Wavythecreator. Image courtesy of the artist.

5 Artists From the Nigerian New Wave Who Are Shaping the Future of the Music Industry

Get to know Tomi Agape, Wavythecreator, Tobi Lou, Santi, and ODIE.

The music industry is changing faster than it ever has and the rise of social media and new streaming technologies has opened doors for independent artist to mold their own space and shape their own standards. Especially amongst African creatives, there has been a unique renaissance bubbling where traditional norms on culture, identity and even gender no longer define an artist success.

In Nigeria, where afropop reigns supreme, there has been slower progress than places like South Africa for non-traditional afrobeats artists, but there has been a revolution both within the continent and its diaspora brewing. With artists no longer waiting for validation from major labels, they are focusing on their music, branding, visuals and connecting to their fans organically. It is showing the world that disruption can also mean freedom from boundaries created by past generations.

From Lagos to London to Los Angeles below are "5 Nigerian artists shaping a new wave sound and their views on future of the music industry and how they feel about the current African renaissance.

Tobi Lou

Tobi Lou. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tobi Lou is a Nigerian-American musician from Chicago currently based in Los Angeles. His vibrant personality, visuals and delivery have allowed him to create a lane for himself that mixes playful raps and melodies with colorful beats that is nostalgic of vintage videos games and new wave sounds. While he moved to L.A. to pursue his dreams of getting signed by a major, he slowly realized that his vision was bigger than a label and it allowed him to work and evolve his sound and approach to music without label pressures.

His latest track "Troop," featuring Smino, hit over a million views in less than 6 months and he is managed under the same team who work with artists like Jhene Aiko and Anderson Paak. He is currently working on his debut album that will be executively produced by No I.D, an industry legend that has helped shape artist like Kanye West amongst others. While he is yet to reconnect with Nigeria since leaving in childhood, having a Nigerian upbringing and being apart of the community in the States has allowed him to have a unique perspective on the culture and discipline when it come pursuing his craft.

When asked about the current African renaissance he said "When it comes to music and dance we have always been creating but I think you can see the way that African culture has come to the forefront in different genres of art. Whether talking about Black Panther or even my sister Tomi Adeyemi's book Children of Blood and Bone, you see people investing in stories on black people on a new level. People are starting to see that there is value in our stories and what we have to create."


Wavythecreator. Image courtesy of the artist.

Wavythecreator is a Lagos-based musician who grew up between Nigeria and the United States. She describes her sound as "wavy" and mixes genres like house, R&B and afrobeats to create a vibe that gets people moving. While she started as a visual artist in both photography and filmmaking working with some of the biggest acts in Nigeria, she only began singing less-than two years ago, but has already performed alongside major artist like Maleek Berry, Skepta, Wizkid and more.

While she doesn't fit in the traditional afrobeats box, she's been able to create a sound that is getting people's attention and ties into her mixed upbringing and interests. Although many women in Nigeria struggle with gender roles and expectations, she has no intention of conforming to norms to please others and wants to build a legacy off of authenticity. When asked about the current African renaissance she said "We are very important pawns in this game. We are needed for the revolution to happen. Our uniqueness is addicting and encourages the curious mind of the foreigner. We are the future of the music industry. I believe so. We have been relaxed with informing and educating our consciousness, but we have finally given room to the term "different" and slowly accepting the change."


Santi. Image courtesy of the artist.

Santi is a Lagos raised artist who currently lives between cities like Dubai and Nigeria. He is most known for his infectious records like "Gangster Fear" with Odunsi The Engine and has performed alongside artist like Skepta and Wizkid. His latest single "Sparky" was released with OVO sound radio and he is set to drop his EP this summer with a number of visuals.

While his sound take influences from afrobeats, dancehall and the new wave, Santi's main goal is to create his own genre: "I believe with music, evolution is key. We are a time where information is processed faster than ever. So standing out is key. I often experiment with various genres, while always maintaining my essence, so I do not necessarily know what genre I would label my music. I'm pretty sure as time goes by and the journey continues, the people would give the genre a name." In many ways this goes for a lot of music coming out of Africa that opening new spaces. While mainstream media is yet to catch up for many, Santi is using his skills and relationships to build with tastemakers and gatekeepers around the world.

Tomi Agape

Tomi Agape. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tomi Agape is a British-Nigerian singer and songwriter known for her soulful and melodic records that mix neo-soul, afrobeats, hip-hop and R&B. Being able to directly experience the music of London, Lagos and Atlanta opened her perspective to how music works around the world and how important it is to shape culture through presenting innovative strides. Having studied theatre and performing arts in university, she takes her live performances seriously and also sees how valuable practice is.

Growing up she was heavily inspired by artists like Jill Scott and Erykah Badu, as well as sounds coming out of London and Nigeria. When asked about where she sees the future of music going, she said "eclectic. I see It being political.. I see people speaking their unwavering truths. African music to me is going to play a huge role in the future of music, as it already is. African-Americans are already being influenced... they feel that need and want to go back to their roots. They want to be included. They're hearing the beats, the drums, the melodies and they're saying 'that's dope! Not only is that dope but I feel it on a deeper level.' Tomi is grinding through summer 2018 and has a few things in store including visuals and song releases, in the meantime check out her latest record "In The Night" featuring Nonso Amadi.


