5 Emerging Nigerian Artistes Making ‘Good Music’

It is often said that there aren’t many Nigerian artistes making ‘good music’ but this is not true. A good number of Nigerian artistes are making fine music today, we only need to correct our definition of good music.

Generally, people believe that only a few Nigerian artistes make good music and the lot are only noise makers. As a lovers of Nigerian music, if you are asked to point out artistes making good music in the country, you are more likely to look in the direction of Asa, Timi Dakolo and Darey. I would have to weigh in on the debate of what good music is or isn’t in another article, but for the purpose of this article, I would agree with the popular view that good music sounds in a certain way and that in Nigeria; Asa, Timi, Dare, are the ones making good music.

There is no doubt that these artistes have distinguished themselves from the generality of music makers in the industry. They have taken up the difficult task of marketing music with lyrically depth to Nigerians, when it is easier to make the popular kind of music. Interestingly, these group of artistes have been successful at it. Because of the uniqueness of their music, they are regarded as makers of ‘good music’ by many.

Their exploits has paved the way for a new generation of artistes who have now joined in making conscious music. Today, the industry is opening up to these new stars that have learnt from older generation artistes and used the knowledge to shape their own innate musical talents to become refined artistes. Because they seem to have the musical skill that not many have, coupled with the fact that there are only few artistes towing this road of making ‘good music,’ the few ones in the field are accorded a special kind of respect. They are the kind of artistes you turn to when you need a break from the norm, when you crave for the soothing effect from listening to music. Here are 5 new emerging Nigerian artistes making ‘good music’:

Johnny Drille

Honestly, he is perhaps the future of RnB/Country/Soul music in Nigeria. Don Jazzy was quick to see this and so he snapped him up to Mavin Records. Johnny Drille is one of the artistes we can rely on to continually serve us conscious music in Nigeria for a long time. He is a rare music gem; an amazing singer, he writes good lyrics and interestingly, he produces music too. He is very similar to Ed Sheeran. He is one of the many products of the famous MTN Project Fame Academy in the industry. He became most people’s favourite after the release of the Wait For Me video but before that, Johnny Drille has been making the kind of music that legends make. Asides from his brilliant compositions, he has a habit of making song covers in a way that you’d prefer it to the original song. Try listen to his cover version of Awww and Hello and you’d agree with me that the boy understands music to its depth.

Ric Hassani

I didn’t hear about him until recently. Everyone in my circle had been raving about this guy that knows the rhythm and blues of music. Most times in the past, when people talked to me about him, I reacted with a nose dive. But when his charm would get to me, it got me trading all my skepticism for wild excitement. I first heard his song Police, it was so appealing that I wanted to hear more of his songs. Then I heard Gentleman, I knew straightaway that this is quality. By the time I’d  get to listen to Marry You, I had become a fan. I was ashamed not to have listened to him earlier. I even got more fascinated by the brilliance of Ric Hassani when I started following him on Twitter, the depth of thoughts and perspectives that inspires his music, are evident in his every post. I am sure more beautiful music would be made by Ric.


I stumbled on Orinayo’s music on Sound Cloud and I was wondering, ‘who is this Nigerian guy that sings like John Legend?’ I found out he is a Nigerian artiste based abroad. Even with this, he maintains a strong connection with Nigeria and this connection is evident in his music. Orinayo makes the kind of music that reaches out to your soul. Interestingly, he has a stockpile of those in his portfolio. He might not yet be a regular face on your screens or a voice you hear everywhere around, but his voice is unique and his sound is amazing, it is even better that he is Nigerian. He is definitely one artiste that can connect the Nigerian audience and those outside, in enjoying the beauty of his gift.

Lady Donli

The lady whose music is deeper than what you can listen to in a rush. It is fascinating to listen to her, as she fuses soul and jazz music with a touch of poetry. As complex as this might seem, she arranges her music in a way that it is pleasing to listen to and all the elements can be appreciated. The influence of Lauryn Hill on her music, is one of the first things you’d observe when you listen to her. She is based in UK, her popularity there is growing, so also people in Nigeria are warming up to her unique sound, which she calls neo-soul /alternative jazz music. Listen to songs on her projects, What is perfect?, Love or war, Wallflower and thank me later.


He is another fine product of  MTN project fame. Remember, ‘Taiwo Rolling Naira’ of season 6? Yes! he is the new folklore voice you hear singing Aaye on radio and in Lagos BRT buses, he only adopted the name Mimido as his stage name. He recently won the Lets Go Naija Challenge organised by A.R.M Pension, which is a blessing and an encouragement for his fine craft. Although his vocal ability has been revealed and appreciated on the project fame stage, he didn’t get a chance to show much of his ability to compose until now. His song, Prodigal, still has a strong impression on me. Its the kind of song that you’d associate with Asa. I found something consistent about his  music, its the strong themes of his songs. His songs have deeper melodies that amplify the stories he tells with each. It is exciting to think about Mimido’s  kind of music and its impact on the Nigerian music industry. He is one of the artistes expected to hit the industry with a new wave of ‘good music’.


This article was written by Ibironke Oluwatobi. He tweets via: @ibironketweets

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