How are Africans discovering music? The internet. With Africans at home and in the diaspora searching for new offerings by the most trendy acts, Google proved the most useful tool for discovery.
2014 was really the year African artists merged their acts with their online profiles. This led to increased engagement and a wider fan base. Artists who had dominated the early part of of the noughties made way for a new, younger crop of acts with more visible profiles; though some Ghanaian legends remained as popular on the Google charts as younger stars. Like their western counterparts, a mish-mash of music and intrigues in their personal lives kept fans hitting the search buttons. Surprisingly, despite grabbing headlines for their off-stage antics, acts like Tuface, Dencia and P-Square did not hit the top ten in the most searched charts.
Here are the top searched Ghanaian and Nigerian music artistes in the last 12 months.
2014 was a massive year for the 23-year-old Afro-Pop star. He started off with the mid-tempo smash, Aye, before cementing his status as Africa’s number one pop star with collaborations with Mafikizolo on Tchelete, and Ugandan star, Diamond, on Number One. When it came to award shows, Davido was also Africa’s winningest act of the year, with eight individual awards, including an MTV MAMA award for best male.
Chibuzo Azubuike, Phyno, saw his popularity rise in 2014. Not only did he release his highly anticipated, and critically acclaimed No Guts, No Glory album, he rose to popular Nigerian consciousness without a popular dance song, a rare feat on the Nigerian music scene. As well as music, Phyno moved the most merchandise of any Nigerian artiste in 2014, with his Alobam t-shirts.
3. Tiwa Savage
If Davido was the biggest African pop star in 2014, Tiwa Savage was not far behind. She won seven individual awards in the year. Including the MAMA Award for best female, as well as a couple of MOBOs. Tiwa kept her name on the charts with the smash hit collaboration with Patoranking and the Mavin Crew anthem, Dorobucci. As well as the music, her personal life also kept the gossip blogs abuzz – her wedding to her Manager, T-Billz, made top entertainment news countrywide.
4. Don Jazzy
The Mavins boss is never in the headlines for the wrong reasons. Chartwise, Dorobucci held it down. Don Jazzy also maintains an active social media portfolio, using his numerous corporate sponsorship deals to engage with fans through giveaways and Q&As.
2014 was a great year for this veteran, he released his best album in a while, Epiphany. He held the clubs down with Bum Bum and Sankho and also emerged as a fashion icon, which has increased his cache with bloggers.
6. Ice Prince
Born Panshak Zamani, Ice Prince has grown to become a household name within Nigeria and across Africa. In 2014, Ice Prince rode the waves of the success of his sophomore album, Fire of Zamani which was released the previous year. In the last quarter of 2014, he released the single This Could be Us which went on to spur internet memes.
Arguably Nigeria’s most consistent rapper with the rate at which he churns out hits. Olamide has gone on to drop an album every year since his debut in 2011. 2014 saw him drop his fourth album, Street OT, with commercial hits like Story for the gods and Skelemba featuring Don Jazzy. He ended the year with four Headies nominations, taking home two awards for best rap album and album of the year. He also won the Channel O Music Video Awards for the most gifted artist from West Africa.
8. Sean Tizzle
Oluwaseun Oluwabamidele, popularly known as Sean Tizzle, following on from his 2013 success, released the most critically acclaimed pop album of 2014, The Journey. He went on to grab Caribbean African American Nations Award for Best New Musician Of The Year, Nigeria Media Award for Next Rated Artiste among others. He also appeared in the Nigerian drama film, Dazzling Mirage by ace Nigerian movie director Tunde Kelani.
9. Lil Kesh
Keshinro Ololade, better known Lil’ Kesh, is one of the musical revelations of 2014. Few artistes can boast of success after the release of their first album. Signed to Olamide’s record label YBNL, Lil Kesh dropped the single, Shoki which didn’t only take over the airwaves but also led to a viral dance originated by the artist. The Nigerian Broadcasting Commision went on to ban the single but that didn’t dampen the tempo already achieved by the artist. If anything, it drew more attention to the song, much in the same way a 2012 ban of D’banj’s Oliver Twist piqued interests then.
