By Charles Mgbolu
East Africa reverberated with chart-topping music in 2023, with streaming giant Spotify praising East African artists in their ‘2023 Wrapped Report’ for undeniably raising the bar and captivating both local and international audiences with their incredible music and collaborations.
The East African music industry is famous for its urban music genre, which is basically an offshoot of western pop music, particularly hip hop and funk.
There is also a strong influence of traditional African tunes, namely Boomba music, also referred to as Kapuka in Kenya.
Genge, a form of Afro-dance hall music style from Kenya, and Bongo music style, which is a mix of American hip hop and traditional Tanzanian music style.
Data from many music streaming sites in their 2023 summary has given the popularity award to Afrobeats from West Africa, but East African artists have also featured prominently in different top trending charts.
Naseeb Abdul Juma, known popularly by his stage name Diamond Platenumz, is one of Tanzania's top-selling artists, with a total of 65 million streams on the Spotify platform in 2023.
This is more than double the number he got in 2022 (30 million), with 1.4 million monthly listeners.
His single, Jugni, has over 13 million streams and over 1.3 million monthly listeners. His strongest so far have been his collaborations on 'Yope Remix', which he performed with Congolese rapper Innoss'B, with over 220 million views on Youtube.
Kenyan pop band Sauti Sol shattered hearts in May 2023 when they announced they would be taking an indefinite hiatus from the Kenyan music scene after performing together for 18 years.
They went on to say they would hold farewell tours and concerts on the continent and in some western countries.
The news spiked their popularity, with their songs jumping to the top of the charts across several streaming platforms.
Spotify, in their report, said the band had over 400,000 monthly listeners, and their lead single, Lil Mama, released in November 2022, is hitting more than 3 million streams since the announcement of their intended hiatus, according to Spotify.
Souti Sol bandmate Bien Aime-Baraza’s single ‘My baby’ featuring Nigeria’s Ayra Starr is also getting big numbers, with over seven million streams in 2023 on Spotify.
Rajab Abdul Kahali, also known by his stage name Harmonize, is a Tanzanian Bongo Flava recording artist and entrepreneur.
His song, titled 'Single Again', released in August 2023, has been successful, with over 8 million streams on Spotify. His collaboration on the same song with Nigerian singer Ruger has and over 4 million views on Youtube.
The 33-year-old has over 760 000 monthly listeners on Spotify, with his collaboration with Blag Jerzee (Falling for You) released in 2021 still a top fan favourite in 2023 with over 34 million streams.
Raymond Mwakyusa, known by fans as Rayvanny, is a 30-year-old Tanzanian singer with over 100 million streams on Boomplay and over 500 000 monthly listens (Spotify) with a combined 128 million streams for all singles (Spotify).
His single 'Melody', featuring Tanzanian singer and songwriter Jay, has over 10.1 million views on TikTok.
Rayvanny is known for his brilliant use of autotune to deliver a mix of Taarab -Bongo music fusion.
Rayvanny emerged in the spotlight with the release of his debut song "Kwetu" in 2019. His single "Tetema" featuring Diamond Platnumz further cemented him to the East African music space.
Xenia Manasseh is a fast-rising Kenyan R&B musician who gets on our list with remarkable girl power.
The 26-year-old has an average of over 300,000 monthly listeners, and her single ‘When It’s Over’’ released in 2019 has over one million streams, according to Spotify 2023 wrap.
Her collaboration with Kenyan producer Ukweli in the single ‘Love or leave me’ has gotten over 1.2 million streams on Spotify.
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