Music Business: 16 Wealthiest African Musicians

By Keren Mikva AFKI Original Published: July 8, 2015, 3:07 am
ThinkStockPhotosThinkStockPhotos

There are artists across Africa whose stars are rapidly rising and they are able to command larger and larger paychecks around the world. Highly influential and each bringing their own unique sound, these artists represent the richest African musicians. Here are the 16 wealthiest African musicians.

This slideshow was first published in September 16, 2013

Sources: Answers Africa, Allafrica.com, Forbes, and Channel O. Sources: En.wikipedia.org, nairaland.com and allafrica.com.

Jose Chameleone RedPepper.co.ug

Jose Chameleone
RedPepper.co.ug

Jose Chameleone

Jose (or Joe) Chameleone is a Ugandan artist who found his niche blending traditional Ugandan folk music, a bit of rumba and a heavy reggae influence. He sings in English, Swahili, and Luganda. His mansion outside of Kampala and four cars (including a Cadillac Escalade and a Benz) are evidence of his success, particularly with his hit, “Valu Valu.” He’s been credited with changing the face of music in Uganda, as well as making local music accessible to the rest of the world.

Banky W DecodedLyrics.com

Banky W
DecodedLyrics.com

Banky W

Born Olubankole Wellington in the U.S., Banky W moved back to Nigeria and grew up in Lagos, where he began singing at an early age. He found success early in singing competitions. Most of his wealth has come from endorsement deals with companies such as Estisalat mobile and Samsung in Nigeria. He also started the Mr. Capable Foundation, an education charity that provides tuition scholarships for disadvantaged children.

channelstv.com

channelstv.com

Ice Prince

Born in Nigeria, Panshak Zamani, aka Ice Prince, started writing rap songs and performing them at his high school. He got together with artist M.I. to form the band The Loopy Crew, but it wasn’t until he started releasing singles like “Extraordinary” or “Rewind,” that he started getting airtime in Nigeria. His debut album, “Everybody Loves Ice Prince,” was very successful, and he has since won many awards including Channel O prizes and a BET Award for Best International Act Africa in 2013. He collaborates often with Banky W, whom he calls his mentor.

hitzgh.com

hitzgh.com

Sarkodie

One of the leading hip hop artists today in his home country of Ghana, Sarkodie usually raps in his native language, Twi. His style is actually called hip life — a Ghanian hip hop creation that fuses high life, hip hop, dance hall, and reggae. He has been nominated for and won many Ghana Music Awards, and in 2012 won the BET Award for Best International Act Africa. Heading his own clothing line, Sark by Yas and having shared the stage with American stars T-Pain, Ludacris, and Trey Songz, Sarkodie is on his way. Forbes and Channel O put him at No. 8 for Africa’s most bankable artists.

Hugh Masekela TheGuardian.com

Hugh Masekela
TheGuardian.com

Hugh Masekela

Musical sensation Hugh Masekela is a South African artist who plays a variety of instruments including the trumpet, flugelhorn, and cornet, along with singing and composing his own work. He has been highly praised for his work, with everything from a Grammy nomination to the Order of the Ikhamanga by President Jacob Zuma (for achievements in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism, and sports in South Africa). He has graced prestigious festivals across the world. He is perhaps best known for his acapella-style singing and collaboration with Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the Graceland album and 1987 Graceland tour.

musica-portuguesa-gratis.com

musica-portuguesa-gratis.com

Anselmo Ralph

Born in Luanda, Angola, Ralph moved to New York to complete an accounting degree. After many unsuccessful attempts to become known in the American and European Latin music scenes, he returned to Angola and cut his “Histórias de Amor” album in the Portuguese language. It was a runaway hit, and he won the MTV Europe Music Award in 2006 for Best African Artist. His subsequent albums have rocked the Portuguese albums charts, and he most recently has been signed by Coca-Cola to be Angola’s first promotional artist. His music is enormous in the Brazilian zouk dance scene.

2 Face Idibia NigerianWatch.com

2 Face Idibia
NigerianWatch.com

2 Face Idibia

Nigerian singer-songwriter 2 Face Idibia began his career as a member of the hip hop group Plantashun Boyz, but went solo in 2004 after the group split. His most popular song, “African Queen,” took off after being featured in the movie “Phat Girlz” in 2006, but all of his five albums have been very well received around the world. His wealth comes from various real estate investments across Nigeria, as well as the $80,000 he commands per show.

Fally Ipupa CongoDRCOnline.com

Fally Ipupa
CongoDRCOnline.com

Fally Ipupa

Fally Ipupa, a former member of Quartier Latin International (along with Koffi Olomidé, who also made this list), went solo in 2006 and has been incredibly successful, both in his home country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as internationally. With MTV Africa Music and Kora awards under his belt, he’s racked up clothing endorsement deals in Paris as well as high commissions for his shows across the world, which are almost always sold-out.

