In this article, we explore the vibrant world of musicians who have made a lasting impression in 2023 with their unique voices and creative abilities. Africa’s pulse is its music, a rhythmic experience that cuts across boundaries and speaks to the spirit. In support of the assertion, Maya Angelou opined that “the true essence of artistic achievement lies not just in the strokes of a brush or the notes of a melody but in the profound impact it leaves on hearts and minds. The artists of 2023 have etched their presence in the tapestry of time.” African musicians have become trailblazers in the rapidly changing global music scene, crossing boundaries and enthralling listeners with their distinct sounds.
Burna Boy, a Nigerian musician and Grammy-winning Afrobeats icon, was nominated for two Grammy Awards: “City Boys” for “Best African Music Performance” and “Sittin‘ on Top of the World” with 21 Savage for “Best Melodic Rap Performance.”
Winner of the 2023 Grammy Award for Best Global Music Album, “Twice as Tall,” Nominated for two Grammy Awards (the 66th on February 4, 2024): “City Boys” for “Best African Music Performance” and “Sittin‘ on Top of the World” with 21 Savage for “Best Melodic Rap Performance.”
His collaborations are expected to break boundaries, with potential nominations at the MTV European Music Awards or BET Awards. He is also expected to receive multiple nominations at the Headies Awards in Nigeria. His artistry is expected to continue evolving and achieving groundbreaking achievements in 2024.
Asake, a Nigerian musician, is a rising star in the Afrobeatsscene who made waves with his debut album, “Mr. Money With The Vibe.” He became extremely successful and was nominated for a Grammy for “Amapiano” with Olamide in the “Best African Music Performance” category. His energetic stage presence and catchy songs like “Sungba” and “Peace Be Unto You” further contributed to his success.
Nominated for “Amapiano” alongside Olamide at the 66th Grammy Awards’ “Best African Music Performance” category (February 4, 2024).
Davido, a Nigerian music icon, released his much-awaited album “Timeless” in 2023. The album featured joint efforts with Chris Brown and Focalistic. For both “Timeless” in the “Best Global Music Album” category and “Unavailable” with Musa Keys in the “Best African Music Performance” category, he was nominated for a Grammy.
Nominees for the 66th Grammy Awards (February 4, 2024) include “Unavailable” with Musa Keys in the “Best African Music Performance” category and “Timeless” in the “Best Global Music Album” category.
Rema (Nigeria): Gen Z listeners throughout the world are drawn to this young musician from Nigeria because of her unique blend of Afrobeats and trap music. His single “Calm Down” went on to become a worldwide hit, establishing him as a rising celebrity.
After receiving six nominations for the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, Rema went on to win the “Best Afrobeats” category at the 2023 MTV European Music Awards. Additionally, he was nominated for a Billboard Global 200 Song Award in the “Top Afrobeats Artist” category. Rema may not receive a Grammy nomination in the “Best African Music Performance” category.
Tanzanian singer Diamond Platnumz, also known as Naseeb Abdul‘s dominance, has been coagulated in the Bongo Flava genre with a string of prestigious awards and nominations. He won the “Best African Act” award at the MTV European Music Awards and the “Artist of the Year” award at the African Entertainment Awards. He also received a nomination for the “Best African Music Performance” category at the 2024 Grammy Awards. Diamond’s global fan base and strong social media presence further solidify his status as a cultural icon. His philanthropic efforts, such as the Wasafi Festival and the Zari Foundation, promote education, healthcare, and empowerment for young people and marginalised communities.
Angelique Kidjo, a Beninese vocalist, has been recognised for her exceptional artistic achievements and social impact. She was a laureate of the Polar Music Prize in 2023, alongside Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and British record label founder Chris Blackwell. Kidjo’s album “Mother Nature” was nominated for the “Best Global Music Album” category at the 66th Grammy Awards. She also received international recognition for her collaborations and performances at the World Economic Forum and the International Jazz Festival. Kidjo’s 2023 achievements demonstrate her commitment to artistic excellence, global citizenship, and social causes.
Ghanaian rap icon Sarkodie has had a successful year in 2023, receiving numerous awards and nominations. He won the “Artiste of the Decade” award at the 3Music Awards and the “Hip Hop Song of the Year” award at the Ghana Music Awards-USA. He also won the “Best Hip Hop Artiste” award at the Ghana Music Awards-USA and the “Best Hip Hop Act” award at the MTV Africa Music Awards. Sarkodie also received a nomination for the “Best African Music Performance” category at the 66th Grammy Awards. He has also expanded his international collaborations, advocating for artist rights and supporting emerging talent. Sarkodie’s legacy extends beyond awards and nominations, as he continues to be a cultural icon, rap legend, and role model for aspiring musicians in Africa.
Master KG, a South African artist known for his “Jerusalema” dance phenomenon, has achieved numerous accolades in 2023. He won the “Music Producer of the Year” award at the African Entertainment Awards and the “Best Collaboration” award at the SABC Crown Gospel Music Awards. His collaboration with Nigerian DJ Maphorisa and Ghanaian singer Gyakie was nominated for the “Best African Music Performance” category at the 66th Grammy Awards. Master KG’s global reach continues with over 1.8 billion views on YouTube, and he has become an ambassador for Bolobedumusic, a genre with roots in Limpopo, South Africa.
Nigerian singer-songwriter Tems, known for her velvety vocals and genre-bending music, gained global recognition in 2023. She won the Grammy Award for Best Melodic Rap Performance for her collaboration with Drake and Future on “Wait For U.” Tems also received nominations for Best African Music Performance and Best Original Song at the 66th Grammy Awards. Her music resonated internationally, making her a cultural icon and role model. Tems also used her platform to advocate for social justice and women’s empowerment, earning respect and admiration beyond her music. Her talent and dedication to social causes make her a rising star in Afrobeats and global music.
Sampa the Great
In 2023, Zambian-born Australian rapper, songwriter, and poet Sampa the Great will have achieved numerous accolades and personal challenges. She was the first Zambian artist nominated for a BET Hip Hop Award, earning a nomination in the “Best International Flow” category. She also received nominations for the Kwacha Music Awards and the 66th Grammy Awards. Sampa’s album “As Above, So Below” continued to gain critical acclaim, solidifying her as a leading voice in contemporary hip-hop. She returned to Zambia, seeking deeper cultural connection and artistic inspiration. Sampa remains a vocal advocate for social justice and mental health awareness. Her Zambian roots and international acclaim solidify her as a powerful voice in the global music landscape.
The prominence of African musicians in the world music landscape has grown to previously unheard-of proportions. The fifteen performers on display here provide witness to the rich musical history of the continent as well as its current development. The world is embracing the rhythms, beats, and stories that these artists bring to the forefront as the Grammy Awards continue to recognise and promote the different talents coming from Africa.