If 2018 is anything to go by, then gear up for a good year of music by these artists. 2018 was a great year musically speaking in Kenya, albums were released, as well as hard-hitting singles and collabos. There wasn’t a shortage of club bangers with the likes of “Lamba lolo”, “Short n Sweet” and “Dundaing” keeping revelers on the dancefloor. But most importantly, 2018 was the year new artists made their mark in the industry.
These artists brought their A game and earned their seats at the table, making them artists to watch out for in 2019. Will they achieve the same success they got in 2018 or do even better?
Save for discipline issues and wrangles with their management, the Ethic crew brought some fire in 2018. Their break out song “Lamba Lolo” went viral for its crude language and unique dancing style, becoming an instant hit with over 2 million views on YouTube while also coining a phrase. The group went on to collaborate with the Kansoul on “New Position” a track that said they are here to stay. Their 2018 success saw them picked to feature on Coke Studio Africa set to premiere in February 2019. They recently released a new song called “Instagram” which has garnered over 300,000 views.
Magix Enga aka Beat King was the producer of the year in 2018 and he has solidified his place as a versatile asset in the music industry by collaborating with rapper King Kaka and Kristoff on the hit song “Dundaing”. Although Magix Enga is not new in the industry, he is definitely someone to watch out for to do even greater things musically in 2019. He has previously worked with Khaligraph Jones, Timmy T dat, Otile Brown, Shetta from Tanzania, Naiboi and Kayvo Kforce just to mention a few.
KaNadia katatamba in 2019. Nadia Mukami is one of the 2018 breakout stars of 2018, she wrapped up 2018 performing at the Wasafi Festival at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi. The sassy petite singer released hit songs such as ‘Yule Yule’, ‘African Lover’ with over 400,000 views on YouTube and ‘Si Rahisi’ with over 200,000 views. This Bachelor’s of Finance degree holder also landed herself a spot in the upcoming Coke Studio Africa music show and is not stopping anytime soon going by her mantra of “KaNadia katambe.”
Swahili crooner artist Ali Mohammed Said also known as Masauti is not new to the industry and is living up to his name by giving us one melody after the other. He has kicked off 2019 with a new hit called “Kiboko” released on 01.01.2019 and was produced by Motif on the Beat. Following the release of his late 2017 single titled “Nurulain”, Masauti has gone on to release “Gaga” and “Mayonli” (Lova). The soft-spoken musician has previously worked with top producer J Blessing on the song ” Usikate Tamaa” and with the veteran music producer Tedd Josiah on “Mahabuba.”
Teenager Amani Gracious from Githurai, wowed the world with her singing prowess when the video of her sing Alicia Keys’ “Girl on fire” went viral. This was the beginning of Amani G’s budding career. She was signed by Pine Creek Records headed by Peter Nduati shortly after, leading to the release of the single “Sitasahau”, collaborations with Vivian “In Love and “Ni Poa” with gospel singer Pitson. The success that Amani received in 2018 only goes to show that she has a bright future ahead of her in 2019.
6. Nikita Kering
Nikita Kering is a 16-year-old singer who burst onto the music scene in 2011. However, 2018 was the year for her to make great steps to her music career with the release of “Happy With You” which has over 100,000 views. Nikita’s musical pursuits earned her a partial scholarship at Brookhouse International School, a top learning institution that has further nurtured her skills. In addition, she is one of the few international students accepted at the American Musical and Drama Academy (AMDA) in Los Angeles for its 2018 summer programme which she, unfortunately, missed out on because it coincided with her school work. Despite this lost opportunity, Nikita is among 100 rising African artists who were picked for Mr. Eazi’s artist empowerment programme, emPawa100.
Bridget Blue is the next big thing as far as RnB in Kenya is concerned. From doing covers and posting on Instagram, Bridget got signed to rapper King Kaka’s management stable Kaka Empire in 2018 and released her first single “Different.” She also featured on King Kaka’s new album Eastlando Royalty on a track called “Njia.” 2019 will be the year for this mellow-voiced singer to secure her place in the Kenyan music industry.