18 Nigerian Artists To Watch In 2023

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As a music lover, nothing beats the feeling of finding cool emerging artists in the scene and putting your friends and family on (if you’re not selfish), and the year 2022 had a lot of interesting people fall on our radars. Some people like going out of their way to find these upcoming acts while others don’t mind stumbling upon them randomly on Twitter or in an article like this one. As much as it was a great year for already established Nigerian artists like Rema, Tems, and Burna Boy, 2022 also turned out to be one of the best years yet for Nigeria’s music industry upcomers.

Artists today have so many different platforms where new fans can find them. Whether it’s leveraging platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to gain viral hit songs, being a songwriter/producer for other artists, performing on a TV competition show, or engaging with fans on social media — several avenues could help kick start an artist’s career to another level, giving them more control over their music and leading a disruptive shift in the industry.

In this article, we spotlight 18 rising Nigerian acts that are either promising upcoming releases or on the cusp of blowing up. Here is a list of buzzing artists to watch in 2023:


Artist: Smada

Bio: Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Adams Olabode, professionally known as Smada, is an artist and songwriter widely known for his genre bending music that flows between Afro-pop to Indie and Trap. His music journey kicked off in 2018 and since then Smada has generated a unique discography, amassing over 500K streams on all platforms with two EP’s under his belt, seeing him build a commanding presence on social media with almost 45K Twitter followers, 36K TikTok followers and 14K Instagram followers. A rising star, Smada has just signed a deal with NATIVE records, with Ye Anthem the first in an exciting series of releases planned on the label, as his sound looks set to propel globally in 2023.

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                                                                                                       OdumodublvckOdumodu Blvck Native Records

Artist: Odumodublvck

Bio: Born in Lagos and raised in Abuja, Odumodublvck is one of the most exciting voices to emerge from the Nigerian capital in the last decade. Whilst being a pioneering voice of drill music in Nigeria and recently championed by UK grime legend Skepta, he operates under a self-defined genre he calls ‘Okporoko rhythms’: a form of hip-hop that takes influences from grime, Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat, and progressive R&B. Odumodublvck has drawn comparisons with the late DMX for his gritty yet melodic flow,. Since releasing his first single in 2017, the Abuja-repping rapper is now reaping the rewards for his groundwork and rarely shying away from the limelight, having called out the government on the track Potor Potor, and the police on Commot for Sanko, the Anti-World Gangsters & Blvck Sheep Music collectives founder enjoyed breakthrough success with his #1 single Dog Eat Dog in September, and has since signed a record deal as the first artist on the newly launched NATIVE records. 

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YKB San Siro

Artist: YKB

Bio: YKB, whose real name is Yusuf Oluwo, is an Afropop singer and songwriter. He was born on March 6, 1995. He spent most of his childhood in Ketu, Lagos, Nigeria where he developed an inclination towards music. YKB is gifted at crafting melodies and is a versatile artist. His music is a fusion of Afrobeats and RnB, Trap music, and Hip-hop. He has continued to push his music independently, using platforms like SoundCloud and Audiomack to further spread his music to an audience. He has steadily built for himself a solid fanbase. With 55k Instagram followers, 13k TikTok followers, and 20k Twitter followers, YKB is slowly making sure that he becomes a force to be reckoned with in the industry. 

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Artist: Ninety 

Bio: Born February 1996, Ninety, whose real name is Alabo Tuonims, emerges at a time when the Afrobeats genre is evolving with Late Millennials and Gen Z shifting specific themes and styles of traditional genres in music. As Afrobeats becomes a much fuller and richer type of sound with better lyrics, better production, international features, varying delivery styles and the like, Ninety is gradually establishing himself as a musical mainstay from Port Harcourt to the world. Formerly known as Ninety6, Ninety identifies as an Afro-Fusion artiste, blending Pop, R&B, Dancehall and Reggae into a flawless hybrid.

