20 Best Musicians in Nigeria and the Songs they are Famous For

If you are familiar with the Nigerian music industry, you would agree that writing this piece is a tough one; this is because Nigeria is endowed with some of the best and highly rated musical talents with a plethora of genres (each with its audience), in the African Continent. The country does not just have musicians whose style of music fall within the popular genres like hip hop, pop, reggae, etc but also those who have coined their own style of music which has become internationally recognized as a genre of music; a good example is the Afrobeat genre of music which was coined by the Afrobeat master, Fela Anikalapo Kuti and Tunde King who is also popular for creating the Juju style of music. The new crop of Nigerian music artists with their diverse talents are nothing short of exceptional in their peculiar ways.

List of 20 Best  Nigerian Musicians Whose Songs are Still Making Waves 

There could be controversies and subjective judgments when compiling a list like this, however, the criteria for picking the artists that made this list is based on artists with a good number of hit songs which has not only gained recognition locally but also internationally; the number of awards won; success rate; and popularity. The following are the 20 best musicians in Nigeria listed in no particular order.

WIZKID

  • Date of Birth: July 16, 1990
  • Age: 30 years old
  • Year He started Out: 2001
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2011
  • Record Label:  Starboy, RCA

The musician is considered as one of the best in the country as a result of his style of
music which many believed is following in the footsteps of Fela Kuti. The Afrobeat star has won about 37 awards making him the musician with the most awards in Africa. Wizkid has released 4 studio albums and 1 EP which include; Superstar, Ayo, Sound from the other side (SFTOS), Made in Lagos, and Soundman Vol 1 (EP).

His debut album “Superstar” ushered him to the limelight and he later grabbed an award for Best Album of the Year in the then Nigeria Entertainment Award. His third and fourth albums (SFTOS) and Made in Lagos Peaked at number 2 Billboard Chart in US world albums and other foreign billboard charts.

Awards

Wizkid has also won 2 BET awards in 2012 and 2017 in the Best International Act Category His collaboration with Beyonce in the Brown Skin Girl track won him the BET HER award in 2020 and a Grammy in 2021 for Best Video. His other notable awards include

  • African Pride Awards for African Artist of the year (2016)
    Billboard Music Awards for Top R&B Song & Top R&B Collaboration (2016)
  • The Headies Best R&B/Pop Album (2015)
  • The   Headies Song of the Year (2016)
  • The Headies Best Music Video, Viewer’s Choice Award, Best Collabo, Best R&B/Pop Album (2018)
  • Future Awards for Musician of the Year & Promising Artiste of the Year (2012)

BURNA BOY

  • Date of Birth: July 2, 1991
  • Age: 29 years old
  • Year He Started Out: 2011
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2012
  • Record Label: Warner Music Australasia, Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group

Burna Boy is one of the greatest things that has happened to not just the Nigerian music scene but also the entire continent at large. He became famous in 2012 in the backdrop of his hit single Like to Party, which was part of his debut album L.I.F.E released in 2013. He currently has five albums and two EPs to his credit.

Awards

He is one of the best musical acts in the African continent with 23 awards which include:

  • 2019 BET Award for Best International Act,
  • 2021 Grammy Awards with his Twice as Tall album.( He was nominated in the same category for the Grammy Awards 2020 but he didn’t win but in 2021, he took home the award)
  • South South Music Awards (2013)
  • Nigeria Entertainment Awards (2015)
  • 4 Soundcity MVP Awards Festival (2019)
  • The Headies (2019)
  • BET Awards (Best International Act) 2020
  • Edison Award (Best World Album)2020
  • MOBO Awards (Best International Act) 2020

DAVIDO

  • Date of Birth: November 21, 1992
  • Age: 28 years old
  • Year He started Out: 2010
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2012
  • Record Labels: Sony, RCA, DMW

Omo Baba Olowo (OBO) as he is popularly called is one of the country’s well celebrated and loved musical stars, who came into the limelight in 2012 following the release of his second single Dami Duro off his first album Omo Baba Olowo which earned him the Next Rated Award at the Headies that year.

Davido has released 3 studio albums so far and an EP; Omo Baba Olowo (2012), Son of Mercy – EP (2016), A Good Time (2019), A Better Time (2020). Davido’s most cherished works include; Gobe, Skelewu, One of a kind, Aye, Owo Ni Koko, If, and Fall among others.

