2023 was a good year for Nigerian music. The “old cats” continued on their streak of global ascension; the new cats made their marks in uncharted territories. And there’s been a surplus amount of bragging rights for fans all round.

As the year winds down, we highlight the important milestones that pushed the “afrobeats to the world” agenda in 2023.

Tems’ Oscar nomination

14 Events that Shot Afrobeats to the Stars in 2023

On January 25, Tems became the first Nigerian artist to be nominated for an Academy Award AKA the Oscars. She was nominated alongside Rihanna for her work on “Lift Me Up”, an original soundtrack for Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Tems’ Grammy win

On February 5, 2023, the hitmaker made history again as the first female afrobeats artist to win a Grammy award. Tems bagged the iconic award for her performance in Future’s “Wait For U”. She won Best Melodic Rap Performance alongside Future and Drake.

Burna Boy, Tems and Rema’s NBA Halftime Show

On February 19, 2023, the trio performed at the American National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star halftime show in Salt Lake City, Utah, making them the first Nigerians to grace the stage. Burna took the stage first, performing “It’s Plenty”, “Alone” and “Last Last”. Rema came next performing “Calm Down” and “Holiday”, and Tems rounded up the show with a medley of “Crazy Tings”, “Free Mind”, “Essence” and “Higher”.

Davido releases “Timeless”

After taking a hiatus in 2022, OBO released his fourth studio album, “Timeless”, on March 31, 2023. The album broke multiple first-day and week records across major streaming platforms.

Tiwa Savage performs at King Charles III Coronation 

On May 6, 2023, African Bad Gyal Tiwa made Nigerians proud as she became our country’s first artist to perform at the coronation of a British monarch. Tiwa performed “Keys to the Kingdom” at King Charles’ coronation.

Burna Boy sells out London Stadium

On June 3, 2023, Burna Boy made history as the first African artist to headline a stadium concert in the UK. 60,000 fans turned up to watch the African Giant perform at the popular London Stadium.

Grammy introduces Best African Music Performance category 

On June 13, 2023, the American Recording Academy officially announced the inclusion of a Best African Music Performance category to recognise and celebrate the best talents on the continent. The category will cover but is not limited to “Afrobeat, Afro-fusion, Afro Pop, Afrobeats, Alté, Amapiano, Bongo Flava, Genge, Kizomba, Chimurenga, High Life, Fuji, Kwassa, Ndombolo, Mapouka, Ghanaian Drill, Afro-House, South African Hip-Hop and Ethio Jazz genres.”

Burna Boy sells out Citi Field Stadium 

On July 8, 2023, Odogwu gave his fans even more bragging rights after he sold out the 41,000-capacity Citi Field Stadium in NYC, USA.

Wizkid receives BRIT Billion Award

14 Events that Shot Afrobeats to the Stars in 2023

On July 31, 2023, Wizkid became the first African artist to receive the esteemed BRIT Billion Award. The award is a special recognition from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) to artists who achieve over one billion digital streams in the UK.

MTV VMAs adds Best Afrobeats category 

On August 8, 2023, the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) announced a new category for afrobeats songs. The category, Best Afrobeats, had Rema, Ayra Starr, Burna Boy, Davido and Libianca as first-time nominees. 

Rema’s “Calm Down” remix hits 1 billion Spotify streams

On September 10, 2023, the rave lord made history after his “Calm Down” remix with Selena Gomez reached a billion streams on digital streaming platform, Spotify. Rema became the first African artist to hit the milestone.

Rema wins first Afrobeats MTV VMA 

On September 13, 2023, Rema and Selena Gomez became the first winners of the MTV VMAs newly introduced category, Best Afrobeats. The duo won for their hit collaboration, “Calm Down” remix. 

Davido breaks record with 100 million “Feel” video

After months of anticipation, Davido released the official music video for “Feel”, a hit song off his “Timeless” album, on October 3, 2023. The music video was directed by TG Omori and is the first Afrobeats music video to be shot with a ₦100 million budget. 

Rema performs at Ballon D’or

On Monday, October 30, 2023, Rema, became the first African artist to perform at the prestigious Ballon d’Or ceremony. He performed his hit song, “Calm Down”, at the ceremony in Paris, France.

Speaking of records and milestones, you’ll have your fill of grilled, peppered, fried meat and many more at Zikoko’s meat festival on November 11. Get your Burning Ram ticket here.


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