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Apple Music’s latest Africa Rising recipient is street-hop singer-songwriter, Candy Bleakz

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Apple Music today announced the latest featured artist in its Africa Rising artist development program is Nigerian street-hop singer-songwriter and rapper, Candy Bleakz(real name Akiode Blessing Mariam).

 

“I want to express my gratitude to the Apple Music family for choosing me as the African Rising Artist for the month of March. This recognition is a celebration of the hustle and work that has been put in for decades. It is a testament that, regardless of your background, that with God, diligence, hard work and the right team you can achieve anything. Coincidentally, 2024 is the year of the dragon according to the Chinese horoscope. This is just the beginning! Thank you for giving a street girl like me an opportunity to represent the streets from our perspective! Cheers to better days ahead! Maaaaafee!”

 

Candy’s love for music blossomed from the age of eight singing in the church choir, however it was not until she won a school competition, while filling in for an absent performer, that she began to write her own lyrics and pursue other talent show opportunities.

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But it was during her Medical studies at Onabisi Onabanjo University in Nigeria’s Ogun State that she took the leap of faith to pursue music full-time, winning the Lagos Got Talent show in 2016 and being introduced to Chocolate City’s then-CEO and super producer, Mi Abaga, shortly after.

 

After inevitably singing to Chocolate City under the Street Billionaires imprint, Candy went on to become a part of the Yoruba Hip Hop group of the same name. A merger with Warner Music however saw Chocolate City work alongside Candy to reinvent her as a solo artist releasing her first two singles “Kelegbe” and “Won La”, the latter of which earning her a nomination for Best Female rapper at the Africa Music Magazine Awards.

 

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But it was her versatile debut EP Fire (2022) and the project’s first single “Tikuku”, produced by two-time Grammy-winning producer, Rexxie, that announced her as a street hop force to be reckoned with on a global scale. Candy followed this with “Wale” (2023), an autobiographical release that details her hustle and grind, and became a huge hit for the rapper. In 2024 she released “Wale” (Remix) featuring Simi whose R&B timbre lends a totally different dynamic to the track, and has her poised for a huge year ahead.

 

The latest music from Candy Bleakz along with that of Africa’s hottest new artists, is available now on the Apple Music Africa Rising Playlist.

 

Discover Africa Rising here: applemusic.com/africarising

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Apple Music’s Africa Rising, is an exclusive artist development programme and companion playlist geared towards introducing the next generation of African superstars. Africa Rising alumni to date include: Omah Lay, Manu Worldstar, Tems, Amaarae, Ayra Starr, Yaw Tog, Blxckie and Nikita Kering. Africa Rising sees Apple Music select six artists every year and promote them across the Apple Music platform. This includes a launch interview on Apple Music 1 with Nadeska, who has also launched a new weekly Africa Rising feature on her show highlighting the hottest new artists on the continent.

 

Africa Rising is the latest of many Apple Music initiatives aimed at taking African talent to the world. Available in over 165 countries, Apple Music 1 is home to Africa Now Radio which has featured interviews with some of the continent’s hottest artists such as Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Cassper Nyovest, Mr Eazi, Patoranking, Rayvanny, Kiddominant, Mayorkun, Fireboy DML, Adekunle Gold, Master KG, Yaw Tog, Blxckie, Nikita Kering, Buju, FAVE, Nomfundo Moh and Moliy.

 

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Apple Music also selected Nigerian Afrobeats singer-songwriter Tems as its Up Next artist in 2021, Nigerian Afropop star Rema in 2020, Grammy Award-winning Afrofusion superstar Burna Boy in 2019, and Nigerian singer and entrepreneur Mr Eazi as the first recipient in 2017. Up Next is Apple Music’s global emerging artist program.

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OT n Aiges Poke upcoming Gh rappers

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OT n Aiges Poke upcoming Gh rappers

Talented Ghanaian upcoming duo have dropped what could be described as a poke at other upcoming rappers in Ghana. Ot n Aiges who have received accolades from industry persons, rap lovers among others after releasing mind blowing and creative pieces like “Ass vrs Breast”, The Goat Debate etc., have releasing “Who’s Rapping”.

The song takes swipe at upcoming rappers who claim to be rappers but do what is far from the rap culture. The duo displayed a high level of lyrical dexterity on the song asking their fellow upcoming act ‘Who’s Rapping”?

The even went ahead to mention few cities they they feel rap has been dormant in, after other pioneers leaving the rap scene.

