Have you ever entertained the thought of creating a list of the top 10 R&B singers in Africa? Who would you pick and who would rank high on your list?
The selections here, were purely based on vocal skill and ability, consistency in keeping up with the genre, and quality of music put out so far between May 2012 – May 2013; and this is by no means an official list.
Also, this arrangement is in no particular order. Please do enjoy my findings, share it and share with Zen who you would love to add to the list and why.
WHO: Praiz (real name, Praise Adejo), is a Nigerian R&B singer who was raised in Kaduna, and came into prominence following his success in reaching the finals of the popular talent show “project fame” in 2008.
WHAT: With songs like the newly recorded Tinsel theme song, Fire & Ice, Rich and Famous, and I miss you, amongst others; it’s not hard to see what a talented vocalist he is.
WHY: He has the kind of warm, silky voice that makes listeners (women), melt. With intelligent and well thought-out lyrics, it’s not a surprise that he has been featured in a lot of songs by fellow artistes who appreciate his talent.
WHO: Tiwa Savage (real name, Tiwatope savage), is a Nigerian R&B singer, born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria. Tiwa has been involved in the music since she was 16, and began her career writing and doing background vocals for popular artistes while she was overseas. She became known for more than her background singing when she burst into the Nigerian and African music scene with her 2012 R&B hit single Kele kele love.
WHAT: With popular songs like her award winning single Kele-kele love, and her recent outings like Olorun-mi, the 33 year old singer has stolen the hearts of everybody that dares listen to her songs. She is indeed talented and beautiful!!
WHY: Her sultry sound and ability to make a song her own, are seen to be part of her strong points. And with her album coming out sometime this year, we are desperate to hear more from the lovely Tiwa Savage.
Connect with Tiwa Savage on Twitter: @TiwaSavage | Image Credit: The Nigerian Reporter
WHO: Moneoa Moshesh, is a south-African singer, born in Umtata, raised in Durban and now residing in Midrand, Johannesburg. She was previously a professional dancer until her family and friends pointed out to her what an amazing singer she is; and amazing is an understatement.
WHAT: Her singles – Life, More Than You and Pretty disaster, portray her talent in the best of ways. Those and many more are set to be released in her forthcoming 14 track album by August this year.
WHY: Moneoa is a true musical talent with a distinguishably raspy voice that floats effortlessly on tracks and satiating purposeful lyrics that exude “life and its meaning”.
4 > Darey
WHO: Dare Art Alade – popularly known as Darey - is a Nigerian multi-platinum selling and award-winning musician and singer-songwriter born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He is the son of legendary Nigerian Jazz pioneer Art Alade and Olapeju Alade. He got his big break in 2004 when he entered into the popular music TV Reality show “Project Fame Academy“, where he had the opportunity to perform in front of over 100 million people across Africa, and emerged 3rd in the contest. Since then, Darey has been on a steady trend upwards.
WHAT: His signature song, Not the girl, launched him into the international scene and since then he has never looked back.
WHY: He has a unique voice and a unique style which transcends the continent and it doesn’t come as a surprise that even around the world, people look forward to his works, both as an artiste and an entertainer.
WHO: Waje – real name, Aituaje Iruobe - was born in Akure, and raised in Benin, Edo state, Nigeria. She encountered success when she was featured in the hit single “Do me” by the Sensational Nigerian R&B duo popularly known as P-Square, and has since then, gone on to build a career of her own.
WHAT: Dubbed the best voice in Africa, her incredible voice has definitely been noticed and acknowledged both here in the continent and abroad. Her recently released album, W.A.J.E, does a lot of justice to her voice and we are so proud to have such a talent amongst us.
WHY: With a masterful control of her three octave high vocal range and ability, Waje was destined for musical greatness almost from birth. And she can only get better…
6 > Loyiso Bala
WHO: Loyiso Bala is SA’s multi-award winning, internationally renowned and platinum selling R&B singer. He started out as a member of the prestigious Drakensburg Boys Choir, and joined the legendary Kwaito act Tkzee where he enjoyed considerable success in 2000 before going solo.