Awards

With a total of 29 awards to his stable, the star is regarded as one of the best in the country. Some of his awards include:

  • Kora Awards for Best Newcomer Award (2012)
  • Channel O Music Video Awards for Most Gifted Newcomer Video of the Year 2012
  • BET awards for Best International Act: Africa (2014)
  • BEN TV awards for Music Video of the Year (2014)
  • African Muzik Magazine Awards (Best Male West Africa, Artist of the Year) 2014
  • MTV Africa Music Awards (Best Male, Artist of the Year) 2014
  • Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA) (2012. 2014)
  • The Headies (2012, 2013, 2014, 2018)

OLAMIDE

  • Date of Birth: March 15, 1989
  • Age: 32 years old
  • Year He started Out: 2010
  • Year of Public Attention: 2011
  • Record Label: YBNL NationEmpire

With 22 awards, Olamide is definitely one of the most prominent musicians in Nigeria right now. The release of his lead single Omo To Shan from his 2011 debut album Rapsodi, was what set the ball rolling for him. The star is credited with 11 studio works in his musical career.

Awards

He has won big at both the Headies, Nigeria Entertainment Awards, and Nigeria Music Videos Awards amongst others. Below is a list of some of his awards

  • The Headies (2015)
  • TooXclusive Awards (2014, 2015)
  • Channel O Music Video Awards (2014)
  • Nigeria Music Video Awards (2014)
  • Nigeria Entertainment Awards (2013)

TIWA SAVEGE

  • Date of Birth: February 5, 1980
  • Age: 41 years old
  • Year She started Out: 1996
  • Year of Public Attention: 2013
  • Record Label: Universal, Motown, Capital, Island

With 20 awards under her belt, the singer became renowned following the release of her debut album Once Upon A Time in 2013. Her album releases include; Once Upon a Time (2013), R.E.D (2015), Sugarcane (2017), Celia (2020).

Awards

Tiwa Savage is the first female musician to win the Best African Act Category at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards. Her Other Awards includes

  • AFRIMA Best Female West Africa (, 2017, 2019)
  • 2014 Channel O Music Video Awards Most Gifted Female
  • MOBO Awards Female Artist of the Year (2014)
  • MOBO Awards Best Pop/R&B Artist of the Year (2014)
  • Soundcity MVP Awards (2020)

FALZ

  • Date of Birth: October 27, 1990
  • Age: 30 years old
  • Year He started Out: 2009
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2015
  • Record Label: Bahd Guys Records

Popularly known as  Falz the Bahd Guy, Folarin Falana gained prominence following the release of his 2013 single Marry Me. The star currently has four studio albums to his name.

  • Wazup Guy (2014)
  • Stories that Touch (2015)
  • 27 (2017)
  • Moral Instruction (2019)

Awards

He has a total of 12 awards which include:

  • BET Awards for Viewer’s Choice Best New International Act (2016)
  • City People Entertainment Awards (2016)
  • Nigeria Music Video Awards,(2016)
  • Headies (2016, 2019, 2020)

PATORANKING

  • Date of Birth: May 27, 1990
  • Age: 30 years old
  • Year He started out: 2009
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2014
  • Record Label: Amari Musiq, VP Records

Patoranking is publicly known for his 2014 hit single Girl O which peaked at number 9 on
MTV Base’s Official Naija Top 10 chart. His other singles like Daniella Whine and My Woman, My Everything also topped the charts.

Awards

He has smashed home 12 awards which include;

  • MTV Music Africa Awards for Best New Act (2015)
  • Headies for Best Collabo and Best Reggae/Dancehall Single ( 2014)
  • AFRIMA (2016)
  • MTV Africa Music Awards for Best New Act (2015)
  • TooXlusive Online Music Awards for Best Afropop Song (2015)
  • 3 Ben TV Awards for (2015)
  • City People Entertainment Awards (2015)

SIMI

  • Date of Birth: April 19, 1988
  • Age: 33 years old
  • Year She Started Out: 2006
  • Year of Public Attention: 2014
  • Record Label: Studio Brat

Simi attracted a huge fanbase in the country when she released her hit solo in 2014. With four studio albums (Ogaju 2008, Chemistry 2016, Simisola 2017, Omo Charlie Champagne, Vol. 1 2019and an EP ) Restless II 2020 – EP), Simi is one of the best in the country.

