Seven Underrated Male Vocalists in Nigeria


Nigeria is the powerhouse of Afrobeats in Africa- boasting of chart-topping artists


with a handful of international music awards in their coffers. Burna Boy, Davido and Wizkid are arguably the most prominent of the male musicians of this period but history would always preserve the legacies of King Sunny Ade, I.K Dairo, Majek Fashek, Daniel Wilson, Felix Liberty, Segun Arinze, Tunde Obe, Darey Art Alade, Tosin Martins, Tubaba, African China, Bracket and other incredible male singers ever produced in Nigeria. But technically, and arguably- they are not the best singers in Nigeria. There are many underground singers that you’d find at elite bars, music festivals and sometimes in music reality shows that made it through music academy and haven’t made it to Billboard charts or even secure the coveted Grammy nominations. Here are seven of the most underrated male vocalists in Nigeria:

  1. Timi Dakolo

He’s got his flowers; the best man for national ceremonies. He has performed his moving ballads at many weddings home and abroad. But the expectations were higher when he won the Idol West Africa in 2007. He is one of the few singers in Nigeria that can give the audience goosebumps with the power of his range. Try his song ‘Great Nation’ which many fans thought should be adopted as a national anthem. Dakolo has been signed by Sony BMG, collaborated with Emeli Sande and Kenny G but still far from where many thought he deserves to be.


  1. Wande Coal

From being an opening act to D’Banj to being one of the best artists on the stable of Mo’Hits, Wande Coal is known for multiple hits such as ‘Bumper to Bumper’ ‘Ololufe’ and the club-banging collabo with Patoranking ‘My Woman My Everything.’ Wande, a former street dancer, deserves a toast for being a great vocalist.


  1. Timaya

Born Inetimi Alfred Odon, everyone calls him Timaya and he really should be getting higher. The Bayelsan shot into limelight when he sang a soulful song about Odi Massacre in the song ‘Dem Mama.’ This was a time that everyone wanted a club banger but all he wanted was justice. Overtime, he proved to be a force to be reckoned with on playlists with heart-thumping songs like ‘Bum Bum’ and ‘Dance’ which features Rudeboy, one-half of the PSquare duo.

In 2018, he bagged his first Grammy nomination in the “Best Reggae Album” category. He is still the king of street anthems including ‘I can’t Kill Myself’ ‘Ah Blem Blem’ and ‘Balance.’

  1. Chike

His fans will always point to ‘Running’ the duet with Simi as one of his greatest hits. This Onitsha boy is not playing: he knocked them out in Project Fame and came second in The Voice Nigeria Season One. Talk about serial singer. The 28-year old singer is every man’s best wedding gift to his new bride and generally an all-round sweet-voiced male. Chike has a promising career ahead of him as long as no one runs out of love with his vocals and that burgeoning sex symbol that he is becoming.


  1. Korede Bello

Korede is one of the most personable celebrities you can find online. He hardly gets into controversial posts; just focusing on his feel good vibes. The fans have not forgotten his hit with Don Jazzy ‘God Win’ and his contribution to ‘Dorobucci.’  He belongs to the second generation of artists nurtured by the iconic music producer and many wonder if the early endorsements in his career were his distractions or new found love of skit making on TikTok. Whatever it is, Korede- you are wanted back on centre stage with followspot- Michael Jackson style.


6 Johnny Drille

The ladies’ man has this ‘out of your league’ persona in songwriting, singing and personal branding. A product of Project Fame Academy, Drille has more nominations than wins at the Headies. With strength in making alternative music, his preferred genre is believed to be unpopular till he made a hit out of ‘How are You (My Friend)’ which by the way is his baptism to Afrobeats.


7. Magixx

Maybe it is a little too early to add him to this list but the red flags are there already. This guy has a magical voice with a range to die for. Of course, there is no particular formula for breakthrough in Nigeria’s music scene but this young man here needs serious promotional package, good song writers and wardrobe experts. The last time a singer puts his soul in his singing like Magixx was… Majek Fashek. OK. No exaggeration intended. But he can do much better than this- with the voice that can send Ckay, JoeBoy and Fireboy DML all into oblivion. Work it boy.

Written by Yinka Olatunbosun, a music enthusiast and culture journalist.






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