Wizkid performs on day 1 of Way Out West Festival 2023 on August 10, 2023 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Wizkid performs on day 1 of Way Out West Festival 2023 on August 10, 2023 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Photo by Rune Hellestad - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images.

Wizkid, Burna Boy and More Nominated for Inaugural Trace Awards Celebrating African Music Excellence

Trace Awards 2023 celebrate African excellence in 22 diverse categories with leading nominees from across the globe.

Trace unveiled the eagerly awaited list of nominees for the inaugural Trace Awards, set to captivate audiences worldwide at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, on October 21, 2023.

This electrifying live event, destined to be a global television spectacle, is dedicated to honoring the boundless creativity, extraordinary talent, and profound influence of African and Afro-inspired music and culture. Broadcasting live to an audience spanning 190 countries, it is expected to reach a staggering 500 million viewers.

The Trace Awards will shine a spotlight on a diverse array of music genres, including Afrobeats, dancehall, hip-hop, mbalax, amapiano, zouk, kizomba, genge, coupé décalé, bongo flava, soukous, gospel, rap, rai, kompa, R&B, and rumba.

In anticipation of the event, Olivier Laouchez, Chairman, and Co-Founder of Trace, remarked, "The Trace Awards' nominations applaud the remarkable achievements and unwavering excellence of over 150 performers, producers, DJs, writers, composers, directors, established artists, and rising stars, along with their dedicated management and record labels. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the nominees, many of whom will grace the stage in Kigali on October 21. It promises to be an unforgettable experience for aficionados of African and Afro-inspired music."

A staggering 22 award categories will see platinum-selling artists from a mosaic of over 30 countries, spanning Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, and Europe, vying for top honors. Notably, the winners will be presented with a distinctive trophy crafted by acclaimed Congolese sculptor and designer, Dora Prevost.

From the Northernmost tip to the Southernmost coast, from the Eastern shores to the Western expanses, the entire African continent will bear witness to its most illustrious artists at the Trace Awards.

In the spotlight are platinum-selling artists hailing from diverse nations, including Algeria, Angola, Brazil, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Comoros, DRC, France, French Guiana, Gabon, Ghana, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Martinique, Mayotte, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Reunion, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, the U.K., and Uganda. These illustrious talents will compete for the prestigious Trace Awards Trophies, exclusive pieces of art conceived by the gifted Congolese sculptor and designer, Dora Prevost.

Leading the nominations are artists from West Africa, notably Nigeria, who affirm the global resonance of Nigerian Afrobeat with an impressive tally of over 40 nominations. Prominent figures include Burna Boy, Ayra Starr, Davido, WizKid, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Fireboy DML, and Rema, all poised to make a resounding impact.

The invaluable contributions of female artists are acknowledged across multiple categories, most notably in the Best Female Artist category, where Cape Verde's Soraia Ramos contends with Ivory Coast's Josey, Senegal's Viviane Chidid, Kenya's Nadia Mukami, and the formidable Nigerian duo of Tiwa Savage and Arya Starr.

Beyond the African continent, the musical tapestry of the African diasporas is celebrated with acclaimed nominees hailing from France, Brazil, the U.K., the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean, including the likes of Stormzy (U.K.), Aya Nakamura (France), Leo Santana (Brazil), and Shenseea (Jamaica), among other luminaries.

Check out a selection of the nominees below, or see all of the nominees for all the categories here.

Album of the Year

  • DNK – Aya Nakamura (France)
  • Love Damini – Burna Boy (Nigeria)
  • Maverick – Kizz Daniel (Nigeria)
  • More Love, Less Ego – Wizkid (Nigeria)
  • Timeless – Davido (Nigeria)
  • Work of Art – Asake (Nigeria)

Song of the Year

  • "BKBN" – Soraia Ramos (Cape Verde)
  • "People" – Libianca (Cameroon)
  • "Suavemente" – Soolking (France)
  • "Encre" – Emma'a (Gabon)
  • "Sugarcane" – Camidoh (Ghana)
  • "Last Last" – Burna Boy (Nigeria)
  • "Rush" – Ayra Starr (Nigeria)
  • "Calm Down" – Rema (Nigeria)
  • "Peru" – Fireboy DML (Nigeria) with Ed Sheeran (UK)
  • "Sete" – K.O (South Africa)
  • "Cough" – Kizz Daniel (Nigeria)
  • "MORTEL 06" – Innoss'B (Ivory Coast)

Best Male Artist

  • Asake (Nigeria)
  • Burna Boy (Nigeria)
  • Davido (Nigeria)
  • Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania)
  • Didi B (Ivory Coast)
  • K.O (South Africa)
  • Rema (Nigeria)

Best Female Artist

  • Ayra Starr (Nigeria)
  • Josey (Ivory Coast)
  • Nadia Mukami (Kenya)
  • Soraia Ramos (Cape Verde)
  • Tiwa Savage (Nigeria)
  • Viviane Chidid (Senegal)

Best Producer

  • DJ Maphorisa (South Africa)
  • Juls (Ghana)
  • Kabza de Small (South Africa)
  • Kel-P (Nigeria)
  • Tamsir (Ivory Coast)