Nigerian music has grown at an exponential rate over the years. Today, naija music is generally accepted and played everywhere in Africa and the western world. Nigerian music dominates the music playlists in various African countries and there is a high demand for Nigerian artistes. I have taken time to study the reception of Nigerian music by other Africans and have come to the conclusion that out of all African countries, South Africans and Kenyans in particular are in love with Nigerian music. This piece highlights why South Africans and Kenyans love Nigerian music.
One reason why South Africans and Kenyans love Nigerian music is the quality of the sound. The Afrobeats, Afropop and Afro-fusion sound championed by new generation singers such as Davido, Wizkid (now Big Whiz), Burna boy, Fireboy, Omah Lay, etc, is groovy and melodious. Africans generally love to dance and would shake their legs to a nice beat. There are top class Nigerian music producers like Don Jazzy, Young John, Sarz, Masterkraff, Kell P, Spellz, Dj Neptune, etc who are churning out quality beats effortlessly helping in selling lyrics of the artistes. Naija songs are really banging.
Another reason why South Africans and Kenyans love Nigerian music is because of the internet. Music distribution has been made easy by the internet. Artistes release their songs and immediate share links on social media for download by fans and internet users on social media and blogs. Also, there are many streaming sites and apps like Apple iTunes, BoomPlay, Spotify, Audiomack, etc where any music lover in Africa with a smartphone can use to listen, stream or download music. Nigerian artistes have amassed millions of fans and followers from across Africa on their social media pages and hence it is very easy for their music to gain listenership because of the ready audience.
Youtube is a major reason why South Africans and Kenyans prefer listening to Nigerian songs. Check out the Youtube comments section of the Youtube channels of popular Nigerian artistes and you will be amazed at the thousands of comments posted by South Africans, Kenyans, Ghanaians and other African nationals. You will even discover that there are more comments from Non-Nigerians than from Nigerian fans. I daresay that Fireboy, Omah lay, Kizz Daniel and Joeboy have more fans from other African countries than Nigerian fans.
Marketing is a factor that contributes to why South Africans and Kenyans love Nigerian music. The Nigerian record labels are getting the marketing aspect of the music business right. They market Nigerian artistes and songs in South Africa and Kenya deploying various means. They hold concerts, shoot videos, attend shows, collaborate with South African and Kenyan artistes, etc. All of these helps in marketing and selling Nigerian music to fans in these countries and capturing the African market.
The new breed of Nigerian musicians who are members of the millennial generation and Gen Z are also a reason why South Africans and Kenyans love Nigerian music. Omah-lay, Davido, Wizkid, Rema, Kizz Daniel, Joeboy, Fireboy, Ayra Starr, Guchi, Tems, etc have huge appeal to fans who are also part of their age bracket in Kenya and South Africa. This is the era of teenage singers and singers in their early 20s.
Watch wizkid live in Nairobi
There’s an exotic feel to the sound, lyrics, and genre of Nigerian music that’s why other Africans love Nigerian music. Music from other countries always sounds nicer than music from our country and so we will naturally pay more attention to it. From Rema’s sound to Omah lay’s sound to Chike’s sound, Africans just can’t get enough!
Nigeria has successfully colonized Africa with her culture and pop culture through Nollywood and music, and this is why South Africans and Kenyans love Nigerian music. Nigerian Pidgin English words and slangs are now being adopted by and spoken in other African nations. The forerunner of the current scenario was the influx of Nigerian movies into African homes through Cable Tv in the early 2000s. This introduced Africa to the Nigerian way of life, society, culture, thought and belief system, so it is only natural that music from Nigeria would find a receptive audience in African countries.
There has been a rise in Afro consciousness in recent years, leading to messages of self-reliance and consumption of African products by Africa. One of the areas where afro consciousness is strong is in the Arts and entertainment sector, hence why South Africans and Kenyans love Nigerian music. By listening to Nigerian music, they believe they are identifying with their African roots and strengthening the bonds of brotherhood in the continent.
Lastly, Nigerian music is addictive, spontaneous and there’s no shortage of talent, and this is why South Africans and Kenyans love Nigerian music.
Nigerian music has come to stay, so let’s keep listening to and supporting Nigerian and African music!