You cannot mention Nigeria’s most-streamed acts without mentioning Ckay. So who is he and how is he hitting these numbers? We know everybody has their opinion about who rightly dominates the Afropop genre in Nigeria and Africa. A lot of names come to mind, but amongst them all, the three most popular have to be Wizkid, Davido, and the Grammy-winning artist, Burna Boy.
With a bunch of achievements under all of their belts, each presents a compelling reason why they deserve the top spot of recognition. But while your eyes may be on who will ultimately clench the throne, there is a rising star whose global star-power and ability to skyrocket over his peers, in regards to streaming numbers and international visibility, will set him on a pinnacle many only dream of reaching.
So, Who is Ckay?
CKay, with the given name, Chukwuka Ekweani, was born in Kaduna and relocated to Lagos in 2014, where he started his music career with Chocolate City. Now presently signed to Warner Music South Africa, a subsidiary of the globally accomplished music conglomerate, CKay has begun to see tremendous success with his musical feats.
Although most of his local peers are largely popular within the Nigerian music borders, he has managed to break the international market with relatively less effort, thanks to his scintillating melody and unique lyrical capacities.
Released in 2019, his single, “Love Nwantiti” has amassed the most views on Tik Tok across the world, with a whopping 15 billion views. What this means is that many people have listened to his song on the app over 15 billion times, the largest out of any artist on the planet. But it doesn’t just end there. On Shazam, he has managed to get over 8.5 million people to search for him upon getting exposed to his melody.
Not only is this massive, but it also shows that his international appeal is even more dazzling than his peers and some of his local idols. All of this began with people dancing to his songs and discovering the artist on Spotify and other large streaming apps, where he continues to compete with the big artists in terms of streaming numbers and fan attention.
With just a few years in the game, he has already joined a small number of Afrobeat artists who are featured on billboards in Los Angeles and have their own covers in Billboard magazines.
In fact, for the latter, he recently clinched the number one spot as their top emerging artist of the year (dated Nov. 13, 2021) above international peers like Loza Alexander and Capella Grey – who occupy the second and third spot, respectively.
If this isn’t a glorious start to a groundbreaking career and legacy, I don’t know what is. CKay is primed and ready to take center stage on a global platform and possibly lead a new wave of artists, from Nigeria, who continue to amplify the global prestige of Nigerian afrobeat and afro-fusion.
The 26-year-old is opening doors and will potentially open a lot more, with consistency and creative balance. All things being equal like they say in Economics, CKay’s projection for 2022 will see him become one of the leading creative exports from Nigeria and one of the most celebrated for the new year.
Written by Bassey Eyo