WHAT: He earned his reputation as South Africa’s king of R&B with his first two album releases within 2002-2005 “Wine Woman and Song and Amplified” and won so many awards to solidify his claims with singles such as ‘Girl Without A Name’, ‘Angel’, ‘Gimme The Night’, ‘Cappuccino’ and ‘Cuban’ making significant waves.
WHY: Incredibly gifted and in possession of an infinite versatility in the genre, Loyiso can bring you from high and passionate, to a playful sing song flow with the greatest of ease.
7 > Banky W
WHO: Banky W (Real name Olubankole Wellington) is a Nigerian R&B singer born and raised in the US and subsequently in Nigeria. In 2008, he moved to Nigeria after the completion of his highly anticipated album Mr. capable, and since then has gone on to release 2 more award winning albums. He established the Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E.) record label as a platform to get his music to his fans and has since then signed other talented award winning artists like Wizkid, Skales, Shaydee, Niyola and DJ Xclusive.
WHAT: All of his work so far features production from Nigeria’s most sought-after talents, and showcases Banky W. as he combines global R&B/Pop with African rhythms and influences to create an entirely unique and impressive sound.
WHY: Mr. Smooth as I prefer to call him is a Smooth crooner with heart, soul and depth; this singer’s impact can be felt in every song he sings or features on. His performances always leave the ladies a bit teary and I must say Banky W, is definitely the crown Prince of African Soul/R&B.
WHO: Born Lerato Molapo in the Daveyton Township in Johannesburg’s East Rand, SA, she is a multi-platinum selling and an 8x South African Music Award-winning Afro-Soul and contemporary R&B vocalist.
WHAT: She is the first African artist to release a full HD DVD in Blu Ray (3x Platinum) and is also the highest selling vocalist in South Africa. Lira was featured on the FIFA world cup theme song and has released 6 platinum selling albums on Sony Africa: All My Love, Feel Good, Soul in Mind, Live in Concert; A Celebration, Return to Love, and Rise Again.
WHY: A one woman powerhouse of vocal & musical ability, Lira is one of a kind. Blessed with power, range and passion, her voice is as powerful as it is graceful.
WHO: You know who he is; 2 Face Idibia (real name innocent ujah idibia) was born in Jos, plateau state, Nigeria. Formerly a member of the now defunct group, Plantashun Boyz, The band boy gone solo singer has stolen the hearts of Africans and foreigners alike with his voice, style and musical concept.
WHAT: The signature tunes he has released during his highly successful solo career include but are not limited to, African queen, Ole, if love is a crime, and so many other award winning songs. He has succeeded in combining hip hop and R&B and is consistently ranked as one of the best African musicians every year on the charts.
WHY: He is one of the most successful and well known African artistes in our generation with an overwhelming reputation worldwide, and deservedly. With his charm, strength and consistent in his work, he has forever written his name in African music folklore.
WHO: Jane Awindor, (popularly known as Efya), is a 26 year old Ghana-born singer/songwriter who was crowned best female vocalist in the Ghana Music Awards… two years in a row, even without an album out.
WHAT: Her award winning tunes have earned her much deserved popularity in her country and beyond, and her musical talent is undeniable by all who are privileged to hear her. Her love for music can be felt through the energy and passion she exhibits in every song she sings.
WHY: She lets herself go in on all of her works and is one of those expected to give more life to the African-styled R&B genre. Her sound spans a myriad of melodies, from emotionally taut power ballads, to laid back odes to heartbreak; every single song has a potential to be a favourite.
Complied by Victor Sterz
Editor’s Note: All in all, these are the top 10 artists that are presently creating ground breaking music. With more artists like Donald, BEZ, Timi Dakolo and a host of others, RnB in Africa is very much alive and taking over the world!