The Nigerian music industry is growing in leaps and bounds. It is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Nigerian economy owing to its global coverage and recognition in the last couple of years. This recognition is largely due to the recent rise in Afrobeat music and the success on the global stage of artists like Wizkid, Davido and Burnaboy.

The Nigerian entertainment industry has contributed immensely to the country’s GDP and in the process has given jobs to a plethora of Nigerians. The industry has contributed to selling Nigerian culture and music to music fans all over the world.

Beyond putting out good music, the Nigerian music industry also has different other sectors like distribution, promotion, event planning, management, music festivals, concerts and award shows.  Some of the biggest record labels in the country at the forefront of this are Mavins Records, Mademen Music Group, YBNL, Chocolate City etc. These labels are promoting and putting Nigerian artists on the global stage.


The Nigerian music industry has come a long way and this journey hasn’t been without challenges. The entertainment industry in Nigeria like any other in the world has its peculiar challenges. Some of these challenges are piracy, lack of infrastructure and of course, adequate funding for upcoming arts. The Nigerian government has made moves to curb these problems with the enactment of copyright laws and the provision of funding platforms for artists.

Despite the noticeable challenges, the Nigerian music industry is making a name for itself not just in Africa but on the global stage. Afrobeat has put several Nigerian artists on the greatest platforms in the music world. With its continuous rise, the industry has the potential to one day become the biggest music genre in the world.

Interestingly, while Afrobeat is not the only Nigerian music genre that is popular, it will not be out of place to say it is arguably the most popular and successful genre. This rise has become possible due to the individual efforts of some Nigerian artists over time. These arts either started or are at the forefront of the Afrobeat revolution in Africa and the rest of the world. Below in no particular order, are some of the most influential and popular Nigerian Afrobeats artists.

Fela Kuti

Fela Anikulapo Kuti born on the 5th of October 1938 was a Nigerian Afrobeat legend, bandleader, composer, political activist and a pan-Africanist. He is the brain behind Afrobeat. Fela started the infamous Kalakuta Republic, a commune he declared self-independent from the then-military rule.

The Nigerian music legend created Afrobeat which is a fusion of jazz, funk, highlife, traditional Nigerian and African chants and rhythms. He also attributed the creation of Afrobeat to his long-time drummer Tony Allen. He once claimed that there would be no Afrobeat without the influence of Tony Allen.

As a Pan-Africanist, Fela rendered most of his songs in Pidgin English and a few in his native Yoruba language. He was a saxophonist and a keyboardist and he also played the trumpets, guitar and drums. His songs had themes ranging from political commentary to satire and parody.

To celebrate his legacy as a Nigerian music icon, the Felabration Festival, a festival pioneered by the Legend’s daughter Yeni Kuti is celebrated at the New Afrika Shrine to remember the achievements and legacies of the music icon.

Some of his most popular songs are Shakara, Lady, Zombie, Water No Get Enemy, and Gentleman among others. Fela, a true legend of Nigerian music and the voice behind Afrobeat died on the 2nd of August 1997 as a result of complications from AIDS.

Tuface Idibia

Better known as 2Baba, the African Queen crooner is arguably Nigeria’s greatest musician of all time. Born as Innocent Ujah Idibia on 18th September 1975, the songwriter, record producer, and entrepreneur have been in the Nigerian music industry for a very long time. His international hit African Queen is regarded as the song that gave Nigerian music the reverence and awareness it has among other African nations.

Also, he has won several awards both locally and internationally for his contribution and artistic ingenuity. He became the first winner of the MTV EMA Best African Act award in 2005 and he has won the World Music Award, Headies, MOBO, KORA, and BET among others.


Born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun on 16th July 1990, Wizkid is a Nigerian musician and songwriter. He is arguably the most prominent voice in the modern-day Afrobeat genre. The Ojuelegba crooner started his music career at the tender age of 11 when he released an album with a group of friends from his church called the Glorious 5.

His big break in the Nigerian music industry came after he was signed to Banky W’s Empire State Entertainment in 2009. His debut single ‘Holla at Your Boy’ was a huge hit and gave him the platform on which he rose to prominence.

Furthermore, Wizkid owns Starboy Entertainment, a record label he started after leaving E.M.E in 2013. The record label has Nigerian Afrobeat musicians like Maleek Berry, Legendary Beatz, Mr Eazi, Efya and others.

Also, his contributions to the development of Nigerian music have been recognized with several awards; the most prominent of them being a Grammy Award for Best Music Video as a lead artist on Beyonce’s Brown Skin Girl.


David Adedeji Adeleke popularly known by his stage name Davido was born on 21st October 1992. Davido was born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He came into the Nigerian music scene with a debut as a member of the music group KB International. He became a sensation after the release of ‘Dami Duro’ from his debut album.

