Top Nigerian Musicians with International Record Deals
Several Nigerian musicians are profiting from signing with an international music label. The trend is quickly becoming “normal” in the industry, as these talented artists seek better representation and international standards in the packaging and distribution of their works. Below are Nigerian musicians who have made their mark with international labels.
Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie is a dancehall reggae singer. Identified by his stage name as Patoranking, the Ebonyi State-born songwriter started with Igberaga Records in 2010. He went to Foston Musik in 2014 and in 2015 he signed with an independent label from the Caribbean in New York, VP Records. The label is known for releasing music similar to the reggae-dancehall genre of Patoranking.
Her entry into an international label dates back to 2019. The “Malo” singer had been at Mavin Records for seven years, but then moved to Motown Records, a subsidiary of Universal Music, where she signed a publishing and distribution contract for seven years. After joining Universal Music, she released “49-99”, then “Attention” and “Owo mi da” to continue entertaining her fans.
Deborah Oluwaseyi Joshua is a British-Nigerian singer and songwriter. Seyi Shay’s musical style, as she is known professionally, is a combination of Afropop and R&B, although she has explored other genres depending on what inspires her. After signing a worldwide recording contract with Island Record, a multinational record company owned by Universal Music Group, in 2015 she released the debut album Seyi or Shay. She has done well in the industry with several endorsement deals and also as a music talent show judge.
Bukola Elemide is reputed to be one of the most exposed Nigerian musicians. Known as Asa, the Franco-Nigerian singer, songwriter and recording artist is under international guardianship and signed to Paris-based Naïve Records. Asa is also signed to Sony BMG. Asa’s deal is very positive because his music is not, especially for Nigerian consumption. Her second album, Beautiful Imperfection released in 2010 in collaboration with French composer Nicolas Mollard went platinum in 2011. Her latest album was released on February 25, 2022.
Olawale Ibrahim Ashimi is a singer, songwriter and author. Brymo, as he is popularly known, signed a recording contract with Chocolate City in 2010, but left and signed a new recording and distribution deal with US-based music company Tate Music. Group in 2015. His music is a mix of Fuji, R&B, Rock and Pop. .
Olamide is one of the few Nigerian artists to boast of owning a successful record label. Olamide established his label, YBNL in 2012. The label has trained artists like Lil Kesh, Adekunle Gold, Viktoh, Chinko Ekun, Fireboy DML. It recently signed a joint venture agreement with International Label and Distribution company, Empire. The agreement allows all other artists signed with YBNL to enjoy their music distributed internationally.
Burna was previously signed to Nigerian label Aristokrat Records but left in 2014. Burna Boy signed with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the US and Warner Music Group internationally in 2017. He also released his studio album in 2017 “Outside” to celebrate his major label debut. He also signed a publishing deal with Universal Records in 2018. In 2019, Burna Boy spoke about the dangers of embarking on an international deal without proper guidelines.
Wizkid signed a multi-album deal with Sony Music subsidiary RCA Records in 2017. The deal came a few years after his exit from EME Records and the creation of Starboy Entertainment. Immediately after his contract with Sony Records, he released his third studio album, “Sounds from the Other Side”.
Davido is signed to Sony Music through RCA Records. He was the first of the Nigerian artists to be signed to an international label. He joined the label in 2016, then created his own label, Davido Music Worldwide, which houses artists such as Peruzzi, Mayorkun, Dremo, Yonda, among others. The same year as his new contract, Davido released an EP, Son of Mercy, but the EP did not do well in the market due to the change in sound and musical style.
Phillip Kayode Moses or Pheelz as he is popularly known is a record producer, songwriter and singer and the latest artist to be signed to an American label, Warner Records.