Beginning from the late 1990’s up till early 2000’s, the Nigerian musical entertainment scene witnessed what could be described as a ‘revolution’, as exemplified in the emergence of contemporary hip-hop artists. In 2016, these artists have become so influential on the global scene that the genre they play has acquired a fusion of various indigenous (and, sometimes, foreign) sounds. The ripple effect of this is that most indigenous Nigerian music genres like Apala, Fuji and the rest have been elbowed out of the stage.
In 2016, Juju and Gospel musicians still remain dominant forces in the entertainment industry. We bring you top 20 Juju and Gospel artistes that made the genre relevant by the number of shows they attended, their visibility in the social scene, albums released in 2016 and the promises of 2017.
Prince Abel Dosumu a.k.a Mega 99 is no longer a new name in the Juju Industry. The star artist rocked 2016 with countless shows and studio works to his credit. He has got almost the entire weekends for 2017 booked with special events and also set to release another studio work by the mid-year.
The Award winning Juju gospel artist, Mega 99 dropped his widely accepted Emajo Emayo album,and also acquired an ultra-modern music equipment worth a whopping N25m in 2015.
The all-sliver out-door collapsible stage which is not common among the entertainers in the country because of his unique specification, ‘wide 24ft, length 40fts with the height of 30fts from ground level), is used for big concerts, political rallies and crusades in open fields.
Oladele Oluwafemi Emmanuel popularly known as Femi Solar is a native of Ipoti, Ekiti State, Nigeria. Femi Solar attended Olumide Day Primary School, Loyola College Ibadan and The Polytechnic of Ibadan where he studied Accounting. He started his career with training in Music adverts, Jingles and Scripts reading and later ventured fully into music. His musical band name is Femi Oorun Solar & The Sunshine Jasa Band. Femi is fast becoming a renowned Juju Gospel musician and he is the artist many people prefer to play at their parties and occasions in Nigeria. In 2013, he had a succesful musical tour of United States of America and South Africa.
He also organized All-white party to launch his music video in 2016 in conjunction with City People Magazine.
Despite 18 years active performance, Yinka Aiyefele is still a force to reckon with in the Juju Gospel Industry. Ever since his first album in 1998, it has always been back-to-back hit for the music start. Yinka began his music career in 1997 after he was involved in an automobile accident which damaged his spinal cord and confined him to a wheelchair.
The release of Bitter experience was followed by the release of Sweet Experience. Other albums released by the gospel musician are Something Else, Divine Intervention and Life after death, released in honor of Gbenga Adeboye a Nigerian radio presenter, musician and comedian. The title Bitter Experience reflected his ordeal and Sweet Experience was the sweetness after a “Bitter Experience.
Yinka Aiyefele has a radio station called Fresh FM. Fans are assured that Yinka will make 2017 more interesting than last year.
Atorishe is his most popular name due to the success of his first album with the same name. Teriba, a very successful musician is another guy that conveniently ranks high above his contemporary in the industry.
He has performed in several countries and has bagged several international awards.
Lanre has also featured in several collabos with various juju artistes who are also on top of their game.
He is also said to have recently launched a N50million worth of musical instrument.
The celebrated ace of gospel music is another man that conveniently falls into this category. His style of music blends traditional pattern ofpraise with contemporary beat. Opalemo, who is a protégé to Yinka Ayefele has also made his mark in the industry. He has assured his fans to watch out in 2017 as he is set to come back with a blast.
Seyi ventured into the gospel world almost 10 years ago and surely he has made a solid impact. Seyi is one gospel artiste who knows the rudiments of the industry. His first hit, Ema sope kole da went so viral beyond the shores of Africa as it became a popular demand in Cuba, Brazil and Argentina and Republic of Benin, where some of their citizen partially speak Yoruba.
The very sonorous voiced singer would be surprise addition to this list. She is a genuine gospel artiste, only ventured into the gospel arena by divine instruction. The Amazing Grace crooner, who has been involved in many voice-over tracks for many movies, is yet to retire as she keeps producing hits after hits every year. She was recently crowned the queen of Gospel music by City People Magazine for her exceptional style music and gospel ministration.
OMOBA AND DE JUMBO BEATS
A superstar in his native Nigeria in the new century, juju bandleader Omoba was hailed by Empressive Media as one of the most influential Juju Gospel art who made exceptional impact in 2016 and the next King Sunny Ade.
While Omoba, who sings in his native Yoruba tongue, has achieved that level of popularity within the time he started singing professionally, he and his 20-piece Jumbo Beats band shook the whole of Abuja during his Thanksgiving Video/Album release.