Davido indeed has been one of the most consistent Afrobeat musicians and has released some hit songs like Skelewu, Aye, If, Fall, Fia and Assurance.

He has also won some awards in recognition of his talent and contribution to the Nigerian music and entertainment industry. Two BET Awards and 2 MTV Africa Music Awards are some of the most notable awards.


Born Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu and known by his stage name Burnaboy is a Nigerian Afrobeat musician and record producer. He was born on the 2nd of July, 1991, in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Burnaboy became popular after the release of ’Like to Party’ which is the hit single of his debut album. He signed internationally with Warner Music Group and Habit/Atlantic Records in the United States.

He has also won some awards with the biggest being a Grammy for Best World Music Album for his Twice as Tall Album in 2020.

Burnaboy has collaborated with several international artists like Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, and Master KG among others. Some of his hit songs that have helped to promote Nigerian music on the world stage are For My Hand, Last Last, Alone, and Common Person among others.


YBNL boss Olamide is one of Nigeria’s most popular musicians. Born on the 15th of March 1989, Olamide Gbenga Adedeji is a rapper, songwriter and record boss. He is arguably one of the most influential African musicians of all time because of his contribution to the development of Nigerian music. He is widely known to have helped to launch the musical career of several Afrobeat artists in Nigeria.

Olamide released Rapsodi, his debut album in 2011 under the record label Coded Tunes. He has gone on to start his own record label called YBNL Nation. In 2013, he made history by becoming the first Nigerian artist to sign an endorsement deal with Ciroc.

Olamide indeed has been actively involved in the Nigerian music scene for a time and some of his popular songs are Omo To Shan, Ilefo Illuminati, First of All, and Stupid Love among others. He has also won some awards among which are the Headies, All Africa Music Awards, and Sound City MVP Awards among others.

Yemi Alade

The first female on this list is Yemi Alade. This is not to say that she is the biggest female artist in Nigerian music but she has done remarkably well. Born Yemi Eberechi Alade, Yemi is a Nigerian singer, actress, songwriter and activist. After winning the Peak Talent Show in 2009, she was signed to Effyzzie Music Group. She released her first single in 2014 and it became an instant hit.

Considered one of Africa’s best artists, she has won some awards in recognition of her talent and contribution to the Nigerian music industry. She was the winner of the MTV African Music Awards in 2015 and 2016. She renders her songs in English, Igbo, Pidgin, Yoruba, French, Swahili and Portuguese.

Some of her hit songs are Johnny, Oh My Gosh, Baddie, Shekere, Kom Kom and others.

Tiwa Savage

Popularly known as the Queen of Afrobeats, Tiwa Savage is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and actress. Born on the 5th of February 1980, she started her music career singing as a backup for artists like George Michael and Mary J. Blige.

She joined Don Jazzy’s Mavins Records in 2012 after relocating to Nigeria from the U.S

She released her debut album titled Once Upon a Time in 2013 with hit singles like Kele Kele Love, Love, Without My Heart, Olorun Mi, Eminado etc.  

Tiwa has also won some awards among which are the Best African Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards, MTV Europe, and AFRIMA among others.


Born Simisola Bolatito Kosoko on the 19th of April 1988, Simi is a Nigerian singer, songwriter and actress. Interestingly, Simi started her music career in the gospel genre with an album titled Ogaju in 2008.

She became popular in 2014 after releasing a single titled Tiff. She was signed to X3M in 2014 but left the label in 2019. Simi started her record label named Studio Brat in 2019.

Simi has won some awards like the Headies, Nigerian Entertainment Awards, and City People Entertainment Awards among others. Some of her hit songs are Duduke, Joromi, Logba Logba, Jericho, Love Don’t Care etc.

Don Jazzy

Don Jazzy may not come to mind when names of Nigerian Afrobeat musicians are being mentioned but his contributions to the development of Nigerian music are undeniable.

Born Michael Collins Ajere on 26th November 1982, Don Jazzy is a Nigerian music producer and record label executive. He owns Mavins Records; one of Nigeria’s biggest record labels.

In recognition of his contributions especially in music production and promotion, he has won a number of awards. 

The Nigerian music industry has come a long way and in the process, has achieved so much. While there are still a few challenges, we must not fail to point out that the entertainment industry has not only brought money but pride to the nation of Nigeria. Lastly, the list is not exhaustive and some honourable mentions here are Tekno Miles, P-Square, Asa, Timaya, Ayra Star, Tems, Reekado Banks, Phyno, Waje, Omawunmi etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Select your currency
NGN Nigerian naira
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop