Nigerian father and a Ugandan mother.
Oji began writing music at age 11. Ms Banks was featured on Falz single -Bop Daddy which followed with a Challenge that broke the internet. In February Naira Marley also released visuals for a feature with the rapper entitled ‘Anywhere’, Oji has released three mixtapes as Ms Banks.
In 2014, she released her first mixtape titled Once Upon a Grind. She then released her first EP titled New Chapter EP in 2016.The Coldest Winter Ever was released in 2018, followed by The Coldest Winter Ever Part II in 2019.
Already approved by Nicki Minaj, Ms Banks has an arsenal of bangers to prove she’s a force to be reckoned with, like the club-ready Hood Bitch and Afrobeat-fused Snack.
Ms Banks also has Cardi B in her corner after she supported her on her UK tour. Ms Banks also has a friend in Anthony Joshua and French Montana and has collaborated with artist such as Stormzy, Tinie Tempah, and many more UK artists.
WITH the undeniable impact of “You”, Port Harcourt born singer Oma Lay has announced himself as a star on the rise.
The singer, song writer and producer dropped his debut Extended Play(EP) ‘Get Layd’ consisting of 5 interesting track on May 22 shortly after his hit single ‘You’ got every ones attention.
Omah Lay’s who’s real name is Stanley Omah Didia music is deeply Afro Fusion the melody of Wizkid meets the depth of Burna Boy.
Omah Lay was selected by Apple Music as its favorite new artist of the month(May), his song “Bad Influence” was featured on Dj Cuppy’s Africa now radio show as the ‘First ever Africa rising track’. He’s being cosigned by Dj Neptune. Omah Lay’s 5 songs currently sits well from 1 to 10 on Top 100 on Nigerian Apple Music.
MEET Buju, the newest signee on Burna Boy’s record label Spaceship record label. 2020 came and his dreams came through when his Idol African Giant, Burna jumped on his last song ‘Lenu’ produced by music producer, Steph and video directed by TG Omori aka Boy Director which proves to be a smash hit.
Headies Award rookie nominee, Buju broke into the music industry with his 2019 debut hit.
The song is ‘Spiritual’ which featured Zlatan. Born Daniel Benson, the native of Akwa Ibom describes Buju as an acronym for “Beauty Underneath Just Understood” is very deliberate about his style of music and his sound. His sound Afro-Fusion is inspired by his experiences, and what he hears and feels.
Bad Boy Timz
Following the release of his 2020 hit single, ‘MJ’ Bad Boy Timz is one of the promising artist to look out for in 2020. He tries to get the audience moving singing “gbese lekan nkan”.
Real name Olurunyomi Oluruntimilehin is a student of Bells University where he’s studying computer engineering. Timz caught the attention of his fans from his hit singles ‘MJ’ and ‘Complete me’.
Chocolate City artist, Ckay is another kid to be on the look out for, Born in Kaduna, Ekweani Chukwuka professionally known as Ckay is a Nigerian singer, songwriter and record producer from Anambra state.
Ckay was exposed to music at an early age of 7 by his father who was at that time a choir conductor in their local church and by the age of 13 he has already started producing & writing music.
In 2014, Ckay relocated to Lagos and began working with Chocolate City Music as a production intern in early 2015, His production debut was “Third Mainland Bridge” which featured MI & Moti Cakes on the TICBN vol. 1 album.
He was also featured by MI on “The box” with Pryse- Illegal Music 3. He officially was signed to the label in August 2016.
In August 2019, he released his 8 track debut EP ‘Ckay the first’ with hit song ‘Love Nwantiti’ which he remixed in February 2020 with Afropop revelation, Joeboy, and Ghana’s Kuami Eugene video directed by Naya Visuals which has hit over a million views on youtube.
His other notable songs and collaborations include ‘Nkechi Turn Up’, ‘Container’, ‘Gaddemit’, ‘Chinekeme’, ‘Last Call’ and ‘Gmail’ featuring DMW rapper, Dremo.
Top 10 rising stars making waves in 2020