Video

Akon & will.i.am Talk About the Rise of Afrobeats For ‘The Questions’

For the latest installment of Okayafrica TV’s "The Questions," Akon and will.i.am talk about the current state of African music.

For the latest installment of Okayafrica TV’s "The Questions," we caught up with Akon and will.i.am in Los Angeles to pick their brains about the current state of African music.


The two stars were all laughs as we got their thoughts on afrobeats, the best ways for African acts to crossover in America, and what artists they’re looking out for from the continent.

“Africa is going to be the new bubble,” will.i.am mentions, comparing the musical explosion to the rise of K-pop a few years ago.

The two also name some of their favorite current acts. Wizkid, Davido, P-Square, D’banj, and Black Coffee—who Akon calls the “David Guetta of Africa”—all get shout-outs.

Watch the Okayafrica TV video above.

 

Interview

Interview: Bizzle Osikoya Is the A&R Shaping the Voice of a New Generation

We caught up with the A&R expert and co-founder of The Plug Management to talk about the fast-rising demand for Nigerian music and what it takes to break out as an artist.

The meteoric rise of Nigeria's burgeoning music industry over the last few years is definitely one for the books. From high profile collaborations that have graced international charts to appearances on American late night TV and a Grammy nomination, the Nigerian sound is sitting at the epicenter of a global conversation that the world—including Queen Bey herself —seem to scrabbling to get a piece of the action.

However, way before this global infiltration and westernized conflation of Africa's assortment of genres into one Afrobeats, Bizzle Osikoya was studying Music Business in England and plotting for a way to be a part of what he knew was inevitable. "I remember going to clubs in school and they would always play Jamaican music but rarely Nigerian songs. I knew we made good music here but I knew I couldn't sing. So I was motivated to come back, go behind the scenes, and see how we can make that crossover possible," he tells OkayAfrica.

More than a decade after making the intrepid decision to venture into A&R, helping artists find and develop their sound, Bizzle's creative genius has cascaded across different musical generations, from the piracy rife CD mix era with artists like Naeto C, Wande Coal and Dr. Sid to a streaming era populated with hits from Reekado Banks, Tiwa Savage and Davido.

Following the success of his latest project, Oxlade's Oxygene, we caught up with the A&R expert and co-founder of the Plug Management—a talent management company that has managed Davido, Peruzzi and DJ Obi—to talk about what it takes to break out as an artist, the fast-rising demand for Nigerian music, and how "alté" is not the same thing as alternative music.

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