Top 20 Most Celebrated African Musicians, Guess Who Topped The List

To consider the most celebrated African musicians is a way of appreciating talent and how much some musicians have been able to expose African music to the world. Although many of these musicians have contributed to the music industry differently, others are considered the best in various genres such as Juju, Highlife, Fuji, Kizomba, Makossa, Afro-pop, hip-hop, R&B, and rock music.

Among the best musicians in Africa are those that have marked their names permanently on the sands of time, such as Fela Kuti, Mariam Makeba, Ali Farka Toure, and Lucky Dube. However, this article will focus on music acts that still exist and make music. The best criteria for selecting the best include how these African stars break limits, attract prestigious awards, commercial success, critical acclaim, and consistency over time.

20 Famous and Best African Musicians

20. Oumou Sangarè (Malian)

  • Age: 54 years old
  • The year started: 1973
  • Record label: World Circuit

Oumou Sangarè is an artist of Malian extraction who mixes up great voice, lyrics, rhythm, flow and still finds a way to communicate through music. This would make her stand out right from when her fame started in 1973 at the age of 5. At 16, she started a music group and later released her first album, Moussolou, which ushered her into several years of successful records.

Her music mostly focuses on love, marriage, and voices out for women through music. She, however, continues to extend her music to different countries and perform at high places and events. Currently, The Bamako 1968-born singer has shared the Mic with Nigeria’s Femi Kuti, Senegal’s Baaba Maal, and Haiti’s Boukman Eksperyancs, to list a few.

Best works of Sangarè

  • Acoustic (2020)
  • Mogoya (2017)
  • Seya (2009)
  • Oumou (2004)
  • Worotan (1996)
  • Ko Sira (1993)
  • Moussoulou (1989)

Achievements/Awards of Sangare

  • WOMEX Artist Award for her contribution and advocacy for women’s rights (2017)
  • Grammy Award for the Best Pop Collaboration (2011)
  • Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary World Music Album (2010)
  • IMC-UNESCO International Music Prize in the performer’s category (2001)
  • European Award for “World Music Album of the Year” (Ko Sira, 1993)

19. Awilo Longomba (Congolese)

  • Age: 54 years old
  • Record label: Jimmy’s production, CHM Supersound, Awillo Beats

As one of the most significant African musicians of recent times, Awilo Longombo stole the hearts of many in Congo and beyond with the Makossa music. He began his career in the entertainment industry as a drummer for “Vivia la Musica” and “Nouvelle Gènération.” However, in 1995, he decided to try something other than playing the drums, which led to the release of his first album Moto Pamba.

He grew in fame and popularity, becoming the favorite of many in his native Congo and African countries, including Nigeria. What is more, he was able to take his music outside the shores of Africa to countries like Belgium, France, Great Britain, and the United States.

Some of the best works of Awilo

  • Bizou (2019)
  • Karolina (2006)
  • Mondongo (Album, 2003)
  • Coupe Bibamba (2001)
  • Kafou Kafou (2000)
  • Moto Pamba (1995)

Notable achievements of the singer

  • Best Soukous Entertainer (2009)
  • Judges Special Awards for Kafou Kafou, KORA Awards (2001)
  • Best Central African Artist Awards for the Album “Moto Pamba,” All Africa Music Awards (1997)
  • Best Central Africa Artist Awards for the Album “Moto Pamba” KORA Awards (1996)

18. Fally Ipupa (Congolese)

  • Age: 44 years old
  • The year started: 1999
  • Record label: A Z, Capitol Records, Elektra Records, Obouo Productions, F’Victeam Entertainment

Fally Ipupa is a Congolese singer, dancer, songwriter, and record producer who released his debut album in 2006. The album titled “Droit Chemin” has sold over 100,000 units since its release. Before this, he was involved with some music groups before Koffi Olomide chanced upon him and signed him up into his music group, the Quartier Latin.