Salif Keita Bestizzo.Blogspot.com

Salif Keita
Bestizzo.Blogspot.com

Salif Keita

Born and raised in Mali, singer and songwriter Salif Keita has been referred to as the “Golden Voice of Africa” with his original take on Afropop music. Despite his royal heritage (he’s directly descended from Sundiata Keita, founder of the Mali Empire), he chose a path of music, bucking the Malian caste system. But this means that he was loaded even before his music career took off, explaining his private island and properties across Europe.

Koffi Olomidé Umuryango.com

Koffi Olomidé
Umuryango.com

Koffi Olomidé

Along with fellow Congolese star Fally Ipupa, Koffi Olomidé formed Quartier Latin as lead singer and vocalist before launching his solo career. Dubbing his style of music as tcha tcho, he considers it a blend of soukous music (dance music that originated from African rumba music). He’s notorious for taking on controversial subjects in his lyrics, which has led him to be widely praised and criticized worldwide. Raking in over 100,000 euros per show, Olomidé is extremely popular across Africa and the world. One of his albums is listed in Robert Dimery’s book, “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.”

D'banj NotJustOK.com

D’banj
NotJustOK.com

D’banj

D’banj, aka the Koko Master, aka Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo, has been killing it in his native Nigeria and around the world since 2007, and was the first African artist who signed with the music label GOOD, owned by Kanye West. The recipient of countless awards, D’banj is known for his unique sound of dance music and Afro beats. He is involved in a variety of investments including a nightclub in Nigeria, brands such as Koko water, and was given his own reality show, “Koko Mansion.”

voice-online.co.uk

voice-online.co.uk

Wizkid

In 2009, this Nigerian recording artist’s single, “Holla at your Boy,” became a hit in Africa. This young superstar was signed onto Banky W’s label Empire Mates Entertainment. Channel O and Forbes weighed him in as the fifth most bankable African musician. In 2011, he won the Hip Hop World Award for “Next Rated.” He has collaborated with numerous international artists, and is also Pepsi’s highest-paid ambassador to Africa.

P-Square NewsWhip.com

P-Square
NewsWhip.com

P-Square

P-Square is made up of identical twins, Peter and Paul Okoye, who began singing and dancing together back in their small Catholic high school in Jos, Nigeria. After forming the group in 2005, their music developed a devoted following, particularly in South Africa, and each album outsold the previous one. They were named Artists of the Year at the 2010 Kora Awards and now bring in more than $150,000 per show. Best of all, their shared home is worth more than $3 million and has been dubbed “Squareville.” Talk about product placement!

anapuafm.com

anapuafm.com

Don Jazzy

A multi-award winning artist and record label CEO from Nigeria, Jazzy actually started the label Mo’ Hits Records in 2004 with his childhood friend, D’banj (featured a few slides back), but they split. Now D’Banj is the president, while Don Jazzy has a new company, Mavin Records. With mostly production credits under his belt, he was noticed by Kanye West in 2011, and made a producer on his GOOD Music label. His work and voice can be heard on Kanye and Jay-Z’s “Watch the Throne” album. Forbes named him the 36th Most Powerful African, and he’s the second richest musician in Africa according to Forbes Africa and Channel O.

Youssou N'dour MuslimVoicesFestival.org

Youssou N’dour
MuslimVoicesFestival.org

Youssou N’dour

Not surprisingly, Youssou N’dour brings it home. This Senegalese singer is widely considered the most famous singer alive in Senegal and much of Africa. His style of music is known as mbalax, a mix of Senegalese traditional music in the Serer language and various styles from around the world including Cuban rumba, hip hop, jazz, and soul. With millions around the world in his fan base, he is now the owner of the biggest media house in Senegal (complete with radio and TV stations) and was appointed tourism and culture minister in 2012. More importantly, before K’naan had “Waving Flag” in 2010, N’dour was responsible for the 1998 FIFA World Cup national anthem, “La Cour des Grands,” along with Axelle Red.

capitalfm.co.ke

capitalfm.co.ke

Akon

Heard of him? Yeah, he’s from Africa — Senegal to be exact — although he was born and spent lots of his childhood in Missouri and New Jersey. The CEO of Konvict Music and a multi-talented genius, he’s a producer for such artists as Lady Gaga, Leona Lewis, and T-Pain, a collaborator with Eminem and the late Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, and a songwriter. He’s at least the most popular in the world of this bunch. He is the first solo artist to have both No. 1 and No. 2 positions on the Billboard Hot 100, and has five Grammy nominations. Channel O and Forbes Africa named him the most bankable/richest African musician, and he makes many other top 10 lists every year.

