South African based music cable station, Channel O and Forbes Africa recently presented the top 10 most bankable African artists.
According to Channel O, the top ten were determined by a number of factors such as endorsements, brand value, earnings, bookings, popularity, and social media presence. The list shows the African artists making the most money in Africa.
10. Oliver Mtukudzi – Zimbabwe
Oliver (Tuku) Mtukudzi has 65 albums under his belt — more than Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. It’s a remarkable career stretching back 41 years with songs that have enlivened parties all over the world.
“I never decided to be in the music industry. It was in me. My mother said ‘you are a good singer but you will never surpass your birth cry. Your birth cry was so beautiful’,” says Mtukudzi.
9. Sarkodie – Ghana.
You can’t mention Ghanaian music and not think of Sarkodie. He literally took the Ghana music industry from almost there, to everybody pay attention! With everyone from Tim Westwood to Ludacris giving him props. Sarkodie has managed to carve out a path for himself that no one can touch. Not only is he an incredible talent, he is also a presidential youth ambassador in Ghana. He’s established the Sarkodie Foundation to tackle the plight of the homeless and needy children in his country. Businesswise, he has his clothing label Sark clothing.
Let’s just say while most people are getting their gear made in china, Sarkodie is getting his line made in Dubai. He is also a brand ambassador to electronics giant Samsung. He’s won over 14 awards and has a sweet deal with Ghanaian ice cream production company Fan Milk Ghana. With a solid 360 career, it’s safe to say Sarkodie is not a business man, he is a business, man!
8. Davido – Nigeria.
Davido has claimed a high status in just five years. The single Back When planted him firmly in the music business in 2011. “It was people like [Nigerian music veterans] P-Square and D’Banj who made me believe that all this was possible,” he recalls. Dami Duro, an unexpected hit, leaked online almost a year prior to its official release, became the crown jewel of his widely acclaimed 2012 debut album, Omo Baba Olowo.
7. Wizkid – Nigeria.
Wizkid is arguably currently the uncrowned king of African music. Grammy Award-winning artist, Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz, danced to his songs Ojuelegba and Caro, with Keys posting a video on her Instagram account with the caption, “This song makes me happy” and Kylie Jenner posted a video of herself dancing to Wizkid’s music on snap chat.
6. Jidenna – Nigeria.
By the age of 10, Jidenna Theodore Mobisson knew he wanted to do music but was afraid to tell his father who wanted him to be an engineer. It was just as well that his name means embracing the father.
5. Tinashe – Zimbabwe.
Twenty-four-year-old Tinashe Kachingwe sang before she could talk. Her Zimbabwean father Michael, and mother Aimie, from Denmark, have always helped. Tinashe was a child model by the age of three, made her first appearance in 2000 in the film Cora Unashamed and her voice starred in the cartoon feature film The Polar Express alongside Oscar-winning actor, Tom Hanks.
4. Don Jazzy – Nigeria.
Typically producers aren’t the headline in Africa but Don Jazzy has definitely changed this game. Don Jazzy has an influence in Nigeria second to none; when he tweets, things happen. As a recording artist label executive and producer, he is the CEO of Mavin Records home to D Prince and Tiwa Savage. He’s been behind some of the most of the iconic songs in African music history; Oliver Twist perhaps being the biggest to date. Don Jazzy has managed to clinch lucrative deals with MTN and Samsung to mention a few. With a chilled out vibe often known for just moving about in his P.J pants. Don Jazzy is so talented he has producing credits on Kanye West, Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s song ‘Lift Up’.
He also produced ‘Mr. Endowed’ by D’Banj featuring Snoop Dogg. There’s nothing much to say about Don Jazzy because unlike everyone else, his success and achievements do all the talking. If you are wondering why he’s so high up on list, let’s just say that the people behind the music make a lot more than what you know.
3. Hugh Masekela – South Africa.
Born in Witbank, east of Johannesburg, Hugh Masekela is committed to restoring African heritage. This world-renowned flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer and singer has released more than 43 albums and performed with Marvin Gaye, Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Fela Kuti, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Miriam Makeba. “The music I make, I don’t call it my music. It is based on my township and indigenous rural roots in South Africa. That’s what brought me fame all over the world,” he says.
2. Black Coffee – South Africa
Black Coffee, real name Nkosinathi Maphumulo, has not only raised the bar for South African house music but has put it on the world map. The multi-award-winning artist was born in South Africa’s house music province, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), raised in the Eastern Cape province, where struggle stalwart Nelson Mandela hailed from, before moving back to KZN to study music. It was worth it.
Just his name Akon is enough said for this list. This international African superstar has become one of the world’s biggest stars. He’s launched the careers of Lady Gaga and T-Pain. He is the CEO of Konvict Music, a multiple brand ambassador. He’s done what everyone has wanted to do. The best part is that his ties with Africa are still pretty solid, working with P-Square, Wizkid just to mention a few. He’s been known to open doors for other African acts.
From record sales to YouTube views, concerts to the endorsement, affiliations to charities, he is the top of the top and most definitely has given African urban music a face. We don’t need to say much, just google Akon and see why he is without a doubt the number one most bankable African artist.