Top Ten Nigerian Artist That Are Popular Internationally

With the fierce competition back home in the music industry, establishing a formidable fan base outside the country is becoming a necessity for survival in the music industry currently.

The advantages of having a foreign fan base are numerous, ranging from high music streams from other countries to sold-out tours, to performing in foreign events like Coachella, Wireless Festival, and features from other foreign artists.

Some of our artists have capitalized on this opportunity and are already a force to be reckoned with globally in the music scene. Today we bring to you the Top Ten Most recognized Nigerian musicians in the foreign scene.

(1) Davido


With massive love from the international scene, Davido has been able to outdo every other Nigerian musician in terms of numbers as he is the Most followed Nigerian celebrity on Instagram, Most followed on Twitter, and still has the number one position in the list of Most-Viewed Nigerian music videos on YouTube and for sure the foreign fan base played a role in achieving these feats.

He is also the first solo artist to sell out the O2 Arena and you can’t tell me that the Arena was filled up with people that flew in from Nigeria or only Nigerians that reside in London as we saw fans from other countries that made the event a success.

His influence in the international scene has also scored him some big collaborations with foreign artists like Meek Mill, Chris Brown, Tinashe, Summer Walker, Rae Sremmurd, Young Thug, Quavo, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and a couple of other A-list artist. He still has unreleased songs that feature Nicki Minaj and also another one with Ludacris and we can’t wait for those songs to be officially released. Hollywood actor, The Rock also made a video recently stating that Davido is his favorite African artist and he makes the best African music. On Instagram, Davido is been followed by Cristiano Ronaldo who is the most-followed person on the photo and video sharing platform.

(2) Wizkid


Just as he said in his song ‘My Music Travel, No Visa’, Wiz seems to be the first new-generation Nigerian artist to get a stronghold on the international scene but as the saying goes ‘Overtaking is allowed’ and Davido is currently doing a good job with that.

As of 2013 when an international collaboration or co-sign from a foreign artist was pretty much a very big deal, Wizkid was already working with and seen with the likes of Tyga, Chris Brown, Ty Dolla Sign, Justin Beiber, and many other American singers. His sophomore album ‘Ayo’ was graced with international features from Tyga, Akon, Wale while ‘Sounds from the Other Side’ had Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign, Major Lazer, Trey Songz, Drake, making him the only Nigerian artist with a released song featuring Drake currently.

In terms of numbers, Wizkid is a strong contender with Davido as he holds the second position for most-followed Nigerian celebrities on Instagram and on Twitter. Wizkid is the first Nigerian artist to headline a sold-out concert in the O2 Arena in London, and in 2018 he sold out the venue singlehandedly.

In 2019, his long-time dream of having a duet with Beyoncé was realized as he got featured on the song ‘Brown Skin Girl’ by Beyoncé which is arguably the biggest song on the Lion King album. He has also got some foreign endorsement deals with companies like Ciroć, Daily Paper, and some others which goes to further show his relevance in the foreign scene.

(3) Burna Boy

Burna Boy
Burna Boy

Three years back, the contest for ‘Who is the best Nigerian artist’ had always been between Wizkid and Davido, but through his Unique vocals and outstanding songwriting, Burna Boy has gotten a sit on the table and is now been compared with the likes of Wizkid and Davido for the best musician in Nigeria.

Burna Boy wrapped up 2019 emerging as the best Nigerian singer for the year and his works haven’t gone unnoticed in the foreign scene as he secured an individual Grammy Award nomination for his album ‘African Giant’ in the ‘World Music Album’ category.

On Instagram, he is being followed by A-list artists like Drake, Tyga, Wiz Khalifa, Meek Mill, Rihanna, and many others and man didn’t care to give a follow back, well if I get a follow from Rihanna on Instagram, a follow-back from me alone isn’t even good enough as I’ll ensure that I and my household follow her too.

(4) Yemi Alade

Yemi Alade
Yemi Alade

To be honest, Yemi Alade has really suffered in the hands of music critics in Nigeria. The lyrics of her songs have been written off as gibberish by these critics who appear to be many in number but then you ask yourself, Where is she getting all these huge music streams from? Why is she still highly relevant? Why is she still cashing out from music? and that is where the foreign fan base comes in.

Let me break it down for you, Yemi Alade is a very, very, very big deal overseas, especially in francophone countries, so much that even some of her songs had to be re-released in the French language to appease her foreign fan base. She is currently the only Nigerian female musician with a music video that has over a hundred million views on YouTube, the only Nigerian female musician with over a million subscribers on YouTube and just so you know, her costume in the ‘Johnny’ music video is currently on display at the Grammy Museum.

