In the Nigerian Music Industry, a lot of value is placed on being a solo act able to chart a journey solely based on vocals and whatever good fortune that propels it. The appeal of a music group is not entirely as enticing as a solo artist. There is also the problem of finding someone or people whose visions align perfectly, sharing accolades and blame, the usual clash with the “leader of the group” and many more issues faced in partnerships of any kind.
Despite this, the music industry has produced a few successful music groups that have had a significant impact on the way we enjoy music. Some of these groups are StylePlus, PSquare, Plantashun Boiz, who dominated the early 2000s and blessed us with back-to-back hits.
Conversations about Nigerian music groups have always been centred around male groups, leaving the impression that Nigerian female groups did not exist. Perhaps this might be as a result of the industry being male dominated, and how women artists are not often taken as seriously. Nevertheless, Nigerian female music groups have existed and do in-fact, still exist. Here are some female music groups you should know.
The twin Lijadu Sisters ruled between the 60s and 80s with their unique fun mix of pop, reggae and Afro-beats. The sisters’ rise to fame began after the release of their first single Iya Mi Jowo in 1971, when they performed with Ginger Baker and his band Salt at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. In the course of their career, they released 6 more projects, 5 of which were under Afrodisia, an imprint of Decca Records. Their influence extended to the USA and Britain, where they appeared on television and made performances. The twins later moved to Brooklyn USA in 1988, subsequently not releasing any more music. In 2014, however, almost 30 years since their last live performance, they made a comeback as members of a band called Atomic Bomb, alongside artists and instrumentalists like David Byrne, Dev Hynes, Kele Okereke, Joshua Redman and many more. The band was a result of a collaboration between Red Bull Music Academy, Luaka Bop and Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), to pay tribute to Nigerian synth-funk star, William Onyeabor. The band performed in multiple venues including The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Show. The Lijadu Sisters officially came to an end following the death of Kehinde Lijadu, who died on the 8th of November 2019.
Desperate Chicks was a girl group consisting of Ursula Ice, Stormrex and Barbie, and was formed by Dekumzy, a Nigerian record producer and musician. The group emerged onto the music scene with their six-track debut album titled Tell them in 2008, which was a hit, especially in the Eastern part of Nigeria. After the group disbanded in 2010, Stormrex and Ursaula Ice released music as solo artists. Stromrex was later signed to Penthauze, a record label owned by Phyno where she collaborated with Olamide on her track Walk With Me and was featured on Phyno’s Nnunu. Ursula Ice was retained at Dekumzy’s label where she released an album One Night in 2011.
Adunni & Nefertiti
The music group is known for their folklore and indigenous sound. The lead singer Orobiyi Motunrayo Abiodun (Adunni) created the all-female group to project African culture and music through the mixture of myth, history, and proverbs into their songs. Since their inception in 2006, the group have produced music that resonates with people on a spiritual and impactful level. Despite the genre of music they perform, their songs have reached crowds beyond the African sphere.
Encouraged by their late mother, twin sisters HRH Shay and Princess Annamay banded together with their younger sister, Baby-Kay, to form a music group. Although born and raised in the UK, the British-Nigerian singers kept in touch with their home country, which is reflected in the fusion of Afropop and RnB in the music they make. They debuted with their mixtape SHiiKANE Touched This which was released in 2009 and have since dropped more EP and singles up until 2019 under their own recording label, M.A. Records. The high points in their career were between the years 2015 and 2019, when they performed at Olamide’s 2016 OLIC3 concert and were nominated for at least 10 awards, including the Nigerian Music Video Awards and the Black Entertainment, Film, Fashion, Television, Arts and Sports Awards (where they have won 2 awards). The group currently hosts a podcast called The SKiiKANE Podcast, where they talk about relationships, finances, friendships and everything in between.