From Untapped To Securing A Slot In Our Hearts Has been Elijah Kitaka, Tyla, Vyroota, among others.
It’s finally December, the penultimate month of the music year in review where we get to celebrate the acts that have been frontrunners onto the music scene, winning our hearts, a song, dance move, or performance, lyric at a time. With the embracement of the ever-growing music streaming culture, and platforms like Tiktok enabling virality of songs, this enabled many pop up, create a buzz around their music, gain popularity while and keep pace while horning their craft.
Without further ado, presented is an annual breakdown of the set of standout breakout artists of the year 2023:
- Elijah Kitaka.
Heralding the list is Elijah Kitaka. Peeling back the layers of his artistry, Elijah Kitake rebranded from being a fully reggae artist to an Afro RnB artist, and the results have since been mind blowing. Having first caught the eye of many when he was announced as the first male singing of premium record label, Swangz Avenue, the first in years, the stakes were high but Elijah Kitaka was Harder.
Making waves in the corridors of the Internet, and forging impressive careers and formidable music catalogues, with the rebrand came an EP ‘Bedroom Essentials’, which birthed bangers only. Right from ‘Nothing’ to ‘Tutu Mama’, ‘Kontrol’, ‘Tutu Mama’ featuring Vinka, to mention but a few.
This, bundled with his amazing Live performances has laid the groundwork for what’s a promising year and the pillars of what promises to be an exceptional career path for him in the next couple of months.
- Alien Skin
No way you can mention show stoppers of the year 2023, and you skip Mulwana Patrick, or as he is known by his stage name Alien Skin Ug. He has been by far one of the most talked about acts on and offline, a feat commanded by his sense of humour, care free personality, sense of fashion, personality, lyrics and lifestyle in general. To his name has been the popularizing of the “Kinyanyanya” sub genre of Ugandan music, which has carried along with it a local dance known as ‘Empele’. His songs ‘Party’, ‘Tondeeka’, ‘Sitya Danger’, ‘Tonkaka’ among others have enjoyed massive airplay, charted country wide. This saw him earn the YouTube Creator Award in the shortest time, having surpassed 100,000 subscribers. He made headlines when a scuffle a Ugandan musician who transformed his Ghetto hustle into a remarkable opportunity hence having a soldout concert with minimal advertising efforts. He excels at many things asides music, which include acting, and philanthropy.
- Kataleya & Kandle
If not dulling were a hobby, then that must be one thing Theron Music’s dynamic music recording pair Kataleya & Kandle have mastered this 2023. From their catchy sense of fashion to incredible back to back bangers and performances, these two have played their part in owning the year, thanks to records like ‘Osanze Ndaba’, ‘POSE” featuring Fik Fameica, ‘Binkolele’, and most recently, “Call It Love” Extended Play, a six track project. \ is a Ugandan music duo consisting of the Kataleya & Kandle. The duo holds the distinction of being Uganda’s first female music duo. They are managed by Records since 2021. Hadijja Namakula (alias Kataleya) and Rebecca Robbins Nabatuusa (alias Kandle) are no strangers to the spotlight, as they stepped in to it in 2021 with “Do Me”, following it up with “Nkunonya”, “Nyash”, “Njagala Money”, among others.
- Dax Vibez
What’s a list of outstanding breakthrough acts of 2023 minus Dax Vibez?? I mean, he is the genius behind the most spinned (airplay), Shazamed and most played track of the year, ‘Believe’.
Trusted as a tool for promoting the release of the single was social media and significant success has since been achieved, with the track taking over not just Tiktok, but commanding the charts of Apple Music in Uganda, radio show countdowns etc. This means it is only getting better for him in 2024, with more booking, media appearances and so forth, poising it to be his best yet.
Another fascinating thing to happen to the Ugandan music scene this year was dynamic music duo UgaBoys, made up of UgaBoy Zee and UgaBoy Coins. The duo consisting blood brothers Malinga Sulaiman and Musungi Muhammad are largely credited to their Selecta Jeff assisted buzzing record that has sound tracked 2023 “Salary”, a highlife song that describes the life of a salary earner and how they plan fir it, even before it can be paid to them.
Fun fact, one half of the duo, UgaBoy Zee was born on 9th April and UgaBoy Coins on the 9th of October respectively. Their appearance on shows like the 2023 Nyege Nyege, Afro – Amapiano (the Last Edition) is testimony to the fact that these boys are onto something good.
The 20-year-old sensation, Tyla Laura Seethal, the South African singer mononymously known as Tyla, is currently dominating conversations in the town, charts, and media, all thanks to her amapiano-infused hit solo single “Water.” Born and raised in Johannesburg, Tyla Seethal’s journey to stardom began with the release of her debut single, ‘Getting Late,’ in 2019, capturing the attention of audiences both within and outside South Africa. Backed by her family’s support and her experience as the Minister of Culture, Tyla secured a recording deal with Epic Records, and her debut track found a place in Season 2 of Blood & Water. Influenced by her South African roots, Tyla’s catalog includes “Overdue,” “Been Thinking,” and the P.Priime produced “Girl Next Door” featuring Ayra Starr, a reflection of a well paved journey to more milestones and more mainstream breakthrough in 2024.
Tyla has since debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, garnered impressive streaming numbers, earned a Grammy nomination etc. all thanks to ‘Water’.
Like the popular belief is, delay is not denial. Having put in the work and dropped a couple of singles last year, and eventually having a taste into mainstream success with “Ndibulungi”, Abdul Aziz Musigazi also professionally as Vyroota this 2023 made it to the hearts of many Ugandan music lovers, thanks to his ear worm of a tune ‘Risk‘. ‘Risk’ has really been spun, and dominated the charts of not only streaming services but media houses, making him very notable for a mention and recognition for his hard work.
For the year 2021, Azawi’s “My Year” was that manifestation anthem. This year, yet another anthem landed, “This Year” by South Western Uganda’s Omega256 (born Murerwa Shamim). The biggest catch about this track was how she blended Runyankole and English into one, producing easily one of the most popular songs of the year. On “This Year”, the 23-year-old crooner speaks of how this year is going to be one of big breaks, no borrowing, and going from local to international among other manifestations.
Just like was the case Vyroota, Omega256 has been doing music since 2017, and dished out singles like “ Ndera and Keeza”, and “Deep In Love”, but got her mainstream acclaim this year, and this is widely seen in how this tune is widely played on radios, and on repeat among many music enthusiasts.
In case you are an ardent reader of this blog, the name Mike Mungu should quite ring a bell, by now. Whether he was heaping praising KAGINA, or wooing his love interest to ‘BE MINE’, Mike’s continuation to take it a step at a time on the musical journey has been quite phenomenal. Do watch out further for him in 2014, but for now, keep listening to his EP “FINALLY.
With 2024 being a few weeks away, which acts are you eyeing or see taking over that year musically? DO share in the comments or via social. I am @Mugibson on all.