Yemi Alade is being seen by many as the flag bearer of not just the African music but also the African culture.

(5) Tiwa Savage

Tiwa Savage
Tiwa Savage

The self-acclaimed ‘African Bad Gyal’ portrays the modern African woman who isn’t ready to allow society depicts what she wears, how or how much she can earn, or her role in a relationship. Tiwa is being perceived by many as the African Rihanna and even Fat Joe confirmed this when he worked with her.

She is currently number one on the list of ‘Top Ten Nigerian Female Musicians’ and has thrived in a male-dominated industry for years.

With numerous home-based awards and recognition, her territory continues to expand to other parts of the world. In 2016, while she was still with Mavin Records, Tiwa Savage bagged a management and publishing deal with Jay ax’s Roc Nation and currently, she is signed to Universal Music Group, arguably the world’s leading music company. She has worked with Saweetie, Beyoncé, and also had her song sampled by Ciara.

(6) Flavour


Before his songs starting becoming somewhat gospel-inclined, back when Flavour used to release songs like ‘Ashawo’, ‘Ukwu Nwanyi Owerri’ those songs were a big deal in several African countries especially in Countries like Uganda, Tanzania and the rest. His songs use to rival even their national anthem for popularity. I have watched a couple of Flavour’s show outside the country and it is almost like a bra audition with the way bras are being thrown at him.

Unlike most of the younger artists who get a lot of buzz on social media, Flavour seems to be quite reserved but his works speak volumes.

He is currently one of the richest musicians in Nigerian and has a couple of music videos in the list of most-viewed Nigerian music videos on YouTube.

(7) D’banj


D’banj may not be as popular as he used to be before, but D’banj paved the way into the foreign scene and instilled faith in a lot of musicians that they can have a place in the foreign market.

Back then, even tho Nigerian songs were very popular in other African countries, it seemed like its only territory until D’banj came through with songs like ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘Mr Endowed’ and other of his major hit records back then which were big songs not just in African but also in the U.S, the music video even had a cameo appearance from Kanye West. On the remix of his song ‘Mr Endowed’, D’banj has Snoop Dogg who also featured in the music video.

D’banj bagged an international record deal back then with Kanye West’s record label, GOOD Music which led to his rift with Don Jazzy and also a decline in his career at home.

(8) Mr Eazi

Mr Eazi
Mr Eazi

Mr Eazi’s dominance in the UK and Ghanaian music scene is one that is really admirable. His dominance in Ghana is quite understandable and can be traced to his sound/Ghanaian music style and the time he spent in the country but how he has managed to penetrate the UK better than his colleagues who have been there before him, is one that is quite mysterious.

In 2018, Mr Eazi ended up one of the number one spot for Nigerian artist with International collaborations. He has also worked with international superstars like Diplo, J. Balvin, Major Lazer, and many others. Recently, he was the cover of Billboard Magazine alongside Davido and Tiwa Savage.

(9) Patoranking


As the saying goes ‘A Prophet is not honored in his hometown’ and Patoranking’s situation really befits this saying. Even tho Patoranking the singer gets huge recognition in Nigeria, it is nothing compared to the love and admiration he gets outside the country.

One of the countries in which Patoranking has a remarkable fan base that has caught my attention is Jamaica. Patoranking is arguably the best Nigerian reggae & dancehall singer and that somewhat explains the love he receives in Jamaica as the country is well known for their love for Reggae. In 2017, Patoranking became the first African artist to perform at the Reggae Sumfest, the biggest concert festival in Jamaica. His doings in the country are numerous. Patoranking isn’t just a big deal in Jamaica but also in East Africa and other parts of the world.

(10) Rema


With each passing day, Rema keeps undermining the importance of time as a factor for success in the music industry as he keeps racking up more achievements in a little space of time.

Just as Wizkid came on board some years back, being the first of his age bracket to hit big in the industry, Rema is repeating the same scenario but this time for a way-younger generation and I won’t be surprised to start seeing very very young musicians dominating the industry after being inspired by Rema just as Wiz inspired a lot of young artists including to take the bull by the horn and show them that it is possible to be really big at that age.

With his unique style, sound, and a worthy team backing him, his recent progress in the international scene doesn’t come as a surprise to me at all. In the space of one year in the industry, he already has an unreleased collaboration with Drake, which Drake seems to be really excited about, he already has over four hit songs, won a Headies award, own three EP’s and has worked with Major Lazer, Becky G, Manny Norté, 6Lack, and others. Rema also wounded up in Obama’s ‘Summer Playlist 2019’, Rolling Stone’s ‘50 Best songs of 2018’, was also featured in Fader’s magazine. I think with time, we will continue to see more shocking achievements by Rema in the local and international music scene.

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