10. Burna Boy
Damini Ogulu, known as Burna Boy, has created quite a profile for himself with his blend of reggae-dancehall in Nigeria. Initially signed to Aristokrat Records he went on to launch his record label Spaceship Entertainment in 2014. Burna is quite adept at generating buzz for himself as an artist. His performance at the Felabration concert in his underpants, as well as his outspokenness on social media, have seen him become a mainstay in the charts and on the gossip blogs. Both his late 2014 singles, Don Gorgon and the Galala inspired Check and Balance have heightened expectation for his 2015 sophomore project.
Sarkodie is known for his staccato fast paced rap delivery. The Ghanaian artist is known to rap both in English and his native Twi dialect. He was nominated for the Best International Act: Africa category at the BET Awards, an award he had previously clinched in 2012. Sarkodie released the album, Sarkology in 2014 and also launched his own record label, Sarkcess Music in the same year.
2. Shatta Wale
2014 was a spectacular year for the Ghanaian dancehall artist, Shatta Wale, clinching a total of 11 awards including the International Reggae and World Music Awards for Best New Entertainer and Nigerian Entertainment Awards for African Artiste of the Year among others. The year wasn’t devoid of controversies for the artist as he was hit by a GHS 10 million ($2,304,223) lawsuit by events company, Charterhouse for defamatory videos released by the artist.
Tiffany’s popularity may have soared for the wrong reasons with the release of a two-part sextape between her and her ex-lover and baby daddy, Frank Gambrah. The timing of the video release coincided with the release of her collaboration with another Ghanaian artist, Fuse ODG. While the collaboration performed decently on the Ghanaian music scene, Ghanaians were more interested in Tiffany’s sextape.
The Ghanaian rapper, Guru is known to have popularised Alkayida dance, a play on the word Al Qaeda, with his hit song Alkayida – boys abr3 in 2013. Fellow ghanaian rapper, Pope Skinny accused Guru of disrespecting him and also stealing his song.
5. Yaa Pono
Solomon Adu Antwi was obviously set to court controversy when he adopted Yaa Pono as his stage name. Yaa in the Akan culture is a name given to a girl child born on Thursday, merging that with Pono leaves little left for the imagination. In an interview in 2014, he stated that he has no plan to change this name while stating that he personally defines Pono to mean versatility. Yaa Pono was involved in a fight with his labelmate Wanlov involving a pregnant girl they were unknowingly dating at the same time. Yaa Pono went on to drop one of the most popular hiplife songs of 2014 in Ghana titled Amen.
6. D Black
Born Desmond Kwesi Blackmore, D Black is a United Nations’ celebrity ambassador in Ghana. In 2014, the rapper started a challenge on instagram where he listed things people didn’t know about him and went on to nominate other Ghanaian celebrities to take on the challenge. Also in November of the same, the rapper premiered his self-produced movie, Why Should I Get Married?, in Ghana.
7. Daddy Lumba
Charles Kojo Fosu, known to fans as Daddy Lumba, is a Ghanaian high life legend who has released 20 albums over the course of his career. The 50 year old’s song Yentie Obiaa, Ye nie woho beto which literally means “we will not listen to anyone, do what will make you comfortable” caused quite a stir when it was played from speakers mounted on vehicles moving along with President John Mahama’s convoy while touring the Ashanti Region. Also in the same year, he is known to have been critical of pastors for telling their congregation not to buy his gospel album because he’s a secular artist.
The reggae artist, who was previously known as Batman Samini, released his fourth album, High-grade, in 2014. He has been involved in a brewing controversy with fellow reggae artist Shatta Wale on who’s the better dancehall artist in Ghana.
The rapper released his third album, Book and Rhymes in 2014. Edem topped the 2014 4syte TV Music Video Awards by clinching three awards for Best Directed, Best Photography and Most Outstanding Video for The One but that didn’t stop him from questioning the credibility of the awards as a whole.
Jane Awindor, the new-soul soul singer popularly known as Efya, released her debut record T.I.N.T in November 2013. The album featured the lead single from the smash hit Ghallywood film, The Contract. This set her in good stead for 2014, and she went on to bag the City People Entertainment Awards for Musician of the Year (Female) and Ghana Music Awards for Best Female Vocal Performance. Also in the same year, Efya along with Ghanaian Actress and Producer, Yvonne Okoro were named as brand Ambassadors for the Head of State Awards Scheme Ghana.