Building a fan base in Nigeria is quite hard and even harder to maintain it and keep the fans coming back after you have built one for yourself as we have witnessed artists who were once at the top of their game suddenly went cold and became like an upcoming artist. But some artists went against the norm and with just one single, they were already a force to reckon with and had an army of fans singing their song word for word.
Here are the top ten biggest debut songs in Nigeria.
Note:- These songs are arranged in no particular order
(1) Wizkid – Holla at your boy
In 2009, Banky W signed Wizkid and Skales to EME (Empires Mate Entertainment), a move which he described as his retirement plan.
Determined to succeed, Wizkid released his first single under EME titled ‘Holla at your boy’. The DJ Klem (Knighthouse) and Vebee produced song quickly became fans favorite and many couldn’t believe that the song was by a Nigerian.
‘Holla at your boy’ made his debut album ‘Superstar’ and was the 14th track on the album. ‘Holla at Your Boy’ got nominated as the ‘Best Pop single’ at the 2011 Headies award, and the song also earned him the winner of the ‘Next Rated’ category at the award
The music video for the song was directed by Patrick Elis and had cameo appearances from Ice Prince, D Prince, Skales, Banky W and many others. It has since garnered 1.6 million views on YouTube.
Stream the music video below.
(2) Davido – Back When (Feat. Naeto C)
Any list of best African artists that don’t have Davido on it is definitely incorrect.
Coming from a rich family, the singer’s Dad had his reputation at stake on hearing that his son wanted to go into music rather than the high profile jobs that will suit the family status. His Dad Vehemently kicked against the idea of David going into music but the young David knew exactly what he wanted and didn’t allow his father’s disapproval to deter him.
Davido started out as a music producer when he dropped out of Oakwood University and on the 7th of May, 2011, Davido produced and released his debut single “Back When” which featured Naeto C. The single became an instant hit and made Davido rise to prominence. ‘Back When’ was the lead single on his debut album “Omo Baba Olowo” and the music video for the song was directed by Clarence Peters.
(3) Ice Prince – Oleku (Feat. Brymo)
Life was auspicious for Ice Prince Zamani (Panshak Henri Zamani) until he lost his Dad in 1999 and his mom had to carry all the financial burden of the family.
After some time his mom also died too and life really got complicated as he had to drop out of school due to financial setback. At this point in his life, music seemed like the silver bullet for him and he moved to Abuja to focus on Music. He moved in with M.I Abaga and Jesse Jagz in Abuja until they all moved to Lagos to squat with Djinee. Ice Prince affiliation with M.I and Jesse Jagz secured him a recording deal with Chocolate City, the record label that gave him the support and platform he needed.
On the 8th of June, 2010, Ice Prince released Oleku, the lead single from his debut studio album, Everybody Loves Ice Prince. The song was released under Chocolate City and featured his then record label mate Brymo. The song got a positive reception from Nigerians all over the world and got a lot of remix from many other artists, the remix kept on coming in and Oleku was tagged “The Most Remixed Nigerian song of all time“.
In 2010, Oleku earned Ice Prince the award for the Hottest Single Of The Year at the NEA awards, the song also won the Song of the Year at the City People Entertainment Awards while the music video for Oleku won the ‘Most Gifted Newcomer Video‘ at the Channel O Music Video Awards. In 2011, Oleku wasn’t done with garnering awards as the song won the ‘Best Rap Single‘ and ‘Song of the Year‘ at the 2011 headies award.
(4) Kiss Daniel – Woju
Kiss Daniel (now known as Kizz Daniel) got signed to Emperor Geezy’s label – G-Worldwide Entertainment in 2013. On the 1st of September, 2014, Kiss Daniel released his first song – Woju under the umbrella of G-Worldwide and he rose to prominence after the release of the song.
The song was received with love and positive reviews from the fans and music critics in Nigeria and it got nominated for the ‘Hottest Single of The Year’ at the 2015 Nigeria Entertainment Awards and also for the ‘Best Pop Single’ at the 2015 Headies award.
Davido and Tiwa Savage jumped in on the remix of Woju and ever since that song, it has been hit song after hit song for Kiss Daniel and G-Worldwide Entertainment until the singer unceremoniously left the record label in 2017.
