Few things are quite as exciting as discovering new talent to listen to on repeat, add to your favourite playlists and lean on for emotional support over the course of the year.
For fans of African music on Spotify, 2023 promises another roll-call of amazing artists, ready to break through to fame and mainstream streaming success.
If anything, African music has consistently unfurled waves of new, fresh talent every year who have propelled the global interest in Afrobeats, Amapiano and its many other sub-genres. 2022 was a breakout year for artists like Buju, Costa Titch and Asake, whose success propelled them into Wrapped top lists at the end of 2022.
And while those talents took their voices to the main stage, a slew of rising stars was also laying the groundwork for their own breakout year. Some of these musicians are primed to release their best music in the coming months. Others have enjoyed early success on Spotify, and show many indications of even greater success on the horizon. Others are relatively new elements, developing new takes on familiar sounds that harken towards major shifts in popular music.
Hailing from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with a wide array of styles, cultures and perspectives, these artists are, according to Spotify data, the ones to watch in 2023.
With her hit single Waga Bietjie doing numbers on social media, and a feature on the lineup for Afro Nation Portugal- 2023 is shaping up to be Pabi Cooper’s best yet. A professional football referee turned dancer and singer- this triple threat is sure to heat up playlists throughout the year.
Lungelihle Zwane, or Uncle Waffles, has quickly established herself as a major driver of fashion, music, and Amapiano culture. Following her social media virality in 2021, she shot into stardom – with her track Tanzania topping charts for months on end.
21-year-old singer-songwriter Nkosazana Daughter is a fast-rising star in the Amapiano genre. In 2023 she received her first award nomination in the “Best Female MVP” category at the SoundCity MVP Awards Festival, making her a definite artist to watch.
With massive hit tracks like SETE (feat. Young Stunna & Blxckie) and Adiwele (feat. Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa), Young Stunna has made his mark within the Amapiano genre – and he’s only going up from here.
Phologo Judah Mataboge, popularly known by his stage name Jay Jody, is a rapper singer-songwriter with beginnings as one half of the rap duo B3nchMarQ. Now making a name for himself as a solo artist, we’re excited to see where Jay Jody will go from here.
With tracks such as thE confrontatioN and blvcK kidZ, BLUE TAPE’s fresh, mellow vibe has garnered a dedicated listenership. Having collaborated with other up-and-comers such as A-Reece and Jay Jody, BLUE TAPE’s sound is just getting started.
Having started out as a social media personality, Khanyisa Jaceni moved to music in 2021 and quickly found her place in the Amapiano genre. Her breakthrough song Bheka Mina Ngedwa, together with Lady Du, put her on our radar.
Vocalist Lwandile Mtshali, better known as Lwah Ndlunkulu, has been on a steady upward trajectory since her debut single, Home, in 2021. Lwah Ndlunkulu’s prominent feature on the collaborative track Voicemail by Big Zulu has distinguished herself as a voice in the groove scene.
21 year old Will Linley began writing songs at a young age, eventually moving to TikTok to begin his musical journey in 2021. His 2021 debut single miss me (when you’re gone) became a radio hit in South Africa, establishing Will as a rising star in pop music.
Brother duo Droomsindroom has been a trailblazer in the Afrikaans indie pop music scene. With two singles and an EP dropped last year alone, we’re sure that Droomsindroom is primed for even greater success.