Friday, 31 January 2014

EXCLUSIVE - ACADA MAGAZINE's 20 Fresh Acts to Watch in 2014

2014 is surely going to be another big year in the Nigerian music industry and we are showcasing 20 fresh acts with potentials to “blow” in the 2014. They created huge buzz around themselves with their single(s) and video(s) in 2013 for them to deserve the spotlight on this list. We hope they will prove us right with their works this year.
This piece is put together by our contributing editor, Shola “Strawberry” Adebakin.

Victoria Kimani, born in LA, originally from Kenya started writing, recording and performing at 16. She had her high school in Nigeria  and Moved back to Nairobi, Kenya at 17. Since then, she has been back and forth between LA, ATL, NY and London working with top artists and producers, perfecting and developing her 
musical and visual craft as well as writing for all sorts of signed artists around the world. In 2009 she joined a duo called Club Embassy and signed to Los Angeles Laker Ron Artest, released a mixtape called ‘Diplomatic Immunity’ hosted by 50 Cent's DJ Whoo Kid, it got over 250,000 downloads and created a lot of Industry buzz. In mid 2010 the duo split and began working on solo projects. Victoria has collabed with Ron Browz, Maino, Jadakiss, Dj green Lantern, Busta Rhymes, Mario Winans, Cassie, Lloyd, A.I (Japanese superstar), Chris Brown, Diggy Simmons, Timati (Russian superstar) , Timbaland, White Nerd, Andy Chatterly, Pete "Boxta" Martin, Devyne Stevens, Konvict Music, Space Cowboy, Dawaun Parker, Diane Warren, Bamboo, Kimya, and countless other Producers and Artists worldwide. Her first Single and music video since signing to Africa's most prestigious and cross over record labels, Chocolate City was called "M'TOTO" and it is tearing up airwaves and clubs across Africa and the UK. Her second single and music video "Oya" feat. MI was the first Kenyan video to be premiered on VEVO.

Born in the ancient city of Ibadan, Oyo State, he discovered he had a passion for rap at a rather young age and went on to write his first verse by the time he turned nine. After high school, he gained admission into the University of Ibadan to study Geography. While at UI, he, along with 3 friends, including DJ Klem formed a group called X-Factor. After a while, the artistes grew apart as they were headed in different directions and the group split up.

Efa went back to writing and recording with his former group member, DJ Klem. Together, they recorded Kwenu, a single which, despite its unreleased status, went on to feature prominently in NYSC camps in Western Nigeria in 2008.
In a bid to discover how well he had developed since signing to Jus’ Kiddin’, he was enrolled in the Peak Talent Show where he was one of the final six at the Ibadan Zone, the only rapper to achieve that feat.
Efa, who hails from Ugep in Cross River State created huge buzz with his banging single “Open and Close” featuring dammy Krane in 2013  and the song dance steps went viral on social media scene. He later got selected for a role on the currently running MTV base Shuga TV series.

Mya K is a singer song writer, actress and dancer. Her Genre is Pop, Afro Pop and R&B. Her first album, 15 tracks and titled "BLOOMING PETAL" was released in December 2013. The album features top Nigerian artiste. She is signed to 

RockTown Music. She is of British Nigeria descendant and in her early teens. Her official debut “My DJ” rocked the airwaves and throw her into limelight. Her current single “Keep On Rocking” featuring May D is currently rocking the airwaves.

Yung L
Yung L is a dynamic artist with proficiency in singing, song writing, “mouth” flute and drumming. Christened  Christopher Omenye aka Yung L in Jos, Plateau State. His mother was a great influence in his musical career, she personally introduced her young son first to the church drummer and later to the church pianist (Meca E – Square Records).They both took him under their wing and taught him how to play the instruments; his love for music took shape from that moment. Yung L had this close chemistry with Endia, J.Milla, and Chopstix the producer and together they formed the GRIP movement, with Yung L as an artist under Grip Music and also the acting president of the label.  Grip Music comprises of individual artists Yung L, Endia, J.Milla and Chopstix, who collectively are known as the Grip Boiz.

