The Only 3 East African Artists With International Appeal

Written by on July 4, 2018

Anyone will tell you that music from East Africa is exceptional and enjoyable. The only ‘problem’ is that more often than not it fails to transcend the borders of the African continent or East Africa for that matter.

Not a single artist from East Africa featured in the list of nominees for the 2018 BET Awards which was released in May this year.

As such, when the awards ceremony was finally held on June 24th, most of us did not give a hoot about who won or who didn’t win a particular award. It really didn’t matter to most of us, it really didn’t.

But how can we expect our artists to get nominated what is arguably one of the most prestigious music awards when we ourselves can’t stand their music?

One might as well argue that artists make music to entertain their fans and not to get feted, but truth be told anyone would love to get recognized for his or her work. Mark you the BET awards is such a big deal.

I decided to make a list of three artists who I feel are putting in a lot of effort towards ensuring that their music cuts across continents. In any case, all East African artists should borrow a leaf from these three:

1. Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania) – When P Unit was at the height of their career, the organizers of MTV Awards asked Diamond to perform the chorus for  Kare alongside the former because The Tanzanian star was in dire need of exposure back then.

However, Diamond played his cards right and today he is one of the most sought-after musicians from the region. He has done collabos with the likes of Omarion, Ne-Yo, Rick Ross thus gaining international appeal.

The singer who is currently on tour in the USA has been nominated for BET Awards twice and has several accolades to his name.

2. Eddy Kenzo (Uganda) – He was the first East African to win the prestigious BET Awards thanks to his unique singing style and the dance moves by the triplet kids whom he featured in his Sitya Loss video.

Since he won the award in 2015, the Ugandan singer has gone on to release more chart-topping hits and toured the USA, Canada, Singapore, Australia just to name a few.

3. Sauti Sol (Kenya) – There’s no doubt that Sauti Sol’s music transcends the borders of the African continent. In fact, if you are a Kenyan artist and you are looking for someone to emulate, look no further.

The boy band, who are currently on a tour in Australia, have been together for the last 13 years. Over the years their style of singing has really evolved, appealing to the international audience as a result.

Apart from releasing collabos with top African acts such as Yemi Alade, Burna Boy, Patoranking and spreading their tentacles,

Honourable mention*

Ray Vanny (Tanzania) – Other than Eddy Kenzo, Ray Vanny is the only other East African singer with a BET Award to his name so it’s only right that I feature him in this list.

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