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Artist: PDSTRN 

Bio: Born July 27 1999 in Lagos, Nigeria and raised between Lagos & Toronto, Canada, Bennett Obeya professionally known as PDSTRN is a rapper, singer, and songwriter on the rise in the industry. With the first song he ever wrote TOXIC being on the WeTalkSound’s critically acclaimed compilation album LOFN; an album that went #1 on the Apple Music Alternative Charts in Nigeria in 2020, and winning the Hennessy Artistry VS Class VIII. PDSTRN has adopted a unique approach to his career via his writing and speaking on delicate topics, with his coarse baritone voice and unique singing style that merges his rapping and singing into a perfect sonical blend to assist with the rhythmic flavour of employed instrumentals.

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Artist: Oladapo 

Bio: Tonade Oladapo Adetunji, better known by his stage name Oladapo, was born on the 19th of August 1999. He is a Nigerian singer and songwriter who hails from Ogun state. His music career officially kicked off in 2018, where he started releasing freestyle videos on his Instagram page and building an audience composed mostly of students of The University of Lagos. In 2019, his debut single Mango got shortlisted by Mr. Eazi’s music initiative Empawa Africa and that platform enabled him to further propel his music career. His musical style which he describes as Afro-fusion is more of a mixture of highlife sounds with distinctive contemporary elements embellished gracefully with his local influences which comprises his mother tongue, Yoruba, and the Nigerian pidgin. He aims for his music to be emotionally intimate, bridging the gap between himself, the music and its listeners, sharing a true connection.

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Artist: Lamii

Bio: Lamii is an emerging artist with an uncanny intuition for melding melodies and his artistic range over instrumentals. His range as an artist makes it difficult to bucket him solely under one genre as he dabbles in highlife and pop with obvious influences from other genres like amapiano and fuji. We’re tipping him for big things after watching him deliver his debut headline show in DC, last August, with a stage presence that even the stars aspire for.

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Artist: Kold AF

Bio: Kold AF (formerly known as Koel) is an emerging female Nigerian artist with a distinctive sound and style to her. The 22 year old Itsekiri native’s real name is Aninooritsewarami Alero Oritsesan and she is unsurprisingly quite influenced by Southern Nigerian artistes like Burna boy, Cynthia Morgan, Rema and Timaya. Kold AF hones an eclectic sound that she has classed as “Afro-Fusion” and this claim is evident in her adeptness at blending and bending different genres with a core foundation in her elemental genres: Afrobeats, Soul, Dancehall and R&B.

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Artist: Somadina

Bio: Lagos-based Nigerian artist Somadina, with ties to the Netherlands and London, bleeds talent. The young artist has been taking the industry by storm for some time now: starting with her 2018 single Ihy, which set the tone for the singer. Shortly after, her popular single Lay Low ft Nigerian artist Orinayo, was released in 2019. A duet-themed R&B ballad consisting of heart-felt lyrics wrapped in boundless emotion. Following the fast-moving artistic progression of Somadina came a 5 track EP titled, Five Stages, which was released in 2020. Later that year, she also showcased a different, more wild side of herself and released her popular single Kno Me featuring the well-known Nigerian-based artist SGaWD. In 2022, she released her debut album Heart Of The Heavenly Undeniable that includes Nollywood punk, afro-psychedelic future nostalgia, indie rock and an alternative spirit that’s both wild and weird, sweet and dangerous.

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Artist: SixSaidIt

Bio: Six is a Nigerian Rapper/Songwriter that was born and raised In the UK, but also shares her roots with Atlanta, GA and New York City, USA. Because of her cosmopolitan background, Six presents a fresh take on global hip hop/rap by including her varying cultural influences in her music. She has been able to convey these contrasting sounds to a diverse audience by luring them in with what seems to be familiar, and then capturing them with the discovery of sub-genres they may have not been exposed to before. She Identifies herself as a (h)it girl because her music and her Image appeal and Influence the masses.

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Artist: Pawzz

Bio: Born on December 14, 2002 in Port Harcourt, Nigerian artist David Tokuma Dekor, better known by his stage name Pawzz, is an Afropop singer and rapper. As a distinctive brand, Pawzz wants to leverage his individuality to appeal to and have an impact on the youth of tomorrow. “Normality” is a crime, in Pawzz’s opinion, that shouldn’t be accepted because it doesn’t promote the advancement of people, groups, or countries in any way. His music is an expression of his inner self, containing raw, unfiltered thoughts and emotions. His music’s spiritual essence evokes a sense of inclusiveness in people of all backgrounds. 

