The Chart Success of Sony Music West Africa in 2021
It was generally expected that the 2020 Covid-inspired momentum in Nigeria’s music industry would be carried into 2021. At the same time, it wasn’t lost on the music community that there was a high likelihood that the music-packed last quarter of 2020 could result in a slow 2021 for Nigerian music. As 2021 progressed, some of the best releases of 2020 had as expected invariably crossed over into 2021. There was also a host of new releases that thrilled music lovers and consolidated Nigeria’s position as the biggest music market in Africa.
As far as 2021 goes for Nigerian music, one record label has distinguished itself as an industry leader and the home of the continent’s biggest artistes. This is no other label than the West African division of global music powerhouse Sony Music. Sony Music West Africa has on its books an enviable parade of talents that comprises of some of the continent's biggest superstars and rising stars.
In 2021, the array of stars on Sony music West Africa’s list shaped the charts with their sensational releases. From albums to Eps to singles, Sony Music West Africa’s releases competed for the top spots on TurnTable charts and other charts across Africa and the world at large, and on many occasions, they ascended to the summit of the chart in phenomenal fashion. To better understand what an outstanding 2021 Sony music West Africa is having, we must take a look into some of their remarkable releases.
The Nigerian music market is the most competitive on the African continent boasting of a constant influx of talents that have their eyes on the prize. Hence it came as a surprise when “Forever” flooded the airwaves. As the song grew in popularity, many wondered who the voice behind what was fast becoming the No. 1 song in the country was.
It turns out, the artiste was fast-rising Ghanaian sensation Gyakie, and “Forever” would launch her into the mainstream of Africa’s biggest music market. The love track delivered in a soulful, passionate, yet simple and relatable manner instantly caught the attention of Nigerians and the result was a sensational run that earned it a place on Nigeria’s biggest music chart — TurnTable Top 50.
Gyakie consolidated the success of the single by linking up with Nigeria’s chart king Omah Lay for a remix, and unsurprisingly, Omah Lay’s presence pushed the single to the No.1 spot. Thus, making Gyakie the first non-Nigerian to appear at the summit of the chart.
“Forever” gave Gyakie her first hit and introduced her to a wider audience. It raised her profile along with expectations. However, Gyakie has our vote of confidence and there’s no doubt that there’s more to come from the Ghanaian talent.
When it comes to the business of making beats, Sarz is a professor and we mean this literally. With over a decade at the top of the game and numerous hits under his belt, Sarz has earned the respect of music lovers, colleagues, artistes, and the entire music industry. Sarz is known for his ability to spot talents and collaborate with them in a manner that displays his ability to transcend different genres. Thus making him what many would agree is a genius.
When Sarz linked up with upcoming music sensation Lojay for a joint EP there was no doubt it would have Sarz’s Midas touch. “LV N ATTN” displayed Sarz’s incredible production abilities and Lojay’s distinctive talent. It was an impressive and successful debut for Lojay with three songs on the EP charting in the Top 50 – a feat that only few EPs have achieved on the chart. “Tonongo” and “Monalisa” turned out to be fan favorites with the former peaking in the top 10.
Spotting an eye patch like the infamous pirate Jack Sparrow, Ruger has made a name for himself as one of the best talents the Nigerian music industry has to offer. With an unmistakable voice and a unique singing style, Ruger has established himself as a talented act with remarkable artistry.
“Pandemic” was released at the height of the pandemic and it was Ruger’s way of announcing himself as one who intends to sweep the atmosphere like a pandemic. With singles like “Ruger” “Abu Dhabi” and smash hit “Bounce” which reached the top 5 of TurnTable Top 50, Ruger proved that he’s indeed the promise of things to come. The appeal of “Bounce” also swept into the international market as it peaked at No. 18 on the Global Nigerian Songs of the Summer Chart – a chart of the best performing Nigerian songs using global streaming and global airplay as a metric.
Nigeria is blessed with super talented producers and Kiddominant AKA KDDO is in the top echelon of talented producers. Kiddominant has collaborated with and produced for A-list international and African acts making him one of the most sought-after producers on the continent.
In 2021, KDDO took his career to another level by releasing an EP titled “Too Late Too Lit”. TLTL is a personification of his creativity and it invariably left an impression on every listener. Written and produced by KDDO and assisted by Davido, Mayorkun, Casper Nyovest, Sho Madjozi, Cavemen, amongst other acts, TLTL features an array of talents across the African continent and abroad.
“Beamer Body” featuring Davido performed well on TurnTable Charts, with other songs from the EP appearing on TV and Airplay Charts. The EP also had a sleeper hit in "eWallet" featuring SA's finest, Cassper Nyovest (though the song's peak period was before TurnTable Charts began tracking music data in 2020). When KDDO appeared as a guest on TurnTable Spaces, he said he was proud of the album, and from the album’s reception, it appears many feels the same.
This EP is so unbelievably good that it can hardly be captured with words. When Sarz’s production mastery met Obongjayar’s shocking talent, the result was an EP that lived up to its name. “Sweetness” is a four-track EP that introduces Afrobeats fans to new frontiers in Afro-fusion.
“Sweetness” is yet another proof of Sarz’s ability to experiment with Afrobeats and blend it with sounds that transcends genres and continents. “Gone Girl” made an appearance on TurnTable Radio Charts which is an impressive feat for Obongjayar and it suggests there’s more to come from the talented artiste.
Additionally, “Gone Girl” has also garnered international airplay in European countries like Sweden.
