Top 10 Female African Singers African music is becoming increasingly popular, thanks in large part to the incredible African singers who have brought it unprecedented recognition.
From African men musicians like Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Davido to African women musicians like Angelique Kidjo, Aya Nakamura, and Tems. In recent times, women have been taking the fore front more than ever. In this article, we bring you a comprehensive list of the top 10 amazing African female singers taking African music to the next level.
Here are the top 10 African female singers you ought to know!
Beninese singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo is a five-time Grammy award winner and the most awarded African female artist in history. She was born into a family with a rich background in music. While her father was a musician, her mother worked as a choreographer and theatre director. In September 2021, the 62-year-old singer was included by Time in their list of “100 most Influential people in the world”. Also, Kidjo is the first woman to be listed among “The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa” by Forbes magazine. She is the only African female singer to have performed in front of world leaders, including former American president Donald Trump and France’s President Emmanuel Macron. On April 3, 2022, Angelique’s Mother Nature wins “Best Global Music Album” at the 64th Grammy award, beating Nigerian Wizkid, whose record-breaking album Made In Lagos was nominated in the same category.
Born Temilade Openiyi on 11 June 1995, Tems is a Nigerian singer who rose to prominence after she featured on Wizkid’s 2020 single “Essence”, which reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. That same year, she released her first EP titled For Broken Ears. In 2021, she featured on “Fountain” off Canadian rapper Drake’s album Certified Lover Boy. In 2022, her vocals from her song “Higher” were sampled by American rapper Future on his single “Wait for U”, which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 – Tems, therefore, making history as the first African female singer to reach such milestone. In the same year, she won 2 BET awards in a single night, one being for “Essence” as Best Collaboration and the other being for herself as Best International Act. Other international awards she has won include 2 Soul Train Music Awards, 2 American Music Awards, 2 NAACP Image Awards, 1 BMI London Awards and 02 Silver Clef Awards. Also worth mentioning, Tems has received 4 nominations at the Grammys, 2 of which are still pending.
Yemi Alade is a Nigerian Afropop singer. She won the MTV African Music Awards for Best female in 2015 and 2016 consecutively and was nominated for Artiste of the Year in 2015, making her the first female to win the MAMAs for Best female consecutively twice and nominated for Artiste of the Year. She was nominated for the BET awards for Best International Act: Africa in 2015 and 2016 respectively. On 27 June 2020, Yemi Alade performed in the Global Goal: Unite for Our future alongside international artists like Miley Cyrus, Shakira, J Balvin, Jennifer Hudson, Coldplay, Usher and Justin Bieber. She is the most followed African female singer on Instagram and one of the female singers with the most YouTube subscribers and views in Africa.
4. Aya Nakamura
Aya Nakamura was born May 10, 1995, in Bamako, Mali. Nakamura is a French-Malian pop star, best known by her hit song “Djadja”. She released her debut album, Journal Intime, in 2017, which got her her first Platinum certification in France, Portugal, and Spain. In 2018, she released “Djadja”, the first single from her sophomore album Nakamura, which was certified Diamond in France. The song opened a lot of doors for her, smashing and setting records. Nakamura is the most viewed African female singer on YouTube, amassing over 3 billion views on the platform. She also has the highest YouTube subscribers among African female artists. Her subscribers are about 6.41 million. In 2021, she won Apple Music Awards for Artist of the Year (France).
Tiwatope Savage, popularly known as Tiwa Savage, is a Nigerian singer-songwriter, born on 5 February 1980, in Lagos State, Nigeria. When she was 11, her family relocated to London, where she would do backup vocals for English singer George Michael and other international artists such as Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Blu Cantrell, Emma Bunton and Kelly Clarkson before eventually returning to Nigeria to pursue a career in music. Fondly called Queen of Afrobeats, she has grown into a force to be reckoned with. In 2018, Tiwa Savage becomes the first woman to win Best African Act at the MTV Europe Awards.
6. Sho Madjozi
Born Maya Christinah Xichavo Wegerif, Sho Madjozi is a South African rapper, singer, songwriter, and actress. She shot to fame in 2017 with the release of her debut single “Dumi HiPhone”. Her debut studio album was released on 14 December 2018. In June 2019, Madjozi won a BET Award for Best New International Act at the BET Awards 2019. In July 2019, she was included in the Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 creatives category list, alongside Nigerian Afrofusion singer Burna Boy. In 2020, she won Favorite Artist (Africa) at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. She’s signed to Epic Records, US.
Ama Serwah Genfi, known
professionally as Amaarae, is a Ghanaian singer. In 2020, Amaarae released the song “Sad Girlz Luv Money” featuring Moliy on her debut album The Angel You Don’t Know. The song appeared on various international charts, including reaching number 80 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Niniola was born 15 December 1986. She’s a Nigerian singer and songwriter. Her unique music style and sound earned her the title “Queen of Afro-house”. The energetic singer got her breakthrough in 2014 with her debut single “Ibadi”. In 2019, her gold certified hit single “Maradona” was sampled in “Find Your Way Back”, a song from Beyoncé’s soundtrack album The Lion King: The Gift. In 2020, she received her Grammy nomination certificate for her work as a composer on The Lion King: The Gift. In 2021, Niniola got inducted into the Grammy Recording Academy Class of 2021.
Simi is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and sound engineer. She shot to stardom in 2014 after releasing the song “Tiff”. Later in 2015, she won the Most Promising Act to Watch at the Nigeria Entertainment Award. Simi got international recognition after she released her critically acclaimed self-titled second album Simisola, which debut at number 5 on the Billboard World Albums chart.
10. Ayra Starr
Ayra Starr, whose real name is Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe, is a 20-year-old singer from Nigeria. She rose to stardom in 2021 following the release of her debut album 19 & Dangerous, which produced the instant hit “Bloody Samaritan”. She’s signed to a Nigerian label, Mavin Records, and is label mate to Afrobeats star Rema. In December 2022, Ayra Starr’s single “Rush” appeared in former American president Barack Obama’s Favorite Songs of 2022 list. In 2021, she received a nomination for Best African Music Act at the MOBO Awards.
Among these top 10 African female singers, who is your favorite?