Top 5 Nigerian Artists to Watch in 2019

The Nigerian music industry has moved from the novelty of international collaborations with artists, awards, touring, and making the cut on coveted lists, to confidently taking a seat at the global music table knowing it belongs there. The question becomes, what exactly are its stakeholders negotiating now that they have a seat at the global music table? Do they know their worth? Are they willing to walk away when the deal terms are simply not good? Do they understand their identity and can they help move Nigerian music/Afrobeats from scattered demographics and presence in nations/to global household names?

In 2019, I believe the following top 5 Nigerian artists will help answer the above questions. You should pay attention to them closely. My selections are based on seeming business infrastructures, operations, marketing and promotions, brand care and awareness, digital metrics from sources such as Spotify, You Tube, Next Big Sound, social networks, consistency, discipline, focus, drive, and the teams behind these brands.

Here are the 5 Nigerian artists I believe you should watch in 2019

1. Sinach
Nigeria’s gospel music industry and artists are often omitted when it comes to mainstream music media coverage and visibility. Ironically, many of those mainstream artists topping charts started in the church. Despite the lack of visibility on mainstream’s part, the Nigerian gospel industry and talents have simply crushed the competition. Nigeria’s Sinach in all categories combined remains one of the leading names out of the continent who has taken Nigerian music global, and is fast becoming a household name. She was relatively quiet in 2018 but let’s see what 2019 brings.

2. Davido
Davido has the work ethic, passion, drive and favor that keeps helping him climb heights unknown. He got into a bad deal with Sony a few years ago, but was finally able to renegotiate better deal terms, and get out of the bad deal. The challenge is his focus. Often, he gets distracted with the people he surrounds himself with. He needs to properly vet his team for the weak links, and exercise self-control in consumption of alcohol, among other things, and his dealings with groupies.

3. Patoranking
Patoranking is an artist that is level-headed, and focused on the business of music, and the results show on a local and global level. Let’s see if he has the ability to push himself beyond his comfort zone this 2019.

4. Mr. Eazi
Mr. Eazi is easily one of the few artists in Nigeria’s music industry with a strong business acumen, a clear awareness of his worth, and creative methods of structuring his music enterprise to help take his music and make Afrobeats a household name. The issue is his execution. Let’s see how he executes in 2019.

5. Burna Boy
Burna Boy is a talented artist and thanks to Kanye West who named his album title ‘Ye” to coincide with Burna’s preexisting song titled ‘Ye’, Burna has enjoyed a spike in album sales, search, touring etc. The question is whether Burna can leverage this great spike and attention to propel himself into a global household name. So, far, he seems to be floundering and, in my opinion, continues to exhibit concerns I have voiced in the past i.e. reputation management, ego, and inability to regulate his emotions. Let’s see whether despite these issues, he has a strong team that can help keep him in line and execute his vision for 2019. He should also limit his alcohol and marijuana consumption.

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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