Stream OT n Aiges – Who’s Rapping via

Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sj4wu7pyrs

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Other DSPs – https://easternchild.fanlink.tv/WhosRapping

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Caly Grande Releases His First Single of the Year ‘Racks and Paces’

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Caly Grande Releases His First Single of the Year 'Racks and Paces'

Talented Ghanaian musician, Caly Grande has today officially out-doored his newest song, “Racks and Paces.”

The latest single is an infusion of Reggae and Hip-Hop that sees Caly Grande touch on key subjects such as freedom, self-awareness, as well as mental health.

On “Racks and Paces,” Caly Grande with a tone of playfulness and an underlying toughness in his vocals that match both the song’s jumpy rhythm and theme, delivers a superb performance that easily pierces the ears and hearts of listeners.

The 360 musical artiste opens the song with a free flow that sits perfectly on the one-tap Reggae instrumentals and for about a minute chiefly focuses on making the ‘mula’ and a bit of prayer that continues later on the record.

Caly Grande draws parallels between yesteryears and today with a quick flashback of the independence struggle spearheaded by Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The singer highlights the vast difference in leadership back then and the current state of leadership.

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Just like his debut project “Press Play” EP released last year, “Racks and Paces,” is an inspiration, a different vibration that goes against rigid and limiting creative procedures.

The song, according to Caly Grande, was born after hearing another artiste’s song and was inspired to write his unique version that reflects his own reality.

Shedding more light on the motivation for the new record, Caly Grande told Amplify Ghana in an exclusive interview that; he wishes this record puts a smile on listeners and hopefully frees them.

He offered advice about mental health and urged listeners to pay particular attention to the line “in this life you gotta free your mind and do your most best, free the pressure, no more trauma, in this life you do you.”

“Racks and Paces” was produced by Cliq with mixing and mastering done by Jbyss.

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Listen to “Racks and Paces”

Follow Caly Grande on Instagram

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Kold AF is Spotify EQUAL Africa’s Artist Highlight, Rising Artist takes on the spotlight for the month of April

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Kold AF

Spotify’s EQUAL program supports female artists in music, giving them a global platform through playlists, content hubs, and partnerships. Rising Nigerian artist Kold AF, known for exploring diverse sounds, takes the spotlight for Spotify’s EQUAL Africa program this April, following her selection as Spotify’s Fresh Finds artists in 2023.

 

Spotify’s year-round EQUAL program empowers female creators with a global platform for growth. The dedicated EQUAL hub connects listeners in over 180 markets with this pool of talented artists.

 

Monica Kemoli-Savanne, Spotify’s Senior Artist & Label Partnerships Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa says, “At Spotify, empowering women and creating opportunities for them is a true passion. We’re committed to continuing these efforts and showcasing rising artists like Kold AF, who serve as a reminder that dreams are valid. EQUAL Africa is honoured to be a part of sharing these stories.”

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In 2023 alone, Spotify hosted 15 EQUAL activations and over 14.8 million artist discoveries stemmed from EQUAL playlists, and EQUAL artists received 11,800 editorial playlist adds. This demonstrates the program’s impact and reach.

 

Kold AF, who recently released a 2-pack EP called “no PITY” alongside alternative soul artist Aema, emphasises the importance of staying true to her artistic vision; “People often try to fit me into their preconceived moulds, guided by their prejudices. Yet, as a young woman navigating the labyrinth of the music industry, I refuse to be confined by such limitations. My focus remains unwaveringly fixed on staying true to my artistic vision.”

“Participating in the EQUAL program is a genuine honour, a testament to Spotify’s commitment to supporting female artists. It also serves as a gentle reminder to me to extend a helping hand to the aspiring women who will follow in my footsteps,“ Kold AF added.

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We had a sit down with Kold AF to delve deeper into her music and creative journey.

 

What is that one surprising thing your fans might not know about you?

That I like video games. I had a Nintendo DS at some point in my childhood and I was STUCK ON IT. I played a couple of games on my friend’s XBoxes and playstations but I never had a console of my own.

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Now I’m getting back into the groove of it and I’m loving every second of this reunion of sorts.

 

When did you realise that making music was in your destiny and what is your WHY for pursuing this craft?

I only fully came to the realisation that it was what I was made for in 2019. As a child, I dreamed of being a star, performing in front of millions of people but I was riddled with fear for many years before 2019.

