9 African Musicians to Watch in 2023
Featuring Nomfundo Moh, Natasha Chansa, Azawi, Oladapo, Maandy, Jay Bahd and many more.
2022 was a remarkable year for African music. The year was filled with many significant moments that marked the dominance of genres like afrobeats and amapiano on a global stage. From global-charting records to sold-out shows, African musicians are making their mark in the world.
As these acts push their way into the global mainstream, there’s a plethora of emerging artists showing up on the scene with novel and evolving sounds. These artists are brazen in their approach and confident in their style. In 2022, we saw artists like Asake and Black Sherif rise to fame, stamping their names in history.
We have put together a list of emerging African artists to look out for in 2023.
Giving a new meaning to Nigerian R&B and soul, Oladapo is a dazzling singer and outstanding songwriter whose emotive lyrics and slick vocals put listeners in a trance. His 2021 EP Blind is a testament to his dexterity as a singer, showcasing his ability to express wanton desires through ravishing melodies. He featured on a collaborative track with rapper Ladipoe in the last quarter of 2022, delivering a compelling hook.
Jay Bahd (Ghana)
Born and raised in the ghetto of Kumasi, Jay Bahd rose to acclaim when he featured on Yaw Tog’s “Sore.” The rapper gained popularity around the time that Ghanaian Asakaa Drill music picked up steam, following the release of his single “Condemn.” With more than five million views on YouTube, the 22-year-old is proving to be one of Ghana’s most promising talents. His raw style of expression has set him apart in African hip-hop.
Natasha Chansa (Zambia)
Natasha Chansa is without a doubt a wonder to watch. She raps with an imperious attitude, delivering heavy bars in a crisp mix of English and her native language. Representing the emerging creative scene in Zambia, Natasha Chansa is a fierce rapper who caught the attention of the audience with her idiosyncratic style of music and her vivacious disposition. Since the release of her debut EP The Genesis, she has been on a trajectory and is not likely to stop soon.
Nomfundo Moh (South Africa)
After making her debut at 16 many years back, Nomfundo Moh came into the limelight after the release of her smash hit single “Lilizella,” racking millions of streams and ultimately earning a gold certification for the single in South Africa. The silvery-voiced singer who released her debut album in 2022 is currently one of the leading voices in the South African music space. Her single “Phakade Lami” has been certified 4x platinum.
Striving to distinguish herself in a male-dominated industry, Maandy is a steadfast Kenyan artist pushing against the grain. Starting her career in the music industry as a DJ, Maandy eventually made the switch to being a rapper, especially as she had a background in poetry . She has consistently put herself in front of her audience by employing social media platforms like Twitter and Tiktok, generating buzz and building a stalwart fanbase with songs like “Sirudi” and “Ka Unaweza.”
In the early days of her career, Azawi was a dancer. Then when dancing seemed insufficient, she became a songwriter who wrote songs for the likes of Eddy Kenzo, Nina Rose and Carol Nantongo. Her life took a turn when she recorded and released “Quinamino” in 2020. She is highly recognized in Uganda - having won various awards - and has collaborated with big names like Chike and DJ Neptune.
A child prodigy, Rapcha started thrilling onlookers with his rap verses at a young age of 11. The Tanzanian rapper’s career took off shortly after the release of “Lissa,” a single off his debut album Wanangu 99 which was released to critical acclaim in 2021. His music is heavily rooted in an endearing consciousness that resonates through his lyrics and melodies. A talented and vibrant act, Rapcha is part of the refreshing voices vitalizing the Tanzanian scene.
Holy Ten (Zimbabwe)
There’s been a recent surge in Zimbabwean hip-hop music and a notable name that is contributing greatly to the genre’s proliferation is Holy Ten, a rapper who broke into the mainstream in 2021, particularly after the release of his sophomore album Risky Life. His latest offering, Energy, which is his third studio album, profoundly punctured by gritty and murky sounds, intimately broached his experiences with depression, love and his struggle with peace of mind.
Okkama prides himself on his versatility as well as his ability to do any genre of music whether it’s Afrobeats, RnB or Trap music. The 20-year-old singer is at the moment a renowned Rwandan sensation with a bevy of hit songs like “Puculi” and “Iyallah” to his name. Okkama is especially known for infusing various genres into his sound and adopting a mix of English, French and vernacular. Since his debut, he has accrued nearly 10 million views on YouTube.
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