ODIE. Image courtesy of the artist.

ODIE is Toronto-born, Bay Area-raised musician who explores genres like R&B, future sound, indie rock and soul. Some of his earliest inspirations range from Kid Cudi to Fela Kuti. Earlier this year he released a project titled Analogue that was featured on radio shows like Soulection, it also made Apple Music's A-list R&B playlist. Currently, ODIE is on his European tour, performing in cities like Amsterdam and London, and will be touring the U.S afterwards.

A unique aspect of his work is his ability to not be afraid to be vulnerable. He credits that to his Nigerian parents because they were very open growing up and allowed him to explore and be his authentic self, which was not always the norm for other young Africans. ODIE wants to speak his truth and in turn he hopes that other people can see the importance of living their own truth.

While many traditional norms haVE often made young Africans afraid to explore things out of their comfort zone, things are changing and a new generation is breeding the future.

It's artists like those above who will shine light on Africa in a new way and show innovation in the global sounds of tomorrow.

MohBad & Naira Marley in "Komanjensun." (Youtube)

MohBad & Naira Marley Connect For 'Komajensun'

The uplifting tune sees Naira Marley and his newly signed Marlian Music artist going in over a head-nodding beat by Rexxie,

Naira Marley and MohBad come through with the new music video for "Komanjensun."

The uplifting tune sees Naira Marley and his newly signed Marlian Music artist going in over a head-nodding beat by Rexxie,

The music video for "Komanjensun," which was directed by Naya Effectz, sees both Nigerian artists playing the part of students as they and their mates dance on a school bus.

Naira Marley also recently connected with C Blvck for the music video for "Tingasa," the opening track from his Lord of Lamba (LOL) EP.

The 6-track project Lord of Lamba is a classic representation of the Naira Marley's signature upbeat sound. It features the likes of Young John and Mayorkun and was produced by Killertunes, Studio Magik and Rexxie.

Watch the new music video for Naira Marley and MohBad's "Komanjensun" below.

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Nike Has Unveiled a New Nigeria 2020 Kit—and It's Just as Striking as the First

The Super Eagle's new kits are an impressive follow-up to the 2018 design.

Nike and Nigeria have done it again.

On Wednesday, the sporting brand unveiled a brand new Nigeria kit. This comes after the success of the wildly popular World Cup kit from 2018 which seamlessly fused streetwear with athletic function. The famous design was even nominated for the Beazley Design of the Year Award the year of its release.

The 2020 design is just as striking, featuring an angled, hand-drawn green design on top of a cream base. The Super Eagles's football crest is placed at the top front of the jersey, with the signature Nike swoop underneath. Matching sock sets were also unveiled for both colors of the jersey.

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Stormzy performs during The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage) via Getty Images.

Watch Stormzy's Powerful BRIT Awards Performance Featuring Burna Boy

The night saw the British-Ghanaian star run through a medley of songs from his latest album, Heavy Is the Head.

The BRIT Awards 2020, which went down earlier this week, saw the likes of Stormzy take home the Best Male trophy home and Dave win Best Album.

The night also saw Stormzy deliver a stunning performance that featured a medley of songs from his latest album, Heavy Is the Head. The British-Ghanaian star started things out slow with "Don't Forget to Breathe," before popping things off with "Do Better" then turning up the heat with "Wiley Flow."

Stormzy nodded to J Hus, playing a short bit of "Fortune Teller," before being joined onstage by Nigeria's Burna Boy to perform their hit "Own It." Burna Boy got his own moment and performed an energetic rendition of his African Giant favorite "Anybody."

The night was closed off with a powerful message that read: "A lot of time they tell us 'Black people, we too loud.' Know what I'm sayin'? We need to turn it down a little bit. We seem too arrogant. We a little too much for them to handle. Black is beautiful man." The message flashed on a black screen before a moving performance of "Rainfall" backed by his posse.

Watch the full performance below.

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News Brief
The ornate gilded copper headgear, which features images of Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles, was unearthed after refugee-turned-Dutch-citizen Sirak Asfaw contacted Dutch 'art detective' Arthur Brand. (Photo by Jan HENNOP/AFP) (Photo by JAN HENNOP/AFP via Getty Images)

A Stolen 18th Century Ethiopian Crown Has Been Returned from The Netherlands

The crown had been hidden in a Dutch apartment for 20 years.

In one of the latest developments around art repatriation, a stolen 18th century Ethiopian crown that was discovered decades ago in the Netherlands, has been sent back home.

Sirak Asfaw, an Ethiopian who fled to The Netherlands in the '70s, first found the relic in the suitcase of a visitor in 1998, reports BBC Africa. He reportedly protected the item for two decades, before informing Dutch "art crime investigator" Arthur Brand and authorities about his discovery last year.

The crown is one of only 20 in existence and features intricate Biblical depictions of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. Historians believe it was given to the church by the warlord Welde Sellase several centuries ago.

Read: Bringing African Artifacts Home

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