**Advocates Equal Opportunities for Male, Female Artists
By Dipo Olowookere
Popular female musician, Yemi Alade, has called for equal opportunities for male and female artists in Africa, noting that “there is no gender” in the universe of music.
The Nigeria music star made this submission while commenting on her inclusion into the Spotify EQUAL Africa programme, a platform designed to celebrate female acts.
She is the first artist to be profiled on the platform in 2023. The 2009 winner of the Peak Talent Show was chosen for the Spotify EQUAL Africa initiative because of her success in the showbiz industry.
The leading female Afro Pop artist in Africa and multi-talented Nigerian singer has joined the list of accomplished acts featured on the EQUAL Africa playlist.
The Spotify EQUAL Africa programme seeks to provide female artists with the support and resources to grow their craft and reach worldwide audiences through multiple playlists. The beneficiaries also receive off-platform guidance and tools to help take their music careers to even greater heights.
Yemi Alade is no stranger to the spotlight. With four albums, an EP and hit singles such as Johnny, Shekere, Africa, oh my gosh, and Bum Bum under her belt, she is part of the Afro Pop elite.
Her performances have lit up stages across Africa, Europe and the USA, performing for, among others, the British Royal Family, but this singer-songwriter is also a hit on the small screen.
She is the first African female Afro Pop star to hit over 100 million views on YouTube, and VEVO with her smash hit single Johnny, which is now the most viewed video from an African female pop star ever.
Yemi Alade is also a multi-award winner, taking home the 2015 and 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards for a best female artist and has been nominated for multiple BET and MOBO Awards.
She is a featured artist on the track Don’t Jealous Me, which appears on Beyoncé’s compilation album The Lion King: The Gift, alongside Mr Eazi and Tekno, and guests on the lead single on Angelique Kidjo’s Grammy-winning album, Mother Nature.
Outside of her music, Yemi Alade is an actress and a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador who operates her own charity, the James and Helen Pathway Foundation.
Speaking on her addition to the scheme, she said, “It’s a great time to be alive; female artists have quadrupled in number compared to a decade ago.”
“The only thing we ask now, in this male-dominated industry, is for equal opportunities. Equal opportunities to be seen, for our talents to be showcased, because, in the universe of music, there is no gender, only potential, creativity, and pure magic,” she added.
Also commenting, the Head of Music for Sub-Saharan Africa at Spotify, Ms Phiona Okumu, described Yemi Alade as “a talented artist who has already carved out a solid place in the music industry.”
“Spotify is looking forward to showcasing her talent to an even wider audience and working with her to further map out her success,” she added.
Emerging Artists to Watch Out For in 2023
Few things are quite as exciting as discovering new talent to listen to on repeat, add to your favourite playlists and lean on for emotional support over the course of the year.
For fans of African music on Spotify, 2023 promises another roll call of amazing artists ready to break through to fame and mainstream streaming success.
If anything, African music has consistently unfurled waves of new, fresh talent every year who have propelled the global interest in Afrobeats, Amapiano and its many other sub-genres. 2022 was a breakout year for artists like Buju, Costa Titch and Asake, whose success propelled them into Wrapped top lists at the end of 2022.
And while those talents took their voices to the main stage, a slew of rising stars was also laying the groundwork for their own breakout year. Some of these musicians are primed to release their best music in the coming months. Others have enjoyed early success on Spotify and show many indications of even greater success on the horizon. Others are relatively new elements, developing new takes on familiar sounds that harken towards major shifts in popular music.
Hailing from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with a wide array of styles, cultures and perspectives, these artists are, according to Spotify data, the ones to watch out for in 2023.
At 17, Khaid is a Gen Z starboy in every sense. His debut, With You, was an instant darling, evoking a syrupy teenage love story at its crescendo. As part of a generation of artists first discovered on social media, Khaid’s songs resonate with a core online audience, inspiring many viral challenges. His Afrobeats inspirations come to the fore on songs like Akpako, but Khaid also shows his emo-trap side on Ski, a fave among young Nigerians in 2022.
Known for his producer tag, MAD!, the young producer is behind some of Afrobeats’ biggest songs. A long-term friendship with CKay birthed the global smash Love, Nwantiti, now certified double platinum in the United States. 2022 showcased a new pace to Tempoe’s hit churning powers; he produced Joeboy’s viral hit, Alcohol and performed in Soweto, the global sensation by Spotify RADAR alumnus, Victony. With over a hundred million Spotify streams under his name, Tempoe is primed to deliver more hits this year.
First introduced to fans for his dance skills, Poco Lee has since applied his skill set to crafting some of the biggest street pop hits of 2022. Poco Lee has built a huge fanbase by backing some of the most interesting emerging talent – including Bella Shmurda and HotKid. Whether it’s his ear for a future hit or his ability to put the right creatives in the same space, Poco Lee has blessed hit records like Otilo and YARD. Wherever Afrobeats goes this year, you’ll find Poco Lee cooking close by.
Bayanni has hit 2023 running. The newest artist from Mavin, the house that produced Rema & Ayra Starr, introduced himself with an eponymous four-track EP in September 2022. Ta Ta Ta has risen on the shoulders of a viral social media challenge to become almost inescapable. And it has not stopped there, finding its way into the dressing rooms of Manchester City, where Algerian footballer, Riyad Mahrez, chose the song to celebrate a stellar performance.
