Billboard Music Awards 2023: Ayra Starr, Rema, Labianca listed as finalists

BY Nii Ogbamey Tetteh October 26, 2023 6:39 PM EDT
Ayra Starr

Records by some top African acts pushing the Afrobeats/Afropop genre are being considered for this year’s Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs) scheduled for Sunday, November 19, 2023.

The finalists announced on Thursday include Ayra Starr (Rush), People by Cameronian-American singer Labianca; Ku Lo Sa by Oxlade ft Camila Cabello; Calm Down by Rema and Selena Gomez.

“Soweto” by Victony ft Don Toliver, Tempo, and Rema also feature prominently, although fans have tipped Calm Down for the Ultimate.

Rema and his song Calm Down have been on a winning streak, with the most recent being the Song of the Year Award at the Trace Awards 2023, held in Rwanda, Kigali.  A remix of the song, released in February 2022 with Selena Gomez, reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 this year.

New releases such as People and Soweto have also recorded thousands of playbacks across streaming platforms, and their appearance on the list does not surprise music lovers.

With the song’s lyrics, People were reportedly inspired by Libianca’s personal experience with depression. The single, released in December 2022, was successful in the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand and reached number two on the charts in the Netherlands and Suriname.

The BBMAs celebrate the hottest names in contemporary music, with winners determined by performance on the Billboard charts.

Awards for the 2023 BBMAs, organisers say, are based on music consumption reflected on Billboard’s charts dated Nov. 19, 2022, through Oct. 21, 2023, and take into account key fan interactions with music, including audio and video streaming, album and song sales, radio airplay, and touring.

“For nearly 30 years, the “Billboard Music Awards” have showcased spectacular performances, unexpected collaborations, buzzworthy pop culture moments, and the prestigious ICON Award, which honors record-breaking artists and their impact on music.”

Billboard is a global music media brand with a renowned authority among artists, fans, and the industry. It powers the ultimate global music destination and magazine, featuring unrivalled reporting on music news, issues, and trends and the industry’s definitive charts, encompassing the most complete and well-respected database of charts across all music genres.