Apple Music’s Up Next program is perhaps one of the premier platforms for upcoming artists. Launched in 2017 with 6lack, the platform selects a rising artist on a monthly basis, for which it will use “all of its resources to give their music visibility to new audiences.” This will include a introductory documentary shot on each artist, an audio EP from a live session which will include an interview and live performance on Beats 1 and an appearance on a late night TV show which Apple Music has partnered with. Previous beneficiaries include Mr Eazi, Koffee, HER and Stefflon Don.
As Burna Boy gears up for a potential 2nd consecutive year as the Man of the Year and the release of his African Giant album, he benefits from the Apple machine. To the Nigerian observer, Burna might not qualify as an upcoming artist but its worth looking at this in the global context. In announcing his selection, Apple said that his music has already been streamed more than 100million times on Apple Music globally, aided by support from in-house playlists including The Plug, New Fire and The A-List: African Music. Burna Boy will be appearing on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! TV show in the US later this month; is getting a short film made by Apple; and an in-depth interview for Apple’s Beats 1 radio station. The interview conducted by Julie Adenuga seeks to get to the roots of the real Burna and the experiences that inform his worldview. He also expands on the point made by his mom-manager, Bose Ogulu in her victory speech at the BET awards.