Music
Photo Credit: Carlos Idun-Tawiah

CKay: “The Mission is to Take African Music to the World”

We spent time with Nigerian superstar Ckay moments before he hit the stage at Afro Nation in Accra, Ghana.

Like many of the continent’s hitmakers, Nigerian superstar CKay has spent the past year booked and busy spreading the gospel of afrobeats. So when it came time for CKay to hit the stage at Afro Nation in Accra, Ghana the performance felt like a homecoming.

“It’s good to be back home,” says CKay. “I haven’t performed in Ghana in over a year. It’s definitely a different vibe in Africa because this is the source.”

After three years and iterations in Portugal and Puerto Rico, Live Nation’s Africa-focused festival made its return to the Ghanaian capital last month. The two-day event played host to performers from the Africa and the diaspora with a lineup spanning P-Square to Meek Mill, offering fans a chance to reconnect with the artists putting their culture on the map.

CKay in the shadows CKay moments before he hit the stage. Photo Credit: Carlos Idun-Tawiah

“It’s crazy to see [African music] exploding right now,” says CKay. “Because this music is our culture, it used to be an in-house thing at one point but now it’s a global thing. Everyone is interested in afrobeats and what we’re creating over here.” Lounging on the sofa in his greenroom you’d never tell that he’s just minutes removed from an electrifying set that had thousands swooning and singing along word-for-word. If anything, CKay seems energized by the crowd. "It’s a joyful thing to perform here. Great energy, great vibes," says CKay. "When you go out there and see the crowd, you see lots of Africans not only Ghanaians, non-Africans too that flew all the way here just to experience vibes and I think that’s amazing.”

Every December, Accra has the world at its doorstep. Longtime residents are familiar with the seasonal cycle of tourists and celebrities making the annual pilgrimage to bask in the local nightlife. Party and concert posters litter the city with the repetitive promise of making “this December one to remember.” It’s a tall order in this climate to deliver on the goal of being memorable, but a look around Black Star Square reveals that Afro Nation had achieved its objective. The crowd’s energy rarely wavered. Kamo Mphela and her troupe of dancer’s tapped into Accra’s love affair with amapiano, while Black Sherif’s ghetto gospel and Stonebwoy’s undeniable dancehall had the dreamers screaming lyrics at the top of their lungs. Then there were moments like Meek Mill’s inaugural Ghanaian performance and P-Square’s long-overdue reunion that were truly unforgettable.

CKay holding a mic “I think we should keep innovating the genre, keep transforming the sound, turning it into something new every time,” says Ckay. Photo Credit: Carlos Idun-Tawiah

For CKay, the Afro Nation stage was an important reminder that African music is not a monolith and isn’t done evolving. “I think we should keep innovating the genre, keep transforming the sound, turning it into something new every time,” he says. In his own performance, the singer combined his romantic brand of afrobeats with amapiano and R&B-indebted tracks. And in a uniquely candid moment on stage he revealed the story behind his viral hit “Love Nwantiti”—about how a failed love turned him into a worldwide sensation. The two days were brimming with moments like this that spoke to the familiarity between the artists and their fans at home.

So, where does the music go from here? “The mission is to take African music to the world,” says CKay. “We’ve already done that, but it’s still a work in progress, still doing, working, adding more building blocks everyday, trying to expand our reach. I feel African music is too amazing to keep to ourselves, I think we should spread it and hold on to it at the same time.”

CKay preparing for a performance “The mission is to take African music to the world,” says CKay. “We’ve already done that, but it’s still a work in progress..."Photo Credit: Carlos Idun-Tawiah

Events
(Photo by David Wolff-Patrick/Redferns)

The American Music Awards Have Created a 'Favorite Afrobeats Artist' Category

Burna Boy, Wizkid, CKay, Tems and Fireboy DML are all nominated for the category's inaugural year.


The American Music Awards have added a "Favorite Afrobeats Artist" category to their lineup this year, further highlighting the global influence of Afrobeats on the global music scene.

