For the first time, African music will have its own category at the Grammys. The Recording Academy will showcase three new categories for this year’s awards, including “Best African Music Performance” — featuring some of Afrobeats’ global superstars.
“By introducing these three new categories, we are able to acknowledge and appreciate a broader array of artists,” said Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr., in a press release last year to announce the categories, which also include Best Pop Dance Recording and Best Alternative Jazz Album. “We are excited to honor and celebrate the creators and recordings in these categories, while also exposing a wider range of music to fans worldwide.”
The addition of the Best African Music Performance category follows a meteoric rise in the global popularity of Afrobeats. On Spotify alone, Afrobeats streams have grown over 550% since 2017, according to the streaming platform, making it one of the “fastest growing genres.”
Ahead of the 2024 Grammy Awards on February 4 in Los Angeles, here’s what to know about the five Best African Music Performance nominees poised to make history.
Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe, known as Ayra Starr, is nominated for her hit “Rush,” on her debut studio album “19 & Dangerous.” The song charted globally, went viral with a dance challenge on TikTok, was listed on former US President Barack Obama’s annual playlist for 2022, and currently has over 300 million streams on Spotify and almost 300 million views on YouTube. Signed to Mavin Records, the 21-year-old Afropop singer has collaborated with Kelly Rowland, Stormzy and fellow Nigerian stars Tiwa Savage and Wizkid.
Asake & Olamide
South African Tyla, 21, is nominated for her massive hit “Water,” which spawned a viral dance movement after its release in 2023. The singer released her first single “Getting Late” in 2019 and has been on an upward trajectory since. She has described her sound as “Popiano” — a fusion of South Africa’s Amapiano genre and pop music. “Water” is the first single from her debut studio album “Tyla” and is the highest charting song by a South African solo artist on the Billboard Hot 100, debuting at No. 67 and rising all the way to No. 10.