Afro-Soul artists in 2022, are still very much relevant in Africa. Although over the years, it has not been the focus of many mainstream artists, the new wave of Afrobeats, projects optimism for the Afro-soul genre. Riding along the cultural craze, new acts have found a way to create a niche for themselves in the Afrobeats community.
There is an influx of artists who have redefined their sound to attract attention to the genre that has existed in the background but has not been given the attention that they deserve. We take a look at some of these artists who deserve to be given the spotlight.
T’neeya is a Cameroonian singer and songwriter based in Ghana. The style of her musical delivery in Pidgin, English and French offers a fusion blend of Afrobeats, Afro/neo-soul and R&B.
T’neeya, real name Jennifer Tania Takoh, was born to a Cameroonian father and a German mother and moved to Germany at the age of 18 to pursue a career in music. In 2017, she moved to Ghana, due to what she describes as “curiosity”. She signed to Aristokrat Records in 2018 and released three singles on the label: ‘Low Battery’ (2018), ‘Text Me’ (2018) and ‘Joli’ (2019).
In 2021, she released a 3 track project titled “In her feelings”, which gained her a nomination as the best female in Central Africa for the 2021 Afrimma Awards.
2. Nonso Amadi
Nonso Amadi is a Canadian-based Afro-R&B, soul singer, songwriter, and producer from Nigeria. He grew up in Nigeria before moving to the UK to study.
Nonso transformed into a sonic-globetrotter after his move to Canada – leading him to fuse the soul & rhythm of African music with the modern soft textures of R&B.
After breaking through globally with the 2016 hit “Tonight,” he found continued success through the remainder of the decade with widely streamed tracks like “Radio,” “Go Outside,” and “Emergency.”
Additional songs like the 2017 Eugy collaboration “Kwasia” and 2018’s “No Crime” raised his profile even more in advance of his 2019 EP Free. His first offering of the next decade was the 2020 single “Kolo,” a collaboration with Paul Play.
Y’akoto, whose real name is Jennifer Yaa Akoto Kieck, was born in Hamburg but lived her childhood in Tema, Ghana. Until 2016 she had lived in Hamburg, Lomé and Paris, but has since returned to Ghana, the country of her childhood.
The singer identifies herself as a neo-soul, R&B artist and fuses elements of jazz, afrobeat and pop. In 2011, she was featured in a local music TV show in Hamburg and earned a spot opening for Erykah Badu. That year, she also released her recording debut, the Tamba EP.
Her third studio album ‘mermaid blues’ shot her to international recognition with songs like ‘fool me once’ and ‘take him back’. She has 3 albums and 2 EPs to her name. Her latest project ‘Obaa Yaa’ which was released in 2020 has the popular song ‘I agree’ featured on the EP, which was later accompanied by a music video, shot in Ghana.
4. Asi Renie
Asi Renie is a Ghanaian musician whose sound encompasses Neo-Soul, Afro-Soul, South African house, EDM, R&B/Soul, Afro-Blues, and other genres.
Her actual name is Renie Asi Bampoe Abu, is a young singer-songwriter noted for her soul-stirring voice. She was born in Virginia, the United States but began her musical career in Ghana in 2019 with the launch of her debut EP project, “Piece Of Me,” and has since soared to stardom with her breathtaking live performances.
“Chapter V,” her much-awaited project, was released in August 2020. The project’s introduction was an elegant and moving piece that garnered positive feedback from fans. During Worlasi’s annual event “Worlafest” that same year, she performed alongside Senku Live, a reggae rendition of her 2019 single “Hold On.”
5. Ria Sean
Real name Gloria Asene Enebi, Ria Sean is a singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Nigeria, she grew up singing in church. She embarked on her music journey professionally at the age of sixteen, drawing influence from artists such as Brandy, Chris Brown, Whitney Houston and Frank Ocean
Sean has a unique sound that is a fusion of Afropop, Soul, and R&B with Lo-Fi undertones. In 2019, she was featured on the compilation album: Sounds from The Basement Gig – vol 1. Sean has worked with multiple artists like Leriq, Moelogo, Adekunle Gold and Goodgirl LA.
In June 2021, she signed to Aristokrat Records after she released her popular single “Lemonade”.
Kkeda was born in London to second-generation black British parents of Jamaican heritage. She was brought up by her grandmother who relocated to Ghana when she was 5 years old. Later down the line as a young teen, she suffered scoliosis and was forced to return to London for spinal surgery. Music became her escape.
She returned to Ghana where she decided to pursue her dreams of a singing career, releasing her first track ‘I like it’ in 2019 with Groundup. Her music is a soulful mixture of Afro-fusion R&B and Pop.
Her discography includes ‘cheating, blue jeans, temper and hopeless place’.
Obongjayar’s music has been called “hard to describe”, incorporating elements of afrobeat, spoken word, soul, and electronic music. Steven Umoh grew up in Calabar, Nigeria. Umoh moved to live with his mother in England at the age of 17 but stayed active in the Nigerian music scene.
In 2016, Obongjayar released his first extended play, Home, described by Noisey as “a unique voice: one that navigates darkness with nocturnal, near-spiritual hymns.
In collaboration with afrobeat producer Sarz, Obongjayar released a third EP, Sweetness, in 2021. He featured on rapper Little Simz’s second studio album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert on the fourth single “Point and Kill”, which was later accompanied by a music video. Obongjayar also released the song and music video “Message in a Hammer”, the lead single for his forthcoming album.
Afro-Soul artists are ready to take over, don’t be late to the party.