Burna Boy, Wizkid, CKay, Tems, and Fireboy DML are officially the pioneering artists to be nominated for the Favorite Afrobeats Artist category. Leading overall nomination is Tems, with four nominations in total—two nominations for her appearance on Future's "Wait For U" and one for her collaboration with Wizkid on the hit song "Essence. The 27-year-old singer also shares a nomination for "Favorite Afrobeats Artist" with Burna Boy, CKay, Fireboy DML, and Wizkid.

Wizkid also received a second nomination for his critically acclaimed record "Essence." Award winners are chosen entirely by fan votes and based on fan interactions. According to the AMAs website, the award show promises a vibrant night of non-stop music with a robust lineup of artists across vast musical genres.

See the full list of AMAs nominees below.

FAVORITE AFROBEATS ARTIST

Burna Boy

CKay

Fireboy DML

Tems

Wizkid

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Adele

Bad Bunny

Beyoncé

Drake

Harry Styles

Taylor Swift

The Weeknd


NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR


Dove Cameron

GAYLE

Latto

Måneskin

Steve Lacy


COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR

Carolina Gaitán, Mauro Castillo, Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz, Diane Guerrero, Stephanie Beatriz & Encanto Cast “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”

Elton John & Dua Lipa “Cold Heart – PNAU Remix”

Future ft. Drake & Tems “WAIT FOR U”

Lil Nas X ft. Jack Harlow “INDUSTRY BABY”

The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber “STAY”


FAVORITE TOURING ARTIST

Bad Bunny

Coldplay

Ed Sheeran

Elton John

The Rolling Stones

FAVORITE MUSIC VIDEO

Adele “Easy On Me”

Bad Bunny ft. Chencho Corleone “Me Porto Bonito”

Harry Styles “As It Was”

Lil Nas X ft. Jack Harlow “INDUSTRY BABY”

Taylor Swift “All Too Well: The Short Film”


FAVORITE MALE POP ARTIST

Bad Bunny

Drake

Ed Sheeran

Harry Styles

The Weeknd


FAVORITE FEMALE POP ARTIST


Adele

Beyoncé

Doja Cat

Lizzo

Taylor Swift


FAVORITE POP DUO OR GROUP


BTS

Coldplay

Imagine Dragons

Måneskin

OneRepublic

FAVORITE POP ALBUM

Adele “30”

Bad Bunny “Un Verano Sin Ti”

Beyoncé “Renaissance”

Harry Styles “Harry’s House”

Taylor Swift “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

The Weeknd “Dawn FM”


FAVORITE POP SONG


Adele “Easy On Me”

Carolina Gaitán, Mauro Castillo, Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz, Diane Guerrero, Stephanie Beatriz & Encanto Cast “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”

Harry Styles “As It Was”

Lizzo “About Damn Time”

The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber “STAY”


FAVORITE MALE COUNTRY ARTIST

Chris Stapleton

Cody Johnson

Luke Combs

Morgan Wallen

Walker Hayes


FAVORITE FEMALE COUNTRY ARTIST


Carrie Underwood

Lainey Wilson

Maren Morris

Miranda Lambert

Taylor Swift


FAVORITE COUNTRY DUO OR GROUP


Dan + Shay

Lady A

Old Dominion

Parmalee

Zac Brown Band


FAVORITE COUNTRY ALBUM


Carrie Underwood “Denim & Rhinestones”

Luke Combs “Growin’ Up”

Cody Johnson “Human: The Double Album”

Taylor Swift “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

Walker Hayes “Country Stuff: The Album”


FAVORITE COUNTRY SONG


Chris Stapleton “You Should Probably Leave”

Cody Johnson “’Til You Can’t”

Dustin Lynch ft. MacKenzie Porter “Thinking ‘Bout You”

Jordan Davis ft. Luke Bryan “Buy Dirt”

Morgan Wallen “Wasted on You”


