Here’s to seeing more of them in the new year. Arranged in alphabetical order.
Through various projects like Girls Coding, Empowered Hands, GirlsInSTEM and GC mentors, Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin’s Pearls Africa empowers girls by tutoring them on functional skills to achieve economic independence at the earliest age. She has been listed as one of the top 10 CNN heroes of the year, becoming the first Nigerian to be so honored.
In 2018 the streets were watching. Shaku shaku is over and the Zanku is in. Credited as the pioneer of new street dance Zanku, Zlatan – real name Omonyi Temidayo not only taught the country how to boogie, he doubled down with the release of the Chinko Ekun hit single, Able God and joined forces with DMW boss Davido for a single, Osanle.
For her Scraps from Mama’s Floor project, Bolatito Aderemi-Ibitola walked away with the highly coveted ART X Prize and a sum of N1,000,000. A trans-disciplinary artist working primarily in time-based art, interactivity and performance, Aderemi-Ibitola, a Masters degree graduate in Performances Studies from Tisch School of the Performing Arts, New York University had a divisive solo presentation at Art X in November as part of her requirements for winning the prestigious Art X Prize.
If you consumed Nigerian music this year, chances are you came across the work of Killertunes – real name Pedro Otans – one of the most sought-after producers this year. Killertunes was the producer behind Wizkid and Duncan Mighty’s Fake Love, DJ Spinall and Kizz Daniel’s Baba, DJ Spinall and Wizkid’s Nowo and Olamide’s ‘Motigbana. No other producer – or artiste – had a more winning streak this year than Killertunes.
Inkblot production’s New Money isn’t a good film but Jemima Osunde managed to come out of it looking like a leading lady. Where New Money proved she could carry a major film, appearances in diverse projects like The Delivery Boy, Esohe and Lionheart proved she could play within a team while trying out different genres. Before this year, Osunde’s main claim to fame was her recurring role in the MTV Shuga series.
2018 was the year in which whatever Peruzzi touched turned to gold. Well, almost anything. Signed to Davido Music Worldwide, Peruzzi, born Tobechukwu Victor Okoh was associated with some of the biggest hits of the year. From DMW’s Mind and Aje to 2Baba’s Amaka and Duncan Mighty’s Aza, Peruzzi wasn’t just tangential to these hits, he was front and centre delivering verses that marked him instantly for superstardom.
This year alone, Ayodeji Rotinwa a freelance journalist, has written about alternative fashion for the New York Times, creative art hubs for Financial Times and product designers for Vogue. He covers visual art, sustainable development and culture across the continent and has captured numerous breakthrough successes, bringing their stories to a wider audience. In 2017, Rotinwa was a BudgIT media fellow, and his work has also appeared on CNN, Mail & Guardian and The Africa Report.
Teni The Entertainer
Teni showed promise when she captured the 2017 Headies Rookie of the year. In 2018, she grew into her own, turning heads and capturing hearts with songs like Askamaya and Wait. Folks (Read: Men) who didn’t know what boxes to place her unconventional appearance were quick to dismiss her but Teni wore them all down. She performed at The Future Awards Africa ceremony and was featured in the New York Times for her tomboyish fashion. Not bad for someone who was asked to stick to songwriting.
It is true Toni Tones has been around for a while, trying her hands in film and music – this year she appeared in Lara and the Beat and The Eve. But it was with Kemi Adetiba’s box office conquering King of Boys that Ms Tones finally got everyone’s attention. Playing the younger version of Sola Sobowale’s Eniola Salami character, Toni Tones was able to hold her own in the presence of industry greats. After King of Boys, it isn’t likely that anyone would dismiss Toni Tones anymore.
A graduate of Engineering of the Auchi Polytechnic, Victor AD had been recording music professionally for four years but it wasn’t until this year that Wetin We Gain, his aspirational and utterly relatable anthem took him out of obscurity and made him a household name. The music business is tough to break into but Victor AD, riding on the back of one of the year’s biggest hits, managed to get a foot in. His success was one of the most heartwarming stories of the year.