On the 31st of December SONY Music in conjunction with RCA Records, Amazon Music, SONY music West Africa, Melanin Unscripted and Columbia UK teamed up to create Sony Music’s first-ever event in West Africa. The event took place in Ghana, where panellists Tunji Balogun, Lanre Masha, Stephanie-Smith, David Nicol-sey, Dimplez, and Danai Mavunga shared insight on globalisation of African music. Moderated by Ghanaian Afro-fusion artist Amaarae, the dialogue opened up a wealth of knowledge and discussion on how and why African music will dominate the entire industry.
The event also hosted a Q&A session with Afrobeat super star Davido alongside performance led by Ghanaian Host Kojo Manuel. Global DJ’s Juls, Vyrusky and Mercedes Benson provided sounds at the events after party, where Ghanaian streetwear label Free The Youth curated customised merch for attendees.
Panellist Stephanie Smith-Strickland stated “I think the future of music from the African continent is boundless. In the last few years there has been a tangible effort to not only push forward African narratives, but to bridge the Black diaspora as a whole. People are feeling more connected, and music is a vehicle for exploring cultural similarities and differences. That being said, it only makes sense that the many artists from Ghana and Nigeria that have been dominating the charts will act as a conduit for the world to explore the music of other African countries as well as the many genres and sub-genres that exist there”.
Sarah Lorentzen from RCA shared her thoughts on the topic “Optimistic isn’t even the word. People are finally waking up to the fact African music is not a singular sound or genre but rather has no boundaries or limitations. There’s definitely a long way to go but as far as the growth and dominance of African music – that’s inevitable. I’m personally really excited and proud to watch this movement continue to grow and impact the world even beyond the music industry. Africa to the world.”
Amarachi Nwosu, Creative Director & Founder of Melanin Unscripted/MU Agency also shared: “Africa is now and African music is undeniable. Music is a vessel for greater impact across all creative industries and I think it’s an amazing time for African music to really penetrate globally and spread our vibrant cultures.
We are constantly innovating and exceeding peoples expectations and the youth are not afraid. We recognize how previous generations have existed in fear for so long and we are unlearning to create our own paths.
Africa’s youth population is growing and we are taking ownership of the narrative of our future. I’m really excited to see how we use this movement to develop platforms that stand the test of time and reflect our culture to the world impact-fully. I’m grateful that Melanin Unscripted has been able to connect with different platforms, brands and people to bring the community together.”
The event certainly stirred a much needed conversation on the future of African music, and based on the discussions the future looks bright!