Nigeria’s music industry is one of the largest in Africa, and it’s booming, Music acts like wizkid , davido , Burna Boy , Tems , Tiwa Savage amongst others have changed the narrative of African music.
We’ve seen many artists in Nigeria that have come out and still coming out to showcase their talents. Every musician has their way of releasing songs to the masses, who eventually take likeness to only those that suit the taste they crave for. That brought a few music genres & musicians to the limelight and so therefore the rest were left behind.
The musicians dipped into a certain genre of music that isn’t the popular one everyone wants to listen to, no matter how deep meaning their songs are or how great the effort they put to make their best music ever that would have made a big breakthrough in some other countries abroad became underrated here in Nigeria. In this article, I will list down 10 underrated musicians in Nigeria. The list is made based on my personal opinion and does not represent the view of any person or organization unless stated otherwise.
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Here are the countdown underrated musicians in Nigeria that you should know;
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The young afrobeat singer signed in to the ‘starboy‘ record label in 2018 after a rendition of DJ Jimmy Jatt’s “oshe” where wizkid was featured, which landed him a great opportunity.
Star boy Terri rose to fame when he featured in wizkid’s “soco” track, it also featured other artists like spotless and ceeza mill. He started his lead singles with “Ojoro“, the music video got millions of views on Youtube
However, he’s still very much behind notwithstanding his career being signed to the famous musician starboy record label, wizkid.
9. Ric Hassani
A gentleman you can tell from his sense of dressing style has posed to be very promising since he dropped his debut album ‘The African Gentleman‘ in 2016.
Hassani the prowess songwriter enjoyed his analyzing the subject of love, bringing the listener through various levels of professing affection, fidelity, breakups, and toxicity through his powerful vocal music.
It was reported that the National Broadcasting Commission(NBC) banned his single ” Thunder Fire You” from radio airplay. The musician was rather gladdened as he thought it incredible because the ban did give his song an enormous influence that in the end was supported and known to Nigerians. This proves how he has been underrated.
Jaywon, also known as ‘Oba orin‘ signed a record label deal with Kennis music in 2009. He had earlier performed at the Kennis music fiesta earlier in that year, which made an impression on the organizers and they were interested in his talent.
The Afropop singer released the single “Odun Yi” in 2012. That hit best fit a new year at your threshold, almost everyone loved it, and with no doubt why it was used for promotional purposes which is a great advantage. He released another album in 2020 tagged ‘Aje’
He collaborated with known artists like Reekado banks, Vector, and Reminisce in his singles. His third album was ‘Oba Orin‘ which inspired his title and he had said, time will tell if he had earned the title which he was sure and positive he worked for it. Apparently, it seems he’s quite not put on the pedestal for his great songs.
Cobhams Asuquo is a Nigerian musician, songwriter, and producer. Earlier, he was signed to SONY/ATV UK publishing as a songwriter. His international recognition was aired at the music production of the Soul performer, Asa in her first album.
His first single, “Ordinary People” was released in 2014. He has released more singles over the two following years, but his latest single “We plenty” starring Simi in 2019 was shuffled in the playlist of many TV and radio shows.
He has worked with several musicians both nationally and internationally, including artists from Nigeria like Banky W, Asa, Omowunmi, Shasha, Darey, and others. He hasn’t been known to many his work as a songwriter for many known artists in the music industry.
Niniola Apata is a Nigerian songwriter and singer, she is one of the few female musicians in the country. She is also the sister of Teni, also known as Makanaki.
She started her career in music, in 2014, with the debut single release “Ibadi”. Her song “Maradona” spent 13 weeks on the metro FM chart, in South Africa. She has been nominated for several awards, including a Grammy nomination certificate for her work as a composer on The Lion King: The Gift.
Despite being credited as one of the track’s songwriters and composers, her songs as rather not being able to climb up to meet many tastes of music lovers.
The multitalented artist that made Yoruba songs very outstanding with the blend of genres like afrobeat, folk, and soul is no other than brymo. His inspiration to sing it all the way he does to me is passion, his songs are usually rich in the wisdom that he best expresses in Yoruba.
Brymo, made his debut with the album Brymstone’, in 2007. After his second album ‘The son of kapenta‘, he released the single “Ara” which gave him the spotlight he needed to keep rising.
He had kept a good pace in making his unusual music for the music lovers, he’s most appreciated within his fanbase. But, in 2022 he was given recognition in the Headies Award.
4. Barry Jhay
Here’s a descendant from the lineage of the classic musician, Ayinde Barrister, the legendary Funky Fuji musician. Barry Jhay seems to follow in the legacy of maintaining the Yoruba culture development.
Barry Jhay took the first step into the spotlight with his single debut “Aiye” passing a strong message about the law of karma. The song was not only melodious but also unique with storytelling rich in the Yoruba language.
He has in his songs “Melanin“, “Aye“, “Grace“, “Story“, “Daddy“, “Japa“, and many more. It didn’t matter his net worth or his lineage background, Barry is still underrated with few indigenous people keen on the vibes of his songs.
Asa is a beautiful female afrobeat singer who made her first debut ” Éyé Adaba ” in the country that became apparent to lovers of Afropop music.
In partnership with Cobhams Asuquo, she released her first album ‘Asa’ itself. That got her an award from prominent French Constantin in 2008, two more albums came, ‘Beautiful imperfection’ in 2010 and ‘Bed Of Stone’ released in 2014.
A world tour she went on for two years, 2015-2017, she featured wizkid and other artists in her new album ‘V’ released in 2022. You would recognize that slow jazz musician whenever it hits your favorite radio playlists, although not many are keen to listen to what her song entails.
2. Johnny Drille
Johnny Drille is one of the music artists in Nigeria that has got the soul blend with country music and he has kept to his path of taking us back to the days of just simplicity.
His debut single “Wait For Me” made everyone amusingly interested in his style of folk music but it didn’t last. He has stealthily maintained his rhythm of romance storytelling songs which is rather the very kind of music that is on the tempo of Nigerians playlist.
Somehow, he has been nominated a couple of years in the Headies Award and won The Best alternative song in 2019 for the song “Finding Efe”. Despite signing for one of the notable record labels, Mavin, he’s been underrated by many who love not quite his genre of music.
1. Nonso Amadi
The Canadian-based R&B soul singer made his debut with the EP “Alone” in 2015 before he released his single “Tonight” which became a hit worldwide. Those that love soulful songs gave it full recognition and the appreciation it’s due, the self-taught songwriter single made it to the playlists of TVs and radio shows.
That seemed to be his most popular song there and the most successful one too. If you’ve listened to his songs you would feel the sensual pleasures his lyrics are giving you.
After his release of the single “Free” in 2019, he stepped away from his rising pedestal for three unexpected years. He made his comeback in 2022 to the music scene with the single “Foreigner”. Meanwhile, his previous works have not earned him many commendations we do hope his exotic talent will get him somewhere high now that he’s back.
All in all, Nigerians seem to enjoy certain trends and beats in music as many artists love to follow almost the same style of music making. Therefore, they leave behind others that incline to be different or rather they focus on the faces that emerge prominently in the music industry.
Perhaps, if we give others the chance there will be fewer underrated musicians in the country. Everybody’s got talent here.
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