Africa’s Rising Female Stars: Standing on Business

Historically, across most genres of music, men have been the overwhelmingly dominant force in the music industry. However, with the advent of the streaming era, there has been a welcomed shift towards women who, now more than ever, are taking the lead.

With all eyes turned to the African continent for stylistic direction within the music landscape, there is a cohort of women who have taken the bull by its horns and these incredibly gifted artists have amassed millions of streams. In this article we will be profiling women from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa as they represent the west, east and southern regions of Africa respectively.

 Ayra Starr (Nigeria)

Bursting onto the scene with her debut offering , “19 and Dangerous”, the then 19 year old piqued the attention of listeners across the global. Under the guidance of Don Jazzy and the Mavin Records team, some might feel that Ayra Starr was destined to become a star. She followed up her debut offering with the deluxe version of her debut offering. The single “Rush” proved to be a smash hit and solidified her position as a premiere talent on a global scale with the song amassing over 330 million total listens, according to Spotify

Tiwa Savage (Nigeria)

Tiwa Savage is an artist that requires no introduction. Her value and presence in the game cannot be understated. Perhaps the most reliable tool in her ever growing locker is her ability to remain relevant through the ebbs and flows of the industry. At the time of writing, her 2023 single titled “Stamina” has amassed over 32 million streams (Sourced from Spotify). A truly global artist with the cache and stature to match. 

Bloody Civilian (Nigeria)

Bloody Civilian is relatively a newcomer on the scene with her debut offering coming in 2023. However, the quality of her music has pierced through the rest of the noise in her home country of Nigeria to being recognised by Gen Z listeners across the globe. At the time of writing, her song titled “Mad Apology” had amassed over 1 million streams, according to Spotify

Xenia Manasseh (Kenya)

Debuting on DSP’s with her 2019 single, “Niambie”, she has steadily built a strong following and reputation for the quality of her output. Of all of the wonderful artists, the Kenyan carries a sound closer to that of western R&B which she drapes in her own unique style. What could be considered as her breakthrough moment was her performance on Colors Studio with the song “Wild Ride”.  

Nikita Kering (Kenya)

Kenyan R&B artist Nikita Kering is perhaps the most polished artist in the field of Afro R&B. Her debut offering titled “A Side of Me” reverberated across the global airways. More recently her single “Last Name” has collected a total of 6 431 465 streams, according to Spotify, at the time of writing. The downtempo song proves to be a favourite even though it exists in the hyper social focused sounds that dominate the airways. 

Tyla (South Africa)

South African superstar Tyla has been making unprecedented waves in the world of music, culminating in a Grammy award. What makes Tyla so special is her ability to create highly palatable music of an infectious nature. Her dainty vocals serenade afro-centric production that speaks to the sounds that the world is craving. 

Makhadzi (South Africa)

Makhadzi is a Venda artist who hails from South African. If there was eve a picture of authenticity, it would be Makhadzi. She proudly represents her culture in every facet of her culture, but especially in the music. Outside of her music, she is renowned for her electric live performance which has placed her as one of the best live performers in the country. 

Women Empowerment 

We can’t talk about the stellar women that stand on business without talking about institutions that continually provide a platform for women to shine. One such platform is Spotify. Spotify launched their EQUAL program in 2021. The thinking behind the program is to provide a platform that celebrates and champions women in music across the globe. With several African women grabbing the highly touted billboard in Times Square. In a Spotify statement, Bel Aztiria, Lead, Socia, Social and Equity Music Programs had this to say, “Since its inception, our mission to foster equity for the diverse voices of women in audio has resonated in studios and communities and on stages worldwide. We’re honured to continue collaborating with iconic and emerging artists this year and highlighting women audiobook and podcast creators in EQUAL hub.

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