Nigerian Artists on the Rise: Influencing Gen Zs Worldwide
Music has always been an essential part of human culture, a means of expression, storytelling, and social cohesion. Today, with digitization and globalization, music’s impact is more profound than ever, transcending geographic boundaries and cultural differences. This influence is particularly evident in the realm of pop music, where artists from diverse regions especially Nigerian artists, are increasingly gaining international recognition and shaping global trends. One such region experiencing this wave of global prominence is Nigeria, especially with the younger generation, known as Generation Z.
In recent years, Nigerian music has gained significant traction worldwide, largely driven by the country’s vibrant youth population. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, hosts a substantial portion of the global Gen Z population, one-quarter of the world’s total. Given their enormous number – approximately 50 million – the preferences and trends among Nigerian Gen Zs have significant implications for the music industry both domestically and globally.
Understanding the Gen Z Influence
Gen Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, are the first truly digital generation, raised in an era of smartphones, social media, and streaming services. They are also a generation that values authenticity, diversity, and social justice, qualities often reflected in their musical preferences. In Nigeria, these young individuals power the music scene, expressing their preferences through platforms like Spotify. Their choices tell a story, often serving as mood lifters, emotion evokers, and mind relaxers.
The Power of Nigerian Music
Nigerian music, characterized by its unique blend of Afrobeat, Hip Hop, Pop, and traditional African rhythms, has resonated powerfully with Gen Z listeners. The reasons for this are manifold. For one, the energetic beats and uplifting lyrics of Nigerian songs align well with Gen Z’s penchant for mood-enhancing music. Moreover, Nigerian artists’ authentic representation of their culture and experiences resonates with Gen Z’s value for diversity and authenticity. Finally, the social awareness reflected in many Nigerian songs speaks to this generation’s commitment to social justice.
The Music Scene in Nigeria
Delving into the Nigerian music scene reveals a rich tapestry of sounds and styles, reflecting the country’s diverse cultural heritage. From the traditional folk tunes of the north to the highlife rhythms of the south and the pulsating Afrobeat vibes of the urban centers, Nigeria’s music landscape is as varied as it is vibrant. Amidst this diversity, however, certain trends emerge, particularly among the Gen Z audience.
Appreciating the Music Culture
Music is deeply woven into the fabric of Nigerian culture. Not just a form of entertainment, it serves as a medium for storytelling, social commentary, and cultural preservation. Nigerian Gen Zs, rooted yet globally open, prefer music that mirrors their heritage. This is evident in their heavy leaning towards local artists, who make up almost all of the top ten overall artists among this demographic on Spotify.
The Rise of Nigerian Artists
The past decade has seen several Nigerian artists rise to international prominence, bringing Afrobeat to the global stage. These artists, through their creative fusion of traditional and contemporary sounds, have not only gained popularity among Nigerian audiences but have also made waves internationally, charting on Billboard and performing at major festivals worldwide. Gen Z’s unwavering support through streaming and sharing has significantly boosted the ascent of Nigerian artists.
The Love for Local Artists
Nigerian Gen Zs’ love for local music is well-documented, with a clear preference for home-grown talents. Their backing of local artists showcases Nigerian music’s excellence and their commitment to global cultural representation.
Top Nigerian Artists Among Gen Z
Among the plethora of talented artists in the Nigerian music scene, some have particularly captured the hearts of the Gen Z audience. Let’s take a closer look at the top three Nigerian artists among this cohort.
Topping the list is Burna Boy, a Grammy-winning artist known for his eclectic blend of Afrobeat, Dancehall, and Pop. With his charismatic performances and socially conscious lyrics, Burna Boy has become a symbol of the new wave of Nigerian music, capturing the attention of Gen Z listeners both locally and globally.
Following closely behind is Asake, a rising star in the Nigerian music scene. Known for his unique fusion of Afro-pop and traditional Yoruba music, Asake’s songs resonate with the Gen Z audience, many of whom appreciate his innovative approach to preserving traditional Nigerian sounds.
Rounding up the top three is Davido, a multi-award-winning artist recognized for his catchy melodies and energetic performances. A trailblazer in the Afrobeat genre, Davido’s music appeals to Gen Z listeners with its infectious rhythms and relatable themes.
The Influence of International Artists
While Nigerian Gen Zs show a strong preference for local artists, they also listen to a fair amount of international music, particularly from American and British artists. However, in a testament to the global reach of music today, the Korean boy band BTS also ranks high among their listening preferences. This diversity in music taste showcases the Gen Z’s openness to different cultures and genres, further enriching Nigeria’s music scene.
Canadian rap megastar Drake is the highest-ranked international artist among Nigerian Gen Zs. Known for his versatile style and emotive lyrics, Drake’s music has found a receptive audience among Nigeria’s young listeners.
Also popular among this cohort is Kendrick Lamar, ranking tenth overall. An influential figure in the hip hop scene, Kendrick’s thought-provoking lyrics and innovative sound have struck a chord with Nigeria’s Gen Z listeners, many of whom appreciate his social awareness and artistic creativity.
The Gen Z’s Playlist
Moving beyond individual artists, let’s explore the specific songs, albums, and playlists that are currently trending among Nigerian Gen Zs.
