2023 was quite the year for African music, with it reaching unprecedented heights and stages. There were the sold out stages, the viral tracks, the inauguration performances and of course, the Grammy category. The 2023 addition of the “Best African Music Performance” category highlights the rich diversity of sounds emerging from the continent, showcasing its well-deserved place on the global stage.
This year’s Grammy nominations include seven incredible African artists; Asake’s electrifying energy, Tyla’s smooth R&B vibes, and Burna Boy’s genre-bending genius are just a taste of the talent on display. It’s a celebration of music that crosses borders and gets your heart racing.
Ahead of the live Grammy award show on 4 February, Spotify is turning the spotlight on these remarkable individuals who consistently enrich our musical experience with their outstanding artistry.
First up, reigning supreme as one of the most popular African artists is Burna Boy, the Nigerian superstar whose name transcends introduction. His record-shattering four Grammy nominations, including a history-making nod for Best Melodic Rap Performance, the first for an African lead artist, are a testament to his global influence. His 2023 album I Told Them.. and the electrifying anthem City Boys have become ubiquitous, blasting on repeat worldwide. The announcement only served as fuel to the fire, as both have remained as his top streamed album and track, respectively. But Burna Boy’s domination doesn’t stop at the charts – he conquers hearts too. He leads all African nominees in playlists created on Spotify with the word “Grammy”, proving that his music resonates deeply with fans who crave more. And while he may be a global superstar, his talent is still appreciated at home, with Lagos taking the first spot as the city streaming him most since the Grammy nomination.
Tyla, the chart-topping South African songstress isn’t just singing, she’s making history. Her song Water made a splash at #67 on the Billboard Hot 100, and rightfully earned her a Grammy nomination for Best African Music Performance. But it’s her soulful melodies that weave the real magic, leaving listeners, especially her female audience who make up 59% of her streams, wanting more. Spotify data shows the US is leading the Tyla fan club, while Melbourne is the top city streaming her tunes. Her breakout hit Water has not stopped topping the charts, and is still her most streamed song post the announcement, proving its enduring appeal. Buckle up, because this rising star is ready to sweep you off your feet.
Musa Keys is the collaboration maestro. Teaming up with Davido on the hit track “Unavailable,” this South African producer and artist adds his distinct flavor to the musical melting pot.. The collaboration earned him his first Grammy nomination for “Best African Music Performance” reflecting the power of collaboration and the beauty of cross-cultural harmony. And the magic doesn’t stop there! The announcement sent his streams skyrocketing by 83% on Spotify, with searches for his name jumping a staggering 315% in a single day, the highest among all the nominated artists.Talk about immediate impact! Spotify data also reveals that Musa Keys’ music resonates most with younger listeners compared to the other nominees. This is a prophet accepted in his own hometown, with South Africa making up his biggest listenership. Looking for fresh sounds and collaborative magic that his audience has been turning to since the Grammy announcement? Look no further than Musa Keys’ album TAYO and his captivating song Selema (Po Po). This Amapiano producer is just getting started, so keep an eye (and ear) out for his future sonic adventures!
Davido, popularly called “OBO” by his fans has three Grammy nominations and is a force to be reckoned with. His Timeless album has been dominating the charts since the Grammy announcement, while his tracks UNAVAILABLE and Feel snagged nominations in both the Best African Performance and Best Global Music Performance categories, proving his impact knows no borders. Speaking of borders, his music resonates most in Lagos, Nigeria’s entertainment capital.
Ayra Starr, the “Sabi Girl” taking the world by storm: This Nigerian singer-songwriter isn’t just talented, she’s a trailblazer. As the first female Nigerian artist nominated for Best African Music Performance, she’s showing the world that women can rule the stage (and the world!), one song at a time. Her fans experienced her infectious energy during her live tour, “21: The World Tour”. And if you need a taste before you join the global dance party, check out Rush and her album 19 & Dangerous, they’re her top streamed track and album since the Grammy nominations, and for good reason! Naturally, the girls love her, making up 52% of her audience since the nominations.
Asake & Olamide, this dream team and first-time nominees are no strangers to collaboration. Their song Amapiano not only scored a Grammy nod in the category of Best African Music Performance but also landed on Obama’s favorite music list! The dynamic duo is proof that teamwork makes the dream work, and gets you Grammy-recognized! Since the Grammy announcement, Asake’s album Work of Art and song Lonely At The Top as well as Olamide’s album Unruly and Amapiano song have been leading the charts. But here’s the kicker: their magic resonates most with their home crowd. Lagos, the beating heart of Nigeria, claims the top spot for streaming both artists’ music. It seems their local love fuels their global rise!
Interestingly, Gen Z aged between 18-24 years are vibing the most to the sounds of these seven Grammy nominated Africans; and they do so at peak listening time daily that falls around 5pm. This reaffirms the deep connection for the music stars by a younger demographic and suggests that the growth of African music will constantly be influenced by not just diverse audiences but by a young and digitally savvy tribe of music enthusiasts.
With these nominees leading the charge, the future of music promises to be a vibrant tapestry of sounds, cultures, and unexpected collaborations.