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ACADA Magazine’s 10 Fast Rising Musical Acts To Watch In 2017

The Nigerian entertainment scene is getting more competitive by the day with so many new and talented artistes striving to shine and take their rightful spots. In this special feature, we are throwing more spotlights on some of the artistes who had huge buzz in 2016 and are still likely to continue with the winning strides in the year 2017.
Words: Sunday Obembe

Mr. Eazi
Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade, popularly known as Mr. Eazi is a Ghana based Nigerian Hip-hop act that is currently making wave and gradually becoming a household name in Nigeria. He’s a delight of his Ghana fans as he dishes mind blowing music in English blend with Ghana lingua.
Mr. Eazi’s style of music, vocals and punch lines has facilitated his rapid popularity in the Nigerian music industry, no wonder he caught the attention of StarBoy Worldwide Record’s boss; Wizkid who signed him to his label.
The emerging African star who is currently working on his debut album ‘Life is Eazi’ has collaborated with a number of acts from both Ghanaian and Nigerian music industry such as featuring Sarkodie on ‘Anointing’, ‘Bankulize Remix’ featuring Burna Boy, featured Efya on ‘Skin Tight’ and ‘Sample You’ where he featured Lil Kesh (on the remix) among others.
The Mechanical Engineering graduate of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana was controversially exempted from the annual Ghana Music Awards 2016 because he's not a Ghanaian citizen. However, back home in Nigeria he won the highly coveted Next Rated Act category at The Headies 2016 and won the Best New Artiste of the Year at the Soundcity MVP Awards/Festival 2016. He is indeed one of the acts to look out for this 2017 as he looks set to do big things in the industry.

Small Doctor
Temitope Adekunle also known as Small Doctor is a Nigerian Afro-Pop act who came into limelight with the hit songs ‘Gbagaun’, ‘Anobi’, ‘Mosquito’, all produced by upcoming producer Dre Sean.

The spontaneous Fuji Pop artist, Small Doctor is the son of the street and rep the street like the YBNL tiger, Olamide Baddo. He’s widely known for his introduction ‘hain hain’ when   singing and his identity has followed him to this moment of his career.
Small Doctor who released his self titled debut album ‘Small Doctor; Street Ambassador’ in 2014 is signed to RealBeat Planet Entertainment and currently working on his sophomore album. The act who is set to rule 2017 has worked with the likes of Seriki, Pasuma Wonder, Dre San, Oritsefemi, Chinko Ekun, TerryG, CDQ and Side One amongst others.

Niniola Apata is a Nigerian female vocalist and songwriter whose style of music, vocal dexterity and live performance is irresistible. She shot to limelight after emerging 3rd runner-up at the 2013 MTN Project Fame West Africa.
Upon dropping her debut single ‘Ibadi’, the song received positive critical reviews, topped national music charts and gained extensive airplay. ‘Ibadi’ and her single ‘Gbowode’ were used as soundtracks in the Season 2 of Nigerian television drama series Gidi Up. In 2015, she was listed on NotJustOk's 15 Artists to watch in 2015 and she received a nomination in the ‘Most Promising Act to Watch’ category at the 2015 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.

The Ekiti State native and alumna of the University of Lagos describes her style of music as ‘Afro-House’ which is a blend of Afrobeat and House music.
In 2016, she was nominated for 2016 Nigerian Entertainment Awards’ Best New Act, and received nominations in the these AFRIMA 2016 categories including ‘Best Female Artiste West Africa’, Best Artiste/Duo/Group In African RnB & Soul, Songwriter of the Year in Africa for the song ‘Mbilo Mbilo remix’ and the Best African Collaboration for the song ‘Mbilo Mbilo remix’; a category which she won.
She’s undoubtedly one of the artistes to watch out for in the New Year.

Simisola Ogunleye popularly known as Simi in the music industry is no longer new to the industry though she kicked off singing as a teenager in her church choir; And released an album in 2008 produced by SamKlef, with tracks like ‘Ara Ile’, ‘Ogaju’, ‘Iya Temi’ and others.
Presently under the management of X3M Music which is also home to Nigerian R&B sensation Praiz. Under X3M Music Simi released ‘Tiff’ and ‘E No GoFunny’ to the public, months later she dropped ‘Jamb Question’; a mid-tempo afro-pop tune where Simi displayed her fantastic vocals on the melodious instrumentals. ‘E No Go Funny’ is a contemporary Pop club joint, infused with local drums and congas.
She didn’t stop at that; on Valentine’s Day 2016 she released ‘Love Don't Care’, a ballad produced by Oscar Heman-Ackah which received positive critical reviews and massive airplay. She also she collaborated with Falz on the award winning song ‘Soldier’ which is now a street anthem. Simi through the song showed the world what she has deposited inside of her. Similarly Falz also featured her on ‘Chemistry’ the song indeed suggest so many things between the singers as they blended perfectly like they were born to be together.

Simi was nominated in four categories at The Headies 2016 award ceremony including ‘Best Collaboration’ - ‘Soldier’, ‘Best Female Vocal Performance’, ‘Best Recording of the Year’, ‘Best RnB Single’ for the single ‘Love Don’t Care’, winning two categories Best Collaboration and Best Female Vocal Performance.  She was also nominated in the Best Breakthrough Act category at the 2016 edition of the MTV Africa Music Awards.
Simi is not just a performing musician but also an excellent producer, she mixed and mastered Adekunle’s Gold debut ‘Gold’ album. She is one of the next big acts to watch out for this year.

