The Future Awards Africa Prize For Music
Teniola ‘Makanaki’ Apata (26)
Teniola Apata always knew she would perform music for a living. She’d grown up watching her father dazzle audiences with his band and learned the ropes of performance very early in her life. But she wasn’t quite what kind of musician she would be. Experimenting with a gospel choir and other genres before settling on afro-pop, Teni found a unique blend of character acting, slapstick humor and instantly recognizable vocal work to propel her into stratospheric levels of fame.
Teniola was one of the first Nigerian popstars to harness the country’s collective obsession with humor, transforming her personal Instagram account into a repository of infamous characters and universal punchlines. It didn’t hurt that Niniola Apata, Teni’s elder sister had just begun her own climb to the top of the charts with her own personal project. Teni gained the attention of mainstream media after releasing her single “Fargin” in September 2017, later that year she signed on with Dr. Dolor Entertainment. She gained further success after the release of her single” Askamaya”. However, Teni’s break out single that signified her as a music star was when she released her hit record “Case” earning her accolades such as; rookie of the year at the 2018 Headies Awards and Most Promising Act to watch at the 2018 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
In 2019 Teni received four awards at the Headies awards making her one of the female artists with the highest wins in one night at the ceremony.
Damini Ebunoluwa ‘Burna Boy’ Ogulu (28)
Burna Boy rose in 2012 after releasing the lead single ‘Like to party’ from his debut studio album, L.I.F.E (2013). In 2017, Burna Boy signed with Bad Habit/ Atlantic Records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally.
His third studio album outside 2018 marked his major label debut. In 2019, Burna Boy won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards. He was also announced as Apple Music’s Up Next artist. His fourth studio album African Giant was released in July 2019. He won four awards at the Sound City MVP Awards Festival including African Artists of the Year, Listener’s Choice and Best Male MVP. In March 2019, Burna Boy released a 4-track collaborative EP with Los Angeles based electronic duo DJDS titled steel & copper.
Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana (29)
Folarin Falana, better known by his stage name Falz, is a songwriter who began his career while in secondary school after forming a group called “The School Boys” with his friend before his professional career as a music artist began in 2009. Falz started garnering attention after his song “Marry Me” featuring Poe and Yemi Alade was released.
On January 15, 2019, he released his fourth studio album Moral Instruction. The album was recorded in Nigerian pidgin and samples musical recordings from Fela Kuti. Moral Instruction addresses societal issues such as corrupt politicians, corruption, police brutality, prostitution, social injustice and internet fraud. Preceding the album’s release was the lead single “Talk,” a socio-conscious record that addresses critical events and advises that Nigerian youth be careful about greedy politicians. The album won Best Rap Single for ‘Talk’, Best Rap Album and Album of the Year at The Headies 2019.
John ‘Johnny Drille’ Ighodalo (29)
Professionally known as Johnny Drille, he is a singer and songwriter. He is currently signed to Mavin Records and was also a contestant on the 6th Edition of the MTN Project Fame Academy.
Between 2018 and 2019, Johnny has released successful tracks that have enjoyed massive reception and airplays among his fans including “Halleluya” (ft Simi; 2018), “Awa Love” (2018), and “Shine”, “Finding Efe”, “Papa”, “Dear Future Wife”, and “Count on You”, all released in 2019. Also, in 2018, he had the first edition of Johnny’s Room Live that was an immersive experience that earned praise from artists, critics and thousands of fans alike. On October 27, 2019, the second edition held and has been described by fans and critics as one of the best concerts of 2019.
Sadiq ‘Wurld’ Onifade (32)
WurlD, is an American-Nigerian singer and songwriter. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, WurlD began his career after moving to Atlanta, Georgia, US, for school and recording his own music, described by VIBE as electro-fusion. His debut EP, Evolution, was released in 2013.
He co-wrote the hit song “Blow my Mind” by Davido featuring Chris Brown in 2019.
His 2019 EP, Love is Contagious, has been described by music critics as that body of work where he gets it right, winning the hearts of the local audience even with a cosmopolitan style that plays against the prevailing sounds. He won the 2019 Headies Awards for Best Vocal Performance (Male) .