 

Sign up for the AFKInsider newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know from Africa and the African diaspora, delivered straight to your inbox.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
  • Caroline Nyambura

    Nice article. I really enjoyed it but I never saw Fella Kuti or Miriam Makeba. Actually there were no women at all in this list. Why?

    • Zippy&TheCandles

      That’s a worrying problem being highlighted across Africa right now. It seems we’re on our way to addressing women’s issues in Politics, but seem to be lacking in several other areas – business, the arts, professions etc. This could never be seen as putting down the men; they’ve worked for their success and we’re proud of them, but we women need to start hustling and breaking glass ceilings

      • daniel uweh

        Quite agree with you. African women, especially those in the music industry, should stop complaining about equality and start focusing on there talents. If beyounce and many other foreign female musicians can be that successful then our African women can do the same or even better. Makeba was the perfect example.

    • daniel uweh

      because its the richest musicians ranking, not most popular or best neither is about legends long gone. About women not being in the list. please can you name at least one very rich and popular living woman?

      • daniel uweh

        female musician of course

        • Rose

          How about Yvonne Chakachaka, how come she is not on this list?

      • sophie

        Oprah Winfrey is one living very rich woman, to name a few

        • Matthew

          Errr Sophie, Are Oprah a African Female musician??

        • Gaz Wkd

          daniel uweh didn’t specify ‘African’ when he asked for a very rich and popular living woman. So sophie is in fact correct.

        • annonymous

          IS Oprah AN African…………..!!!!!!@d0dbf163fdbc3dedd6746a4a48fe2157:disqus we are all literates

        • Mailie Marshalls

          She is not African

        • EssayWritingCentre.Com

          The title is “Top 10 Richest African Musicians”, Oprah is neither African, nor a musician

        • Job Onyango

          Sade from Nigeria, do you remember her?

        • Job Onyango

          Angela Kedjo also African

        • Syd Embenzi

          Angelique Kidjo

    • Mailie Marshalls

      The article – “Top 10 Richest African Musicians”

      Why should there be any Woman on the list ??? It’s a Ranking

      Wake up !!

      • Patriot

        Top 10 Richest yes but where are the figures to show their net worth?

      • Barach

        Mailie Marshalls yes it’s The Top 10 Richest African Musicians. There could be a woman (if at all a deserving lot) in the list because women make great musicians as well.

  • Andriana Goldiemon

    make money from here http://www.billionairesgroup.org/?ref=goldie and you maybe making the forbes list

  • Jimmjims

    Sade?

  • Piet

    What about Steve Hofmeyer? Surely he should feature?

    • fyah_blaze

      Hofmeyer can pull a crowd of about 100 and his fans are mostly in Kuruman…nuff said 🙂

  • mista

    ummmm great list but where is Akon????? he is top of the list I would think with an estimated net worth of 80mill

  • sss

    no woman……. organizations based on fighting for woman rights should see this

  • Kenneth Achoka

    How i held my breadth until i saw that number 1 slot Youssou N’dour! Very accurately researched. Caro Nyambura – Fella Kuti & Miriam are both dead; this is a list of living musicians -otherwise we would have Franco, Brenda, etc. Kenyan musicians are a confused lot!

    • Job Onyango

      what about Femi Kuti?

  • Mannie

    This is freakingly goodnews to the nigerians artistry…. But one must be good at what he is best at doing

  • vincent

    nice one there, are you sure your research team came to Ghana?

  • gucci

    This is baseless… Where are the figures?

  • defacto6969

    Typical African perspective – DRIFFLE without facts and figures –
    Africans = All talk and no action

  • Tashah Mandah

    Was hoping i could see something like Redsan in the list!!!.

    • colonel Satima

      Poor you

  • Patriot

    Shallow article full of speculation. Where are the figures? Numbers don’t lie. What is the criteria used for ranking? Net worth or pay per show?…..

    • Name

      In 2005 Youssou N’Dour won his first American Grammy Award…..featured on Rolling Stone Magazine in 2004…….featured on New York Times….

      • Patriot

        Show me the money…All am asking, not fame!!

  • EssayWritingCentre.Com

    unsubstantiated rumors about “riches”…where are the figures and the source of the info on wealth??

  • gabarinocheka

    it wont be fair until i see oliver Mutukudzi (Zimbabwe)

    • Syd Embenzi

      His wealth in Zimbabwe dollars?

      • fyah_blaze

        Mtukudzi is not rich agreed….for your info, a little bit of reading would help as Zim has been using USDs for over 5 years now, anyone who talks of Zim dollars is out of touch with reality on the ground.