(5) Patoranking feat. Timaya – Alubarika
Patoranking’s success story will be incomplete without mentioning Timaya as Timaya played a major role in bringing Patoranking to the limelight. The Ebonyi State reggae-dancehall singer and songwriter came into the limelight after he released the single ‘Alubarika’ which featured Timaya.
‘Alubarika’ was released on the 12th of September 2013 and it was released alongside the music video. The song was produced by Wizzypro while the music video was directed by Aje Filmworks. In 2013 “Alubarika” got nominated for the ‘Best Dance Hall/Reggae Video‘ at the Nigeria Music Video Awards and in 2014 the song got nominated for the “Best Collaboration” category at the “2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards” and also for the ‘Best Collabo of the Year‘ and ‘Most Popular Song of the Year‘ at the City People Entertainment Awards.
(6) Olamide – Eni Duro
It is safe to say that Indigenous rapper, Olamide Adedeji is most popular and biggest Yoruba rapper in Nigeria but you must know that he didn’t need a lot of singles to become very popular as just one song did the magic for him.
Before starting his own record label (YBNL Nation), Olamide was signed to ID Cabasa’s label, Coded tunes record. In 2010, He released his first song “Eni Duro” under Coded Tunes record and while many made fun of the video due to the number of clothes he wore for the video, many also applauded his artistry. The song became an instant hit and shot Olamide to the limelight. “Eni Duro” was produced by his record label boss – ID Cabasa while the music video was directed by DJ Tee.
(7) Mayorkun – Eleko
1st of February 2016 is a day Mayorkun won’t be in a hurry to forget as his life took a complete turn around for good on that day. On that day which was a Monday, Mayorkun penned down a resignation letter to the bank in which he was working at the time. His reason for resigning was that his salary wouldn’t be enough to pursue his music career and take care of his family and he had to go search for greener pasture.
That day he posted the video of himself making a cover of Davido’s song ‘The Money’ and tagged Davido (See the video below).
Long story short, the video caught the attention of Davido and it secured him a recording deal with Davido’s record label (DMW) and on the 7th of April 2016, Mayorkun released his first song “Eleko”. In less than 24 hours, the PuffyTee produced song garnered about 70,000 views on YouTube and in the first ten days of the video upload, it got a million views on YouTube.
(8) Burna Boy – Like To Party
Burna Boy surfaced on the music scene in 2012 with his debut song “Like To Party” and everyone couldn’t get enough of his baritone voice.
On the 31st of May 2012, Burna Boy released the breakout single “Like To Party” under Aristokrat Records. The single which later became an anthem launched the start of something huge for Burna Boy and his Aristokrat team.
The video, directed by Adasa Cookey for Squareball, was some sort of movie with friends/fans drooling with excitement in a swimming pool. “Like To Party” singlehandedly skyrocketed Burna Boy’s image and placed him in the big league with top stars.
In 2013, ‘Like To Pary’ was nominated for the “Best Pop” at the South South Music Awards and the song won the award.
(9) Sean Tizzle – Sho Lee
I bet you didn’t know that Sean Tizzle initially started out as a rapper in a music group known as 3-Way Band. He decided to quit rap and exploit his singing prowess which led to him going into Afro-pop/Afrobeat.
Sean Tizzle left Sound Sultan’s record label – Naija Ninjas and got signed by D’Tunes to Difference Entertainment. On the 22nd of February 2013, Sean Tizzle released his first song under ‘Difference Entertainment’ titled “Sho Lee”. The song was produced by his record label boss – D’Tunes. Sho Lee became fans favorite in no time and was gaining massive airplay and was on repeat by DJ’s in popular clubs in Nigeria.
(10) Dammy Krane – My Dear
Dammy Krane got the opportunity of meeting with Nigerian Legendary singer – 2Baba at a birthday party and after 2baba saw him perform, he made the decision of signing Dammy Krane to his record label – Hypertek Records.
In January 2012, Dammy Krane inked a recording deal with Hypertek Digital and 960 Music Group and he released his first song “My Dear” which was produced by Spellz.
Dammy Krane rose to prominence after the release of the song and he won the heart of music critics and lovers of good music in Nigeria and everyone was optimistic about his success.
It was completely impossible to arrange this list in the order of the song’s popularity because they were released at different times and they all rocked at the time of their release.
Now over to you!
Which of these songs is the biggest debut Nigerian song?
Let us know in the comment section below👇
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