Nigeria is filled with super talented female singers. From the mainstream pop singers to the traditional RnB soul singing divas, to the pidgin english singing ladies that reach the core of the Nigerian audience. You want it, you got it with the talent base we have here.
In an industry dominated by male artists, these female stars have done well to stand out and be some of the biggest names in Nigerian entertainment through the talent, and most especially their hard-work and consistency.
So we, in our humble opinion, and with input from some industry experts have compiled a list of the Top 10 Female singers in Nigeria based on Vocal Ability, Lyrics and Delivery, Mainstream Acceptability, Consistency, and Commercial Value.
10. 10. Chee
This Glo brand ambassador might not have the huge fan base some others on this list have, but vocally she can give the best in the land a run for their money. In simple terms, the girl can blow.
Her singles, A Nom Ebea, and most recently No More have been doing well to keep her buzz going, and one gets the feeling that once that cross over top hit rolls in, she’ll be one of the hottest names in Nigeria, and it’ll be very well deserved. Among her peers she’s already very well respected.
9. 9. Ruby
Ruby has been known as great singer since her days in secondary school, and her mini feature appearances in MI, and Jesse Jagz songs. However it wasn’t until she released her “debut” single, Okay that everyone else in Nigeria got to experience what Ruby carries in her voice box.
She’s also gathering up a big fan base, and the award nominations for her follow up singles, Down and Good Man are indications that her career is taking off. For her core fans, it’s something they all knew was going to happen sooner or later. The rest of us are just now catching up.
8. 8. Niyola
Niyola is now starting to make her mark on the Nigerian music industry, but if you think she’s a newbie, you’re very mistaken.
Niyola has been doing music since she was 8, and in 2000 emerged at the first runner up in the AMEN starlet competition. She later linked up with Trybe records, and then Westside music where she released her debut album with singles Me n U, No More and Dem Say.
Her profile took a serious upturn when she signed with EME and everyone really started taking notice. Her single Toh Bad became her IT song, and show cased not only her singing ability, but her ability to convey emotions through her song so effortlessly. Song writing wise she’s also quite stellar, and her subsequent singles, No Comment, Love To Love You, and Last Bus Stop have done well to cement her name as one of the top divas in Nigerian music.
7. 7. Seyi Shay
I’ll be the first to say I wasn’t quite sold on Seyi Shay until recently even though I respected her hustle. But even in my “doubtful” period, I knew she was a solid entertainment brand. Her vocals are solid, and so is her work lyrically but it’s her versatility, and mass appeal that put her in a unique box. She can switch from traditional RnB to Reggae to Pop and not drop in quality. Over the past couple of years she’s won me over, and I’m now a big fan.
This singer/songwriter’s journey started in the UK where she was part of the musical group, Boadicea, and later From Above.
She hit the scene in Nigeria with singles, Loving Your Way, No Lele, and Irawo, but it wasn’t until her single, Murda that she really struck serious gold. The platform is set for her to potentially dominate, and so far she’s making all the right moves to do so.
6. 6. Yemi Alade
Yemi Alade might not yet be the King of Queens, as her album title states, but she’s well on the road to being that.
Yemi Alade’s ability to cut deep into Nigerian pop music is one of her most unique qualities with widely accepted singles, Johnny, Ghen Ghen Love, and Tangerine. But let’s not get it twisted, the girl can blow when it comes to vocals. One listen to Farabale on DJ Klem’s AfroFunkyDiscoSoul will convince you that she’s got serious gold in her wind pipes.
Probably the most impressive thing about Yemi Alade is her evolution since she broke into the scene back in 2010. She’s constantly grown, and improved on every aspect of her music, which leads me to believe as highly rated as she is now, the best is yet to come.
5. 5. Chidinma
This Project Fame winner from 2010 hit the ground running right after she was crowned with the hit single, Jankolikoko featuring Sound Sultan.