In addition, Omoba has helped open the door for other upcoming Juju Gospel artists. He was celebrated by City people as one of the most sought-after artist in 2016.
He has promised his fans that 2016 is just a piece of the iceberg, assuring that he shall thrill Nigerians and his fans abroad with unbelievable performance and impactful songs in 2017. We look forward to it.
Yomi Peters, who hails from Ogun state, comes from a family of musicians. He is the brother to other top Juju musicians; Sir Shina Peters and Gbenga Peters. He is another Juju musician worthy of mention. He is a talented multi-instrumentalist; a talent which he claims has given him an edge as a successful Juju musician.
Although he was away from the Nigerian music terrain for a while, in 2015, he released a new song titled ‘Igbeyawo’, which has so far gotten ample air-play. This song which is a wedding song, came as a rebrand or repackaging of the artiste’s style, with the fusion of hip-hop and African flavour. He also released the video of the new song late last month (March 2016). He has successfully released a good number of albums, which were well received.
The golden son of gospel, Damilare David Odunuga popularly called Dare Melody has carved a niche for himself and amongst the packs, he’s one artiste that is loved and respected due to his God-giving talent in singing, composing and of course preaching.
The gospel singer stated that it’s his desire to follow the path of his mentors by delivering uncompromising messages through his songs.
Esther Igbekele was born and brought up with music in her blood. Her grandfather was the only drummer that could play to make the king of my town to get up on his throne to dance. While my father and his siblings were all singers, my father was a choirmaster for about 25 years before he finally became a pastor.
When she was five, I started leading the junior choir and they took me from junior choir when I was 7 to senior choir, because I was too sharp to be relegated to junior choir.
Esther has released several hit songs which has inspired many souls and blessed many homes. 2017 is expected to another better year for the Gospel singer and her fans.
Biyi Samuel came into prominence in 2002 when he was invited to sing the title track of a movie called Igi Aruwe. Unfortunately, his star that shone brilliantly with the soundtrack dimmed when, Femi Fadeyi, the producer of the movie played a fast one on him and robbed him of its copyright.
For years, he groped in the dark until recently when lady luck smiled on him. Today, he has become a fast rising folk music crooner.
Samuel has produced four albums. His first, “Sacrifice”, released on the platform of Decross Music in 2000/2001, and following this was the song that brought him to limelight, “Igi Aruwe”, produced in 2002/2003. Later, he released “Papa’s Promise” for the record label of the late actor and movie producer, Muyideen (Alade) Aromire.
He also released Kabiosi for Omo Xtian Music; while his finally album, produced last year, was also under Moyinnet Entertainment.
Thirteen years after dropping his claim to fame song Igi Aruwe, Biyi Samuel returned with another banging album titled Ori Mi last year and has remained on top of his game ever since.
Soji Israel is a recording artiste with vast musical experience.A great composer and vocal powerhouse whose dexterity is applaud able.He is a front liner in Nigerian Gospel music and a leading Indigenous Praise/ worship leader.
He is the original writer of “BABA YE” a song that is widely used in worship and prayer in several Christian gatherings all over the world.His maiden album of nine years is still a toast of many music lovers till now.Songs like” Wonder Wonder”,”Joyfully sing” and a host of others are still very inspiring to millions of people.
He is a psalmist whose heart of worship usually reflects in his ministrations.He is also a proven music Director and choir manager who has handled a host of notable churches in his home country Nigeria. His latest music album titled ”ANYWHERE”has been greeted with a lot of anticipations from his teeming fans and followers
As a naturally gifted and skilled musician and with God’s help, Jide Arowolo played guitar and bass for the then popular ‘Emerald’, a Christian contemporary instrumental jazz quartet in Ibadan in the 90s. He has featured at popular music festivals alongside many prominent christian artistes especially at the Maranatha Music Festivals in the late eighties. As a highly prolific songwriter, Jide has a vast collection of original songs set in diverse genres such as ballad, pop, reggae, R&B and some contemporary afro-rhythms. One of them is the popular ‘Ololufe’
Among the successful concerts he has held with the Samonda music team are ‘Rejoice ’97’ and ‘He is Risen ’98’. These recordings have become the favourites of many television stations within and outside Oyo State Nigeria. Jide has taught a good number of musicians, some of whom are now known producers in different parts of the world. He has been the technical adviser for many christian bands and a producer for many artistes and groups. He was a guest UK music minister at the Nigeria Turning Point Prayer Rally in Abuja Stadium in year 2005. He has delivered many seminars and conducted training programmes on praise & worship and sound management in many universities, churches and conferences in different parts of the world.
