Are Nigerian artists leading the Amapiano charge globally?


It is evident to say that Nigerian artists have emerged as the frontrunners in the global Amapiano movement, surpassing their South African counterparts in both influence and innovation.

While Amapiano initially found its roots in South Africa, Nigeria has swiftly taken the lead, showcasing unparalleled skill and creativity in shaping the genre's trajectory on the world stage.

Tyla Grammy award
South African singer, Tyla wins Grammy award

What is Amapiano?

Amapiano, derived from the Zulu word meaning 'the pianos,' is a fusion of various genres including house, jazz, and lounge music. Defined by its high-pitched piano melodies, Kwaito basslines, and pulsating rhythms, Amapiano offers a unique sonic experience that resonates with audiences worldwide.

Some South African artists that sing Amapiano (Culture Custodian)

What is the origin of Amapiano?

The origin of Amapiano, a genre that gained popularity in Katlehong, a township East of Johannesburg, has sparked considerable debate within the music community. While some argue that the genre originated in Pretoria due to its similarities with Bacardi music, others maintain its roots in Katlehong. This ongoing dispute has made it challenging to definitively trace the genre's beginnings.

According to Siphiwe Ngwenya, co-founder of the South African label Born in Soweto, the ambiguity surrounding Amapiano's origins is evident in the diverse range of opinions among enthusiasts. Ngwenya remarked, "If you put one hundred guys in a room and you asked them where [AmaPiano] started, you’ll get one hundred answers and some very heated debates." Despite the lack of consensus, the creation of the genre has been attributed to Mdu aka TRP by some sources.

Adding to the complexity, Amapiano pioneer Kabza De Small shed light on the matter, acknowledging the challenges in identifying a single originator.

Amapiano, a genre characterized by its infectious rhythms and melodic piano lines, has captured the hearts of music lovers worldwide since its inception. While South African artists laid the groundwork for Amapiano's rise, it is Nigerian artists who have propelled it to unprecedented heights, earning recognition and acclaim for their groundbreaking contributions to the genre.

Are Nigerian artists leading the Amapiano charge globally?

Nigerian musicians have seamlessly integrated Amapiano elements into their music, resulting in chart-topping hits that resonate with audiences globally. From Reekado Banks's Ozumba Mbadiwe to Burna Boy's Yaba Buluku, Nigerian artists have consistently delivered Amapiano-infused tracks that dominate airwaves and streaming platforms. No wonder, Asake’s song that got nominated for Grammy even had the title Amapiano, indicating the influence the genre is gaining within the continent courtesy of Nigeria.

The Nigerian music industry's embrace of Amapiano reflects its adaptability and ingenuity, as artists effortlessly blend the genre's signature sounds with Afro-House and other influences. This fusion has not only widened Amapiano's appeal but has also solidified Nigeria's position as a powerhouse in shaping contemporary African music trends.

Moreover, Nigerian artists have demonstrated a remarkable ability to innovate within the Amapiano genre, pushing boundaries and exploring new sonic territories. Tracks like Zinoleesky's Kilofeshe, Falz's Squander and Lojay's Monalisa exemplify the genre's evolution under Nigerian artists' creative stewardship, offering fresh perspectives and captivating listeners with their unique blend of Amapiano and Afrobeat influences.

What is the global success of Amapiano?

The global success of Nigerian Amapiano artists is evident in the genre's soaring popularity on streaming platforms like Spotify, where tracks amass millions of streams and captivate audiences worldwide. With projections indicating continued growth and expansion, Nigerian artists are poised to cement their status as the driving force behind the Amapiano movement.

Davido and Burna Boy
Davido and Burna Boy

What is the future of Amapiano?

While South Africa remains integral to Amapiano's origin story, it is clear that Nigerian artists have taken the genre to new heights, showcasing unparalleled talent, creativity, and influence on the global stage. As collaborations between Nigerian and South African artists continue to flourish, the future of Amapiano remains bright, with Nigeria leading the charge in shaping its trajectory and defining its legacy on the world music scene.