Best works

  • Control (2018)
  • Tokoos (2017)
  • Power Kosa Leka (2013)
  • Arsenal De Belles Mèlodies (2009)
  • Droit Chemin (2006)

Achievements/Awards

  • Best Video for the Song “Eloko Oyo” and Best French Artist, AFRIMA Awards (2017)
  • Best Album, Best Video, and Best Song from the Ndule Awards (2017)
  • Best Artist Central Africa, AFRIMA Awards (2014)
  • Best African Artist, True Urban Music Awards (2013)
  • MTV Africa Music Awards for the Best Video category for the song Sexy Dance (2010)

17. Slapdee (Zambian)

  • Age: 35 years old
  • Real Name: Mwila Musonda
  • The Year Started: 2006
  • Record Label: XYZ Etertainment, Kalandayanya Music Promotions

Slapdee, born in 1987, wears many hats in music, record production, and business. Nonetheless, he is most famous for being in the music industry. He debuted professionally in music in 2006 and has released songs such as Asembe Isebenza at the earliest time of his career. Subsequently, he released other songs and albums, including True Story, Black na White, So Che, etc.

His successes in music would lead to global fame that led to his becoming the most searched Zambian musician on Google in 2017. He would also extend his hand to make a difference by using his stands as a wealthy and famous musician to support orphanages and children’s hospitals in his country. This would lead to his featuring on CNN, African Voices CHANGEMAKERS.

Great songs and albums of Slapdee

  • Mother Tongue Ft. Daev Zambia (2020)
  • Savuka (2020)
  • Ku Wire (2020)
  • Forget You (2019)
  • No Wonder (2017)
  • Paya One (2015)

Most notable awards of Slapdee

  • Best Hip Hop Song at the Sun Fm Kwacha Music Awards (2017)
  • Best Hip Hop/Rap Album at the Zambia Music Awards  (2014)
  • Best Mainstream Album at the Zambia Music Awards  (2014)
  • Best Male Mainstream Album at the Zambia Music Awards (2014)
  • Song of the Year at the Zambia Music Awards (2013 )
  • Best Hip Hop Album at the Zambia Music Awards  (2013)
  • Best Male Album at the Zambia Music Awards  (2013)
  • Best Hip Hop Artist at the Ngoma Music Awards (2009)

16. Onyeka Onwenu (Nigerian)

  • Age: 70 years old
  • The year started: 1981
  • Record label: EMI Records, Ayollo

Onyeka Onwenu is a personality with many fronts. Perhaps this may account for her being referred to by the Nigerian press as “Elegant Stallion.” The songwriter and singer hit the spotlight in the 80s while working as a broadcaster with NTA.

She has remained focused on the métier, transitioning from secular to gospel music. Lately, she writes and sings about health issues (HIV/AIDS), respect for women’s rights, children’s predicaments, peace, and mutual co-existence.

Onyeka Onwenu’s Best works

  • You And I (1991)
  • One Love (1991)
  • Wait For Me & King Sunny Ade (1989)
  • In The Morning Light (Album, 1984)
  • Ekwe (1984)
  • For the Love of You (Album, 1981)

Achievements/Awards

  • Nigerian Woman of Distinction Award at Nigeria’s 50th Independence Anniversary (2010)
  • National Council for Arts and Culture Awards for her contributions to the field of Music and Cultural administration (2009)
  • Nigeria National Award for Member of the Federal Republic (2003)
  • True Nigerian Award

15. Koffi Olomidè (Congolese)

  • Age: 62 years old
  • Record label: Sonodisc, Le Monde des Artistes, MRA Entertainment Group, Editions Kaluila, Jimmy’s Production, Sterns, Diego Music, Tamari

Koffi Olomide, reckoned as Rhumbo maestro, is a soukous musician. He began his career in music as a composer and songwriter, then a vocalist and lead singer with Papa Wemba’s music band, Viva la Musica. It was while he was with the band that the name Olomide emerged. After impressing Papa Wemba with a song he wrote, Papa Wemba referred to him as the ideal man.

This came to be rendered as Olomide. He recorded his first album Ngouda in 1983. In 1986, he pulled out of the Viva la Musica band to start his band, Quartier Latin International. The years that followed saw him producing numerous albums, which are well over 30 and selling millions of copies. Consequently, this has built a huge fan base for him.