He has worked with some of the industry’s heavy weights in various capacities, namely M.I, Jesse Jagz, El Dee the Don, Ice Prince, MoCheddah, Wizkid, A1 amongst others. He solidified his stand as one talent to court with his most recent output titled “SOS’’. With rhythm very different from what music lovers are used to 2014 promises to be a great year for this emcee from the highlands of Jos city.

Tekno is one singer that can be classed as one of the exciting young artistes with great promise. The 19 year old starlet who has made a name for himself from his Abuja base with his highly rated singles, ‘Onyenekwu’ and ‘Holiday’ featuring Davido. He made headlines when he parted ways with his old label to pitch tent with Iyanya led Triple MG. The punk-haired  singer, songwriter and producer 

who has featured in tracks such as Iyanya’s ‘Ekaette’ where he outshone the boss with his remake of hooks from wave making acts, Rakaka with K-Switch, White Nigerian’s Dirty Wine, among others. With a fresh single titled ‘Dance’’ released under the auspices of his new home Tripple MG(Made Men Music Group).

Born Victor Onyewuchi in the eastern part of Nigeria, Imo State  but grew up in Jos, Plateau State where he started a budding career in music until he got signed to MMM Records and relocated to Lagos. The young songwriter is regarded by pundits and as one of the fresh men in the hip-life genre to watch out for in 2014 when he wowed us with his notes and tones on Mikel Obi’s MMM Gang anthem titled 'Bunka', he went on to release other chart- topping singles such as 'Gbege' 

and 'Coco butter' with production support from a handful of A-list producers including TY Mix and Del B to mention few. Charass delivery is reminiscent of the first known purveyor of hip life ‘’Bright Chimezie’’ but modified with a more youthful and trendy outlook, his music is best described as a fusion of AfroPop/Highlife. Charass is signed to Mikel Obi's MMM Records. One of the new breed of hitmakers to send music lovers into ecstatic frenzy this 2014.

Real names Nnaemeka Israel Nwabueze, Emeka is not really new to the music industry though he’s been bubbling under with the stage name “T Wizzle”.He was the voice behind the song ‘Nuffin like me’ alongside Mo’Cheddah, Wizkid & Eva on the Knighthouse’s ‘Street Scripture’ album, he went on to score an underground hit with the track ‘Sugarcane Man,’ which was later banned from radio then followed up with ‘Erekere,’ which enjoyed ample airplay on radio and club spins. 

The suave Hiphop act rebrands and makes a name change from ‘T-Wizzle’ to ‘EMEKA.’ Now signed to OUR Records and Entertainment, he releases his official single on the label imprint titled ‘Beautiful Day,’ produced by "DITWENI" accompanied with an unprecedented  visual directed by Unlimited L.A. little wonder the video is one of the few fresh videos on high rotation on all TV stations, the storyline and picture quality practically keeps you glued to your TV screens. He recently followed up with his new single “Industry Diary 2013’’ more like a vocal review of happenings in the Nigerian music industry in the past year. With the way Emeka is going, nothing seems to stop this raphead in giving the more established rappers a run for their money come 2014. 


Folarin"Falz" Falana popularly known as “Falz the Bahd guy” is a recording rap artiste as well as C.E.O of Bahd Guys Records. He crept into our consciousness in 2009 with the mixtape "Shakara The Mixtape" popular among industry insiders and more like an introduction of Falz to the music enthusiast. He later released hit songs like "WazupGuy" , "Cool Parry" , "123"  which enjoyed appreciable airplay but not able to cement his face in the heart of music lovers. The rebranded Falz recently dropped "HighClass" and "Currency" all from his forthcoming album and these have enjoyed heavy rotation with accompanying videos to 

serenade us with thereby attracting him to a much wider audience. Recognized and touted as a great talent by various veterans in the music industry including eLDee  (whom he credits as one of his biggest influences) , Don Jazzy & M.I to mention a few. His vocals on a number of collaborations with numerous artists including Oyinkansola, Saeon, Ajebutter2, General Pype, Lynxxx, DrSid and is a testament to the fact that come 2014, Falz will most likely be the go-to–guy for that hip hop collabo hit. His trademark rap style can best be described as an infusion of witty lines, local dialects and comedic tones, thus setting him in a lane of his own. He is currently working on his much anticipated album set that will be released very soon. Falz is also a qualified lawyer holding LLB and BL honours in Law.


