There several number of African musicians who have gain mean stream recognition because of their superb talents.
Some made wise decisions and are now not only successful, and internationally well-known but also very wealthy.They are also very powerful not only in Africa but internationally.
We bring you the 15 richest, most successful, and internationally well-known African musicians.
1. Femi Kuti, Age: 52, Nigerian
The firstborn child of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Just like his father, Fela tries to use his music to fight against vices such as poverty, corruption and other socio-economic matters that are prevailing in Nigeria in particular and Africa as a whole.
His album ‘Fight to Win’ in which he collaborated with American artists in the likes of Mos Def, Common and Jaguar Fight is largely viewed as the most prominent Neo-Afro beat of the 21st century.
2. Manu Dibango, Age: 80, Cameroon
An excellent saxophonist, the Cameroonian-born Manu Dibango is one of Africa’s multi-talented artists. Because of his tremendous contribution in the
African music industry, it is difficult to find the words with which to describe such a musician as Manu Dibango. Popularly known for his 1972 single “Soul Makossa”, he has played music ranging from reggae, soul, blues, spirituals, electro to soul.
3. Salif Keita, Age: 65, Malian
An offspring of Sundiata Keita, founding father of the Mali Empire, Salif Keita is one of the founders of Afro-pop. Keita was widely criticized when he decided to become a musician as it was regarded an occupation not befitting for someone from a kingly Malian family.
Exiled from his village at the age of 18, due to the superstitious belief that albinos was symbolic of misfortune, this talented artist went on to play for a Malian Musical group known as ‘Les Ambassadeurs’ prior to going solo. Since then his career has witnessed a mind blowing success.
4. Angélique Kidjo, Age: 54, Beninoise
Born in Ouidah, Benin, the 54 years old Grammy Award winning Beninoise musician remain one of Africa’s most influential singer till date.
This UNICEF Goodwill ambassador is also the pioneer of a Washington-based charity known as Batonga Foundation which fosters and funds the education of African girls. She is a zealous advocate for the rights of African women.
5. Khaled, Age: 54, Algerian
Khaled Hadj Ibrahim famously known as ‘Khaled’, this Algerian songwriter and singer is the most popular ‘rai’ singer worldwide. Rai which is a type of folk which merges French, Arabic, Spanish and African musical influences is his style of music.
His major success is in France with his singles ‘Didi’ and ‘Aicha’ topping the charts. Reported to have sold over 20 million albums, he remains one of Africa’s bestselling artist of all times.
6. Youssou N’dour, Age: 55, Senegalese
Rolling Stone Magazine in 2004 referred to the desirable musician as maybe the most famous singer alive. It may seem unlikely especially in a contemporary music world with the likes of Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.
However, N’dour 55 is argued to be the most thrilling and fascinating African musician. His contribution in making the Mbalax popular cannot be undermined. N’dour, the UNICEF ambassador has been outspoken in his campaign to put an end in the humanitarian crisis in the horn of Africa.
The Grammy-Award winner is also an intelligent businessman, owner of a nightclub, a television station as well as a record label.
7. Fally Ipupa, Age 36: Congolese
The superstar Fally as popularly called by his fans, was part of the band of Koffi Olomidé known as Quartier Latin International from 1999 to 2006 before moving on to begin a solo career.
This Congolese singer and song writer released his first album ‘Droit Chemin’ in 2006 which made huge sales of over 100,000units.
He has modernized the Lingala music and has received so many awards for his achievements.Fally makes money by endorsing brands and performing at shows.
8. Koffi Olomidé, Age: 58, Congolese
He is a holder of a first degree in Business Economics and is said to have a Masters degree in mathematics from the University of Paris, but his major success and mainstream fortune has stemmed from singing.
He is famously recognized as a performer of a very famous and specific type of African music known as soukous. During the course of his career Koffi as fondly called by his fans, has released over 30 albums which have sold millions worldwide.
9. Hugh Masekela, Age:75, South African
The Jazz maestro and internationally renowned trumpeter have made consistent progress in his career. He started playing the trumpet at the age of 14 and has used his music to combat slavery, apartheid,
as well as socio-economic exploitation. This famous musician published his autobiography in 2004; Still Grazing the Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela.
10. Oumou Sangare, Age: 46, Malian
He is one of Mali’s most adored musical stars. This Award-winning Malian made the Wassoulou; a prominent traditional music specific to Mali, famous. The lyrics centre on feminism and the right of women.
As a United Nations Goodwill ambassador, Sangare has been outspoken in advocating against polygamy. She is a successful entrepreneur who in 2006 partnered with a Chinese automobile firm to make a car that has been named after her; Oum Sang.
11. K’naan, Age:36, Somali
A civil war forced him and his family to leave his homeland of Somalia at the tender age of 13 to New York where they later on moved to Ontario-Canada.
There, he became a member of a thriving Somalia community where he started rapping. His debut album was released in 2006.
His breakthrough came in 2010 when Coca-Cola Company used a remixed version of his hit single ‘Wavin Flag’ as it’s anthem for the world cup.
12. 2face Idibia, Age 39, Nigerian
Innocent Ugah Idibia popularly known as Tuface Idibia and ‘2baba’ as fondly called by his fans is one of Africa’s most identifiable new-generation singers.
His career started in the mid 90s with a defunct Nigerian boy band known as plantashun boys. He then moved from there to go solo where he was met with a huge national and international success with hits such as ‘African Queen’.
African Queen has become one of the most famous African love songs of all time. Tuface has received so many awards both at home and abroad, including Best African Artist 2005, awarded by MTV.
13. D’Banj, Age 34: Nigerian
Popularly called ‘Koko master’, Don Jazzy’s protégé, D’Banj is one of Africa’s most famous new generation artistes. Within the last six years he has sold over 3million albums and earlier this year, he also signed a record deal with Kanye West’s Good Music.
This prominent Nigerian artist is also one of the most intelligent entrepreneurs in Africa’s music industry with his ‘Koko’ brand named on his business items ranging from an entertainment lounge, mobile phones, bottled water as well as Garri; a Nigerian staple meal.
14. Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Age: 49, South African
She is one of Africa’s most acclaimed musicians who made her appearance on the stage at the age of 18 and was catapulted to fame at the height of Apartheid in South Africa.
Her contagious pop melodies, girlish attractions and angelic voice could not go unnoticed. Popularly known for her songs such as ‘I cry for freedom’ and ‘I’m in love with a DJ’ this prominent musician and United Nations Goodwill ambassador and UN envoy to Africa now dedicates her time to philanthropy.
15. P-Square, Age 32, Nigerian
The identical twin brothers Peter and Paul Okoye have a humble beginning and attained continental stardom with enticing and captivating lyrics as well as Michael Jackson dance style.
Their 2009 album ‘Danger’ has sold almost 9million copies worldwide. ‘No one like you’ hit song has had a huge success with over 10million views on YouTube making it a top record for any Nigerian artist.
These twin brothers released their 5th studio album ‘invasion’ in July this year. The album reportedly went platinum within eight weeks.
NOTE: The 15 musicians listed above are not the only successful, rich and international African musicians. there are several more who have achieved a lot and keep achieving. By Ghpage.com research But these 15 have achieve more feat than any other else. Also, the list is not in any particular order.