Nigeria is a breeding ground for all sorts of talents.
Some eventually become big in the country, others add international audience to their fan base, while yet others take it away totally, leaving little to show for their virtuosity in their home country yet becoming huge outside its shores.
Many traditional musicians are examples in the first category. The great Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and his sons are examples of the second category. More in that category include Wizkid, D’banj and many others. At first attempt, there may be a bit of hesitation while selecting examples for the last category. Rest assured, examples abound.
Here are five sterling examples of Nigerians making it big in alternative music outside of the country but less known at home.
1. Keziah Jones
Like Fela Kuti who is one of the biggest influence in Keziah Jones’ career, the artist carved a niche for himself by creating blufunk. The music sub-genre is a crossbreed of raw blues elements; hard, edgy funk rhythms and a generous dose of Yoruba traditional music.
The 49-year-old who continues to perform on live stages throughout the world has six studio albums, most of which topped charts in faraway Australia, France, Germany and other European countries.
Even though he was born in Lagos, and has returned to the country several times after making several international hits, he is not very popular in his country.
Although not popular in Nigeria, the four-minute track song was released as a digital download in the United Kingdom on February 26, 2016. The song entered the UK Singles Chart at number 13 and at number 2 on the UK Dance Chart.
The song was streamed millions of times on Spotify, and on Youtube.
Kah-Lo is a daughter of former Nigerian Minister of Defence and Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Chief Demola Seriki.
Tinie Tempah gained some fame in Nigeria after Jumoke Orisagunna, the bread hawker became a star model.
Jumoke was accidentally photographed by TY Bello during a photo shoot session with Tinie Tempah.
5. Oghene Kologbo
The 59-year-old musician played tenor guitar in Fela Anikikulapo Kuti’s Africa 70 for the whole life of the band.
He has also worked with great musicians like James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Lester Bowie, Paul McCartney and so on. Oghene Kologbo is popular in Bruxelles, Berlin and the rest of the European music circuit, yet little is known of him in Nigeria.
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