Though she’s not your stereotypical vocalist, she knows how to deliver songs in a way that every class of people in Nigeria can rock with. Her single, Kedike has become her trademark tune winning her awards after awards including Best Female West African Act at the KORA awards in 2012, and giving her the tag name Ms Kedike. Following that up shortly after with another mega hit Emi Ni Baller.
Her more recent singles, Oh Baby, Jolie, and Kite have done well to keep her status at a consistent level. Giving her all the makings of someone that’ll be around for the long haul.
4. 4. Waje
You can bring up the discussion about who the best female singer in Nigeria is right now, and I’m 100% sure Waje’s name will always come up. She’s an amazing singer by any standards. Like the acronym to her name, Word Just Aren’t Enough to describe what she brings to the table. Her vocals are outstanding, lyrics are catchy , live performances are ridic and likability is… well.. ask anyone who’s met her.
Those who are her core fans, have known about her abilities for a while, since the days of Do Me with P-Square, Kolo and For A Minute, but the rest of Nigeria took serious notice after her duet with MI, One Naira in 2011.
Her album, Word Aren’t Just Enough with singles, Onye, I Wish, and Na The Way, and post album single, Omini Knowest, has helped cement her as one of the major players in the music industry, and a force to be reckoned with for years to come. She’s paid her dues and her shinning period is well deserved.
3. 3. Asa
When it comes to Asa, there’re different schools of thought as to where to place in terms of female singers in Nigeria. For us, she’s up there.
While she might not sound like your stereotypical RnB singer, she’s unrivaled in pure musical ingenuity. She’s something like a complete musician. Writing, composing, and orchestrating her sounds to fit the kind of music she wants to put out. Her debut album, Asa, is considered a classic, and one of the best albums put in Nigeria in the past decade.
But more important that any of these is her consistency. With the release of her album, Bed Of Stone, Asa has put out 3 solid albums that have not only appealed to the local audience but internationally as well. She might be our best musical export right now.
2. 2. Tiwa Savage
Looking for a Nigerian female artist with “star” written all over them? Look no further than Mrs Tiwa Savage Balogun. I mean really it was hard not to sneak her into the #1 spot, but I’m sure she wont complain too much about being #2. At least on our humble list.
Her singing ability is never in question, lyrically she’s solid, performance wise she’s outstanding, and the star quality/commercial acceptability surrounding her is beaming to the skies.
Her album, Once Upon A Time, released last year is packed with major mainstream singles Eminado (arguably one of the hottest songs last year), Olorun Mi, Folarin to add to the mega hits Kele Kele Love, Love Me (x3) she burst onto the scene with. Quite frankly her list of songs are getting endless not to talk of outstanding features she’s done.
And Awards? They’re way too many to name, but when you’re nominated for the BET international act award, you know you’ve made it.
1. 1. Omawumi
The Queen! The Mommy of Divas in the new generation of Nigerian music! Omawonder as she is often called has been a consistent force in Nigerian music since she burst onto the scene in 2007 after finishing 1st runner up in West African Idol.
What makes Omawumi so special is her unique ability to appeal to every class of people in Nigeria, and Africa as a whole. Her choice of language to sing in (pre-dominantly pidgin) means that the woman that’s a company CEO and the man selling bushmeat on the road can relate to her music very well. Add her vocal range, great lyrics (both playful and serious) and enticing stage performances, it’s easy to see why she’s so loved in Nigeria.
With albums, Wonder Woman (with singles Today na Today, Chocolata, and Love Nwantinti), and The Lasso Of Truth (singles Bottom Belle, If You Ask Me, I Go Go) plus other post album singles, under her belt, and countless awards and nominations, it’s easy to see how Omawumi is the number 1 highest paid female performer in Nigeria. No be beans! And really, you can barely make serious case for anyone else.
Compiled by Aribaba (@aribabaj) | Sourced from various industry experts. Speical thanks to all our contributors!