Selected Best Songs of Koffi Olomidè

  • 13ième Apôtre (2015)
  • Abracadabra (2012)
  • Affaire D’État (2003)
  • Affaire D’État (2003)
  • Force De Frappe (2000)
  • Ultimatum (1997)
  • Noblesse Oblige (1993)
  • Elle Et Moi (1989)
  • Diva (1986)
  • Celya-Ba (1985)
  • Ngounda (1983)

Achievements/Awards

  • African Music Awards for Best Male Singer/ Best Video Clip (1992)
  • African Music Award for Best African Artist (1998)
  • Award for Best African Artist (1998)
  • Kora Awards (2002 & 2003)
  • Kora Award for the Best African Artist of The Decade

14. Diamond Platnumz (Tanzanian)

  • Age: 32 years old
  • Real Name: Naseeb Abdul Juma Issack
  • The Year Started: 2006
  • Record Label: WCB Wasafi, Warner Bros

Diamond mixes energy and unique style to display the music of Africa to the world. While doing this, he became one of the highest earners in Tanzania and Africa. His career started when he was 17 in 2006. Years down the line, he started to record success that knows no bounds and penetrates through countries.

He has found himself collaborating with artists from different countries and making a name for himself on stage. One of the highlights of his career is Diamond’s ability to win attention with his songs, thereby becoming the first Africa-based artiste to amount to 900 million views on YouTube.

Some of the greatest hits of Diamond Platnumz

  • Fine (2022)
  • Nanjaze (2021)
  • Iyo Ft. Focalistic, Mapara A Jazz & Ntosh Gazi (2021)
  • Waah Ft Koffi Olomide (2020)
  • Yope Rmx Ft. Innos’ B (2019)
  • Inama Ft. Fally IpupaA Boy From Tandale (Album, 2018)
  • Nana (2018)
  • Nitamparta Wapi (2018)
  • My Number One (2014)
  • Kamwambie  (2010)

Diamond’s notable achievements

  • 3x Channel O Music Video Awards for Most Gifted Newcomer; Most Gifted East; and Most Gifted Afro Pop (2014)
  • 7x HiPipo Music Awards (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • Future Africa for POrize ERntertainment  (2014)
  • 2x MTV Europe Music Awards/Worldwide Act Africa/India for Best African Act and Worldwide Act (Africa/India (2015)
  • MTV Africa Music Awards for Best Live Act (2015)
  • People’s Choice Awards, Favourite Male Video (2014)
  • AFRIMA, Best Live Act (2019)

13. Rocky Dawuni (Ghanaian)

  • Age: 53 years old
  • Label: Aquarian Records, Cumbancha

Rocky Dawuni was born on January 22, 1969. He discovered Bob Marley, took an interest in reggae, and soon became one of the Most Celebrated African Musicians. The singer cum songwriter maintains a position of a versatile musician and creates music in several genres that include Afrobeat, highlife, and soul.

One of the significant things about the music of Dawuni is how he incorporates social activism in Ghana, Africa, and beyond. He also uses music to draw attention to his culture. At present, he has his songs featured in movies, TV programs, and video games, such as the American film, Fist Fight (2017); TV series Dexter (2006-2013) and ER (1994-2009); and video games that include 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (2014), The Sims 2: Castaway (2008).

Some of the best songs and albums of Rocky Dawuni

  • Beautiful People (2020)
  • Champion Arise (2019)
  • Elevation (2019)
  • Turn It Up (2019)
  • Burn One (2019)
  • Shine a Light (2017)
  • African Reggae Fever (2010)
  • Walk The Talk (2010)
  • Wake The Town (2005)

Some major career highlights of Dawuni

  • Grammy nomination for Best Global Music Album (2022)
  • He is the first Ghanian to be nominated for a Grammy after releasing the Branches of the Same Tress album (2021)
  • He is the second African to be nominated in the category of Best Reggae Album in the Grammys
  • Best African Artist at World Music Awards (2021)

12. Khaled (Algerian)

  • Age: 62 years old
  • Full Name: Khaled Hadj Ibrahim
  • The year started: 1974
  • Record labels: Universal Records, Ark 21 Records

Many people may not readily relate to Khaled Hadj Ibrahim as they would “Khaled.” This is because the name Khaled seems to have silenced his other names since he uses the former as his stage name. The 1960-born distinguishes himself as one of the most popular “rai” singers globally and one of the most celebrated African musicians.

Rai is a type of folk music that fuses French, Arabic, Spanish and African music. Khaled is more popular in France, with his singles’ Didi’ and ‘Aicha’ topping the charts. He remains one of the best-selling African artists of all time. He also doubles as one of the bestselling Arabic artists with a record of about 80 million copies of albums sold out.