Henry Buchi Ikeh better known as “Henry knight” was born in Lagos State but he is actually a native of Imo State. Henry Knight started singing professionally in 2004 with a group called ' "THE KNIGHT" which was signed under Dove Entertainment the lure of a solo career prompted a breakup .With a voice like finely blended coffee mixed with fresh milk. Henry knight began a musical sojourn on his own  and he had the rare opportunity of getting featured on songs from top-notch acts like...BABA DEE'S,"GUM BODY"( YE MA SA), RUGGEDMAN'S "BOTTLE IN THE AIR and other  too numerous to mention.

Now signed to Dz Entertainment where he dropped his first official single “Shako” which was no doubt a masterpiece and also earned him a nomination for the Best Afro-Beat single of the Year just  five months after release at the Nigerian Music Video Awards.
“Olopa’ is another dope song which will surely go places with a well dramatised video directed by Paul Gambit and features majorly Naija FM’s OAP's Osam, Ushbebe, Ajebo, OTB, Godwin Aruwayo, Tisan and so many more. 2014 is surely going to be a good year for Henry Knight.

Nwadinma Genevieve, better known as Splash  is one femcee giving established acts e a run for their money. She had all of us eating from her palms when she dropped  her debut single ‘Church  Agbasa’ which hit us with the speed of a cyclone. You can’t stop wondering where this petite raphead on lowcut came from. Unknown to many, Splash has been totthering underground and her smooth delivery skills had been felt on  songs from Kefee’s ‘Peace Song’, 

‘Winners’ by VJ Adams of Soundcity. Formerly signed under H-Man’s August pee Entertainment before being bought off outrightly by BMG where she will be dropping her new singles like “Onye Ije” featuring Phyno. ‘Odi Dan Dan’ featuring Iyanya and many more. This petite wordsmith is sure taking over in 2014.

Taiwo Agbohunsa popularly known as "Lace" is the future of trado-contemporary music in Nigeria.  Born in Nigeria by parents from Benin Republic, his music is a blend of his native Benin Republic mother tongue (Egun) with an infusion of Yoruba and English Language. His musical odyssey started as a back-up vocalist for Konga where he featured in about five tracks off Konga's sophomore album "Funky Monkey".

Lace official single entitled "Sebiwo" was released back in 2010 which squealed him into recognition but majorly on the streets. He followed up with "Gba Be" in 2011 where he featured rave of the moment, Olamide. He dropped a couple of other songs like "Kuru Maaga" and "Work It" to mention a few. Now signed to Dozage Records, Lace released “Fere" (Whistle) in early 2013 accompanied with a superb video directed by Clarence Peters. His most recent single is "Change my Story", an up-tempo inspirational song which he dedicates to his teeming fans who has stood by him during his trying times. Lace is one act that has had his fair share of travails when it comes to bad management, his first single “Sebiwo’ till date finds it hard to fade away from our ears. Lace is one sure act that has a date with stardom, no thanks to the rebranding efforts being put together by his new record label. He is leaving no stone unturned in his desire to be one of the most sought after acts in 2014 as he plies a route not taken by many with his intention of releasing his debut album titled “Benin to Nigeria” in the first quarter of 2014. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and see the way things pan out for the Beninese Nigerian hitmaker.


 Quoting one of his punch lines “Am a god in this game and my kingdom has come” Azubuike Chibuzo Nelson aka "PHYNO"  is a well known producer/ artiste and has been in the music industry for more than nine years producing and working with top A-list Nigerian artistes like Timaya, illbliss, M.I, Mr Raw, Bracket, Flavour, Waje just to mention a few.
He dropped the producer’s toga  for fulltime artistry in 2010 with his debut single  "MULTIPLY REMIX" which featured the likes of  Timaya, Mr Raw, Flavour and M.I . The song garnered lots of attention but failed to become a hit. Apparently, it was a case of too many cooks spoil the broth.

