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2021 has been quite a year for the Naija Music Industry. It's a year that has seen several new faces introduced while veterans continue to forge ahead.
Generally, it was a year of its own positives and this piece takes a look at the 3 key events that graced the Naija music industry in 2021.
Well, the year started on a high, and coincidentally ended in a high when it comes to the Grammy awards. Burna Boy started it off by winning the World Best Album category, setting a record of being the first Nigerian singer to win a Grammys with his own project. And at the end of the year, Wizkid also got a double nomination to the Grammys alongside Fela Kuti and Made Kuti who bagged a nomination with their joint album.
Nigeria is properly represented in the next Grammys with projects which featured Nigerian artists also earning a nomination.
The infamous Twitter ban imposed by the Federal Government of Nigeria in reaction to Twitter deleting tweets made by the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari is another key event.
The ban was felt all over the country, and the Naija Music Industry was hit hard - given musicians would use the platform to popularize their work, interact with fans, advance their corporate deals among others.
Essence & Love Nwantiti
Those two songs are arguably the highlight of the Naija Music Industry this year.
'Essence' by WizKid and Ckay's 'Love Nwantiti' has become global singles this 2021 - perhaps giving the indication that Afrobeats is now an internationally acceptable genre.
The two singles have set records, charting across the world, including on the Billboard - and building from their successes, what Naija Music Industry lovers are hoping for is seeing more songs on the global map in 2022.
Ugandan musician Aziz Azion has called out new generation artists, claiming that they have no love and respect for each other.
Ten years ago, Aziz Azion was one of the best RnB artists and vocalists running the Ugandan music industry. At the peak of his career, the celebrated musician had a string of artists that he worked well with.
According to Aziz Azion, there was a lot of unity between artists back then, something he says is so rare in today’s industry.
His music generation was pioneered by the Goodlyfe crew who ruled the airwaves for a couple of years alongside other talented artists like; G.N.L Zamba and Rabadaba among others.
Despite the massive talent that was in the industry, Aziz Azion maintains that they had good working relationships and always supported one another.
“Our generation had something unique and uncommon called 'One Love'. Even if an artist was shooting a video, they would call all of us to make an appearance in the visuals. We loved each other,” he said.
Aziz says all was well until the so called pillars of the industry; Chameleone, Bebe Cool and Bobi Wine allegedly interfered with the peace and unity they were experiencing.
"If people are united it's hard to beat them but if you want to destroy them, separate them. And that is exactly what they did.
"This generation lacks that special feature. Yet it's a good thing to be united. Currently everyone knows they are the best. They sing just one hit song and lose all the respect they have for someone like me," Aziz Azion told Bukedde TV.
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Celebrated Kenyan musician Nikita Kering has opened up on how winning various continental awards has impacted her career, stating that her brand has been able to grow thanks to the press and hype that comes with the victories.
On November 22, 2021, Nikita bagged two AFRIMA awards, adding to another 2 that she bagged in 2019, making her a 4-time AFRIMA award-winner.
Speaking during an interview with Citizen TV, Nikita noted that thanks to the awards, more and more people get to know about her and listen to her music.
“The nominations and awards have helped me grow as the awards give a lot of media attention and one’s social media platforms grow. It has given me a lot more drive, I feel my work is being appreciated across the borders and this makes me work even harder,” she said.
She thanked veteran gospel musician Emmy Kosgei for supporting her, noting that she wouldn’t be where she is now if the latter had not held her hand and taught her how to perform while she was still young.
“I started singing when I was four, performing at weddings…I thank Emmy Kosgei for holding my hand, showing me how to perform,” she said while narrating her music journey.
At 19, this is just beginning for Nikita, and Kenyans should expect more in the coming years, as she is immensely talented and has the determination to push forward.