Selected Best works of Khaled

  • Maghreb Gang Ft. French Montana, Farid Bang (2019)
  • C’est la vie (2012)
  • Le jour viendra (1997)
  • La Poupèe qui fait non (1997)
  • Aicha (1996)
  • Alech Taadi (1993)
  • Didi (1992)
  • El Arbi (1992)

Some Achievements of Khaled

  • Big Apple Music Awards  for Best Arab Artist Selling in the United States (2010)
  • Listed by NPR as one of 50 Great Voices (2010)
  • MGM Awards, highest-selling Arab album in history (2009)
  • R3 Awards BBC Awards for World Music (2005)
  • Grammy jam Awards (2004)
  • Top 100 Best Albums in the 20th Century (1989)
  • World Music Awards for Song of the year (1997)
  • African Grammys best North African singer Kora Awards  (1997 )

11. Femi Kuti (Nigerian)

  • Age: 60 years old
  • The year started: 1978
  • Record label: Partisan Records, MCA, and Red Hot Organization

born Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti, Femi Kuti is the first son of the Legendary Afrobeat musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti and grandson of Fumilayo Ransome-Kuti. His father was a strong pull-and-push factor in his music career. It is no wonder then that his passion for music leans towards exposing social ills and vices in Nigeria to draw attention to them and stir the need for change. In a word, his music is usually revolutionary.

His efforts and the quality of music he produces, combined with his passions and the strong messages he expresses, earn him the status of one of the lodestars in the African entertainment industry. Besides being a four-time Grammy nominee, his album Fight to Win is celebrated as the most prominent neo-afrobeat of the 21st century. His popularity breaks the bounds of Africa.

Among the places he has performed are the Moers Festival in Germany and Festival d’Angouleme in France. But there is more; his voice was used in a video game, Grand Theft Auto. Femi Kuti has collaborated with foreign artists like Jaguar Wright, Yasiin Bey, Lonnie Jaman Shuka Rashid with the Alias Common. He has also collaborated with Nigerian artists like M I, Sound Sultan, and Tuface.

Femi’s Most Popular Songs

  • As We Struggle Everyday (2020)
  • Show of Shame (2020)
  • Stop The Hate (2020)
  • One People One World (2018)
  • Evil People (2018)
  • Dem Bobo (2010)
  • Oyimbo (2004)
  • Shotan (2004)
  • Can’t Buy Me (2004)
  • Do Your Best (2001)
  • Live For Today (1995)
  • Sorry Sorry (1998)
  • Beng Beng Beng (1998)
  • Truth Don Die (1998)

Achievements/Awards

  • Grammy Awards Nominations for World Music Award, (2003, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2022)
  • Inducted into the Headies Hall of Fame, 2012
  • 5x Grammy Award in the Best World Music Album category (2002, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2022)

10. Yemi Alade (Nigerian)

  • Age: 66 years old
  • The year started: 2005
  • Record Label: Effyzzie Music Group, Universal Music Africa

Yemi Alade has been recorded as one of Africa’s richest and most successful music stars. She has also become one of the most celebrated African musicians. Yemi Alade traces her career to 2005 when she participated in and won the first season of the “Peak Talent Show.”

It became only a matter of time before she became the first female to win MTV African Music Awards (2015). She would also break another record of winning the same award the year after. Currently, the 1989 Abia State-born Nigerian singer has collaborated with artists within and out of Africa, such as Angelique Kidjo, Kritzbeatz, and Beyonce, among others.

Best songs and albums of Yemi Alade

  • Empress (2020)
  • Woman of Steel (Album, 2019)
  • Oh My Gosh Rmx Ft. Rick Ross (2019)
  • Mama Africa (The Diary of An African Woman (Album, 2016)
  • Na Gode (2016)
  • Africa (2016)
  • King of Queens (Album, 2015)
  • Johnny (2014)
  • Tangerine (2014)
  • Kissing (2014)