From the moment Phyno jumped on ‘Anamachi Kwanu’ by illBliss to making a statement with “Ghost Mode’’ featuring Olamide. It was crystal clear somebody is taking over Dagrin’s spotlight from the eastern part of the country. He raps predominantly in Igbo language but we can’t help it but to nod our heads in response to his vocals and punchlines. We had no option but to adopt him as our man of the year and Phyno will no doubt ride on the success of his repertoire of hit singles in the past year come 2014.

Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie, the dancehall/reggae sensation popularly known as Patoranking is a primus inter pares. The gregarious and good looking Patoranking burst onto the music scene in 2013 with an attention-grabbing single titled “Alubarika” featuring superstar act Timaya. Evidently, the song did not become a monstrous hit because he featured Timaya whose vocal authority on it cannot be overemphasized. Alubarika warmed its way into the hearts and consciousness of music lovers because of the strength and depth of Patoranking’s

voice and coupled with the melody and the maturity of his lyrics and of course, the distinction of his musical choice. Unlike other emerging singers, Patoranking did not go the popular commercial route. He defined his path away from the normal pathway to cheap fame.
Christened Patoranking after encountering a Jamaican singer while chilling out with friends at the Alpha Beach, the quick connection prompted the dude to ask him what his name was which he replied as “Patorico”, he later advised him to change it into Patoranking because in Jamaica, ranking means “the highly respected”, it took him three years before his debut single hit the airwaves and it wasn’t a bad effort after all, the immediate acceptance of his music has been phenomenal.

Chicago-born Zainab Agoro is one of the foreign-returnee artiste that crept into our consciousness with her first official single ‘Lo Lo La’’ in 2011 and followed up with the unthinkable, “Totally yours”   a reggae infused duet with renowned reggae sensation Wayne Wonder. Signed to Darey’s Soul Musik, Zaina is 

obviously not one of those boring returnees who try to force the western culture and style of singing on local music lovers, she does soul music but blends it with an infectious African rhythm. Her performance at the Headies 2013 is a testament to this fact Zaina is one act to watch in 2014, she got game.

 Seun Morihanfen better known as Sean Tizzle came out of the blues seducing us with his hit song “Sho Le’’ and got the celebrity status in so short a time, a rare occurrence in the burgeoning music industry where newbies keep popping into our faces on a daily basis. The viral effect of “Sho Le” was yet to fizzle out when he and his producer Detunes bombarded our ear drums with another monster hit “Mama Eh”. 2013 was no doubt the year of Sean Tizzle, unknown to many, the 

stylish hitmaker was an active member of sound Sultan’s Naija Ninjaz though active but totally living under the shadow of his boss. his unquenchable desire for a musical landmark, armed with determination and hard work kept him going till he got a record deal with Difference Entertainment and his story has changed ever since.
Sean Tizzle is one of the music revelations discovered in 2013, the Next Rated Award which he won at the Headies gives credence to this claim. His most recent offering “Komole” is also doing well on the charts. An album titled “The Journey” is already in the pipeline. 2014 will surely hold a lot for the rapidly evolving entertainer.

Cuzio Records poster boy “Eminic” is a unique and talented Afro- Pop song writer with a difference. He’s got a singing style that is very hard to replicate.
The Computer Engineering graduate came into limelight in 2012 with his debut 

song "Ugly Temptation”. Blessed with a well-chisseled body and a face to die for, Eminic is no doubt the ladies man. He shut naysayers up with his follow-up singleGIRLIEZ’’  thereby telling us that he is no one-hit-wonder. His unique singing style ha s helped him collaborate with top rated acts in the music scene such as Skales and Dammy Krane among others.

‘Serenre’ was the first song to hit us from Akintoye Balogun better known as Ajebutter 22. Everyone marveled at his funky rhythm reminiscent of pop music popular in the United Kingdom but Ajebutter 22 has mastered the art of infusing African rhythm and comedy in his music that we don’t have a choice but to give 

him a second listening. He cemented his name in our hearts with “Omo Pastor’’ and the track cemented his position as a top act to watch out for in the Nigerian music circle.  With an album in the pipeline, Ajebutter 22 will surely make lots of headlines this 2014.

