Apple Music announces Sykes as the Up Next artist in South Africa

Singer-songwriter Sykes, has been named the next recipient of Apple Music’s Up Nextprogram for November, a local version of their global emerging artist platform, which they launched early in 2021.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to finally see the results of so much of my hard work and dedication,” he tells Apple Music. “I will forever be grateful to Apple Music for this wonderful opportunity. I also promise to continue being the gift that keeps giving. It feels good to be #UpNext!”

As a child growing up in Durban, Sykes was more interested in getting better acquainted with musical instruments than he was with toys, which led to him learning his first chord at age 7, and playing keyboards in the church band at age 9. It was only during his second year of university in 2020 that he began to take a possible career in music seriously, after featuring on Prince Kaybee’s “Ayabulela”

But it was earlier this year that Sykes’ career exploded when a freestyle of his then unreleased single, “Sisekaneni Babies”, went viral on social media. This prompted his move to SA’s musical mecca, Johannesburg, where he connected with Grammy Awards winner, Nomcebo Zikode, and signed to her label Emazulwini Productions soon after. 

His highly anticipated debut EP Most Wanted (2023) is available to stream on Apple Music. The seven track fusion of Afrotech, gqom and amapiano is a testament to the singer’s versatility and enhanced by the inclusion of Azana, Skillz and RudeBoyz. 

As the newest Up Next artist to be spotlighted in South Africa, Sykes will be featured across Apple Music’s South African Up Next playlist The curated Up Next playlist features a dynamic class of new and emerging artists, thoughtfully hand-picked by Apple Music editors from around the world.The playlist is genre agnostic and represents a line-up of artists our global editors are passionate about and eager to expose to a larger audience. 

The vast global Up Next roster of past talent includes Grammy-nominated and critically lauded talent like 6lack, Daniel Caesar, H.E.R., Greta Van Fleet, Khalid, Amy Shark, Billie Eilish, Sabrina Claudio, Sigrid, Mr Eazi, Stefflon Don, Bad Bunny, Juice WLRD, Bazzi, Jax Jones, NCT 127, Summer Walker, Tierra Whack, Dean Lewis, Pink Sweat$, Koffee, Megan Thee Stallion, Burna Boy, Clairo, Lunay, Jessie Reyez, Orville Peck, Victoria Monét, Ingrid Andress, Conan Gray, Don Toliver, Rema, BENEE, Holly Humberstone, Natanael Cano, Givēon, beabadoobee, Arlo Parks, Tate McRae, Fousheé and Tems


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