Fast rising Mayowa Adewale known in the industry as Mayorkun has continued to increase his popularity since he broke into limelight in 2016 when he dropped his hit banger ‘Eleko’ produced by Puffy Tee.
Upon the release of ‘Eleko’ video, within 10 days the song hit 1 million views on YouTube. His label boss Davido congratulated him on twitter for his rapid success in the industry when he posted “Congrats @IamMayorkun. Like I said before! Way beyond my expectations! Eleko Hit 1 million views in 10 days”.
Mayorkun who is the son of popular Nollywood actress Toyin Adewale, resigned his banking job to pursue a music career. He’s indeed grateful to God for the opportunity and privilege he now enjoys. He’s indeed a delight to watch out for this 2017.

Olayiwola Olabanji Kokumo popularly known as Koker is an Afro Pop and Highlife singer with very unique vocals. An Ogun State native born and raised in Lagos is the second of four children. He started his journey early in life, by 14 he recorded his first song; from this point he made music his career path and lifelong goal.
The Creative Arts University of Lagos graduate was popularly and highly reputable for making good music on campus and he had a number of remarkable ventures in the UNILAG music scene. He participated in composing and performing the official theme song of the UNILAG at 50 carnivals in 2012 and composed four songs for the Eko Sports Festival at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos Island in 2012.
Koker who is signed to Chocolate City had his first contact with the label at LAMP House studios where he recorded his hook for his feature on Pryse’s hit single ‘Eleto’ in 2013. Members of the Chocolate City crew then became familiar with his content and became fans of his music; in due time he got signed to the label.
Koker is largely known for the uniqueness of the use of his local dialect ‘Yoruba’ in his music. His popular singles includes ‘Do Something’ ‘Kolewerk’ and ‘Give Them’ amongst others. He’s one act who is among the new breed that will hold music lovers spell-bound this 2017.

Christened Aboriomoh Femi Raymond popularly known as Dremo, he’s one of Nigeria’s talented rapper, producer and performing act from Edo State who started music production at 12 years.
Dremo whose music is a unique fusion of Afro beat & Afro pop with a unique blend of urban tunes, is signed to Davido’s Davido Music Worldwide imprint. He’s is a top fresh, young and urban new school Nigerian artiste who consistently delivers exciting punch lines cum catchy hooks.
Dremo who has the following singles to his credit including ‘Ojere’ featured L.A.X, ‘12 Bangs’ produced by Fresh featuring his label boss Davido, ‘Shayo’ and ‘Back 2 Back’ among others. He’s rapidly making his way into mainstream rap music in Nigeria and he’s going to be a delight to look out for this 2017.

Terry Apala
Born Terry Alexandar Ejeh and known in the music industry as Terry Apala, he’s a Nigerian musician who came into limelight in 2016, he a delight of his fans for modernizing the almost extinct Yoruba genre; ‘Apala Music’ having gotten inspiration from the late Haruna Ishola and backed up by his Yoruba influenced upbringing even though he hails for Isoko in Delta State.
Over the years, Terry Apala has amazed fans as a singer, song writer and performer, performing his own songs at local gigs where he was showered with praises as an artiste doing ethnic songs that is not his native language and he has been successful at performing this genre of music.
Terry Apala composed the soundtrack for Annie Macaulay-Idibia’s movie, ‘Calabar Girls’ while he was with a group called Kabaka. With an undying passion for music, he has been involved in collaborative feat with a number of Nigeria’s artistes such as Ice Prince, Olamide, Phyno, Orezi, Fuse, Sugar Boy and Sexy Steel.
Terry Apala aka ‘the son of microphone’ is one act that should be followed closely in 2017 because he’s set to explode in the music scene.

Humblesmith born Ekenedilichukwu Ijemba came into limelight with his chart topping hit single ‘Osinachi’ which featured Phyno and later had Davido on the remix version. The song earned him nominations at the 2016 edition of Nigeria Entertainment Awards for the Best New Act and Hottest Single categories.
Humblesmith who cites Bright Chimezie as his music influence and sings the Afro-Pop with a little fusion of Highlife, featured Flavour in a song titled ‘Jukwese’ which enjoyed rotational airplay around the country.
He later called for entry into an Instagram competition tagged the ‘#JukweseContest’ in reference to the song, with a $2,000 prize money for the winner.
This emerging music sensation that is likely to hold music airwaves spell bound in 2017 last year signed a multi million naira endorsement deal with Tummy-Tummy Food Industry, a noodles manufacturing company.

Aramide Sarumoh popularly known as Aramide in the music industry is a Nigerian female singer and songwriter. Her genre of music can be described as Afro-Soul. Aramide won an award for the Best Female Vocal Performance for her song ‘Iwo Nikan’ at the Headies 2015.
The University of Jos, Political Science graduate started her music quest started in 2006, when she contested in ‘Star Quest’ one of Nigeria’s most prestigious and competitive music talent hunt shows. Her band did very well in the competition as they were judged the 3rd Runners Up.
Her single ‘I Don’t Care’ was spotted on number 1 spot on MTN Yhello Top 10 Nigeria Chart, number 4 on Alternative Music Naija Chart on Top Radio 90.9 FM and number 3 on Alternative Nigeria Chart on Radio Continental 102.3FM. Also ‘Love Me’ picked on number 1 spot on Alternative Nigerian Chart on The Beat 99.9 FM and on number 3 spot on Playdata Chart.
Aramide who is an act to watch out in 2017 performs in Yoruba and English and her music is influenced by Erykah Badu, Miriam Makeba, Sade, and Angélique Kidjo fuses Soul and Jazz with African music to depict her sound. She won the Alternative Artist category at the 2016 Nigeria Entertainment Awards and Best Female Artist in West Africa category at 2016 All Africa Music Awards.

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