Cynthia Morgan aka Marshal Morgan  is  multi-faceted. She’s into Pop, Dancehall, HipHop/Rap music. Her call to fame was her delivery on Jhybo’s monster single “Run their Mouth” much was expected from but she pulled a disappearing act on us and everybody kept asking where the swaggerlicious reggae femcee disappeared to.

She was to later stage a comeback in 2012 with the two hot singles “High, High, High” and “Ojoro”.  Cynthia Morgan made serious headlines when news spread around town that P Square’s management Northside Entertainment had signed the female reggae sensation after May D’s exit. Her new single “Lead Me On” is doing real fine on the airwaves and music lovers are in dire need of more tunes from this sexy diva in 2014.

Temi Dollface
You can call her our new Asa in the making. She wowed us all with the video of her hit song  “Patapata” which launched her into the mainstream music scene. Temi a.k.a 'Temi DollFace'  is a Singer, songwriter, composer, performer, metaphor-obsessed ranter, visionary, future style-icon, all packed into one. These are but a few words to describe Temi who pushes beyond cliche to create a bold, witty, groundbreaking sound that's off-the beaten track and completely her own.

Temi DollFace' is fast establishing a reputation for her elegance of expression, her cerebrally-artful play with words, her inventiveness, risk-taking and disregard for prevailing rules on what is and isn't acceptable in the Nigerian music scene.
Temi's style and music is like a cocktail of past, present and future. She has a breathtakingly broad musical palette that reflects the influences of  Stevie wonder, James brown, Fela, Pharrell Williams to name a few. She refers to her sound as 'Drama Soul' though we are to confirm her claims till she drops a follow-up song in 2014. We keep our finger crossed. Temi, the industry is watching!

BRAIN born Matanmi Adeleke Victor is one of the fresh rap acts that busted on the music scene in 2013, his mastery of the rap game is phenomenal.
BRAIN can be best described as a dose of fresh air because he is offering something quite different from the stereotype sounds that have been paraded all over the Nigerian musical landscape much lately. A fierce lyricist and wordsmith whose comical, witty and idiomatic rhymes make rapping looks like a piece-of-cake.

BRAIN dropped his official debut single “So Crazy” to a very wide acceptance last year. What differentiate BRAIN from other rappers is his infectious hooks and choruses; witty and comical rhymes and of course, he is a wordsmith. Currently a final year student of OLABISI ONABANJO UNIVERSITY (O.O.U.), the young rapper showed he meant business when he dropped his second single “Watcha U Looking At? With an accompanying video directed by fast rising Nigerian music video director Mattmax.
Signed to MAGiKAL Entertainment, Brain is taking the conscious music route as he dropped an HIV/AIDS awareness song, “Raincoat” alongside sultry-voiced “Oyinkansola” and later, a reggae themed tribute song to the late Madiba “The Bridge”.

 You can call him the wonder boy just like he prides himself in one of his songs. He is one of those foreign music returnees with a desire to  further their career growth in their mothrland. Born Ayoola Ogundeyi Jr  or ‘AYO JAY’ as we know him was born in London but raised in Nigeria.he is an exceptionally talented and highly promising young singer and song writer.

Although he discovered his singing and song writing abilities at a tender age, he ruled out a career as a musician as he felt his shy personality would be better suited elsewhere rather being in the spotlight that comes with being a top artiste. More importantly, he did not think his parents, who placed a premium on higher education, would approve of a career in music.

In the year 2007, upon graduating from high school in Nigeria, 
Ayo Jay moved to the United States to pursue a college degree in Finance and Investments. During his spare time, he found himself either listening to, or writing and singing songs. In 2011, Ayo Jay, who had previously ruled out a career in music, had a change of heart as friends and some family members recognized his immense talent and constantly urged him to try and develop it. It was then he started to reach out to several music producers to help transform his raw abilities and artistic ideas into top quality songs. With singles like ‘’Ur Number’’ and “Available”. Both certified hits in their own rights since official release which gave us a fair ide of what to expect from the returnee somgwriter in 2014. 

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