Awards

The singer currently has 12 awards in her collection, including a

  • 2018 Headies award for Best R&B single
  • Nigeria Entertainment Awards for Most Promising Act to Watch (2015)
  • City People Entertainment Awards for Most Promising Act of The Year (2015)
  • City People Entertainment Awards for Female Artiste of the Year (2016)
  • Nigerian Teen Choice Awards for Choice Upcoming Female Artist (2016)
  • The Headies (2016, 2018)
  • Future Awards Africa for Prize for Music (2018)

D’BANJ

  • Date of Birth: June 9, 1980
  • Age: 40
  • Year He started out: 2004
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2005
  • Record Labels: DB Records, Dkm Media

Popularly known as the ‘KOKO master’ Dbanj is celebrated for winning about 29 awards in his musical career so far. His 2005 hit single, Tongolo produced by Don Jazzy, steered the star to the public eye.

He gained international popularity following the release of his 2012 hit single Oliver Twist. The hit made it to the top 10 hits in the UK singles chart in 2012, peaked at number 2 on the UK R&B chart.

Awards

D’banj has won a good number of international and local awards which include;

  • Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007
  • Artist of the Year at the
    MTV Africa Music Awards 2009
  • Best International Act: Africa at the 2011 BET Awards
  • Best-selling African Artist at the 2014 World Music Awards, and Evolution award at
    the 2015 MTV Africa Music awards.

2FACE/2BABA

  • Date of Birth: September 18, 1975
  • Age: 45
  • Year He started out: 1994
  • Year of Public Attention: 2004
  • Record Label: Hypertek Digital

This list will never be complete without Innocent Idibia popularly known as 2BABA. 2Baba has been in the industry for over two decades and a half; he started off with the group Plantashun Boyz which consisted of himself, Black Faz, and Faze. But he went solo following the disbandment of the group in 2004.

Awards

He wore the crown of fame in 2006 after releasing African Queen which quickly gained both local and international recognition. He has received the following awards:

  • 1 MTV Europe Music Award
  • 1 World Music Award
  • 5 Headies Awards(Hip-hop award)
  • 4 Channel O Music Video Awards
  • 1 BET award
  • 4 MTV Africa Music Awards
  • 1 MOBO award
  • 1 KORA award and
  • 3 Afrima Awards (21 awards in total)

BANKY W

  • Date of Birth: March 27, 1981
  • Age: 40
  • Year He started out: 2002
  • Year of Public Attention: 2005
  • Record Label: Empire Mates Entertainment

Olubankole Wellington is one of the popular musicians in the country. He became well known following the release of his first studio album in 2005 titled Back in the Building. With four studio albums and two EPs and one single. The single titled “Final Say” is his latest song, released in 2021.

Awards

The R&B singer has won 8 awards which include;

  • Best R&B Artist at Nigerian Entertainment Awards (2006)
  • Nigeria Entertainment Awards, Best International Single of the Year (2007)
  • Best R&B Video at Nigerian Music Video Awards (2008)
  • Best Male Vocal Performance at Hip Hop World Awards (2008)
  • R&B Single of the Year at Hip Hop World Awards 2010
  • 2010 Hip Hop World Awards for ‘Strong Ting’.
  • Best R&B Single at the Headies Awards  (2013)
  • Music Entrepreneur of the Year at Awesome Awards (2015)
  • Artist of the Year at The Urban Marketplace (2016)

MI ABAGA

  • Date of Birth: October 4, 1981
  • Age: 39
  • Year He started out: 2004
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2006
  • Record Label: Incredible Music, Chocolate City

The hip-hop artist and producer is one of the best rappers in the country. He rose to
stardom following the release of his 2006 single Crowd Mentality in the City of Jos. His other notable works include one naira, the chairman, pulling me back and you rappers should fix up your lives among others.

