7 Times Nigerian Female Musicians Broke A Record
In this list, we highlight and celebrate the impact of women on the music scene by taking a look at some moments when Nigerian female musicians broke a record;
Like stars out on a stormy night, Nigerian female musicians that have made it to mainstream relevance, are few and far between; an even sparser representation of the limited female talents in the Nigerian male-dominated scene. Yet these stars prevail; shining in unique ways that have cast light unto the music scene in general and also helped illuminate a path for other female musicians to follow. In 1977, the United Nations adopted the International Women’s Day celebration popularising it past its niche recognition and ever since, every 8th of March has come to be recognised as a day set out for highlighting challenges faced by women the world over and also to celebrate their growth and achievements in the face of all odds. As a result, in this list, we highlight the impact of female Nigerian musicians on the music scene by taking a look at some achievements from notable female talents;
Times Nigerian Female Musicians Broke A Record
Asa bags a win at the first-ever Headies; 2006
In 2006, the Headies awards had debuted as the Hip-Hop awards and had awarded Asa the winner of their first-ever Next Rated award. At that moment, Asa had simply debuted with two singles, Eye Adaba and Jailer, two songs that were different as night today in comparison with the heavily pop records put out by musicians in the scene. After that, Asha’s record deal with Question Marks had hit the rocks but this proved to be a blessing in disguise for Asa who soon copped a deal with French-based Naive records under which she released her evergreen self-titled debut album, Asha.
Sasha performs at the World Music Awards; 2008
Way before this golden age of Afrobeats that signals a global takeover, the genre had been getting love from international bodies and awards. In 2008, firebrand rapper, Sasha P had alongside 2Baba, then Tuface and Kelly Hansome, represented the country on stage at the World Music Awards. For the award show which was founded as far back as 1989, Sasha’s appearance was the first time ever for a female Nigerian musician.
Yemi Alade’s Johnny Video breaks record on YouTube; 2017
In 2013 Yemi Alade had put out the single, Johnny which had progressed into a hit that had launched her into the mainstream scene. The next year, on the 3rd of March, she’d put out visuals to support the song. Soon after the video started to garner a lot of traction, with the French version of the single joining forces to bolster demand for the video. Eventually, in November 2017, Yemi Alade’s Johnny video had broken a YouTube record by being the Nigerian music video with the most views at 78.8 million streams, dethroning the video of P-Square’s Personally in the process.
That is however not Yemi Alade’s only pioneering win as she also made records by being the first-ever winner of the Headies award for Best Performer in 2018, scoring a brace even by winning it the year after.
Tiwa Savage wins Best African Act at MTV Europe Music Awards; 2018
Tiwa Savage sits pretty on a noteworthy pile of firsts but in 2018, she had amped this up to a continental level by being the first woman to win the award of Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards of 2018. Before emerging winner and bagging a win for female musicians in Africa as well as Nigeria at large, Tiwa Savage had been nominated alongside Davido, Distruction Boyz from South Africa, Davido, and Nyashinnski from Kenya.
Sinach breaks Billboard charts record; 2020
Secular Nigerian music may get the bulk of the hype but in 2020, gospel singer Sinach had stolen the show, making a statement for gospel singers in Nigeria and Africa when her name topped Billboard’s Christian songwriter charts for 7 weeks consecutively. This made Sinach the first African Christian musician to score this milestone but was far from the singer's first continental record following her tour of India where she headlined concerts.
Tems breaks Nigeria's Spotify charts; 2021
Tems has in a short while manifested her ‘leading vibe’ tag by bagging awards and breaking records thanks to the success of Wizkid's Essence where she supplied the highlighting chorus.
The singer however has also proved to be a key figure in the new age of Nigerian music. In September 2021 following the release of Drake's Fountains and her sophomore EP, If Orange Was A Place, she hit 11 million monthly listeners on Spotify to become the most-streamed African artiste.
Ayra Starr being the most successful female teenage act; 2021
At the very moment, Ayra Starr has been nominated for the Next Rated category of the Headies Awards, to slug it out against Buju, Ruger and Zinoleesky. A position she earned following her release of two successful and well-received projects which both came in at top ten on Notjustok's albums of the year for 2021.
Off the back of her debut album, 19 & Dangerous, Ayra Starr secured a hit single in Bloody Samaritan and a huge milestone by becoming the first solo entry by a female artist to peak at number one on the Turntable Charts.
Altogether, these wins and more have culminated in Ayra being one of the most successful teenage acts in the history of Nigerian music.
Happy International Women's day to all women out there making a change in the music industry. This list in no way captures the full strides and strife of Nigerian female musicians, so we'll love to hear from you on other stories of how Nigerian female musicians have broken a record or two or more or impacted the industry in their own way.