Yemi’s notable achievements

  • She became the 2nd Nigerian and first female singer in the country to gain 100 million views in only a song on YouTube
  • She broke history by becoming the first female artist in Africa to have the most viewed music video in a song
  • 4x The Headies Awards  for Hip hop World Revelation of the Year (2015), Best Performer (2017, 2018, 2019)
  • Female Artist of the Year at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards (2015)
  • Independent Music Awards (2016)
  • 2x MTV African Music Awards for Best Female (2015, 2016)
  • 2x All Africa Music Awards for Best Female Artiste (2018); Best Female in Western Africa (2015)
See also  Top 10 Wizkid Songs and Albums from ‘Ginger’ to ‘Made in Lagos’

9. Sarkodie (Ghanaian)

  • Age: 34 years old
  • Real name: Michael Owusu Addo
  • The year started: 2005
  • Record Label: Sarkcess Music, Duncwills Entertainment (former)

When it comes to Ghanaians who are game-changers in music, Sakordie fits it without struggle. The Tema-born did not just stop in Ghana but has his name running through continents as one of the greatest rappers to come out of Africa.

The music of Sakordie interestingly incorporates English and his native language, Twi. The musician has several styles in the genres of hip hop, hiplife, and afrobeat. It led to his becoming the first to win BET’s Best International Flow artist in 2019 and maintaining a position as the most awarded African rapper.

Some of the best hits of Sarkodie

  • Rollies and Cigars (2021)
  • Adonai (2021)
  • Oofeetso (2019)
  • Highest (Album, 2017)
  • Overdose (2017)
  • Who Da Man (2017)
  • Sarkology (2014)
  • Sark Nation (2014)
  • When I Grow Up (2012)

Awards

  • International Reggae and World Music Awards for Best Virtual Showcase/Concert (2021)
  • African Entertainment Awards USA for  Best Hip hop Artist (2019)
  • He was ranked first on the 10 Ghanaian Rappers of All Time (2013)
  • Daf BAMA Awards  Best African Act (2017)
  • EMY Best Entertainer (2016)
  • MTV Africa Music Awards for Best Hip Hop (2014)
  • Best International Act: Africa (2012, 2019)
  • 5x The Headies Awards for Best African Artiste (2013, 2016)
  • African Artiste of the Year (2012, 2014, 2015)

8. Tubaba (Nigerian)

  • Age: 47 years old
  • Real name: Innocent Ujah Idibia
  • The year started: 1994
  • Record Label: Hypertek Digital, Kennis Music (former)

Innocent Idibia started his career in 1994 as Tuface. Subsequently, he became a band member of the disbanded Plantashun Boiz, and soon enough, he became a dynamic singer who was able to create tonnes of music and make a huge net worth from it. In Nigeria, he remains one of the most consistent artists of all time, having recorded decades of success in his career.

He is most famous for his song African Queen which added to his becoming one of the most celebrated African musicians. Tubaba, also regarded as one of the most handsome men in Nigeria, would also become a regular in wowing crowds, gracing stages in countries, and winning awards.

Best works of Tubaba

  • Smile (2022)
  • Raindrops (2017)
  • The Ascension (album, 2014)
  • Implication (2008)
  • Be There (2008)
  • Grass to Grace (Album, 2006)
  • True Love (2006)
  • If Love is a Crime (2006)
  • African Queen (2004)

Awards

  • 2Baba is the first winner of MTV Europe, Best African Act Award (2005)
  • 5x Headies Awards for Artist of the Year (2011), Album of the Year (2011)
  • 4x Channel O Music Video Awards for Best Male Video, Best African Act (2005); Most Gifted Video of the Year, Most Gifted African West Video (2011)
  • BET award for Best International Act (2011)
  • 4x MTV Africa Music Awards for Best R&B Music Awards; Best Male; Best Video (2009)
  • He is a recipient of an honorary Master of Arts in Music degree from Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Nigeria
  • Tubaba was given an honorary fellow of the school of music by the Music Department, Obafemi Awolowo University (2019)

7. Youssou N’dour (Senegalese)

  • Age: 62 years old
  • The year started: 1970s
  • Record label: Real World Records, Nonesuch Records Inc; Sony Music Entertainment, Columbia Records

Ushered into the path of music in the 1970s, it did not take long for Youssou to penetrate the music world. He would rise to arguably become one of the celebrated stars of his time, and soon enough, he would be able to influence many people and things through his career in showbiz.