He currently has four studio albums and two Eps

  • Talk About It (2008)
  • MI 2: The Movie (2010)
  • The Chairman (2014)
  • A Study on Self Worth: Yxng Dxnzl (2018)
  • Judah (2020) (EP)
  • The Live Report (with A-Q) (2020) (EP)

Awards

He has won a total of eighteen awards which include

  • Best Rap Single – The Headies Award 2018
  • Lyricist on the Roll – The Headies Award 2018
  • Best Rap Album (The Chairman)- The Headies 2015
  • Best Rap Album 2009 –Hip Hop world Awards
  • Hip Hop Revelation 2009 – Hip Hop World Awards
  • Best New Act of the Year 2009 – Nigerian Entertainment Awards
  • Best Rap Single 2008 – Hip Hop World Awards
  • Musician of the Year– Modemen Awards 2008
  • Musician of the Year-The Future Awards 2010
  • Musician of the Year – City People 2010
  • Artist of the Year – National Daily 2010
  • Musician of the Year – Malaysian African Entertainments Awards 2010
  • Most Amiable Brand – Orange Wall of Fame 2010
  • Lyricist on the Roll – The Headies Awards
  • Best Rap Single – The Headies Awards 2018

PSQUARE

  • Date of Birth:  November 18, 1981
  • Age: 39
  • Year He started out: 2001
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2005
  • Record Label: Square Records

Although the twin brothers now run a separate solo career now, the duo remains a musical household name in the Nigerian music scene.

Their debut album Last Nite earned them a nomination for the “Most Promising African Group” in the Kora Awards in 2001 and in 2003 Amen Award for “Best R&B Group”. The duo went ahead to release six studio albums before their disbandment.

Awards

They won a total of 17 awards including

  • 5 Headies (2006)
  • City Mag 9th Awards Show (2006)
  • 2 Nigerian Music Awards (NMA) (2006)
  • 5 Channel O Music Video Awards (2007, 2008, 2012, 2013)
  • MTV Africa Music Awards (2008)
  • KORA Awards (2010)

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SINACH

  • Date of Birth: March 30, 1973
  • Age: 48
  • Year She started out: 1994
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2008
  • Record Label: Loveworld, SLIC

Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu known by the stage name Sinach is one of Nigeria’s best-leading gospel artists whose Way Maker song has been hitting the airwaves across the globe since.

She has about twelve albums to her name and several awards too. In May 2020, Sinach became the first African artist to top the Billboard Christian Songwriters chart. She has remained the country’s major female artist for over two decades.

Awards

Her awards include:

  • LIMA Songwriter of the Decade Award (2016)
  • Groove Awards Western Africa Artist of the Year (2016)
  • African Achievers’ Award for Global Excellence (2016)
  •  LIMA Song of the Year (2019)
  • Dove Awards Song of the year (2020)

YEMI ALADE

  • Date of Birth: March 13, 1989
  • Age: 32
  • Year He started out: 2005
  • Year She caught Public Attention: 2014
  • Record Label: Effyzzie Music Group

Popularly known as Mama Africa, Yemil Alade is one of the Nigerian female artists that is well known across Africa. Her hit single Jonny ushered her to the limelight as the song garnered over 110 million unique views on YouTube.

She has released 5 albums and won several awards including the Best African Female Artist at the MTV Africa Music Awards.

Awards

  • AFRIMA Awards (All Africa Music Awards) 2015, 2018
  • MTV African Music Awards (2015, 2016)
  • Soundcity MVP Awards (2016)
  • Independent Music Awards (2016)
  • Nigeria Entertainment Awards (2015)
  • The Headies (2015, 2017, 2018, 2019)

TEKNO

  • Date of Birth: December 17, 1992
  • Age: 28
  • Year He started out: 2012
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2013
  • Record Label: Island Universal Cartel

Tekno Miles’ journey to fame started after he was spotted by Julius Agwu, one of Nigeria’s renowned comedians at an event in Abuja where he performed a song titled “Onye Ne Kwu”, his remix of Ice Prince’s “Oleku”.

In 2013, he signed a recording contract with Made Men Music Group and released his first two singles “Dance” and “Anything”. These singles earned him a nomination ticket at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards in the “Best New Act of the Year” category

Awards

His songs have earned him these nominations:

  • 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards.
  • 9th Nigeria Music Video Awards for Best Pop Extra Video (2018)

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ASA

  • Date of Birth: 17 September 1982
  • Age: 38
  • Year She started out: 2004
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2007
  • Record Label: Wagram, Naïve, Shanachie

Born to Nigerian parents in Paris, France, Asa is one of those stars that have promoted the
image of both Nigerian and African music in the world. She draws her inspiration from fellow African indigenous musicians like Femi Kuti and Angelique Kidjo.