I decided that year that regardless of the intense fear, I would take the first step and keep moving till I see myself on the stages my younger self had been daydreaming about all day with no regrets.

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Which African songs or artists did you grow up listening to?

I listened to whatever my parents were a fan of at the time. That included icons like Fela Kuti, Lagbaja, Plantashun Boiz, Psquare, Angelique Kidjo, Fally Ipupa, Awilo Longomba, and the stars that came after them like Asa, Wizkid, Burna Boy, Davido, Cynthia Morgan and so on.

 

To someone who has never heard your music, how would you describe the sound, tone, and style?

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I would describe my sound as a Fusion. It’s electric and full of emotion. A fluid sound that will always infuse beautiful genres. My foundational genres are Dancehall, R&B and and Afropop but I’m as versatile as it gets and I’ll never be afraid to show it any chance I get.  I speak on real and relatable topics and I’m probably the biggest fan of my own music. When you press play on anything I’m on, you can be sure one thing is constant; QUALITY.

 

Any advice for someone dreading following their dreams?

I was literally in their position before 2019 so I can categorically say this; Take the first step. It’s the scariest decision and action but it is the most important one. The ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes/maybe nots’ don’t matter in the grand scheme of things if you play it safe and never know. Things will come together with time, effort, showing up and consistency.

 

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Check out Kold AF’s recently released single “Everyday (I Day Pray)” on the EQUAL Africa playlist.

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Aklerh Takes the Crown: Debut EP “Dancehall Queen” Set to Take Over the Scene

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Talented musician Aklerh is gearing up to take the music scene by storm with the release of her debut EP, “Dancehall Queen.”

The EP, comprising of six tracks, showcases Aklerh’s unique blend of Reggae/Dancehall and Afrobeats.

The EP is produced by industry heavyweights Cashtwo and Jeph Green.

“Dancehall Queen” EP boasts a stellar tracklist that showcases Aklerh’s diverse musical strength and personal experiences.

One standout feature of “Dancehall Queen” is the collaboration on track two, where Aklerh joins forces with Yaw Grey and Ennwai of Dobble fame.

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The synergy between these artists on this particular track takes it to new heights, offering listeners a dynamic and unforgettable musical experience.

Thematically, “Dancehall Queen” explores a wide range of topics, from self-expression and personal development to love and empowerment.

The “Labadi Gyal” crooner promises that the lyrics are both introspective and relatable, which will allow listeners to connect with her on a deeply emotional level.

When asked about the inspiration behind the EP title, Aklerh explains, “The title Dancehall Queen represents my ability to seamlessly transition from my everyday self to my sensual and extroverted persona within the Reggae/Dancehall scene. It’s a nod to my journey as an artist and the mastery I’ve achieved in my craft over the years.”

Ahead of the release of “Dancehall Queen,” Aklerh hopes to reach a wide audience and spread joy through her music.

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Both personally and professionally, she aims to make a lasting impact on the industry, solidifying her position as a rising star in the music world.

With her debut EP, Aklerh is poised to reign as the undisputed queen of the dancehall scene, leaving an indelible mark on the world of music for years to come.

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Young Jonn tells Apple Music’s Africa Now Radio about His Transition from Producer To Artist

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Young Jonn tells Apple Music's Africa Now Radio about His Transition from Producer To Artist

This Week’s Episode Features a Conversation With Young Jonn, the 5 Hottest Tracks of the Week, Africa Rising and Nandi Madida’s Favourite Track of the Week!

Tune in to Africa Now Radio with Nandi Madida this Friday, April 12th 9a Lagos/London / 10a Johannesburg/Paris / 1a LA / 4a NYC on Apple Music 1 and broadcast on YFM Accra every Sunday at 2pm, YFM Kumasi on Saturdays at 3pm and YFM Takoradi on Saturdays at 6pm.

Cover Star Interview
Nigerian Afrobeats artist and producer Young Jonn joins Nandi Madida via FaceTime on Apple Music 1 to talk about his latest single, “Bahamas.” He also discusses his debut album, ‘Jiggy Forever,’ transitioning from producer to artist, how he manages to record wherever he is, and his plans to tour.

The Big 5
Nandi Madida shares the 5 hottest new African tracks of the moment. This week’s selection includes new tracks from Tiphe, Niphkeys & YKB, Shallipopi, Ruger & Bnxn, Blxckie, and Nonso Amadi, SjavasDaDeejay & Tumelo.za.

