Forbes Africa Releases Top 10 List: Richest African Musicians

Nigerians dominated the list. See who is cashing in.

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Nigeria dominates Forbes Africa Rich list with three in the top 10. The first of these artists coming in No 4 is producer Don Jazzy followed by Sony Music signed Wizkid and Davido at No 7 and 8 respectively.

According to Forbes Africa, the list was put together using factors such as endorsement value, popularity, show rates, sales, awards, YouTube views, appearance in newspapers, investment, social media presence, influence and others. Forbes Managing Editor Chris Bishop says,

“For long, music has been a part of business in Africa…we wanted to focus on how musicians made their money…deal with financial problems when they fall out of the limelight.”

Here are the 10 Richest Musicians in Africa:

1. AKON

Topping the list Akon selling over 35 million albums sold worldwide. He has won numerous awards including five Grammy Award nominations and has 45 Billboard Hot 100 songs under his belt.

2. BLACK COFFEE, SOUTH AFRICA

The South African multi-award-winning record producer and DJ began his career around 1995 and has released five albums, as well as a live DVD under his Johannesburg-based record label, Soulistic Music. He is arguably the most prominent electronic music producer in Africa. Black Coffee had his big break shortly after being chosen as a participant in the 2004 Red Bull Music Academy held in Cape Town. In September 2015, he won the “Breakthrough DJ Of The Year” award at the DJ Awards in Ibiza, a few weeks after the release of his fifth studio album, Pieces Of Me.

3. HUGH MASEKELA, SOUTH AFRICA

A world-renowned flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, singer and defiant political voice who remains deeply connected at home, while his international career sparkles.

He has released more than 43 albums and performed with Marvin Gaye, Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Fela Kuti, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Miriam Makeba.

4. DON JAZZY, NIGERIA

via stargist

Record producer, singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur – Don Jazzy is ranked fourth richest in Africa and also first in Nigeria. He started playing music as a child in church before moving to the UK to pursue his career. He was employed by Kanye West as a producer

5. TINASHE, ZIMBABWE-AMERICAN

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Signed to RCA Records. She was nominated for a Soul Train Award in 2014 and was nominated for “Best New Artist” at the BET Awards in 2015. Tinashe was a child model by the age of three. The twenty-four-year-old sang before she could talk and made her first appearance in 2000 in the film Cora Unashamed. Her voice also starred in the cartoon feature film The Polar Express alongside Oscar-winning actor, Tom Hanks.

6. JIDENNA, NIGERIAN-AMERICAN,

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via GIPHY

By the age of 10, Grammy nominee Jidenna knew he wanted to do music but was afraid to tell his father who wanted him to be an engineer. American born in Wisconsin, Jidenna grew up partially in Nigeria, but moved back to the United States at 6. Signed to Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland Records label and distributed through Epic Records.  His song “Classic Man” was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 58th Grammy Awards and received an award for best new artist at the 2015 Soul Train Music Awards.

7. WIZKID, NIGERIA

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Arguably the uncrowned king of African music. Nigerian singer and songwriter achieved international recognition in 2016 following his collaboration with Drake on the global hit, “One Dance”, which reached number one in 15 countries, including the United States, UK, Canada and Australia. Wizkid signed a multi-album deal with RCA Records in 2017 and became the first ever Nigerian musician to have over 1 million followers on Twitter.

8. DAVIDO, NIGERIA

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Recording artist, performer and record producer Davido has claimed a high status in just five years. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Davido relocated to Lagos at a young age. He said it was people like P-Square and D’Banj who made him believe this was possible. He became famous for his widely acclaimed 2012 debut album “Omo Baba Olowo”. In January 2016, Davido signed a record deal with Sony Music.  Davido has received a total of 29 awards from 74 nominations including a BET Award, Kora Award, Channel O Music Video Award.

9. SARKODIE, GHANA

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BET Award winning Ghanaian hip hop recording artist and entrepreneur from Tema was listed by The Guardian listed as one of its top five hip hop acts on the African continent.  In 2016, Sarkodie was invited by Harvard University to address a conference of students; he shared his life experiences as one of Africa’s successful musicians. Sarkodie is the first Ghanaian to win the BET Award for Best International Act Africa in 2012 and was nominated in 2014 and 2015.

10. OLIVER MTUKUDZI, ZIMBABWE

Oliver Tuku Mtukudzi has 65 albums under his belt, more than the legendary Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. It’s a remarkable career stretching back 41 years with songs that have enlivened parties all over the world.  Musician, businessman, philanthropist, human rights activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Southern Africa Region, Tuku is considered Zimbabwe’s most renowned and internationally recognized cultural icon of all time.


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