She currently has four studio albums and eleven singles to her name. Asa has been nominated for so many awards both locally and internationally. Some of her popular songs include Eyé Adaba, Jailer, and fire on the mountain.

Awards

She has been nominated for a number of awards and has won some which include

  • 2008 Prix Constantin and was nominated for the
  • 2011 French Music Awards Victoires de la Musique for “Female Artist of the Year”.

PHYNO

  • Date of Birth: October 9, 1986
  • Age: 34
  • Year He started out: 2003
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2014
  • Record Label: Sputnet, Penthauze

Phyno is one of the leading Nigerian rappers of Igbo origin who burst into the music scene following the release of his debut album in 2014. Some of his notable hits include; Alobam, fada fada, so far so good, among others.

He currently has four studio albums which include

  • No Guts No Glory (2014)
  • The Playmaker (2016)
  • Deal With It (2019)

Awards

He has claimed several awards which include Headies for Best Collabo, and Nigeria Entertainment Award for Indigenous Artist of the Year (2017). His other awards include:

  • City People Entertainment Awards for Rap Artiste of the Year (2014)
  • Nigeria Entertainment Awards for Best Collabo (2013)
  • The Headies (2013, 2014)

TIMAYA

  • Date of Birth:  August 15, 1980 
  • Age: 40
  • Year He started out: 2005
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2005
  • Record Label: DM Records

Timaya released his hit single Dem Mama in 2005, which also featured in his debut in 2006. Dem Mama soldier as he was fondly called released some songs that further boosted his popularity such as Bum Bum (2012), Ukwu (2014) and I Can’t Kill Myslef (2019).

Awards

He has seven studio albums to his name and is a recipient of several awards including:

  • Afrotainment-Museke Online African Music Awards for Best Afro-Dancehall song, ” Plantain Boy (2011)
  • Nigeria Music Awards for Album of the Year, True Story (2008)
  • The Headies
    2008: Best Reggae/Dancehall Album, True Story
    2009: Best Reggae/Dancehall Album, Gift and Grace
    2009: Best Collaboration, “Good or Bad” (with J. Martins and P-Square)
  • 2010: Best Collaboration, “Kokoroko” (with Kefee)
  • AFRIMMA Dancehall Act of the Year (2017)

ADEKUNLE GOLD

  • Date of Birth: January 28, 1987 
  • Age: 34
  • Year He started out: 2010
  • Year He caught Public Attention: 2015
  • Record Label: 

AG attracted the attention of music lovers with the release of his 2015 hit single Sade, which was a high-life cover for One Direction’s Story of My Life. He went on to cook other lovely songs for his fans such as Pick Up (2016), and Orente (2016). He currently has three albums and several singles to his name.

Awards

AG has several awards under his belt which include;

  • Nigeria Entertainment Awards for Best Song & Best New Act to Watch (2016)
  • The Headies   for Best Alternative Song (2016)
  •  Nigeria Entertainment Awards for Best New Act (2015)
  • City People Entertainment Awards for Album of the Year (2017)
  • City People Entertainment Awards  for Collabo of the Year (2017 )
  • IARA Awards (2017)

Summary of the 20 Best Nigerian Musicians

  • Wizkid
  • Burna Boy
  • Davido
  • Olamide
  • Tiwa Savage
  • Falz
  • Patoranking
  • Simi
  • 2Baba
  • Dbanj
  • P square
  • Banky W
  • MI Abaga
  • Sinach
  • Yemi Alade
  • Tekno
  • Asa
  • Phyno
  • Timaya
  • Adekunle Gold

Other UpComing Acts You Should Watch Out For

When it comes to music in Africa, Nigerian artists stand tall, the competition is a hot one within the country as more talents are discovered all the time.

  • Rema
  • Omah Lay
  • Mayokun
  • Fireboy DML
  • Joe Boy

These are some of the new names on the block that should be watched out for.

Chacha
Chacha is a writer with a wealth of experience who has contributed across several channels. Her specialty includes celebrity lifestyle including how top movie stars, musicians, and comedians live their lives.
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