He has sold many records, set the pace on stages across the globe, and avail himself to attract numerous awards. Youssou has also been able to use music to become a UNICEF ambassador and has been a vociferous voice to the scourge of Africans. In addition, he is involved in the world of business and runs a Night club, a radio station, and a record label.

Best works of Youssou N’dour

  • History (2019)
  • Africa Rekk (2016)
  • ” Egypt (2004)
  • Joko “From Village to town (2000)
  • The Guide “Woman” (1994)

Achievements/Awards of the singer

  • MTV Europe Music Award for best song “7 Seconds” (1994)
  • Grammy Award for the Best Contemporary World Music Album for “Egypt” (2005)
  • 6 Grammy nominations for Best World Music Album (1993, 1995, 2001); Best Contemporary World Music Album (2004, 2005)

6. King Sunny Ade (Nigerian)

  • Age: 76 years old
  • Year Started: 1960s
  • Labels: Island Records, Sunny Alade, I.R.S, Provogue, African Songs, Sigma Park, Master Disk

A look into the records of King Sunny Ade is evident that the impact he has made in the Nigerian and Africa’s music industry cannot be overemphasized. He has been recorded as a pioneer of juju music who soon reached global stardom, although he started small with a small band.

As a result of his musical prowess, 1946 born Sunny Ade set a new pace for the Nigerian music industry when he became the first Nigerian to earn a Grammy Award nomination in 1983. He added this with other achievements that include his music-making into Hollywood movies such as Breathless (1983), a film featuring Richard Gere. His song was also featured in other Hollywood movies such as One More Saturday Night (1987) and O.C. and Stiggs (1985).

Songs

  • Bab Mo Tunde (2010)
  • Omo Wunmi (2003)
  • Ariya (2000)
  • Seven Degrees North (Album, 2000)
  • Merciful God (2000)
  • Let Them Say (1987)
  • Syncro System Movement (Album, 1983)
  • Mo Ti Mo (1983)
  • Ja Funmi (1982)

Awards

  • 2x nominee for Grammy Awards for Best World Music/Ethnic Sound (1984, 1999)
  • Inducted into Hard Rock Cafe Hall of Fame (2016), The Headies Hall of Fame (2020), and Afro-pop Hall of Fame, Brooklyn African Festival (2009)
  • He received an appointment to become a visiting professor of music at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (2009)
  • International Reggae and World Music Awards for Outstanding Contribution to World Music and was named King of Music (2008)

5. Davido (Nigerian)

  • Age: 29 years old
  • Real Name: David Adedeji Adeleke
  • The Year started: 
  • Label: DMW, HKN, Sony Music Africa, RCA

First, Davido followed his heart and dropped out of Oakwood University in the United States, but he honored his father to graduate from Babcock University, Nigeria, in 2015. Although it was risky that he attempted to ditch higher education for music, the risky crooner has been able to rise above many in music.

In 2011, he began to work on his first album, Omo Baba Olowo, which would later become his pseudonym. The album skyrocketed Davido to fame, and in just a matter of time, he reached a stage where he would be called among the most celebrated African musicians.

He is most notable for making the most-viewed video by a Nigerian artist on YouTube, Fall. He also broke another record with his song with Chris Brown, Blow My Mind (2019), when the song made a million views within 11 hours to become the most viewed song within that short time frame. His record surpassed Wizkid’s songs Fever and Come Closer, which previously held the position.

Davido’s Most Popular Songs

  • A Better Time (2021)
  • Champion Sound with Focalistic (2021)
  • Jowo (2020)
  • Risk (2019)
  • Blow My Mind Ft. Chris Brown (2019)
  • Fall (2017)
  • If (2017)
  • The Sound Ft. Uhuru and DJ Buckz (2015)
  • Aye (2014)
  • Skelewu (2013)
  • Gobe (2013)
  • All of You (2012)
  • Dami Duro (2011)

His Awards and Recognition

  • Best International Act: Africa at BET Awards (2014)
  • Kora Awards for Best Newcomer Award (2012)
  • Ben TV Awards for Music Video of the Year (2014)
  • 2x Dynamix All Youth Awards for Promising Youth Artist and Song of the Year (2011)
  • 2x African Muzik Magazine Awards for Best Male West Africa and Artist of the Year (2014)
  • MTV Africa Music Awards for Best Male; Artist of the Year (2014)
  • City People Entertainment Awards for Musician of the Year (Male, 2014)
  • 8x The Headies Awards (2018, 2014, 2013, 2012)

4. Trevor Rabin (South African)

  • Real Name: Trevor Charles Rabin
  • Age: 68 years old
  • The Year Started: 1972
  • Label: Chrysalis, Capricorn, RPM, Voiceprint, Jet, Atco, One-Way, Verese Sarabande

The hands of Trevor Rabin have been filled with music as a producer, singer, and songwriter. His career started when he was 18, even though he was born into a musical family.

