Top 7 Nigerian Musicians Under 30 Making Waves

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Nigeria’s music scene is a powerhouse, consistently churning out global hits and captivating audiences worldwide. At the forefront of this movement is a new generation of talented musicians under 30 who are pushing boundaries, experimenting with genres, and taking Afrobeats to new heights. Let’s meet seven of these rising stars with Naijassador.

1. Rema (24)

Rema, born Divine Ikubor, is a 21-year-old Nigerian singer and songwriter who has exploded onto the global music scene. He rose to fame in 2019 with his unique blend of Afrobeats and trap, characterized by catchy hooks, smooth vocals, and introspective lyrics. Tracks like “Dumebi” and “Iron Man” became instant hits, amassing millions of streams and propelling him to superstardom. His sound, dubbed “Afrorave” by himself, incorporates influences from Arabian and Indian music, creating a fresh and captivating soundscape.

His raw talent and ability to connect with listeners through his relatable lyrics have garnered him a massive fanbase, affectionately known as “Ravers.” This young prodigy has already collaborated with established artists like Wizkid, further solidifying his place as a future superstar. With his innovative sound, global appeal, and ever-growing fanbase, Rema is poised to continue dominating the Afrobeats scene for years to come.

2. Omah Lay (26)

Omah Lay (born Stanley Omah Didia in 1997) is a rising star in the Nigerian music scene, captivating audiences with his unique blend of Afrobeats and soulful R&B influences. Born in Port Harcourt, music runs in his blood, with a grandfather who played for a legendary highlife band and a drum-playing father. Emerging in 2020 with the sleeper hit “You,” Omah Lay quickly gained recognition for his smooth vocals and introspective lyrics. His music delves into themes of love, heartbreak, and personal growth, resonating with listeners across generations.

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Tracks like “Get Layd” and “Bad Influence” established his signature style, with infectious melodies layered over mellow Afrobeats rhythms. Collaborations with Justin Bieber and Ozuna have further propelled Omah Lay to international fame, showcasing his crossover potential. He is not just a singer, but also a skilled producer, crafting a soundscape that is both soothing and deeply affecting. Omah Lay is an artist to watch, sure to continue captivating audiences worldwide with his soulful take on Afrobeats.

3. Fireboy DML (28)

Fireboy DML (Adedamola Adefolahan) is a rising Nigerian star making his mark on the global Afrobeats scene. Known for his smooth vocals and introspective lyrics, Fireboy isn’t afraid to experiment. His music blends Afrobeats seamlessly with elements of pop and soul, creating a sound that’s both catchy and emotionally charged. Tracks like “Jealous” explore themes of unrequited love with a hauntingly beautiful melody, while “Peru” showcases his ability to craft feel-good Afrobeats anthems. Collaborations with industry giants like Olamide further solidified his place in the spotlight. Fireboy DML is an artist to watch, his unique sound and songwriting talent promising a bright future in the ever-evolving world of Afrobeats.

4. Joeboy (26)

Joeboy (born Akinfenwa Joseph) is a 26-year-old Nigerian singer making waves in the Afrobeats scene. His signature sound blends the infectious energy of Afrobeats with a pop sensibility, creating dancefloor anthems that are guaranteed to get you moving. Tracks like “Baby” and “Sip (Alcohol)” have become radio staples in Nigeria and beyond, capturing audiences with their catchy melodies and feel-good vibes. His energetic live performances further solidify his reputation as a crowd favourite. His journey began in 2017, and his rise has been nothing short of meteoric. Collaborations with established artists like Mr Eazi and Mayorkun have propelled him further into the spotlight, showcasing his versatility and talent for creating hits.

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5. Tems (28)

Tems, born Temilade Openiyi, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer making waves at just 28 years old. Her rich, soulful voice and ability to effortlessly shift between powerful riffs and smooth melodies set her apart. She isn’t afraid to express vulnerability in her lyrics, captivating listeners with raw emotion. Tracks like “Mr. Rebel” showcase her solo talent, but it’s her collaborations that have truly skyrocketed her to international fame. Featuring Wizkid’s global hit “Essence” (later remixed with Justin Bieber) and Drake’s “Fountains” solidified her as a powerhouse vocalist.

6. Bnxn (formerly Buju) (26)

Buju, now known as BNXN, is a rising Nigerian star making waves in the Afrobeats scene. This 26-year-old singer-songwriter (born Daniel Benson) is known for his smooth vocals and captivating melodies that often lean towards the mellow side. His music creates a perfect soundscape for late-night drives or quiet reflection. His career skyrocketed with his 2020 collaboration with Burna Boy on the hit track “Lenu.” This success, combined with his features on other established artists’ songs, solidified his place as a talent to watch. Tracks like “Feeling” showcase his ability to craft emotive and relatable songs.

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In February 2022, he rebranded himself as BNXN to avoid confusion with reggae legend Buju Banton and establish a more unique identity. This move reflects his ambition and his desire to continue carving his path in the ever-evolving world of Afrobeats. With his undeniable talent and captivating voice, BNXN is sure to remain a force in the music industry for years to come.

7. CKay (28)

CKay, born Chukwuka Ekweani, is a 28-year-old Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer making waves internationally. His musical journey began under the influence of his choir conductor father, leading him to learn piano and eventually electronic production. Signed to Warner Music South Africa and Atlantic Records, CKay gained initial recognition in Nigeria with his 2019 EP “CKay the First.” But it was the song “Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ahh)” that catapulted him to global fame. The track, with its infectious melody and catchy chorus, went viral on TikTok, becoming the first Afrobeats song to surpass one billion streams on Spotify. His music blends Afrobeats with electronic and pop influences, creating a fresh and irresistible sound. He’s not just a performer; he’s a producer known for crafting dancefloor anthems that transcend borders and cultures.

Conclusion

This is just a glimpse into the immense talent bubbling under the surface of the Nigerian music industry. These seven artists, under 30 and already making waves, are sure to shape the future of Afrobeats and continue to push Nigerian music to new heights on the global stage.

Written by: Sarah Aboje

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