Spotify, the global online music streaming giant, has spotlighted South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, and Uganda as the leading African countries enthusiastically embracing Rhythm and Blues (R&B) on its platform.
Monica Kemoli-Savanne, the Artist and Label Partnerships Manager for East Africa, made this announcement in a statement from Lagos on Wednesday.
“Africa’s love for high-quality R&B is undeniable, with South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, and Uganda emerging as the top enthusiasts of R&B on Spotify.
“Even in French-speaking and Portuguese-speaking markets like Côte d’Ivoire and Angola, the presence of R&B is making a significant impact across Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Despite the historical dominance of Afrobeats, Amapiano, Gengetone, and other genres in the African music scene, we are witnessing an exciting transformation. R&B is experiencing a remarkable resurgence across the continent, with an average year-on-year growth rate of 133% on Spotify,” she noted.
Kemoli-Savanne highlighted that Kenya appears to be at the forefront of this resurgence. She pointed out that according to Spotify data from the past 90 days, the Tantalizers playlist received most of its streams from Kenya, and R&B ranks among the top five genres in the country.
She also mentioned that artists like The Weekend, Chris Brown, SZA, Rihanna, and Beyoncé are among the favorites of Spotify R&B listeners across Sub-Saharan Africa. Locally, artists such as Xenia Manasseh from Kenya, Baaba J from Ghana, Lloyiso from South Africa, and Bloody Civillian from Nigeria are captivating audiences with their R&B music.
“This significant growth has led to more frequent collaborations between international icons and African artists than a decade ago. Songs like ‘WAIT FOR U’ by Drake, Future, and Tems, ‘Monalisa’ by Chris Brown, Lojay, and Sarz, and Chris Brown teaming up with Wizkid for ‘Call Me Everyday’ demonstrate the global impact of African talent,” Kemoli-Savanne stated.
She added, “African artists are also joining forces to create global hits independently. Notable examples include the Ghana-Nigeria collaboration on Camidoh’s ‘Sugarcane (Remix)’ featuring King Promise, Darkoo, and Mayorkun, as well as ‘Essence’ by Nigerian stars Wizkid and Tems, which are delighting music lovers worldwide.”
Kemoli-Savanne emphasized that the adaptation and creativity of African musicians have transformed R&B in Africa. She explained that while R&B traditionally featured soulful melodies and themes of love and relationships, African artists are infusing their cultural and musical influences to give the genre a unique twist.
She revealed that “to harness the growing popularity of the genre, Spotify has partnered with COLORSxSTUDIOS for a multi-day R&B writing camp in Nairobi, Kenya.”