Music

How CKay's 'Love Nwantiti' Became the World's Song

Nigerian singer and producer CKay talks to OkayAfrica about the rise of his international chart-topping single "Love Nwantiti," his genre-defying sound and the reasons behind this era of afrobeats dominance.

What a year CKay is having. "Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)," a track recorded two years ago, is — without a doubt — one of the biggest songs in the world right now. It's hard keeping up with its phenomenal and unprecedented chart success, but we'll try: it's the number one song on YouTube's Global Chart, getting an all-time Nigerian record of 73.7million views in a week. It's also the most Shazamed song in the world, number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. and number 3 on the UK singles chart, ahead of Drake and Billie Ellish. Plus, a continental record of 25 million monthly followers on Spotify confirms this: the 26-year-old artist born Chukwuka Ekweani is having an incredible moment.

It's fairly easy to get caught up in the numbers, but CKay maintains a grace of humility. "I just express myself," CKay mentions to OkayAfrica. "It's not like I'm calculating anything. I'm literally just vibing, telling my story and giving my energy to the world."

When we last spoke to CKay earlier this year, the Lagos-based musician had just released Boyfriend, a lush project detailing the eccentric moods of a youthful relationship. It was also his first project as a signee of Warner Music South Africa. On a recent Friday afternoon, CKay and I connect again on Zoom. He dons a fly basketball jersey, its blue and orange stripes complemented by his pink dreadlocks. His calm demeanor inspires an easy way of speaking as he ponders his song's success.

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