11 New Artistes to Watch Out For in 2021 Based on Their Chart Appearances in 2020
2020? What a goddamned year! Depart from us you wretched thing, wreaking havoc with reckless abandon and spreading your unwanted malaise. OK, we can all agree that 2020 has had its ups and downs.....maybe more downs than ups but enough of that sadfest, let's look forward.
2020 was a massive year for a lot of established acts like; Simi, Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid, Ladipoe, Brymo, Olamide, Mayorkun, Naira Marley; and as much a reinforcement of previously held dominant positions by prior breakthrough acts like; Fireboy DML, Joeboy, Tems. It also saw relatively new acts like Omah lay, Oxlade, Chike with their 'annus mirabillis'. Just like anything good, you can’t ever truly have too much talent on show and 2021 is another year to look forward to more breakthrough acts.
As one of the in-house music connoisseurs, I will lead you through these potential acts, future possibilities and our expectations for 2021. These artistes have made appearances (rather brief) on different charts published and tracked by TurnTable Charts in 2020, which is proof of their potential and growing audience.
Maybe it’s the dreads! Yes! The dreads which have come to typify contemporary male Afro-fusion artistes or the swash buckling energy. Whatever it is, Fajebe Babatunde (zahzah) is reaching for the stars and aiming to resonate with his music. As far back as 2017 when he came into our collective consciousness with 'zone out' he has consistently straddled the line between underground notoriety and mainstream popularity. This, as evidenced by his most recent chart success "Miss You" which peaked at No. 24 TurnTable TV Top Songs (a chart of the most-heard songs on TV across Nigeria). If there were an artiste to watch out for in 21' he would definitely be.
Soft, smooth and sultry would aptly characterize her musical sound. An Indie Afro-fusion singer who seems to have been with us like forever. Since the release of her debut single “E go better” in 2012 she has released a couple of EP's (“SEVEN” and “FOUR”) and gone on to achieve an appreciably level of success. Her most recent chart outing was the remix of her song 'Overdose' where she featured breakout Afro fusion sensation Oxlade on the truly memorable track which peaked at No. 93 on Boomplay Top Songs and appeared in the top 500 radio chart according to Radiomonitor ("Overdose continues to appear in the top 500 even in 2021). While she has mildly rejected the Alternative artiste tag, she does give off the vibe of a bubbling under/underground act. Nevertheless, she remains one artiste to look out for in the New Year.
What if I told you that there was a male Afro-fusion/Afro-pop artiste, how would you vaguely picture this said artiste without any further detail given? What would be that outward physical appearance that first pops to mind about such an artiste? The dreads you say? You most definitely would be correct, but for Jujuboy Star, it’s not just about the dreads but the nerdy pretty boy look, his pretty vocals and outwardly bubbly and mesmerizing persona. "My name is Osarentin Rock Akigbe" he spells out in an 'under the hood'/expose video directed by Zamani Istafanus, produced by Timothy ogunlowo & xamanijnr. His name, which he explains is a tether that keeps him grounded to the rich African heritage that inspires his music might feel a bit like a misnomer as his 'afro fusion' cuts across multiple genres of African music and not 'juju' if ever it was incorporated.
He has enjoyed recent chart successes with his song ‘I Dey There”, Peaking at No. 41 on the TurnTable Top Airplay Chart and No.23 on the TurnTable Top Triller Chart. A favorite of the underground scene with some mainstream cred, wholesale success for him in these parts feels more like a matter of when and not if - and if not 2021, then when?
Already a fave of ours and soon to be a fave of yours. A terrific songwriter with limitless potential, her sound combines the stylistic dramatism of Jorja Smith and vocal eccentrism of H.E.R. Also appears to hail from the same musical clan as Tems. There exists a real and not totally out-of-place possibility for comparisons between these two artistes even future full on 'stan wars' fought from the sordid trenches of individual keypads using clapbacks, dragdowns and callouts, all indispensable weapons of our modern warfare. Of course, as inappropriate and tedious as it might all seem, this appears to be a pastime of internet busybodies, e-gossips and tactless twitteratis. Do not allow all this distract you from the fact celestial nightingales dwell among us and Fave like the others has chosen to bless us with pitch perfect vocals, infectious melodies and ear-pleasing rhythm. In a more contemporary serenade, she sings about undying love on 'N.B.U'. Every note belted out a tribute to not just love but her artistry....to musical excellence.
We at TurnTable Charts, like many others, found it pleasing seeing as it was one of Top Songs on Apple music (brieftly). What is more amazing is she is barely a year into doing this and already causing stirs and making waves. Like a line from a Mumford and Sons song; we will wait....we will wait for the full bloom of this talent, we will wait to be lifted by the beauty and grace of her sound. We hope '21 will be it for her.
A hilariously cute cover of Dj Neptune's "Nobody" during the lockdown period, a fantastic collab with Mr Eazi which did amazing numbers on the charts ( “French Kiss”, No.17 on TurnTable Top Triller chart) has come to define Tega starr's 2020. With all these, one may be led to conclude that Tega starr is already a star (lol...yes, I couldn't miss out on the opportunity of a word play) and you won't be that far from reality. An Afro Pop artiste with a strong fusion sound that has the characteristic potential of being explosive coupled with a collaboration with a mega super star under his belt, we feel he may go places and 2021 might be the time to get his engine revved up.