In music, he has performed as a band member of “Rabbit,” “Yes,” and as a solo artist. In his career, which spans more than four decades, he has created a legend in music and won himself a spot on the list of the most celebrated African musicians.

Trevor Rabin’s songs and Solo Albums

  • Future Memories (2021)
  • Jacaranda (Album, 2012)
  • Something To Hold On To  (1989)
  • I Can’t Look Away (1989)
  • Eyes of Love by Trevor Rabin (1989)
  • Owner of a Lonely Heart (1983)
  • Face to Face (Album, 1979)

Selected Accolades of Rabin

  • 3x ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards for (2010, 2011, 2012)
  • 2x Park City Film Music Festival for Best Impact of Music in a Feature Film (2006), Los Angeles Music Awards for Lifetime Achievement Awards (2004)
  • 1 Grammy award for Best Rock Instrumental (1985) and six other Grammy nominations

3. Burna Boy (Nigerian)

  • Real Name: Damini Ebunomuwa Ogulu
  • Age: 31 years old
  • The year started: 2011
  • Labels: Spaceship, Bad Habits, Atlantic, Warner Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, SESAC

Through his unique blend of voice, lyrics, and style, Burna Boy penetrates through the hard wall of continents as an acclaimed artist. His professional career started in 2011, and only a year after, his music reached many ends.

At present, Burna Boy remains one of the most versatile artists in Africa, having explored genres such as Afro-fusion, Afrobeats, dancehall, hip hop, pop, and R&B. The Port Harcourt 1991 born singer and songwriter is a frequent collaborator with local and international stars that include Wizkid, Youssou N’Dour, Angelique Kidjo, Sauti Sol, John Legend, Jon Bellion, and Justin Beiber.

Some of the Best Works of Burna Boy

  • Twice as Tall (Album, 2020)
  • Wonderful (2020)
  • Odogwu (2020)
  • Monsters You Made Ft. Chris Martin (2020)
  • Wonderful (2020)
  • African Giant (Album, 2019)
  • Ye (2018)
  • On the Low (2018)
  • Gbona (2018)
  • Heaven’s Gate Ft. Lily Allen(2018)
  • L.I.F.E (Album, 2013)
  • Like to Party (2012)

Awards Won By Burna Boy

  • Grammy Awards for Best Global Music Album (2021)
  • 2x BET Awards for Best International Act (2021, 2020)
  • 2x Future Awards Africa for Future Award for Music; Future Prize Young Person of the Year (2019)
  • MOBO Awards for Best International Act (2020)
  • All African Music Awards for West African Male Artist of the Year; Artist of the Year in Africa (2019)
  • The Headies for Artiste of the Year; Song of the Year; and Best Collaboration (2019)

2. WizKid (Nigerian)

  • Age: 32 years old
  • Real Name: Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun
  • Year Started: 2001
  • Labels: Starboy, RCA, Empire Mates Entertainment (EME, former)

A highly dominant figure who has occupied the African music space for more than a decade and continues to make a difference is the 1990 Lagos-born Wizkid. As one of the best African musicians, he has used music to build a continental reputation and reach heights many African artists have not.

Wizkid has made a series of histories in his rise to fame. In February 2021, he became the most streamed artist in Nigeria on Spotify, with more than 3.4 billion streams, to list a few. His rhythm and flow continue to excel, and his commercial success amidst accolades ushers him into a leader among the greatest and most celebrated African musicians.