        • Syd Embenzi

          Of course I am not a citizen to know what is going on the ground. Still Zimbabwe doesn’t have much in foreign currency to adopt the US dollar for their local trade.

        • mikey

          zim does

        • Syd Embenzi

          Are you referring to US dollars held by Mugabe and his cronies? Of course that’s alot for them to spend in their local markets considering the value of the Zimbabwe dollar.

  • gabriel

    what about ASA from Nigeria, she is a nigeria number one female musician and one of the richest in Africa

    • Emir of Emirates

      says who?

  • Bawa

    Could you please tell us how much they are worth individually and maybe your methodology of deciding who fits where? thank you

  • chi9ja

    wiz kid nko

  • DAR-ROSHA

    Well i think the research team needs to do their assignment so well, cuz that was a poor details uploaded on here……….i cant imagine “DON JAZZY” won’t be there Lol……abeg make una go do una home work well.

  • jlaaaa

    Richest African musician is
    Amr Diab of Egypt get this stupid article out of here!!!

  • Lou

    There’s no artiste from South Africa on the list

    • nkosi g

      Hugh Masekela?

  • George

    Fella was not rich

  • dave

    rubbish list

  • Mauri Yambo

    A rich list with no comparative figures is a fraud

  • workingspells

    Thanks for sharing
    http://www.workingspells.co.za

  • mercy

    kenyans…what a shame…when will we get up to the ranks or is it the music that is just local and not appreciated internationally

  • bethudo

    What about Don Jazzy

    • andrew

      don jazzy isnt a musician,yes he features on songs but he is popularly known as a producer.

  • Tessa Akumu

    no kenyan…as in c”mon…..what about kiddum…i dont really listen to his music but i know he should be on the list

    • Smooth Kenyan

      Kidum charges Ksh 30,000/- per show, around $400, why would he be on this list???! He gets that amount and still has to pay his band members and transport for his equipment. He’s broke.

      • Syd Embenzi

        Plus he is Burundian not Kenyan.

      • Tessa Akumu

        haha ok…i thought he got more sawa sawa

    • Jimmieson

      In East Africa there are great music women,eg Rose Muhando,with music rocking the world but their money is in pirates’ pockets,its sad

  • Mwangi Eva

    Kenyan music is beautiful but has been murdered by piracy;they largely depend on shows in which they are still underpaid or not paid at all. Until we address this issue our musicians will be ranked nowhere in such lists.

  • Skelegbor

    If you guyz love to get this right, about the richest living woman in the world … Is “Folorunsho Alakija” From NIGERIA replaces Oprah Winfrey as richest black woman in the world.

  • great piece but you guys really need to do more. When entities like Forbes release their lists, we have good estimates of what everyone is worth. please you can learn one or two things from them. We may assume that people like Youssou N’dour are loaded financially but we all know how these guys make it and squander it over time. So an accurate, current record with estimated figures will be much appreciated in future! thanks

  • Rosemary Myers

    Well I must say I am so proud of our black people making it on the world map…well done to all of you….keep on doing it you are great

  • tateguru

    ko tuku amana

  • Freelance writer

    The first rule of writing—-> Facts and figures. Seems the writer googled “Top 10 African Musicians” and slapped in his own ranking by throwing the list around. I feel nothing but sorry for this type of writing. If this was Forbe’s list, I would give it a read but nah. This list is, if anything, nothing but a flimsy attempt at writing something. Poor guy.

  • Lex

    Why are people so shortsighted and sexist? Why does a woman have to be there? if there was a woman who had amassed enough wealth to fit into the list, it would then be an issue. But seeing as there isn’t, why make it a case? People are just looking unnecessarily for conflicts. And for those mentioning Makeba and Sade adu, when last did they get any franchise or make enough money to be considered for the TOP RICHEST MUSICIANS in Africa? People, Come on… Btw, Nice list jare

  • alpiko

    Koffi. Your mother is from Sierra Leone.
    Please, All Sierra Leoneans would love to see you performing in the country of the good Lady who contributed to who you are today.
    Good luck and blessing to you your band and family.

  • Pingback: Top 10 Richest African Musicians – MashMerge()

  • LindiweK

    Go do a proper research. P-Square does not have a “devoted following, particularly in South Africa”. Most people here don’t know much about African music, sadly, apart from the few popular tracks they see on Channel O or MTV Base. As for Hugh Masekela, he’s very highly regarded and loved, yes, but the richest in S.A (only SAn on list), by implication, I doubt it very very much.

  • xOxO

    To say “WEALTHIEST” is a misleading headline.

  • Zimbini April

    Nice one! I had no idea. So happy Salif Keita is on this list

  • Under age

    i think the best title for this piece was suppose to be wealthiest west and east Africa musicians.