The UK have a thriving music scene with the country producing some of the world’s best Artists. Most of these UK Artists are of Nigerian descent.
In the UK music industry today, there are several famous blacks that are excellent in their craft, most of these artists are of Nigerian Descent.
Nigerians are well known to travel far and wide in search of greener pastures. They not only survive in whichever country they find themselves but become successful world-famous celebrities.
Here are popular UK artists who are of Nigerian descent either by half parent, birth, immigrant parent or nationalisation.
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Born Helen Folasade Adu, Sade was born in Ibadan on the 16th of January 1959 but moved to Essex, England at the age of four.
Her father, Adebisi Adu, a Nigerian lecturer in economics of Yoruba background married an English district nurse, Annes Hayes. The couple moved to Ibadan after getting married but after their separation, Anne Hayes returned to England, taking Sade and the girl’s elder brother Banji with her to live with their grandparents near Colchester, Essex.
Sade started her career as a model and a backup singer for a British band called Pride. In 1983 she alongside some of the band’s members started a band named after her.
Their debut album, Diamond Life was released on 16 July 1984, reaching number two in the UK Album Chart, selling over 1.2 million copies in the UK, and won the Brit Award for Best British Album in 1985.
“Smooth Operator” was the third single out of the album and their most successful song from the album topping charts in various countries outside the UK.
In 1986, Sade alongside the band won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
Real Name Joseph Junior Adenuga, Skepta was born to Nigerian parents on 19 September 1982 in Tottenham, North London.
He started out his career as a DJ under the Tottenham-based grime collective Meridian Crew. Alongside his brother, JME he launched his label, “Boy Better Know” under which he released his debut album, “Greatest Hits” in 2007.
Skepta currently has five albums to his credit and is one of the successful Grime artists in the UK.
On 4 April 2018, he was installed as a chief in his Nigerian hometown in Ogun State, receiving the chieftaincy title of the Amuludun of Odo-Aje.
David Orobosa Omoregie known professionally as Dave or Santan Dave, is a British rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor.
The youngest of three sons, Dave was born to Nigerian parents. His father, Frank Omoregie, is a pastor and his mother, Juliet Doris Omoregie, a nurse.
Dave’s father was deported to Nigeria when Dave was just a few months old as he believed he was travelling on a missionary visa but instead was on a visitor’s visa. Juliet was allowed to stay to raise her sons.
He began composing music at an early age, regularly writing lyrics in his early teens, even before engaging in production after his mother gave him a piano when he was 14.
Although he was admitted to the university to study, he instead chooses to focus on his musical career.
Although he only has one album, “Psychodrama” to his credit, he has released hit songs that have dominated charts and earned international certifications.
Lukman Olanrewaju B Odunaike is a British-Nigerian hip-hop artist and actor. He is more famous by his professional name, Not3s.
Not3s has been interested in performing since he was a child. Inspired by both the local underground grime scene and his Nigerian heritage, his ascent from online obscurity to being signed by a major label had been nothing short of a transient.
In 2017, he released his debut single, ‘Naughty’. His breakthrough single, ‘Addison Lee’, was released later that year.
His most successful track to date is, ‘My Lover’, which was the result of the collaborative effort between him and English Singer, Mabel.
Other popular singles he has put over the course of his career are ‘Aladdin’, ‘Palm Wine’, and ‘To the Max’. He has released two mixtapes to date, ‘Take Not3’ and ‘Take Not3 II’.
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Thyra Oji, better known by her stage name Ms Banks, is a British rapper, singer and songwriter born to a Nigerian father and a Ugandan mother.
Ms Banks began writing music at age 11. she has released three mixtapes as Ms Banks in the years which include “Once Upon a Grind (2014), The Coldest Winter Ever (2018), The Coldest Winter Ever Part II(2019). Her debut EP, New Chapter was released in 2016.
Tion Wayne born Dennis Junior Odunwo is a British rapper, songwriter and DJ.
Odunwo began to make a name for himself in the music scene in 2010 after dropping a handful of videos on YouTube. By 2014, he had released his first mixtape, titled Wayne’s World.
Continuing to push his sound on social media and online video streaming, Wayne had built a loyal following by 2016 and had supported artists such as U.S. rapper Rick Ross and Ghanaian hip-hop artist Sarkodie.
Over the years, Tion has racked up multiple UK Top 10 singles and over 500 million streams across streaming platforms.
Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu better known by his stage name Tinie Tempah, is a British rapper, singer, composer and entrepreneur.
Tinie was born in London, to Igbo parents, his middle name, Chukwuemeka, means “God has done more” in the Igbo language.
Tinie, then known as Tinie Tempah began his music career in 2005 after joining the Aftershock Hooligans (Aftershock →→Records), recording hundreds of songs amongst the fellow Hooligans.
His first mixtape, “Chapter 1: Verse 22”, was released via Aftershock Records in 2005, as a free mixtape. he released his debut album Disc-Overy in 2010.
Tinie, together with his manager and cousin Dumi Oburota founded the independent label Disturbing London primarily as an outlet for Tinie’s music but also manages other artists like Darkoo and Kida Kudz.
Darkoo is a London-raised Nigeria born singer/songwriter. Darkoo’s musical journey began at 15 after discovering her ability to rap.
She began to merge the influences of being in the UK with the sound of her favourite African artists like WizKid and Maleek Berry, leading her to release her debut single ‘Gas Station’ at the tender age of 16.
Darkoo started music at a young age although she had wanted to be a professional footballer, during her year 6 talent show she delivered an impressive performance of Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj’s “Beauty and a Beat”.
However, Darkoo’s rise to the limelight wasn’t until she released her hit single “Gangsta” which debuted on UK Top 40 chart in the first week of release. The single had featured Tottenham born rapper, One Acen.
The unique side to Darkoo is her voice which can either be Feminine and masculine depending on what song she is.
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Jacob Banks was born in Nigeria but moved to Birmingham at the age of 13, and began singing, playing the guitar and writing songs at the age of 20.
He got his start recording songs for friends to listen to in their cars and hitting the open mic circuit before self-releasing his first EP The Monologue in 2013.
Jacob has since released independent EP The Paradox and made his debut on Interscope Records with The Boy Who Cried Freedom EP.
Popular UK artists you didn’t know are of Nigerian Descent
- Sade Adu
- Ms Banks
- Tion Wayne
- Tinie Tempah
- Jacob Banks