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{Nigeria} 8 music stars you didn’t know until 2014

About 15 years ago, virtually all the youths in Nigeria listened to the likes of Tupac, Puff Daddy, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion amongst others. Those who did not listen to these famous stars were considered out-of-vogue. But the music industry in Nigeria has grown so rapidly that the nation’s youths are now as addicted to homegrown music. Every year since the turn of the millennium has presented numerous singing sensations, who go on to make their mark in the industry. In 2014, some more artistes burst onto the scene. It is not as if they were debutants; they just hadn’t hit it big until the year: PATORANKING


Patrick Okorie, musically known as Patoranking, is arguably the most successful revelation of 2014. Patoranking is a Nigerian reggae-dancehall singer who has been in the industry since 2009 but hit limelight only in 2014. The artiste, who hails from Ebonyi state Nigeria, was signed to K-Solo’s Igberaga records in 2010 but moved to Timaya’s Dem Mama records, where he released his popular track Alubarika, a collaborative work with Timaya. Early in 2014, Patoranking worked with Mavin Records first lady Tiwa Savage in the release of the hit song Girlie O. He has however gone on to win a number of awards while also earning nominations for at least others. Among his outstanding laurels are best new act of the year, the Nigerian Entertainment awards; and best reggae/dancehall act of the year, City People entertainment awards. He won three other major awards at The headies 2014. YEMI ALADE
Yemi Alade

“Johnny o, Johnny o; I’m looking for my Johnny. Where is my Johnny? Do you know Johnny? Question!” Anyone who has even a slight interest in the Nigerian music scene for 2014 must have, at one time or the other, heard the lines above, belonging to Afro pop singer, Yemi Eberechi Alade. Yemi Alade won a measure of popularity by winning the Peak talent show in 2009. Although she released Ghen Ghen Love, produced by OJB Jezreel, she soon went underground but kept on working on other songs. Early in 2014, she released the her hit single Johnny, a song that grossed over 800,000 YouTube views within two months. She went on to be the first Nigerian artiste to run her song totally in French with the release of Johnny French version. She was nominated for female artiste of the year at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards, Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards and City people entertainment awards for 2014. The ‘King of Queens’ was also nominated as the next rated artist of the year at the 2014 Headies. REEKADO BANKS
Redo Banks

You probably have never heard of Solomon Ayo Hanniel, but you sure have heard of Reekado Banks. Well, both names belong to one man, who is is perhaps the best artiste recently signed on to Don Jazzy’s Mavin records. It was an awesome introduction for Banks, who hit the scenes with a feature on hit track Dorobucci by the Mavin crew. This song became almost as popular as the previous decade’s Yahoozee by Olu Maintain, and was perhaps the country’s most sung song of 2014. Every new artiste on that song sure became a revelation for 2014. Banks released Turn it up, an album under the record label (Mavin) in 2014. His hit single, Chop am, also went on to win him the Rookie of the year at The Headies . TIMI DAKOLO


This is one name you may not have expected to see on this list. However, he was one great revelation for 2014. Dakolo won the very first edition of Idols West Africa, beating Pop queen, Omawumi to the top prize. His year of revelation was to be 2007/2008 after he had registered such a milestone at the Idols, but the impact of this breed of two countries – born to a Nigerian father and a Ghanaian mother – was pronounced in 2014. In 2009, he released a couple of songs and was considered hip hop world revelation of the year in 2010. In 2011, he released another single, There’s a cry, which went on to increase his popularity in the industry. However, 2014 was the year that Timi Dakolo released a song that not only got air play all through Africa, but also at virtually all wedding ceremonies in the country. It’s a suitable replacement for Tosin Martin’s Olo mi. This song is the emotion-laced Iyawo Mi. The 33-year-old crowned his 2014 efforts with a humorous sensation video to complement the lovely song. Iyawo Mi won the best male vocal performance of the year at The Headies. KOREDE BELLO

Korede Bello

‘Mavin’s Michael Jackson’, Korede Bello is more than just a pretty face who leaves the girls in odd fantasies but also a multi-talented artiste set to add a missing piece to the Nigerian music scene. Korede found his way to limelight by getting signed on to Don Jazzy’s Mavin records and featuring on two hit songs, Dorobucci and Adaobi, by the Mavin crew. The mass communication student at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Lagos, is also a guitarist of worth. Recently, Woodin Nation endorsed him as an ambassador. Born on February 29, a date which shows up on the calendar only once every four years, the 18-year-old has a couple awards for his efforts. The outgoing year was no doubt a “blessed year” for the “African Prince”. LIL KESH

If you are an old fan of Femi Kuti, you must have heard of his 1998 album, ‘Shoki Shoki’. And if you are a lover of Geography and unheard places, you must have heard of ‘Shoki’, a village in Azerbaijan. But if you love Nigerian music and dance, you must have heard of the Shoki dance. Strangely, the song is quite more popular than Lil Kesh, the artiste who “postulated” it. The 21-year-old rapper. who got signed onto prolific rapper Olamide’s YBNL (Yahoo Boy No Laptop) label, is credited as the artiste who created the new street dance of the outgoing year. Christened Ololade Keshinro, the artiste is a second year student of the department of Linguistics at the University of Lagos. As at August 2014, Shoki was the third most-downloaded song on iTunes in Nigeria and almost won him the best street hop artiste award, but Oritse Femi beat him to it his Double Wahala. With various versions of Shoki rocking the airwaves, 2014 was indeed a great year for Lil Kesh. DI’JA


Hadiza Blell, also known as aphroDIJA or Di’ja for short is the second lady on the Mavin records label after award-winning first lady Tiwa Savage. Di’ja is one rare breed who brought some crispness into the Mavin crew for the year 2015. The academic, who has a double degree in Biology and Psychology, is a combination of three countries, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Lebanon. She was born to a Nigerian mother and a Lebanese/Sierra Leonean father and spent most of her years in Kaduna, Sierra Leone, Canada and the United states. She was signed unto Mavin records in 2014, and since then, she has worked on four outstanding songs: Yaro, Dorobucci, Adaobi and Awww. Di’ja was nominated as the promising act of the year at the Nigerian Entertainment awards 2014. Joseph Blell, her father, is a former Sierra Leonean ambassador to Nigeria. UNIQUE REVELATION—FALZ

One person who fits perfectly into a unique category for 2014 revelation is Folarin Falana (Falz or Falzthebahdguy). Who would believe that the musician, comedian or entertainer as he likes to call himself is the son of legal luminary, Femi Falana (SAN)? Falz who has a couple of comedy skits all over social media, was a pleasant appearance for music and comedy lovers in 2014. BAHD (Brilliant And Highly Distinct) guy came as a 2-in-1 capsule. A barrister like his father, he graduated from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom but was called to the bar in Nigeria. His album, #Wazupguy, which features Yemi Alade, Olamide amongst others, is an infusion of comedy and music. Falz crowned his year with a video of his hit-song Marry Me featuring Yemi Alade. The video had more than 250,000 views within three weeks. HONOURABLE MENTIONS Other artistes who had a nice feel of the lime light but could not fit perfectly into our list of seven are outstanding artistes like Orezi, Seyi Shay, Cynthia Morgan, Kennis Music act and 2Face Idibia’s lookalike, Joel Amadi (Joe-El).
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