Most Notable Songs of Wizkid

  • Mood Ft. Buju (2022)
  • Essence Ft. Tems and Justin Beiber (2021)
  • Made in Lagos (Album, 2020)
  • Sounds From The Other Side (Album, 2017)
  • Come Closer Ft. Drake (2017)
  • Ayo (Album, 2014)
  • Jaiye Jaiye (2013)
  • Superstar (Album, 2011)
  • Love My Baby (2011)
  • Holla at Your Boy (2010)

Accolades

  • His song Essence featuring Tems became the first Nigerian song to chart on the US Billboard 100
  • The remix of Essence with Justin Bieber and Tems became the highest song by an African artist to reach No. 11 on the billboard hot 100
  • Wizkid is the Nigerian artist with the most certified songs in CA
  • Grammy Awards for Best Music Video (with Beyonce, 2021)
  • 5x African Entertainment Awards USA for Best Male Artist, Album of the Year, Best Collaboration, Best Video, and Song of The Year (2021)
  • 7x AFRIMA Awards (2017, 2021)
  • 3x BET Awards for HER Awards (2020) and Best Internationa Act Africa (2012, 2017)
  • New African Magazin listed him among the 100 most influential Africans
  • 3x Billboard Music Awards for Top Streaming Song, Top R&B Song, and Top R&B Collaboration (2016)

1. Angelique Kidjo (Beninese)

  • Age: 66 years old
  • The year started: 1982
  • Record Label: Island, Mangom PolyGram, Columbia, Razor & Tie, 429

Kidjo has one of the most powerful voices in Africa. Apart from this, the Beninese native has lasted about three decades, made it to the list of 100 Most Influential People of Time, and continues to make her way through music from the 80s to the 2020s – a height many music acts have not dared to reach.

Kidjo has proven versatile with genres of Afropop, Afrobeat, reggae, world music, fusion, jazz, gospel, and a host of others. She has also explored African indigenous languages and other foreign languages that include French in her music. Little wonder her fame knows no bounds, and her career blossoms with each music released.

Apart from the songs she has recorded throughout her career, she has also recorded songs for movies, TV shows, and documentaries. She remains one of the most celebrated African musicians of all time, as she has recorded huge commercial success, attracted awards, and collaborated with international artists.

Selected Songs and Albums of Angelique

  • Afrika (2021)
  • Africa, One of a Kind Ft. Mr. Eazi, Salif Keita (2021)
  • Mother Nature (Album, 2021)
  • Djin Djin (2007)
  • We Are One (1998)
  • Wombo Lombo (1996)
  • Aye (Album, 1994)
  • Agolo (1994)
  • We We (1992)
  • Batonga (1992)

Some Awards Won By Angelique Kidjo

  • 4X Grammy Award winner for Best World Music Album (2020, 2016, 2015, 2008)
  • 12x nominee (2011, 2005, 2003, 1999, 1995)
  • Forbes Woman Africa Entertainer Award (2022)
  • Time magazine included Angelique in their Time 100
  • Legion of Honor, the highest French award of merit, on January 1, 2021
  • BBC 100 Women List of the most inspiring and influential women in the World (2020)
  • She won an Honorary Doctorate from the UCLouvain University (2020)
  • Angelique was awarded the Dutch Edison Award for her career in the Jazz and World category (2019)
  • All African Music Awards (AFRIMA) for Best Contemporary Artist and Best Female Singer from West Africa (2014)

In conclusion, many celebrated African musicians have made a difference and have helped in the growth of the continent’s music industry. Hence, the above listed is only the tip of the iceberg.

Recap of the 20 Most Celebrated African Musicians

  1. Angelique Kidjo (Beninese)
  2. WizKid (Nigerian)
  3. Burna Boy (Nigerian)
  4. Trevor Rabin (South African)
  5. Davido (Nigerian)
  6. King Sunny Ade (Nigerian)
  7. Youssou N’dour (Senegalese)
  8. TuBaba (Nigerian)
  9. Sarkodie (Ghanaian)
  10. Yemi Alade (Nigerian)
  11. Femi Kuti (Nigerian)
  12. Khaled (Algerian)
  13. Rocky Dawuni (Ghanaian)
  14. Diamond Platnumz (Tanzanian)
  15. Koffi Olomidè (Congolese)
  16. Onyeka Onwuenu (Nigerian)
  17. Slapdee (Zambian)
  18. Fally Ipupa (Congolese)
  19. Awilo Longomba (Congolese)
  20. Oumou Sangarè (Malian)
Ajumoke Nwaeze
Ajumoke Nwaeze is a Creative Writer and Sensational singer, whose essence is to live, love and impact.

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