Audio
(YouTube)

Valerie Omari pictured above.

7 South African Female R&B/Soul Artists to Watch In 2020

From Ayanda Jiya to Naye Ayla, we highlight seven rising female artists on South Africa's R&B/Soul scene.

Hip-hop, house, gqom and more recently amapiano, may be dominating South Africa's music scene these days but R&B and soul are just as popular.

While the genre boasts established artists such as Simphiwe Dana, Lira, Zahara, Vusi Nova, Nathi and several others, there are equally as many artists on the come up.

Last year saw South African female artists in particular, releasing some of the dopest debut projects. As we put it, "[2019] ushered in the voices of a new generation of South African female artists announcing themselves to the world."

On the back of some pretty noteworthy albums and EPs, be it the emboldened lyricism of Ayanda Jiya or the soothing tones of Naye Ayla, we highlight 7 South African women artists in R&B/Soul that are set to bring the heat this year.

This list is in no particular order.


Lucille Slade

lucille slade

Lucille slade

Photo courtesy of Lucille Slade.

Lucille Slade continues to dominate our watchlists. Last year, she featured on our 15 Artists to Watch in 2019 list for the same reason she now features on this one: she continues to secure the bag. Slade first burst onto the music scene after her cover of Cassper Nyovest's "Tito Mboweni" track went viral. She followed up by releasing her debut album Scratch the Surface and has gone on to release popular singles including "Velvet" and more recently, "Khuluma Nami." This year will see the release of her EP titled Love Me Slowly and a number of dope collaborations.

Read our recent interview with the artist here.

Ami Faku

Ami Faku

Ami Faku.

Still from YouTube.

With her contemporary take on Afro-soul, Ami Faku is not just an upcoming artist star, she's fast becoming a household name. Having been initially catapulted into the spotlight as a contestant on the South African version of The Voice, Faku solidified her position as an artist in South Africa's R&B/Soul genre last year with infectious singles including "Ubuhle Bakho" and "Ndikhethe Wena." She not only collaborated with the likes of Sun-El Musician and Mthunzi, but went on to put out her refreshing debut album titled Imali.

Read our recent interview with the artist here.

Ayanda Jiya

\u200bAyanda Jiya

Ayanda Jiya.

Ayanda Jiya is perhaps one of the best female vocalists in South Africa right now. Determined to produce world-class R&B with a classic South African twist, Jiya put out her debut album cleverly titled Ayandastand last year--the more definitive follow-up to her 2017 EP To Whom it May Concern. Jiya has also worked with the likes of Lady Zamar, Stogie T, Ginger Trill, A-Reece and Ralf Gum among several others. Her glorious anthem titled "The Sun" is a standout track which speaks to triumphing over adversity.

Read our recent interview with the artist here.

Valerie Omari

Valerie Omari

Valerie Omari.

Still from YouTube.

Valerie Omari is perhaps the most "traditional" of the R&B/Soul artists listed here. While she at times leans towards fusion, the artist's music is largely comprised of elements that many would view as being "quintessential" to R&B/Soul. Her explosive debut project titled Therefore I Am EP is a palpably raw and uncensored exploration of the frequently changing tides in romantic relationships.

Elaine

Elaine

Elaine.

Still from YouTube.

Elaine is turning her popularity and loyal fan base into actual numbers. Following the release of her dynamic 7-track debut EP titled "Elements", she went on to top Apple Music's Album Charts last year. With songs such as "You're the One" and "When We're Alone," the artist fuses R&B with trap-soul as she explores the trappings of adolescent love as well as the universality of love as a whole.

Refentse Solo

Refentse Solo

Refentse Solo.

Still from YouTube.

Refentse Solo's sultry and emotive vocals as well as exquisite lyrical ability, distinguish her from the rest of her peers. Her Genesis EP, which incorporates both Northern Sesotho and English, powerfully explores several complex themes including spirituality in a deeply vulnerable manner—an emerging signature of Solo's distinct sound.

Naye Ayla

Still from YouTube.

Naye Ayla is a part of the Pretoria-based band Culture Cartel. However, the artist also boasts an impressive solo career that has seen the release of two EPs thus far with the most recent being the 2018 6-track project titled Exi(s)t. However, it is her standout 2019 single "Mercury," which explores femininity and womanhood, that really showcases her ability to create anthemic hits now and in the future.

Interview

Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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