Africa Rising
Swati rapper and producer GRIXXLY is the latest artist featured from Apple Music’s Africa Rising playlist, a campaign which shines a light on the next generation of African superstars, and this week’s show features his singles, “No Mistakes (feat. Amarii)” and “Musa WeNkhosi.”  Listen HERE.

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Nandi’s Song of the Week
Each week, Nandi Madida chooses her favourite track from one of Apple Music’s African playlists. This week she spotlights South African house star DJ Kent, and his track, “Horns In The Sun (feat. Brenden Praise, Morda & Mo-T) [Thakzin Remix]”, from Apple Music’s Isgubhu playlist, showcasing the best African dance and electronic sounds. Listen HERE.

Tune in and listen to the full episode this Friday, April 12th at 9a Lagos/London / 10a Johannesburg/Paris / 1a LA / 4a NYC on Apple Music 1 at apple.co/_AfricaNow and broadcast on YFM Accra every Sunday at 2pm, YFM Kumasi on Saturdays at 3pm and YFM Takoradi on Saturdays at 6pm.

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Young Jonn tells Apple Music about His Transition from Producer To Artist
What really triggered that was back in 2017 when I lost my mum. I started spending so much time by myself. I wasn’t turning up for my studio sessions or being in the studio with artists like I used to. So I had so much music lying around because I was recording so much. This period was what really made me start putting out music, because I never really planned to.

Young Jonn tells Apple Music How He Feels Releasing His Debut Album, ‘Jiggy Forever’ 
I can’t lie, it feels good. It feels amazing. I feel blessed, regardless of what the outcome is. I never saw this coming, I never planned for this. I’m here today dropping my debut album and it feels so surreal. The love has been crazy since I started dropping my music. There’s been a lot that’s happened in my life and I feel so blessed, regardless of what anyone thinks.

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Young Jonn tells Apple Music What Fans Can Expect from the Album
It’s big summer vibes. The right transition into summer time. Under the sun, by the beach.

Young Jonn tells Apple Music about His Recording Process
When I was recording this album, I had no idea I was recording THE album. Probably because of my background as a producer, I’m always recording. I was doing a lot of travelling last year, doing a lot of shows outside my country. I have a studio setup with me, that I carry in my bag. So wherever I find myself, I’m recording. I had so much music around, so let’s pick what carries the emotions I want to be on the album. Recording didn’t seem like I was recording the album. I was just having fun and doing my thing, like I always do.

Young Jonn Tells Apple Music about his Upcoming Tours
I’m touring from May. Europe in May. Canada in June and America in September. I’m pretty much on the road throughout this year. I’m excited.

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Tee Kae’s “My Last” Takes Listeners on a Journey of Heartbreak and Empowerment

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Ghanaian/French singer and songwriter Tee Kae has just dropped her latest single titled “My Last.” This poignant song is Tee Kae’s fourth release since the beginning of her career in 2023.

My last tells a story of a toxic relationship that takes away the energy, mind and soul of the victim. Love can sometimes numb the pain of being manipulated and you keep asking yourself if you’re the blame or not and how leaving will affect both the individual and yourself. But Hey! Your mental health comes first before anyone so you have to draw the line when the person you once loved is the same person you hate more than anything Love is really a losing gain!

Madeleine Badu, also known as Tee Kae, discovered her passion for music at a young age through singing in and leading her church music group. Influenced by iconic artists such as Alicia Keys and H.E.R, Tee Kae embarked on a journey to create her unique sound, combining Afro-R&B/Soul, Indie vocals, and a hint of Trap with Alté rhythms. Her music effortlessly blends her native languages with French, resulting in an exceptional fusion that sets her apart as a versatile artiste within the Alté genre.

Tee Kae fearlessly experiments with genres, drawing inspiration from diverse musical backgrounds. Her artistic versatility shines through as she continuously pushes the boundaries of her music, captivating listeners with every release. Starting with promising acoustic covers of popular songs, Tee Kae showcased her exceptional vocal abilities and musical finesse. After a transformative year of introspection and growth, she emerged with a renewed artistic direction.

 

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As an Alté artiste, Tee Kae is at the forefront of redefining contemporary African music. She seamlessly blends cultural influences with global sounds, creating a fresh and captivating musical experience. Tee Kae’s passion for storytelling through music, combined with her unrivaled vocal prowess, positions her as an artist to watch in the industry.

Listen to my last on all platforms here. Follow Tee Kae on Instagram | X



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