Every new year, Afrobeats newcomers provide the true spark for the genre’s continuous elusive evolution. Be it with their vocal, sound, or drip, you can count on these fast-rising talents to influence the culture. For the fans, it’s a potential opportunity to hear new and refreshing music, to spot new styles, and participate in spanking new discourse. Fandoms know that nothing compares to the ardent joy of following an artist from the early days to superstardom. You feel like you’ve had a direct hand in the artist’s success story.
From Young Jonn to Minz to Sha Sha, we have put together a list of 11 African Rising Stars who could potentially be the global talk of town this 2023. Read more to learn about them.
At only 27, Young Jonn had made his name producing for some of Afrobeats legendary talents, including Olamide, Davido, M.I Abaga, etc. Born John Saviours Udomboso, Jonn announced himself on the singing stage in late 2022. Striking a lucrative record deal with Chocolate City, he released headline single ‘Dada’ and closed out last year with two Extended Plays (EP): Love is Not Enough Vol. 1 and Love is Not Enough Vol. 2. Media Rants is proud to present Young Jonn as a 2023 Afrobeats Rising Star.
Olayinka Fofah, known professionally as Pandamonae (for black and white as in Panda) is a Nigerian Afro-fusion and Afro-swing singer and songwriter. He’s been active since 2017, but after an impressive 2022 that saw him drop an EP (Dawn & Dusk), 2023 might just be the year he makes his global mark.
There are a couple of names that are significantly bigger than others in this list; one of them is Euphemia Ekumah, aka GoodGirl LA. In 2019, LA dropped her only project till date– “LA Confidential”. Two years later, she appeared on Nigerian rapper Vector’s hit single “Early Momo” before (with all due respect) somewhat going into hiding. But you cannot hide for too long with the quality of her endowments; and, in 2022 she made some really good songs, including the enchanting ‘Idt’.
Born Ernest Nwokedi Felix, Senth was signed up by Olamide’s YBNL outfit in 2022 and dropped his debut EP ‘Senth of Her’ on 14 December of same year. Songs ‘So Fine’ and ‘So Sweet’ particularly standout because of Senth’s unique ability to subtly blend sweet and street into Afropop. Those familiar with Nigerian-born American singer Jidenna’s music would have spotted some similarities in Senth’s work. And with YBNL’s history of nurturing talents to superstardom, and Empire pushing out his work, the future is bright for this 27-year-old. That’s why we’re proud to announce him as a 2023 Afrobeats Rising Star.
Cameroonian-born UK-based singer Libianca dropped the soul-subduing ‘People’ on 6th December 2022; it quickly became a hit, and a meme. But before ‘People’, she had dropped her own iteration of American singer/rapper Doja Cat’s 2021 hit song ‘Woman’ and it proved a fan favourite. Libianca is exceptionally gifted with vocals, alternating between soul and R&B. She is certainly one to keep an eye on this year.
Maglera Doe Boy
Tokelo Moyakhe, aka Maglera Doe Boy could be the new face of African rap/hip hop. Remember that Afrobeats is an umbrella term used to refer to different blends of music, mashups coming out of Africa; otherwise, rappers would not necessarily make this list. But given Nasty C’s impact and influence on the genre in the last decade, Maglera Doe Boy might yet have his own shaping to do. On his debut album ‘Diaspora’, he combines storytelling with clever lyricism and of course, robust production. Real MCs are a dying breed, and we’re glad to have one good one on the ascent in Boy.
Moliy is a Ghanaian born American Afropop singer. She released her first project in 2020: ‘Wondergirl’ and has appeared on several Afrobeats projects as a guest artist, including on Nigerian singer Boj’s 2022 album ‘Gbagada Express’. One particular song off Boj’s project–“In the Loop–bares her gifts. Born Molly Ama Montgomery, Moliy released a follow-up to ‘Wondergirl’ last year, with ‘Prisoner’ featuring P.Prime particularly impressing. Her transcendental vocals make her extremely difficult to miss on any song.
Sha Sha is another bigger name on this list given her discography and prior achievements. Already heralded as ‘the queen of Amapiano’, the Zimbabwean singer boasts the superpower of versatility; she deftly infuses pop, soul, and Afrofusion into Amapiano; the product is often enchanting. Sha Sha made her project debut in 2019– 8-track ‘Blossom’– and returned with a second one ‘I’m Alive’ in 2022. With Sony Music Entertainment Africa now providing the support and doing the groundwork required her success, the next step for Charmaine Shamiso Mapimbiro would be to grow her global following, and 2023 might just be that year. A breath of fresh air you may have never imagined you needed.
Oluwadamilola Adedolapo Aminu, aka Minz is a 22-year-old Nigerian singer/songwriter. He’s been active since 2018, and cites Wizkid, Bryson Tiller, and Tory Lanez as his major influences. In 2022, Minz dropped the reflective ‘WO WO’, a couple other singles, and appeared on several songs as a guest artist. There is enough to suggest that the momentum is there for Minz to rise to the next level this 2023 and we’re counting on that to happen.
Gloria Asene Enebi, known professionally as Ria Sean is a talented Nigerian singer and songwriter. Very focused and very intentional with her growth, Sean signed with Aristokrat Records in 2021. Sounds familiar? Aristokrat housed Nigerian Grammy winner Burna Boy for several years before he went international. Sean is extraordinarily talented; her silky vocals can slice through the thickest and troubled of minds as she passes her message. With good backing and more of the kind of features on her sophomore EP ‘Love Station’, Sean is one 2023’s one to watch out for.
Chinanu Onuoha is Africaine; she is described on Spotify as an ‘embodiment of the African feminine aura, translated through music’. That is both apt and worthy of note when considering the qualities required to be described as a potential superstar. Africaine’s 2022 single ‘How Far’ might be the spark that she needs to have an incredible year. Not many people can boast of her experience and exposure to resources, even as she’s somewhat fresh in the waters. If Africaine continues on her current path, 2023 will be her breakout year.
Are there Rising Stars you think we ignored?
- Young Jonn
- Goodgirl LA
- Maglera Doe Boy
- Sha Sha
- Ria Sean
Talent has been a recurring theme in our 2023 Afrobeats Rising Stars, and that’s because it provides the required solid foundation for any artist aiming to reach the pinnacle. Africa is blessed! We continue to shape the global music industry. It is established; we are the biggest exporters of talents, and now, even more people are willing to associate with our craft. However, it is also refreshing to see our brothers and sisters in diaspora returning to contribute their quota to solidifying Afrobeats’ status as the fastest growing musical genre in the world. Thanks to the pantheons whose hard work got us here, even more so, as they continue to inspire a new generation of paragons.