Folake Umosen made a return after being away for a while now after she released her ever green chart buster album King’s Praise in 2004. It was the album that brought her to the limelight with the hit track ‘Kosobabire.’
For 2016, she has brought forth a single titled, ‘Na wonder o you dey do’ for her fans and gospel music lovers across the globe. According to her, “I’m not just a singer but also a minister of the gospel, who has been a blessing to mankind in homes, churches, our nation Nigeria and beyond its shores.
Mike Abdul has made his mark as a songwriter, singer and music producer. He has either written, contributed to or sang in the following hits: Igwe, Kene Jesu, Morire, Atobiju, SO Good, So Worthy, Yin Baba, Kabio-o-si, This Fuji Thing, Next Fuji Thing, Surulere, Your Majesty, Durotimi, Jenifa, E Gimme Money, No Evil and many album released.
Mike Abdul has worked with several Nigerian based gospel and secular artists and producers including FLO, Wole Oni, Mr Daz, BOUQUI, SheyMan, Rotimi Akinfenwa, Helen Paul, K-solo, Obiwon, Blaque Jersey, Tim Godfrey, Nomoreloss, Dekunle Fuji, SammY-Young, 1stBon, MoniQue, Rooftop MCs, Midnight Crew, Rasqie and several fantastic others making him the most featured Nigerian based gospel artist ever.
His works with Midnight Crew and other gospel music greats have seen him to many nations, enjoying several enviable platforms, media presence, awards and recognition across borders.
David Ojo is an Anointed man of God, a composer, award winning Recording Artist and an electrifying Gospel Artist.
David Ojo, was born in Ilupeju Ekiti, Ekiti State (Nigeria), and moved to Ibadan, another western state in Nigeria where The Lord gave him this band. From there he moved to Lagos,the former capital of Nigeria; now the commercial capital of Nigeria. While in Lagos the band became more solid as God’s plan. He traveled extensively with the band to various parts of Africa to Minister in song. Both Anglophone and Francophone nations in Africa, e.g. Ghana, Benin Republic, Liberia, Kenya, Togo, Cameroon, etc have been really blessed with his ministrations.
After touring some of the African nations, the Lord then took him and the band to his present base in New York (United States Of America) where by God’s grace, he has ministered in over 34 States which includes Washington DC, New Jersey, Michigan,Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, Georgia, Philadelphia, Chicago, West Virginia, North Carolina,Rhode Island and many more.
QUEEN AYO BALOGUN
Juju music icon, Queen Ayo Balogun Born Ayotunde Kofoworola Ogunlade,59, is from in Ilesha, Osun State. Her 88-year-old mother still sings in the church choir. She spent her childhood in Ibadan and had my primary education there before moving to Lagos in 1972.
She took correspondent exams from London Royal School of Music and got a Diploma in Music.
She started as a Gospel musician and later switched to Juju music when she realized that she could be an entertainer and make people dance and also gain a larger audience.
She’s a chorister at C&S Ayo Ni O Parish. Her 30-man band is named Ayo Balogun and Harmonic Voices.
She is the first woman to become the president of Association of Juju Musicians of Nigeria (AJUMN).
Segun Obe is one of the fast-rising musicians in the country. He may not be as famous as his elder brother, Tunde, but one thing you cannot take away from him is his vocal chord.
One thing that cannot go unnoticed is Segun Obe’s vocal dexterity. As a voice coach, he has trained several individuals and choirs of churches within the country and beyond including Harvesters International Christian Centre, Guiding Light Assembly, Holy Ghost Praying Centre, Daystar Christian Centre and a branch of Winners Chapel in Maryland, USA.
He has a number of awards to his credit from his critically acclaimed albums. His recent singles include “Higher Octave”, “Aka” and most recently “God Dey”.
Segun Obe has shared stage with renowned music ministers including Dr Panam Percy Paul, Lionel Petersen, Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, Kurt Carr, amongst others. He is also one of the praise and worship lead singers of the Lagos Metropolitan Gospel Choir of The House on the Rock Church (HOTR).
Popular Juju musician and chairman Lagos chapter of Juju Musicians Association of Nigeria(AJUMN), Segun Nabi is setting new records in the Juju music industry.
The prolific musician in 2016, launched three albums- Grip, Amin (Amen) and Appreciation 5 – at a go, a feat that has not been accomplished before in the Juju music terrain.
If theres anything Segun can do perfectly, it’s singing. He started playing music at a tender age, and has today, become a household name.