The new wave of newbies
The hottest selling events ticket this weekend is the UB40 one, a concert that will be taking place at Carnivore Gardens tomorrow night.
Dubbed the Real Labour of Love, the show is a perfect kick off to February, the month of love. For almost three weeks now, the hype has been on with the organisers having announced that the UB40 line-up will include Ali Campbell and Astro.
The band famed for songs such as Red Red Wine, Food for Thought, One in Ten, I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, Don’t Break My Heart and Sing Our Own Song is celebrating its 40th anniversary and Kenya is one of its performance points. UB40 has had 40 UK Top 40 hit singles, over 100 million records sold and charting global music charts for over decades.
And come next week, Jamaican reggae and dancehall recording artiste Buju Banton will be at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre for another concert that is also expected to attract hundreds in a country that seems to have the reggae wave blazing the scene. Popular for huge projects such as Wanna Be Loved, Untold Stories and Champion, Buju Banton is expected here on Thursday ahead of the Saturday concert. Already, the Golden Circle tickets are sold out.
Whereas UB40 and Buju Banton concerts might sound almost mythical for the younger generation of fun and party lovers, a pool of young and new artistes will be jetting into the country mid-month during the biggest Valentine’s concert slated for Uhuru Gardens on February 15. It is a takeover of sorts that seems to be re-shaping the regional music scene. With the likes of Davido, Wizkid, Diamond and Burna Boy, among others, working towards affirming their strong presence in the international scene, newbies are claiming the local territory – if the mid-month event as well as concerts held late last year are anything to go by.
Nigerian singer and song writer Kizz Daniel is among the new continental favourites who will be participating in the much-anticipated Valentine’s Jamboree.
Popular for his last year’s hit singles Pak n’ Go and Madu, the 25-year-old will be here for the first time and will be joined by fellow Nigerian artistes Poco Lee, Slim Case and DJ Kaywise, acts who are introducing themselves to the lucrative East African market.
“There are very many talented artistes from West Africa besides the ones people know here and I think it’s time for them to get their space in the East African scene. Kizz Daniel is a good artiste who deserves this limelight. He could be a big deal this year,” says Hezra Oneka, a showbiz promoter and events manager.
“I am not saying that Davido and Wizkid for example are done with their era. What I am saying is that we should have these new names earn their space,” he adds.
Joining them will be the equally young Nadia Mukami, the current Pulse Music Video Awards Female Artiste of the Year as well as Nandy, the Tanzanian singing beauty who has claimed her trust among fans across the region. Gengetone ‘gangs’ Sailors and Ethic Entertainment will be interesting to watch as they will also be dropping their new hits around the same time.
The organisation behind the show Dove Entertainment, says Kenyans should expect more brand new artistes from all over the continent in other shows lined up for coming months.
“We are about to launch something that will change how events are viewed and done in the region. We will be introducing new names, artistes you probably did not know exist and others that people did not know they were that good,” says one of the Dove Entertainment management team members.
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Rema is yet another new artiste to watch talking Nigerian new kids on the street. The 20-year-old who performed in Nairobi in December last year is a rising force who has former American president Barack Obama on this 2019 summer playlist.
Born Divine Ikubor, the Afrobeats 19-year old star who has won the hearts of many teens has been a hot sell among teens in the region since he released his new single, Lady. Signed to Mavin Records, Rema has been on a steady rise since last year after the release of Iron Man, a song that appeared on Barack Obama’s summer playlist this year. His EPs include Rema, Rema Freestyle and Bad Commando.
In 2013, Rema and his friend Alpha P formed a group called RnA. The group’s name is a combination of the first letters of their stage names. The group won season two of Pikolo’s Dream Alive talent show. They signed a record deal with Peak Entertainment shortly afterwards, and released their debut single Mercy. The mid-tempo song was recorded at Dream Alive Studio in Benin City. The music video for Mercy was directed by Whyte House Pictures. The group gained minor exposure following their performance at the Glo Slide and Bounce concert series in Benin and Lagos. Rema then signed a record deal with Jonzing World, a subsidiary of Mavin Records.
But it was after the artiste went solo last year that he started drawing the spotlight. After releasing his eponymous debut EP Rema, it peaked at number one on Apple Music Nigeria.
Tipped to perform in Nairobi again soon, another Nigerian freshman Joeboy is also one of the new acts displacing the old lot. At 22, he is rocking the international music charts with his hit song Baby (Visualizer). The single, which was released earlier last year, has been a hot number on DJ mixes, and garnered more than 20 million streams across YouTube and Spotify.
And Joeboy is also making international headlines, the latest being a feature carried by Rolling Stone after the release of his latest song, Don’t Call Me Back, a collabo he has done with Mayorkum.
“I was really into this girl. She doesn’t like me no more. She’s on to another person. I feel bad about it, but at the end of the day, I tell her not to call me back when she finds out I’m with someone else, too,” the singer told Rolling Stone.
“People are like that sometimes,” Joeboy went on about the song that deals with the potentially vengeful aftermath of a relationship.
“Once they find out you’re OK without them, they want you back.”
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Having been discovered during the emPawa Africa talent incubation initiative last year, the talented lad released Baby, a track that promptly charted on Apple Music in a number of countries. He then released Beginning, another romantic single that is as big as the first song.
And if there is any lady who has captured everyone with her Swahili laced tracks then that has to be Sho Madjozi from South Africa. From Huku to John Cena, this amazing talent has cut her own niche for incorporating Tsonga culture to art through her music and public image. Her last year’s performance in Nairobi was great and this year, she is one singer who could be a favourite sell in Kenyan concerts.