This a list of 11 Most Popular Nigerian Artists in the world. This lists include musicians of other nationalities but with Nigerian parentage and list was compiled by taking a look at the artistes’ exposure, their popularity, their achievements on an international level and the number of fans they have been able to amass on the social media.
The Kokomaster, as he is known, is one of Nigeria’s most successful and richest musicians. His journey to startdom stardom started with the single “” which he released in 2006 with the help of long-time associate, Don Jazzy. It wasn’t long before the song became an anthem of sorts throughout the country, He followed this up with other successful tracks, most of which he recorded along with other artistes of the MO Hits Allstars. The peak of his career so far probably came with the release of the song “Oliver Twist” which featured Kanye West in 2012.
10. Nneka Egbuna
Nneka Lucia Egbuna is one of the most popular Africans residing in Germany. Her father is from Anambra State in Nigeria, while her mother is a German. She and her family migrated to Germany when she was 18 to enable her study abroad and develop her budding musical skills. She has released songs that have been received positively by music critics the world over.
The France-based songstress is one of Nigeria’s most recognizable musical exports. She was born to Nigerian parents in Paris, but began her musical career back home in Nigeria following the influence of indigenous African musicians like Angelique Kidjo and soul musicians like Marvin Gay and Erykah Badu.
8. TuFace Idibia
He was the first Nigerian act to hit the limelight at the international level in the 21st century following the release of his major hit track, African Queen. He was born in Jos, Plateau State to Idoma parents. He dropped out from the Institute of Management and Technology, IMT Enugu, to pursue a career in music. It was a move that would eventually turn out to be a wise decision as he catapulted himself to the apex of the Nigerian music industry.
They are the most popular music acts based in Nigeria. The duo, composed of twins Peter and Paul Okoye, and managed by elder brother Jude “Engees” Okoye, are household names in Nigeria. They are signed to Akon’s Konvict Music as well as their own record label, Square Records. Their major inspiration was the late music icon, Michael Jackson, whom they mimicked in their days of humble beginnings. Today they are one of the most marketable faces in the Nigerian entertainment industry, banking on their fame in Nigeria and their immense popularity in East and Southern Africa.
6. Sade Adu
Folashade Helen Adu is a Nigerian-British soul musician, born in Ibadan and tutored in England. She achieved worldwide fame and acclaim in the 1980s as the lead vocalist of the multi-platinum selling group, Sade, which was named after her. She is the first Nigerian to win a Grammy award, a feat she achieved in 1986 with her band, Sade. Sade has sold more than 40 million units till date.
The controversial Grammy Award-winning rapper was born Hakeem Seriki in Washington DC to a Muslim father and a Christian mother, both of Nigerian extraction. At a very age, the family relocated to a rough neighbourhood in Houston, Texas. It was a move that would go on to shape the rest of his life. While in Houston, he was influenced by hardcore acts such as The Geto Boys and Public Enemy. His first solo album, The Sound of Revenge, peaked at number 10 in the Billboard 200 US chart following its release in November 2005. He is best known for his 2007 Grammy Award-winning rap single, “Ridin’”, which featured Krayzie Bone of the Bone Thugs-n-Harmony fame.
Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, popularly known by his stage name Wale (Wah-lay), is an American rapper best known for his single “Pretty Girls”. He has rubbed shoulders with the very best in the American music industry including the likes of Lady Gaga, Wiz Khalifa and Pharrell Williams. He has two BET awards in his kitty.
Henry Olusegun Olumide“Seal” Adeola Samuel is perhaps more famous for his long time relationship with supermodel Heidi Klum than for the music he makes. But that does not belittle his musical credentials in any way. So far, he has four Grammy awards to his name, as well as making numerous hit singles that ended up at number 1 in various charts around the world. In 1994 he recorded the Batman Forever theme song, “Kiss from a Rose” which remains his greatest hit till date. The song went on to win three awards at the 1996 Grammy Awards, including the Song of the Year. His 7-year marriage to German model, Heidi Klum, was the toast of the paparazzi as they were trailed everywhere they went and everything they did ended up on the pages of tabloids and celebrity magazines. The relationship which produced 3 beautiful children ended in 2012. He has sold more than 20 million albums in his career.
2. Taio Cruz
With 11 million likes on his Facebook fan page and over 2 million followers on Twitter, he is the most popular celebrity of Nigerian extraction as far as the social media goes. Two of his songs (“Break Your Heart” and “Dynamite”) have peaked at number one at the US Billboard Singles Chart. Associated acts include Travie Mccoy, Ludacris, Pitbull and DJ David Guetta. He also performed along with Tinie Tempah and Jessie J at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games. It was later revealed that he was actually actually the one billed to record the single “Umbrella” before missing out to R&B superstar, Rihanna.
1. Tinie Tempah
He is followed by Barack Obama on Twitter! And he has nearly 3.6 million followers on Facebook. Mention Chukwuemeka Patrick Okogwu and people will give you a blank stare, but mention Tinie Tempah and everybody knows who you are talking about. He was born to Nigerian parents from Ibusa, Delta State, but he has spent all his life in London. He is one of the UK’s hottest rappers at the moment, with two of his singles peaking at number 1 (“Pass Out” and “Written in the Stars”) in the UK Singles Chart of 2010. He has collaborated with the best of the best in the music world including Rihanna, Rita Ora, Eric Turner, the defunct Swedish House Mafia, J Cole and Snoop Dogg. His most popular track till date, “Written in the Stars”, was the official theme song for WWE’s Wrestlemania 27 and it was also used to usher in the New York Giants for Super Bowl 46. He has performed at various top events in the world including the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics where he performed “Written in the Stars”. The performance was watched by an estimated global television audience of 750 million.