Most Listened Albums
Albums offer a comprehensive showcase of an artist’s musical journey, and Nigerian Gen Zs are not shying away from imm
Love, Damini by Burna Boy
Leading the album rankings is “Love, Damini” by Burna Boy. This album’s eclectic mix of Afrobeat, reggae, and hip-hop elements provides a rich auditory experience, appealing to the diverse tastes of Gen Z listeners.
Rave & Roses by Rema
Next on the list is “Rave & Roses” by Rema. Known for his unique Afro-rave sound, Rema’s debut album offers a refreshing blend of Afrobeat, trap, and pop, resonating strongly with the younger audience.
Boy Alone by Omah Lay
“Boy Alone” by Omah Lay also ranks high among Nigerian Gen Zs. Featuring soulful melodies and heartfelt lyrics, this album speaks to the experiences and emotions of young Nigerians, making it a hit among this demographic.
Most Played Songs
When it comes to individual songs, several tracks stand out for their popularity among Nigerian Gen Zs. Let’s dive into the top three.
“Last Last” by Burna Boy
Topping the song rankings is “Last Last” by Burna Boy. With its infectious rhythm and uplifting message, this track has become a favorite among Gen Z listeners, embodying the energy and optimism of Nigerian youth.
“PALAZZO” by Asake and SPINALL
Following closely is “PALAZZO” by Asake and SPINALL. This track’s catchy hook and danceable beat make it a staple on many Gen Z playlists, reflecting their love for upbeat music that gets them moving.
“Overloading” by Ayra Starr, Boy Spyce, Crayon, LADIPOE, Magixx, and Mavins
Rounding up the top three is “Overloading” by a consortium of artists including Ayra Starr, Boy Spyce, Crayon, LADIPOE, Magixx, and Mavins. This collaborative track showcases the rich diversity of Nigerian music, appealing to Gen Z listeners with its fusion of different styles and voices.
The Gen Z’s Podcast Preferences
While music plays a significant role in the lives of Nigerian Gen Zs, they also show a keen interest in podcasts. These audio programs offer a platform for in-depth discussion on a range of topics, from current affairs to lifestyle tips, providing a source of information and entertainment for the younger generation.
The Love for Local Content
Just as with music, Nigerian Gen Zs show a strong preference for local content when it comes to podcasts. This preference reflects their desire to engage with narratives and perspectives that resonate with their own experiences and cultural context. From discussions on social issues to chats about music and entertainment, local podcasts provide a valuable platform for Nigerian youth to learn, discuss, and express their views.
The Consumption of International Content
While local content dominates, Nigerian Gen Zs also consume a fair amount of international podcasts. These podcasts, often featuring global celebrities or covering universal themes, provide a window to the wider world, broadening the horizons of young Nigerians and fostering a more global perspective.
The Global Reach of Nigerian Music
The influence of Nigerian music extends far beyond the country’s borders. Thanks to the advent of streaming platforms and social media, Nigerian artists have been able to reach a global audience, bringing their unique sounds and stories to the world stage. The impact of Nigerian music on global trends is particularly visible among Gen Z listeners, who are often at the forefront of new music discoveries and trends.
Nigerian Music Beyond Borders
Nigerian artists are now regular features on international charts, and their music is played in clubs and festivals around the world. This global recognition is not only a testament to the talent and creativity of Nigerian musicians but also a reflection of the growing appreciation for diverse sounds and cultures in the global music scene.
The Impact of Nigerian Music on Global Trends
As Nigerian music gains global prominence, it is also influencing musical trends worldwide. The infectious rhythms and compelling narratives found in Nigerian songs are inspiring artists and producers globally, leading to a surge in Afrobeat-infused tracks in mainstream music. Moreover, the success of Nigerian artists is challenging the traditional dominance of Western music, paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse global music landscape.
In conclusion, the influence of Nigerian Gen Z on music trends is profound and far-reaching. Through their listening habits and preferences, they are shaping the direction of the Nigerian music industry, championing local artists, and driving the global popularity of Nigerian music. Their love for music that is authentic, diverse, and socially conscious shows no signs of waning, promising a bright future for Nigerian music.
The Ongoing Influence of Nigerian Gen Z
Digital natives with a global outlook, Nigerian Gen Zs will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping music trends. With their finger on the pulse of digital innovations and their deep-seated appreciation for music that resonates with their experiences and values, these young listeners are poised to drive the evolution of the global music scene in the years to come.
The Future of Nigerian Music
Looking ahead, the future of Nigerian music appears bright and promising. With a new generation of talented artists emerging and a dedicated base of young listeners supporting them, the Nigerian music scene is set to continue its upward trajectory.
Flytime Fest, one of Nigeria’s biggest music festivals, is a testament to the growing popularity and influence of Nigerian music. This annual event brings together both local and international artists, showcasing the diversity and creativity of Nigerian music. For nearly two decades, Flytime Fest has served as a platform for Nigerian artists to connect with their fans and further expand their reach.
The success of events like Flytime Fest highlights the increasing demand for Nigerian music not only within the country but also globally. As more international audiences discover and appreciate Nigerian music, the industry is poised for even greater growth and success in the future.
The influence of Nigerian Gen Z on music trends, coupled with the support of dedicated fans and platforms like Flytime Fest, ensures that the future of Nigerian music is bright and promising. Sign up to Flytime newsletter or follow @flytimefest on socials so you don’t miss a beat.