5 Canadian Afrobeats Artists You Should Know

Afrobeats has skyrocketed in popularity since its inception In the early 2000s. From 2017 to 2022, he was there An increase of 550 percent In the number of times songs of this genre – the umbrella term for popular African music from Nigeria and Ghana – have been streamed on Spotify, and last year Afrobeats reached 15 billion streams On the platform thanks to singers like Burna Boy, Rema, Tems, Ayra Starr, Davido and more.

In Canada, many listeners were introduced to Afrobeats music through Drake’s 2016 hit “One Dance,” which featured Wizkid, one of the world’s biggest Afrobeats stars. The song made history when it became… Most streamed song on Spotify that year (although The Weeknd has since claimed the No. 1 spot with “Blinding lights“).But the fusion of sounds from West Africa has only continued to gain global recognition since the record-breaking track: The Saskatchewan Music Awards noted this boom by introducing a new Afrobeats category in 2023, and in February 2020, they launched a new Afrobeats category On December 4, the Grammy Awards will present the first-ever award for Best African Music Performance.

The nominees in the new category – Asake and Olamide, Burna Boy, Davido and Musa Keys, Tyla and Starr – all fall somewhere under the Afrobeats umbrella as musicians. A variety of species Eligible, including Afrobeats and its derivatives such as Afro-fusion, Afro-pop, alté, bongo flap, genge, and more. “Music comes in moments, and I am eternally excited that it is Africa’s time,” said Linda Ayoola, Head of Expansion and African Music at Starr. He told Variety. “Afrobeats is a genre that represents people.”

Ahead of this year’s Grammy Awards, CBC Music brought together five Canadian Afrobeats musicians who share the voices of the West African diaspora through their songs.


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French Canadian-Nigerian singer Tommy doesn’t just fall into the Afrobeats genre. Instead, she seamlessly blends Afrobeats with reggae, dancehall and R&B to create Afro-fusion music. “Realistically, Afrobeats, Afro-fusion, I mean, dancehall specifically, even soca, in a way — they’re very connected to each other,” the Montreal-based singer said. Junos From her extended voice to genre. Both albums combine swaying rhythms with infectious melodies, and her songs can transport listeners to the beach, the dance floor, and beyond. The Juno Award-winning singer has toured with Wizkid and Burna Boy, and in 2022 worked with Grammy-nominated Legendury Beatz, the production duo behind Wizkid’s hit song “Essence.” Tommy’s first single of 2024, “Jump Off,” was one of CBC Music’s latest hits. Songs you need to hear.


Nonso Amadi

In 2023, Nonso Amadi released his first full-length album, When it blooms, blends Afrobeats and R&B into passionate love songs. The result is a vibrant mix of beats taken straight from Lagos that highlights his smooth vocals. The Nigerian-born, Toronto-based singer has cited Wizkid as an influence, and Amadi’s song “Thankful” was inspired by the Afrobeats star’s song “Shout Out.” His mix of contemporary R&B and Nigerian music puts him in the Afro-R&B lane, and he has collaborated with Majid Jordan, Emotional Oranges, Tay Iwar and others, expanding his sound across genres and borders. “I like to have a hint of unpredictability in my music,” he said. wonder land In an interview. “I think I will forever continue to explore and see how I can combine different sounds with my existing sounds.”


on the bridge

Toronto-based singer Sela began her musical journey performing covers of Alicia Keys as a child. She eventually began releasing her own music in 2021 which showcased a mix of soca, reggae and Afrobeats, paying homage to her Ghanaian roots. The following year, she dropped “Lonely,” a standout track that highlights her velvety vocals and also contains traces of Thames’ soothing lyricism.

“In the world of Afro-pop and alternative R&B, I want every note of my music to resonate (with) resilience, and for every lyric to be an anthem to authenticity rooted in self-love,” she told CBC Music. Although she has only released a few songs, she has performed at AfroFest and opened for Afrobeats hitmakers including Stonebwoy and Amaraae. Sela’s next project is Echoes of lovean EP that will be released on February 14.


Beginner shirt

Nigerian singer Rocky Kamise has become the inaugural winner of the Afrobeats Artist of the Year award at last year’s Saskatchewan Music Awards. “It was a really vibrant scene, and we saw a lot of people coming into the scene with their youthful individuality and artistry,” Kamez said. CBC News For the growing Afrobeats community in the province. He’s been releasing music since 2020, and his previous projects weave together hip-hop, R&B, and more for a truly diasporic sound. Kamiz’s latest release is the 2023 EP, kaleidoscopewhich highlights his penchant for polished beats and sensual lyricism, and will follow it up with his debut album, due out in February.


Burleson

Growing up in Gabon, Congo and France shaped the diverse musical tastes of Toronto-based singer Burleson. Describing himself as an African fusion artist, he incorporates elements of rap, jazz, classical, and gospel into his songs for transcendent music that often references his multicultural upbringing. After releasing his first album… As far as the eye can see, In 2020 he followed it up with Building bridges In 2021, which was full of optimistic international influences. His 2023 single “Summertime in Toronto” is a gritty amapiano track that features a high-energy beat, as he explained to African criticism, inspired in part by the genre that has taken over the world. “Self-empowerment, self-awareness and togetherness are definitely core values ​​in my music,” he told CBC Music. “I see my music as a way to build bridges between people, cultures and sounds.”

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