Culture

Six Afrobeats Artistes Who Are Signed to International Record Labels

BY Abena Dzaka October 11, 2023 7:07 AM EDT
Photo Source: Instagram/@iamseyishay, @brymolawale, @tiwasavage

Many years ago, a lot of work was required for an African artiste to be recognized outside of the continent and have their work appreciated. In a quest to tap into unfamiliar markets, an artiste had to find a way of partnering with a foreign record label and even move closer after being signed by one in order to record music.

Nowadays, the world has been made smaller and more accessible courtesy of globalization.

The likes of Davido, Burna Boy, and Wizkid have unquestionably been some of the African musicians making and riding the biggest waves, bringing attention to the Afrobeats and Afropop of the West African region.

The genre has been so influential in presenting Africa, going all the way back to D’banj and pioneering artistes like Fela Kuti.

It was just a matter of time until the international labels realized the enormous influence of these Afrobeats singers. Now we are starting to see many recording companies moving to Africa to establish franchises, making it simpler to sign talents from Africa.

Talented musicians from Nigeria and other parts of Africa who signed significant contracts with Western record labels have benefited from this new era and migration. This approach is gradually becoming accepted in the industry as these outstanding creators strive for global reach in the packaging and marketing of their creations.

It is significant to highlight that all of these developments took place quickly, demonstrating the potential of the market for African music, especially the very new additions – Afrobeats and Amapiano.

It truly comes as no surprise, especially with the following Afrobeats stars having signed record deals with international labels.

Davido

Through RCA Records, Davido has a recording contract with Sony Music. He was the first Nigerian musician to sign with a major label. He began working for the label in 2016 and later founded his own, Davido Music Worldwide, which is home to artistes including Peruzzi, Mayorkun, Dremo, and Yonda, among others.

Wizkid

In 2017, Wizkid inked a contract with RCA Records, a division of Sony Music. The agreement was reached a few years after he left EME Records to found Starboy Entertainment. His third studio album, Sounds from the Other Side, was released as soon as he signed the contract with Sony Records.

Tiwa Savage

After seven years with Mavin Records, the Somebody’s Son vocalist signed a publishing and distribution agreement with Universal Music’s Motown Records division. Savage’s signing of a seven-year publishing and distribution deal with Universal Music Group was made public on May 2, 2019, while Roc Nation will continue to serve as her publishing and management partner.

Burna Boy

Prior to leaving in 2014, Burna was a signed artiste to the Nigerian label Aristokrat Records. 2017 saw Burna Boy joining Warner Music Group and Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the US. In honor of his major-label debut, he also released his studio album Outside in 2017. In 2018, the Twice As Tall album maker signed a publishing agreement with Universal Records.

Brymo

Author, songwriter, and singer-songwriter Olawale Ibrahim Ashimi, famed as Brymo, also signed a sweet deal. After leaving Chocolate City in 2010, Brymo signed a recording and distribution contract with a US-based music label, Tate Music Group.

Seyi Shay

Singer-songwriter Deborah Oluwaseyi Joshua is a British Nigerian. Seyi Shay’s musical style is a fusion of R&B and Afropop, though she has been experimenting with different genres depending on what inspires her. She released her debut album, Seyi or Shay, in 2015 after obtaining a global recording deal with Island Music, a multinational musical label owned by Universal Music Group.