News Brief
Image courtesy of Apple Music.

Rema Is Apple Music's New 'Up Next' Artist

Exclusive: Watch the buzzing Nigerian artist's 'Up Next' short film and announcement.

Rema is the latest artist to get a spot in Apple Music's Up Next program, OkayAfrica is excited to announce today.

The young artist has become one of the leading voices of the new Nigerian generation since the release of his debut Rema EP and subsequent Bad Commando EP, riding on massive hits like "Dumebi," the titular "Bad Commando," and "Iron Man," which even made it onto Barack Obama's playlist. He also recently earned a 2020 BET Award nomination.

Rema's inclusion in the Up Next program comes paired with a new short film shot by the artist himself in Lagos, which we're getting a first look at here today. It follows Rema as he talks about the spirituality behind his music and wanting to "take Africa to the world, if the world can't come to Africa."


"Getting recognised by Apple as their Up Next artist is a huge deal for me," says Rema. "I want to take Afrobeats to the world and now the world is listening, it's an honour. This has come during a time when across the world people are uniting and coming together to fight for justice. This generation, my generation, are standing up and speaking out and it's amazing to see, I am standing right beside them."

"Rema embodies the youth movement emerging from...Africa," adds Ebro Darden, Apple Music's Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B. "His voice has carried him from Benin City, Nigeria to Barack Obama's 2019 Summer Playlist. He's been cosigned by Drake and Rihanna and has remixes to his music with Becky G, Matoma and Major Lazer. Rema is a shy, young artist who has managed to capture the world's attention with his art. We are excited to amplify him further and can't wait to see what he'll do with his platform next."

Watch Rema's Up Next short above.

Image courtesy of Apple Music.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.