JAE5 is one of United Kingdom’s top producers and every time he links up with Nigerian artistes, the result is explosive. This was the case when JAE5 brought together Nigeria's wonder kid Rema and veteran UK rapper Skepta for a single titled “Dimension”. The result is a harmonization of UK rap with afro rave to create a scintillating single.
“Dimension” was an instant favorite and it debuted in the Top 50 peaking at No. 5. The single introduced JAE5 to Nigerian listeners who before then didn’t know him. JAE5 has displayed interest to work with more Nigerian acts and we have our fingers crossed for what’s to come.
Since coming onto the scene, Ghanaian sensation King Promise has been one of Ghana's biggest artiste. His music has crossed over to neighboring countries and he has collaborated with some of Nigeria’s biggest exports. “Slow Down” is another single from the stables of the talented singer and the single has found a place on Nigerian music TV stations. It enjoyed so much TV play that it ascended to the summit of TurnTable TV Charts and also earned a place in the Top 50.
King Promise joins Gyakie as Ghanaians whose music has generated buzz in the Nigerian music industry in 2021. With “Slow Down,” King Promise made his mark as one of Ghana’s biggest export and it’s also an indication that he’s ready to share the spotlight with the best talents the continent has to offer.
The Mayor of Lagos as he’s fondly and popularly called is one of Nigeria’s indisputable talents. His music cuts across different demographics and defiles language and geographical barriers. Mayorkun’s affability and singing prowess combine to make him a fan favorite. Every time he releases music, it’s sure to be on radio and TV stations, and a recurring background music for social media reels.
Newly signed to Sony Music West Africa, Mayorkun got off to a sensational start by releasing a new single – “Let Me Know”. The single debuted at No.16 on TurnTable Top 50 and the single is billed to ascend in the coming weeks. “Let Me Know” has been warmly received and it thrills fans to what’s the first single of Mayorkun’s new musical journey.
Amongst the numerous albums released in 2020, “Made In Lagos” is one of the biggest and by far the most successful. MIL swept across Nigeria and Africa and steadily made its way overseas where it was welcomed with open arms. With remarkable singles like “No Stress,” “Ginger,” “Smile” and the global hit “Essence,” MIL combines hit songs with rich catalog songs to create a flawless body of work. MIL embodies the remarkable talent, finesse, and sophistication that makes Wizkid a generational talent.
“Ginger” featuring Burna Boy reached the No.1 spot on the TurnTable Top 50. “Essence” got off to a blistering start in Nigeria and it peaked at No. 2 in May 2021 before garnering international fame and becoming an intercontinental summer jam. Since its release, songs from MIL has been a regular on radio and TV stations and it has enjoyed huge streaming success. With MIL, Wizkid launched Afrobeats to greater heights and gave his label, his fans, and Nigerians bragging rights they would relish for years to come.
Many would agree that a Davido hit song is as certain as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Hence when he announced the release of his third studio album, many expected it would be a hit-packed album. In November 2020, Davido released his keenly anticipated third album titled “A Better Time” and a better time did people get.
Leading with the smash hit “FEM” the album got off to an electric start and “FEM” reached the top of TurnTable Top 50 after conquering every other chart possible in Nigeria before. In quintessential fashion, Davido became the first act to succeed himself at the top of the TurnTable Top 50 with three different songs.
He started with “FEM” which was succeeded by “Holy Ground” featuring rap goddess Nicki Minaj before proceeding to extend the record with “The Best” featuring his protégé Mayorkun. With ABT, Davido delivered a beautiful album that has something for everyone. ABT has hits in the form of “FEM,” “Holy Ground”, and “The Best”. It has “Jowo” a terrific love jam that transcended generations. ABT boasts of catchy Amapiano songs and breath-taking collaborations. Indeed, “A Better Time” has it all.
“Jireh” sees two leading contemporary gospel groups combine to deliver a breathtaking worship song that edifies the soul and lifts the spirit. Fans of gospel music couldn’t have asked for a better collaboration as two of their favorites join forces to deliver a single that has so far enjoyed an impressive streaming run on YouTube.
Travis Green is one of the biggest urban gospel acts around and his music enjoys huge patronage amongst gospel music fans in Nigeria. His single “Oil & Water” is an embodiment of his singing prowess and captivating writing that is known to penetrate the hearts of listeners. “Oil & Water” is a favorite amongst Nigerian gospel music fans whom have contributed to its growing YouTube numbers.
From streaming platforms to social media, to TV and Radio, Sony Music West Africa has had what’s indubitably a hugely successful year. Embarrassed with an array of talents, Sony Music West Africa is in a league of its own as it’s home to two of the biggest artistes on the continent. The 2021 success of Sony Music West Africa is captured by their performance on the charts and also by their domestic and international airplay.
Speaking on Sony Music West Africa’s outstanding 2021 run, the General Manager, Oluwaseun Lloyd AKA Banko had this to say;
“It has been an awesome run so far this year 2021 with our amazing range of talents and repertoire. Despite still in a pandemic, we have had to move the pieces around differently. We hope to have a better run come 2022. One time for the Afro music culture”
We at TurnTable Charts agree entirely with the GM’s remarks. Having a wide range of talents is one thing, defying the challenges of a pandemic so effortlessly is a whole different story. And for this, due respect must be paid and accolades given to those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to position Sony Music West Africa for what’s undoubtedly a successful 2021.
Banko Lloyd – GM Sony Music West Africa
Okafor Nnamdi – Digital Marketing & Accounts Manager
Gbemiro Owolabi – Label Manager
Jim Donnett – PR & Admin
To these individuals, we say: take a bow for a job well done. For Sony Music West Africa, the present is dazzling and the future is radiant. There are indeed exciting times ahead for Nigerian and African music.