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Artist: SGaWD

Bio: For rapper, singer, and songwriter SGaWD, music is that space where she can be free to talk about things happening in her life in a way that conversation can’t match. Her music displays both emotional honesty and artistic versatility as she’s able to rap with a ferocity matched by the razor-blade sharpness of her pen yet sing with a tenderness that warms the depths of the heart. There is no comfort zone with this young talent, she is ready to do whatever it takes to make sure her voice is heard in the way that it needs to be. She’s here to remove the traditional notion of what a Nigerian woman needs to be as an artist and make her own rules completely. A force to be reckoned with, she is here to show why she belongs in the conversation with Nigeria’s next generation of musical stars.

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Artist: SirBastein

Bio: SirBastien is a French-Nigerian multi-instrumental multi-genre singer, songwriter and producer from Ibadan, Nigeria known mostly for African alternative music. He draws his inspiration from Beatenberg, The Lijadu Sisters, and Galimatias. The Ibadan-based artiste started out in 2019 and has since released two mixtapes: Mango and Mango Island, and one EP Jellyfish. SirBastien has also released several singles which have collectively garnered almost a million streams across platforms.

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                                                                                      Bloody Civilian

Artist: Bloody Civilian

Bio: Born and raised in Abuja, Nigeria, Bloody Civilian is a genre-defying singer, whose penchant for storytelling manifests in her authentic, unbridled, and poetic lyricism. Initially, delving into music as a form of poetic expression, Bloody Civilian’s parents were her first audience, to whom she’d write and perform songs, though soon enough she’d take to the public stages of church, talent shows, and school performances. Her repertoire grew quickly, with the help of Audacity, where a 12-year-old Bloody Civilian began studying music production, which has now evolved into a stunning self-produced debut single How To Kill A Man. A storyteller before anything, a driving force of Bloody Civilian’s work is to empower and platform African art. Bloody Civilian hopes that her career will be marked by her distinct dedication to uplifting her African culture and heritage in every space she encounters.

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Artist: Raybekah

Bio: Rebecca Chinonso Arinola popularly known as Raybekah hails from Abia state, she was born in Lagos on the 15th of September 1996. She is a sought-after young and dynamic artiste with a creative style of music genre who gets inspiration from the happenings in her life and its environment. Raybekah started writing lyrics in her secondary school days but officially started music at age 15 (2011) and has Five tracks and 2 videos to her credit. The young artiste is blessed with a sensational voice coupled with a graceful personality and a humble confidence that has informed comments about her. She has done covers for some of the A-list musicians in Nigeria and the diaspora. In 2019, she got shout-outs from artists like Wizkid and Davido, commending her talent and voice and marking her out as a major talent. In early 2020 she signed to ORA Records. Rebecca is optimistic that her music will impact the lives of young people and will give them hope that their dreams will surely come to reality if they don’t give up.

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Artist: WANI

Bio: Nigerian singer/songwriter WANI is one of the acts at the forefront of a budding AfroRNB genre with clear influences from other genres. Although he was born in Washington DC, WANI makes it very clear that the majority of his musical foundation is built on memories of his childhood growing up in Lagos. Time spent in the UK and Chicago while in school also play a major part in the influences WANI blends together to create the sub-genre he has rightfully made his own with stellar releases. The sound is responsible for his debut project Lagos City Vice.

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Artist: dndSection

Bio: dndSection is an Atlanta-based Nigerian artist who uses his music to tell stories of his unique perspective of two different sides of the world. With his music, he just wants to tell his story to those who are willing to listen and learn from his experiences. Not constrained to a particular genre, dndSection displays his versatility through his music and shows he has boundless potential.

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Artist: Toyé

Bio: Toyé (Oluwatoyin Toyé Oladehinde) has been credited for writing Davido, Chris Brown and Young Thug’s Shopping Spree. He’s been able to build a solid following in the diaspora. With a refreshing twist of Afropop and an ability to recreate your favorite song and make it feel like his, Toyé is in takeover mode. Even though he’s been in the music industry for over 4 years Toyé still feels like one of the scene’s best secrets and 2023 should be the year he puts out his first project which should propel him even further than he’s currently come.

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