Another one of our nightingales. Tomi represents a niche in the music scene that is truly beautiful, unencumbered by mainstream baggage or corporate musical commercialization. She is treading the path least taken with her sound and seeking to reconcile her world with the world at large, a noble pursuit of any true artiste. With a limited discography, she already appears to be an 'accomplished' songwriter. Her very 'evolved' and mature songwriting is pleasantly surprising and very welcome, a much needed break from the rather clichéd, witless musings we are accustomed to in this part of the world. Her sound exemplifies the apotheosis of unique artistry, a personification of beauty and positive musical character.
A lot of her work (which we must reconfess isn't much) is akin to elevator music. Whatever you think of this style of music, it is a highly specialized, highly technical, genre-spanning form of music craft that requires unique set of tools to deliver as flawlessly as she does. We are not the only ones to recognize and appreciate her talents, her breakthrough song 'Beautiful' (which is an apt way to describe the song) hit No. 40 of TurnTable Top Airplay Chart (a chart of the most popular songs on radio across Nigeria). We continue to enjoy the rich blessings the song has on offer and lick our lips in anticipation of things to come. Working with producers like; Masterkraft, Tmskd, Major League Djz, Sigag Lauren; she put out different genre remixes of her beautiful song in the form of an EP. 'Just listening to her, you could feel she is on the edge of something truly special, truly grand....truly great. Anticipation of what she might do in the near future is at fever pitch and we can only wait and watch.
Christianed Awodoyin Oluwamayorkun Isaac, he already boasts of a short but impressive discography littered with a lot of socially conscious messaging. An indigenous rapper, lyricist whose lyricism relies not only on cheap comforts of gimmicky rhymes or cheesy word play but also on the unassailable, unconquerable power of passion. In more urban terms; 'brother has got soul'. You could go the already redundant route and call him 'a Yoruba rapper with attitude' or see him for what he is; 'a concerned human looking to tell his story, compelling as it is, in his words, the best way he can'.
With songs like “TCTYTC”, “Criminal,” he has shown he can go hard, every bar on those songs an incantation aimed at exorcism....an exorcism of societal demons. He has also shown his ability to switch it up with trendy sounds like “Fine girls like You” having Zlatan as a featured artiste on and his most recently successful song on the chart with Barry Jhay as a featured artiste, “Gratitude” (peaked at No. 21 on the TurnTable Top Streaming Chart; a chart of the most popular songs on major freemium platforms in Nigeria). When things start to brew in 2021, he may well be one of the artistes stirring the pot.
An indigenious singer. An interesting niche he has chosen for himself. His song “God Sent” peaked at No. 37 on TurnTable Top Streaming Chart. With his sound and energy this is an artist worth looking out for in 2021. There is no denying Seyi Vibez’s ability to create infectious tunes that can both rule the digital charts and play on your radio for months. The artiste had a great 2020 by any metric available to an emerging artiste and it would be interesting to see how the New Year bodes for him. His latest track “Pay Day” might just be his first crack at mainstream success.
His song “Mr Money” which made an appearance on the Radio top 500 chart in 2020 put him under the spotlight and has marked him as an artiste to watch in 2021. With nominations at the City People Music Awards already, Asake is truly on his way to becoming a household in Nigerian music.
It is no easy feat to have your debut EP on Apple Music R&B/Soul Chart behind Maleek Berry’s newly released EP, 6lack’s crowd favorite album East Atlanta Love Letter and ahead of The Weeknd’s massive After Hours – yes, you read that right, ahead of The Weeknd (albeit temporarily). Sal Ly’s Premiere EP proved she’s an artiste that will dominate for years to come. Her music is energetic, beautiful, and soulful and the rich blend of electronic, African, country and soul elements will leave you forgetting that you are listening to a Gospel artiste. Sal Ly, who has feature on TurnTable NXT, has everything it takes to be one of the biggest artistes in this part of the world and 2021 might just be the launching pad for her. You can get to know more about Sal Ly here
Meji has spent a lot of time telling people he is the One and with his debut EP, he well and truly proved that he is an artiste that knows who they are – and there is no better thing than knowing thyself.
Meji is a rapper at core but he has shown with his discography that he has more to offer, and hopefully we will get more of that in 2021. His debut EP peaked in the Top 100 of Apple Music Top Albums and you can be sure that The One will only aim to outdo himself in 2021.
So what exactly is going to happen in 2021? At this stage we know as much as you do as we are not in the business of divination or crystal ball gazing. Rest assured, if a big splash is going to be made on the music scene at least one of these artistes would be the culprits and we would be at the scene to quantify, analyze and tell you. Like you, we are moving into previously untraveled territory and like you we will be watching......watching with keen interest. We only hope these artistes, with their previous chart appearances, are among the stories we tell in 2021. You can read about some of TurnTable's plans for 2021 here
You can check the full chart history of the artistes mentioned here