Includes Vamos256, Fave, Zafaran, Asake, Victony & more!
Be it for the good, bad, ugly, or downright shocking, 2022 was full of memorable moments! Now with it being a few days till the year draws to a close, it’s a good time as any to reflect on the music year in review so far; as has been our commitment for the past 2 and a half years or so.
Quite a number of new artists have popped up on our radar every day all year long, and here I stand in my resolve to ensure that good music and talent doesn’t get slept on. The artists listed here as the breakout stars of the year 2022 offer a collage of styles and experimentation that could be messy on paper but threaded together by their impressive candour.
Without further ado, let’s dive and officially unwrap 2022’s freshest talents;
8. Uncle Waffles
Except you’ve been off all social channels for the past few months, you’d have at least one clip of a young female DJ thrilling a gathering of young sweaty bodies swaying and rocking as though under the grip of a spell. When performing she alternates suavely between spinning disks and punching keys on her deck, entertaining the crowd with smooth dance moves and working the crowd into a frenzy with spirited hype-chants. This DJ is Uncle Waffles.
Since the start of her career, the 22-year-old performer & DJ’s popularity exploded exponentially. As the days unfurl, her presence burgeons, sprawling steadily like wildfire; capturing global superstar Drake’s attention who then followed her on Instagram and also appeared on her Instagram live session. Recently, Uncle Waffles announced her official foray into music with the release of her debut single, “Tanzania” and debut EP “Red Dragon”.
Self-produced Amapiano number “Tanzania” saw the South African performer singing in her mother tongue, over an infectious production, which is also heavily evident on her EP “Red Dragon”.
7. Black Sherif
Ghana gave us the best music this year. If you sang along to Black Sherif’s “Kwaku The Traveller” this year, then you certainly agree.
The Ghanaian star not only thrilled fans with the hit song, but Blacko also released the album “The Villain I Never Was,” and Africa could not ignore him. With hits like “Soja,” “Second Sermon Remix,” and “45”, Black Sherif reigned supreme. We can’t wait to see what he has in store next year.
Not until the close of December was Fave (born Chidozie Godsfavour) known to many; and all the credit goes to her breakout hit single Baby Riddim which soared, debuting in the top 10 on charts in a majority of the African countries on Apple Music and becoming an instant hit.
The discovery of the Afropop sensational vocalist was sparked following her posting a freestyle of her song, N.B.U (Nobody But You) during the lockdown. She has since plugged music lovers with Riddim 5 the EP which also houses another yet phenomenal track ‘Mr Man’.
“Having fun times with the girls but I just wanna be with you/I’m riding in my new escape say baby let me die for you”.
Whereas Afrofusion Nigerian artist and songwriter Sulaiman Shekini Solomon, popularly known by his stage name Khaid was relatively unknown a few months ago, releasing only a handful of singles and freestyles on his social media. These freestyles, all of which are averaging around 200K views on his Instagram, were bold and daring collages of his eclectic music style ranging from Hip-Hop/Rap to Trap, R&B and more, delivered with crisp lyricism and clear-cut delivery. While they introduced listeners to his style, Khaid’s sparse canon of work also placed him front and centre in the eyes of industry insiders, including some of its biggest names such as Don Jazzy, D’Prince, and more. Eventually, this landed Khaid his breakthrough when he signed a deal with Sydney Talker’s newly minted record label, Neville Records, becoming the first artist under its roster.
The 17-year-old Lagos singer makes this list thanks to his notable viral smash hit single; ‘With You’, ‘SKI’ and emo-trap and Afropop melded 2022 EP “Diversity”. Khaid’s social media savvy is another welcome string to his bow.
With Nigeria’s talent pool running deeper than ever, Victony has rightfully surfaced as one to watch. The Lagos-based artist first made his mark in 2017 on SoundCloud solely as a rapper, before he crafted his distinct sound out of emo/cloud rap, Afrobeats, and alternative R&B. No one in Africa has not felt the impact of Victony’s dominance this year; for he started the year as a featured act in Mayorkun’s hit song “Holy Father,” which he had so much to do with. The success of the song was major.
He then continued to make an exceptional run with his recent jam-filled “Outlaw EP” which also provided an intimate lens on dealing with a tragic accident, immense loss, and keeping his spirit alive. The project housed seven tracks and featured contributions from KTIZO and Tempoe. It produced the hits “Apollo,” “Kolomental,” and “Jolene.” When we least expected it, “Soweto” went viral on social media. We can’t wait to hear a full album from this genius artist. Recovery proved to be triumphant for the prolific star as he strives to break boundaries and add another dimension to the Afrofusion movement.
In March this year, Swangz Avenue introduced its latest signee, Zafaran. The singer, and songwriter has a unique sound which consists R&B fusing it with Afrobeats. Since stepping onto the scene with her debut solo single under Swangz Avenue “Sweetheart”; `Zafaran has made a remarkable entrance in a very short period, gaining the attention of industry heavyweights and peers alike.
From backing Jose Chameleone and King Saha on their Tusker Malt Conver-Sessions, the bonafide vocalist has proven she’s deserving of a spot in this scene. While still maintaining her ground and swaying listeners with her harmonious and infectious melodies, she also additionally released more solo singles “Mwoto”, and most recently “Ankuba”.
2022 has been the year of Asake and there are all the facts are all out there.
Redefining his sound into what it is now, right from the onset of his signing to Olamide’s YBNL, tagged as one of the hottest artists in Nigeria this year, Asake has shown that there’s no order too tall for him as he has had back to back staggered releases; having started the year with a bang (being joined by his idol: Olamide on “Omo Ope,”; the lead single off his new debut 4track EP, ‘Ololade Asake’. Keeping the streak going, Asake later released his debut body of work “Mr Money With The Vibe” which has been doing so well; not forgetting Fireboy DML‘s “Bandana” on which he delivers a catchy pre-chorus.
- Vamos 256
It’s not every day that we see newcomer artists release a track; and immediately takeoff; however, the story for Amos Birungi better known by his stage name Vamos 256 is different; and this is all credit to the genius that is Fenon Records’ Founder Steve Jean.
Having previously worked with artists like the Blu*3 and Levixone in the olden days, the production/ events company made its way back to the music business even harder by signing Vamos 256.
Claiming this spot as the breakthrough act of the year follows the craze that surrounds his solo single “Konkona“ which is an instant party mood setter once it plays. It’s been among those Ugandan songs that have ruled Tiktok too.
He also combines dance; as well as melodies to top his already talented self. Vamos also last week delivered “Ayaka” as a continuation of the story he started in “Konkona”. We can only look forward to his 2023; as a fast-rising artist and star.
Other breakout artists of the year have included Boy Spyce, among others. Feel like any was skipped, do comment their names below.