Ten African artists to watch

African artists, Mr Eazi

A project set up to nurture Africa’s rising stars has identified ten artists as ones to watch

Africa’s vibrant emerging music industry received a boost this week when YouTube announced its support for talent discovery and development scheme emPawa.

The initiative was set up last year by Nigerian artist and record label owner Mr Eazi (pictured above) to identify and develop Africa’s brightest emerging acts.

It invited budding performers to submit a 30-second clip of their music online, with the promise that the best 100 entries would each receive $3,000 to make a video – an acknowledgement of the important role moving images play in breaking artists.

More than 8,000 entries were submitted from southern and central Africa. Many of those who were named in the top 100 have since enjoyed a healthy dose of exposure. Nigeria’s Joeboy for example went on to release Baby, a video that has racked up 5.9 million views on YouTube.

This success obviously piqued the interest of the folk at YouTube. This week the tech giant’s Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen, announced that the company was going to officially support emPawa.

It will provide investment to towards enabling ten artists to shoot videos, record music and receive industry mentoring.

The artists in the enPawa top ten hail from Zambia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Malawi. They are:

Joeboy
Bey T
Nikita Kering
George Kalukusha
Ruth Ronnie
J Derobie
Trina South
Union5
…and two more who don’t appear to have videos yet, Sadimuma and Nemozm.

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