With just one release under his name, Brume is still a mysterious entity to some. His song, Workaholic isn’t. Released in 2021, the unassuming hustler’s anthem extols the virtues of perseverance and hard work as the young singer pursues his own holy grail. Brume first drew attention with occasional freestyles on social media before Workaholic, and as 2023 kicks off, ears are perked for what new music Brume has to offer.
Formerly known as YusufKanbai, YKB is an eclectic artist on many Ones to Watch lists. He’s released a number of cult favourites over the years and built a steady community while winning The One, a competition by online publisher Clout Nigeria. YKB levelled up with 2021’s Before I Blow, spinning fan favourites like Practice Patience and Oshofree. He’s converted even more fans with 2022’s San Siro, a football-themed love story that has many convinced it’s YKB time.
Kaestyle boasts a certain dexterity with words and narratives that, aligned with soothing melodies, has eased him into the libraries of many music fans. The singer‘s debut EP, Kae’s Study shows his ability to play in different lanes, offering drill on Moving Mad and some groovy Afropop on Blessings. His collaboration with Victony, True Love, is an early fan pick, and fans will be eager to stream more easy hits from Kaestyle.
Here below is the list of other emerging artists on the continent.
GHANA EMERGING ARTISTS
KENYA, TANZANIA & UGANDA EMERGING ARTISTS
SOUTH AFRICA EMERGING ARTISTS
Funa Maduka, 15 Other Jurors for 2023 Sundance Film Festival
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A Nigerian filmmaker, Ms Funa Maduka, has been announced as one of the 16 jurors granting awards at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. She is one of the three jury members of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, alongside Shozo Ichiyama and Annemarie Jacir.
The jurors of the 2023 edition are Jeremy O. Harris, Eliza Hittman, and Marlee Matlin for U.S. Dramatic Competition; W. Kamau Bell, Ramona Diaz, and Carla Gutierrez for U.S. Documentary Competition; Shozo Ichiyama, Annemarie Jacir, and Funa Maduka for World Cinema Dramatic Competition; Karim Amer, Petra Costa, and Alexander Nanau for World Cinema Documentary Competition; Madeleine Olnek for the NEXT competition section; and Destin Daniel Cretton, Marie-Louise Khondji, and Deborah Stratman for the Short Film Program Competition.
According to a statement, the festival kicks off on Thursday, January 19, in Utah, the United States, and will end on Sunday, January 29, 2023.
The jurors will grant awards to filmmakers for feature and short films. The winners are expected to be announced on Friday, January 27.
Ms Maduka is an award-winning filmmaker and the former head of International Original Films at Netflix, where she worked with the world’s top global and emerging filmmakers.
Over six years, she was positioned at the frontline of the company’s global expansion, managing the launch of the film offering across 100+ countries. She pioneered Netflix’s move into international film production, building a development slate across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Meanwhile, her film acquisitions brought Netflix its first film nominations at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.
Previously she worked at Participant Media, developing and managing campaigns for film and television projects.
Ms Maduka is an award-winning filmmaker credited with writing, producing and directing the first Nigerian film to world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. She holds a BA from Cornell University and a Masters from Harvard Business School.
GistHouse to Celebrate Don Jazzy as African Icon January 20
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Friday, January 20, 2023, has been set aside to celebrate maverick beatmaker, Mr Michael Collins Ajereh, otherwise known as Don Jazzy, as the Black African Icon of the Month.
This followed his emergence as the African Icon for January through the first Afrocentric audiovisual conversation platform, GistHouse.
“We are most excited and privileged to announce Michael Collins, popular as Don Jazzy, a colossus of music in Africa, as the Afrocentric Icon for The Month of January 2023,” the founder and Gistmaster at GisthHouse, Mr Ope Banwo, said at a press conference in Omaha, Nebraska, USA.
Mr Banwo explained that the Delta State-born influencer and entrepreneur was chosen through a voting exercise by users and management of the application with consideration for the most outstanding black Africans.
“Don Jazzy was chosen out of dozens of other worthy African icons for his lifetime body of work in elevating the music industry globally in the context of the Afrocentric experience.
“He has not only excelled as a record producer, performer, and music executive, he literally pioneered a whole new genre of music and style of music performance with his iconic MoHits and Marvin Records labels,” he said.
“While Don Jazzy didn’t start international cross-over music in Africa, he brought a delightful new swagger, panache and an amazing financially rewarding dimension into African music with his unforgettable partnership with the inimitable D’Banj in MoHits Records, among others.
“After MoHits, he took his pioneering talent to a higher level with Marvin Records that gave us instant superstars like the sultry Tiwa Savage, super crooner Wande Coal, Dr Sid, and Korede Bello, among others,” Mr Banwo further disclosed at the briefing.
“Beyond establishing himself as a superstar music producer/performer, Don Jazzy has also mentored and helped a whole generation of Africans to turn their talents as musicians into a full-time occupation and impactful vocation,” the GistHouse app creator stated.
Shedding more light on events to celebrate Don Jazzy, the filmmaker and serial entrepreneur noted that GistHouse will celebrate Don Jazzy as its January Icon of the Month in several ways during the month of January.
“As part of celebrating Don Jazzy, we shall be declaring Friday, January 20, as the Icon Celebration Day with Don Jazzy on the GistHouse platform with different special rooms dedicated to celebrating him and his body of work, and also hosting him to a special conversation on the GistHouse platform,” he concluded.
GistHouse provides a safe and rewarding environment for people of all colours to host different audio and video rooms on any topic and provides advanced features for rewarding conversations on everything, including business, politics, religion, personal development, self-development, dating, business meetings, networking, friends and family meetings etc.
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