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Nigerian Music Industry and Its Rapid Rise on The Global Stage

Feb 17, 2023 02:00PM ● By Okechukwu Nzeribe

Unquestionably, the Nigerian music industry has evolved over the years onto the global stage. This was demonstrated at the just-concluded 65th Grammy Awards, which took place on February 5, 2023. At the event, which telecast brought in 12.4 million in total viewers according to Nielsen's time zone-adjusted fast national ratings, a rising Nigerian artist Temilade Openiyi popularly known as Tems, brought honour to her country by winning the 'Best Melodic Rap Performance' category.

She joins a growing list of Nigerians who have won and would still win more accolades as the Nigerian music industry continues to flourish. Whether it be through collaborations, music tours or hot singles, Nigerian artists are beginning to own the world stage. This was something quite unheard off during the days of the likes of Majek FashekOnyeka OnwenuSunny Ade, etc.

Sunny Ade, Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The 60s and 70s hold a nostalgic feeling among the older generation of Nigerians who were serenaded with hit songs like Yellow Sisi by Rex Lawson and his Rivers Men, Joromi by Sir Victor Uwaifo and the Melody Maestros, Makojo by Sir Stephen Osadebe.

In the 80s, most Nigerians were gravitated towards genres like highlife, Afro Pop, and reggae. Record companies took up the task of making available these hit songs on Phonograph records for use on record players and turntables.

Dizzy KJunior and PrettyRas KimonoChristy Essien-IgbokweCharly BoyDaniel WilsonZubby EnebeliAlex ZittoBlackky, and Evi Edna-Ogholi are just a few of the stars from this era.

Christy Essien-Igbokwe, Evi Edna-Ogholi, and Ras Kimono. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Aside from a few performances from the likes of Fela Anikulapo Kuti abroad, Nigerian music was mostly relegated within the country and did not enjoy global appeal. But through hard work and a continued attempt at honing music skills from the budding young talents within the country, the Nigerian music industry has seen a meteoritic rise in the number of hot singles now trending on billboard charts.

The 2000s saw the coming of age of the music industry with the likes of Tuface Idibia, P-Square, Yemi AladeSimiFalzPhyno and a whole host of others taking a different approach by not only writing hit songs whether they be RnB, Afrobeat or rap, but also creating a marketing brand around themselves. 

Phyno, Yemi Alade, Tuface Idibia. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Nigerian music is made for immediate consumption. You can hear our music playing in every nightclub in Lagos and all across the African continent, in the United Kingdom, the United States, and in far-flung countries. Nigerian artists touring countries and performing collaborations have become the norm it never generates the same excitement as it would have several decades ago. 

Contributory to the growth of the music industry is the advancement in technology which has improved vocals and sound production.

Today, as the likes of Tems, and Burna Boy continue to win Grammys, Nigerian music will continue to play a role in reinforcing the industry as a powerhouse of talent and creativity.

Nigeria to the world!

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 Okechukwu Nzeribe works with the Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, in Anambra State, Nigeria, and loves unveiling the richness of African cultures.
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