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For many listeners of music from Africa, one of the most striking aspects is the complex rhythms, and sometimes several at the same time on different instruments. African music can be mind-boggling sounds that will bring joy and touch your soul with various instrumentals and unique beats.
The sound of African music is rare, with the voices in the songs sounding divine but rather heartbreaking for the listen even if one does not understand the dialect of the music. The music is mainly danced and performed with all the feeling in the world because African is just like that; Blood-red eyes and a wide smile. There is something incredibly powerful and compelling about African music.
For many years, new African artists and bands have been on the rise. Some artists/bands have earned top spots and are worth checking out, while others perform in the vast variety of musical genres worldwide. This article describes the top 20 indie artists/bands on the rise from Africa in 2021.
Maya Christinah Xichavo Wegerif, professionally known as Sho Madjozi, is a South African rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and poet.
Madjozi incorporates her Tsonga culture through her music and public image. Her mega-hit song “John Cena,” released in 2019, saw her quickly ascend the ranks in the African music business.
Madjozi has been named one of Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 for her contribution to the music and entertainment sector.
Electronic duo Goldfish originates from Cape Town, South Africa, and consists of Dominic Peters and David Poole. The band has released several albums, including Late Night People, Perceptions of Pacha, among others.
These two sensational artists have created music containing house, pop, jazz, and African music elements. In 2014, they were recognized as “Best Pop” at the MTV Africa Music Awards.
Atlasaona Molemogi, professionally known as A.T.I., is one of the few daring male artists who are not afraid to wear make-up when the theme of the show calls for it.
His talent in rap has taken him places that so many other artists have not yet been. The gifted rapper has been nominated for the YAMAS in the Artist Of The Year People’s Choice Award category.
Born and raised in Kumasi, Ashanti region of Ghana, Jackline Acheampong, known professionally as Gyakie, is a Ghanaian afro singer.
In 2019, she released her debut single titled; “Love is Pretty,” which paved the way for her other work like the single “Never Like This.” In August 2020, her “Forever” song from her five-track E.P., titled “Seed,” was her claim to fame enjoying airplay and leading charts in many popular African cities.
Ndivhuwo Elaine Mukheli, popularly known as Elaine, is a South African R&B singer and songwriter from Pretoria.
While studying law at the University of Witwatersrand, Elaine released her debut E.P. “Elements “in September 2019, which he produced all by herself. The E.P. reached No. 1 on top album charts, making her the first independent female artist to do so.
Kabelo Petrus Motha , better-known by Kabza De Small, is a SouthAfrican deejay and record producer. He was born and raised in Pretoria and has grown musically into being referred to as the king of the Amapiano genre.
In November 2018, he gained attention by releasing songs “Amabele Shaya” and “Umshove,” respectively, featuring guest vocals by the amapiano counterpart, Leehleza.
Zuchu is a Tanzanian singer and songwriter that hit the music scene in 2020.
With just a few years in the music business, the female sensation was awarded the Silver Plaque Button by YouTube for hitting 100,000 subscribers within a week. She became the first East African female artist to reach that milestone within a week.
She also became the first East African female artist to reach 1 million subscribers on YouTube 11 months later.
Tems is a Nigerian singer and songwriter born in Lagos, whose success rose in 2019 when she released her single “Try Me.”
The song saw her emerge into one of the most prominent African stars realized today.
Known by many as the “Jerusalema “star, 23-year-old Master is, without doubt, one of the best house music musicians, as well as producers in South Africa.
This is seen in his 2018 Skeleton Move album, which bagged several nominations and awards. Master KG started making his music in 2016, but currently, he is as popular as other artists that are long in the game.
Prince Kaybee is a South African house artist that rose to fame in 2020 with his hit song, Uwrongo. The hit made it number one on several radio stations in South Africa and Radiomonitor’s South Africa Top 100 chart for a couple of weeks. In the song, he featured Ami Faku and Black Motion.
At only 20 years of age, William Last KRM has established himself as one of Botswana’s best artists and comedians of his time. The majority of his fans relate to him as a funny comedian who never runs out of jokes and is always relevant and up to date. He portrays his work so passionately that he entertains people without hurting anyone.
After releasing her debut album in 2017, artist Shekhinah became one of the mentioned pop/R&B vocalists of South Africa. Earlier in her musical career, Shekhinah landed her first major gig, competing in South Africa’s 7th season of the hit television show IDOLS, in which she made Top 32.
Aya Coco Danioko, known by her stage name Aya Nakamura is a French-Malian pop singer. She is best known for her hit song “Djadja.” Since 2017, Aya Nakamura has received more than 1,063,878 pageviews from all across the globe, and this is associated with her versatile music and ability to make music in different languages and styles.
The Congolese singer/songwriter is famously known for his song “Olingi Nini, “which went viral on YouTube with over five million views. The dance skills that he displays in his videos make him a stand-out artist from Africa.
Omah Lay debuted into the music scene on February 14, 2020, with his “Get Layd EP.” Since then, the gifted artist has displayed a style described as a fusion of Burna Boy meeting Wizkid in one voice.
Dennis Nana Dwamena aka. KiDi is a Ghanaian Afrobeat singer-songwriter and producer. He is best known for his hit single “ODO, “which also features a remix version with Nigerian superstars Davido and Mayorkun. This remix has received massive airplay across Africa.
Exiled Algerian rapper, lawyer, and activist Raja Meziane is known for her anti-government songs aimed at tackling social injustice, corruption, and inequality. In 2020, Essence Magazine listed her on The Africa List: The Best in Entertainment, Culture, and Business for her political music video “Allo le Système! “The song became an anthem for the protest movement the forced Algerian president President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign in April 2019.
The Congolese artist mainly based in France confirmed his success on the French hip hop scene after the release of his album Destin in 2019. As early as 2018, the rapper had become one of the most-streamed French-speaking rap artists in Europe and Africa.
Cameroonian singer Salatiel has made an impression since his collaboration with Beyonce on “Water “from her album The Lion King: The Gift. The video for the song was released in August 2020, and Salatiel was the first French-speaking artist to collaborate with the American superstar.
France-based Ivorian rapper Kaaris made a significant impact in 2020 with his song “Goulag, “which was certified gold. The artist also received special recognition for his song “1er Coeur,” featuring Congolese rapper Maitre Gims.
Thoughtfully, African music, or music from Africa, is the root and foundation upon which so many genres are created.
Many artists in America have created music that we can recall back to the African heritage. That is inclusive of R&B, Jazz, Gospel, Blues, Hip Hop, etc.
The deep, moving rhythms of the drum, and the melding of different instruments to create one sound; has always been an intricate part, not only in the music created by African artist but also in the rhythms of the bodies and lifestyles.
Anyone can appreciate African Music.
The first time Nicholas went to a live gig, 31 years ago, it turned out to be an Iron Maiden secret gig and he became hooked on the music scene. He was one of the founding writers for Astro Zombie a heavy metal and new world techno-inspired zine and his interview with Rob Caggiano of Anthrax brought in over 300,000 readers. He’s based out of Southeast Asia now, but his love of music is as strong and diverse as ever.