FAVORITE MALE HIP-HOP ARTIST


Drake

Future

Kendrick Lamar

Lil Baby

Lil Durk


FAVORITE FEMALE HIP-HOP ARTIST


Cardi B

GloRilla

Latto

Megan Thee Stallion

Nicki Minaj


FAVORITE HIP-HOP ALBUM


Future “I NEVER LIKED YOU”

Gunna “DS4EVER”

Kendrick Lamar “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers”

Lil Durk “7220”

Polo G “Hall of Fame 2.0”


FAVORITE HIP-HOP SONG


Future ft. Drake & Tems “WAIT FOR U”

Jack Harlow “First Class”

Kodak Black “Super Gremlin”

Latto “Big Energy”

Lil Nas X ft. Jack Harlow “INDUSTRY BABY”


FAVORITE MALE R&B ARTIST


Brent Faiyaz

Chris Brown

GIVĒON

Lucky Daye

The Weeknd


FAVORITE FEMALE R&B ARTIST


Beyoncé

Doja Cat

Muni Long

Summer Walker

SZA


FAVORITE R&B ALBUM


Beyoncé “Renaissance”

Drake “Honestly, Nevermind”

Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak) “An Evening with Silk Sonic”

Summer Walker “Still Over It”

The Weeknd “Dawn FM”


FAVORITE R&B SONG


Beyoncé “BREAK MY SOUL”

Muni Long “Hrs And Hrs”

Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak) “Smokin Out The Window”

SZA “I Hate U”

Wizkid ft. Tems “Essence”


FAVORITE MALE LATIN ARTIST


Bad Bunny

Farruko

J Balvin

Jhayco

Rauw Alejandro


FAVORITE FEMALE LATIN ARTIST

Anitta

Becky G

Kali Uchis

KAROL G

ROSALÍA


FAVORITE LATIN DUO OR GROUP


Banda MS de Sergio Lizárraga

Calibre 50

Eslabon Armado

Grupo Firme

Yahritza Y Su Esencia


FAVORITE LATIN ALBUM


Bad Bunny “Un Verano Sin Ti”

Farruko “La 167”

J Balvin “JOSE”

Rauw Alejandro “Vice Versa”

ROSALÍA “MOTOMAMI”

FAVORITE LATIN SONG

Bad Bunny ft. Chencho Corleone “Me Porto Bonito”

Becky G x KAROL G “MAMIII”

KAROL G “PROVENZA”

Rauw Alejandro “Todo de Ti”

Sebastián Yatra “Dos Oruguitas”


FAVORITE ROCK ARTIST


Imagine Dragons

Machine Gun Kelly

Måneskin

Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Lumineers


FAVORITE ROCK SONG **New**

Foo Fighters “Love Dies Young”

Imagine Dragons x JID “Enemy”

Kate Bush “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)”

Måneskin “Beggin’”

Red Hot Chili Peppers “Black Summer”


FAVORITE ROCK ALBUM **New**

Coldplay “Music of the Spheres”

Ghost “Impera”

Imagine Dragons “Mercury – Act 1”

Machine Gun Kelly “mainstream sellout”

Red Hot Chili Peppers “Unlimited Love”


FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL ARTIST

Anne Wilson

for KING & COUNTRY

Katy Nichole

Matthew West

Phil Wickham


FAVORITE GOSPEL ARTIST

CeCe Winans

DOE

  1. Dewey Smith

Maverick City Music

Tamela Mann


FAVORITE DANCE/ELECTRONIC ARTIST

Diplo

Marshmello

Swedish House Mafia

The Chainsmokers

Tiësto


FAVORITE SOUNDTRACK


“ELVIS”

“Encanto”

“Sing 2”

“Stranger Things: Soundtrack from the Netflix Series, Season 4”

“Top Gun: Maverick”

FAVORITE K-POP ARTIST **New**

BLACKPINK

BTS

SEVENTEEN

TOMORROW X TOGETHER

TWICE

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