5 Nigerian Musicians Whose Fathers Are Not From Nigeria (Photos)

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1. Lola Rae (England)

Lola Rae, is a Nigerian recording artist and dancer who shot to limelight upon the release of her debut single “Watch My Ting Go”, which was met to critical acclaim and thus earned her a nominee spot in the “Most Promising Female Act to Watch” category at the 2013 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.

Born to a British father in Obalende, a suburb of Lagos State, Lola Rae had her primary and secondary school education at St. Saviours School, Ikoyi and Lekki British International High School, Lagos respectively.

She however left Nigeria for England at the age of 15 and moved to Ghana for a year because her grandma was sick and she eventually relocated to England to complete her university education at Central Saint Martins where she studied fashion textiles.

About her growing up, the singer revealed it was a very normal background though her dad is a foreigner but he worked in Nigeria for about 45years she says her my main base has always been Nigeria and it has been fun.

The singer revealed she’s always had the passion for music. She feels like adding to what the likes of Tiwa Savage, Seyi Shay, Omawuni, Waje and a host of others have been doing so well in the entertainment industry. It is a way of making a statement in a distinctive dimension and discharging her God-given talent.

Lola Rae’s entertainment career started as a dancer when she was a member of the dance group Mystikal. In 2010, Mystikal auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent. Rae sang in the competition and judge Simon Cowell singled Mystikal out at the semi-final of the competition. Upon the end of the competition, Mystikal was signed to Syco for a year. Rae turned down an invitation to The X Factor in order to pursue a solo career as a singer.

On 19 November 2012, Rae released her debut hit single Watch My Ting Go and a follow up single titled High. She was nominated as the “Most Promising Female Act to Watch” at the 2013 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. The video for Watch My Ting Go premiered on Soundcity TV on 8 January 2013 with cameo appearances from Iyanya and Emma Nyra. The video was nominated at the 10th Channel O Music Video Awards.

2. Nico Mbarga (Cameroon)

Nico Mbarga, 1 January 1950 – 23rd June 1997, better known as Prince Nico Mbarga , was a highlife musician, born to a Nigerian mother and a Cameroonian father in Abakaliki , Nigeria. He is renowned for his hit song "Sweet Mother", recorded with his band Rocafil Jazz , which has been described as the best-selling song in history by an African recording artist.

He played the xylophone , conga, drums, bass guitar and electric guitar. He first started playing in school bands and he made his professional debut as a member of a hotel band, the Melody Orchestra, in 1970.

Although he only recorded one significant hit, " Sweet Mother," in 1976, which sold more than 13 million copies (and which is recognised as one of Africa's greatest songs), Mbarga played an important role in the evolution of African popular music . With his soulful vocals set to the light melodies of his acoustic guitar, Mbarga created a unique hybrid of Nigerian and Congolese guitar playing and uplifting highlife rhythms. He formed his own group, Rocafil Jazz, to perform regularly at the Plaza Hotel in the eastern Nigerian city of Onitsha.

After releasing a disappointing single in 1973, Mbarga and Rocafil Jazz had their first success with their second single, I No Go Marry My Papa, which became a regional hit. The band's inability to break past their local following resulted in their recording contract being dropped by EMI , a decision that proved ill-fortuned when the band signed with Rogers All Stars , a Nigerian recording company based in Onitsha, and recorded "Sweet Mother".

Sung in Pidgin, "Sweet Mother" became one of the top sellers in the history of Nigerian music. In the six years that Mbarga and Rocafil Jazz remained with Rogers All Stars, 1975 to 1981, they recorded nine albums.

On a repeat tour to England in 1982, Mbarga became known for his flamboyant, 1970s glam rock -inspired performances. While he continued to appear with Rocafil Jazz, Mbarga also performed with London-based highlife band the Ivory Coasters and former Rocafil Jazz member, Cameroonian vocalist Louisiana Tilda . Despite Mbarga launching his own Polydor -distributed record label, upon his return to Nigeria, he and the original members of Rocafil Jazz separated after some disagreements. Although he later formed the New Rocafil Jazz Band, Mbarga failed to match his early success. Leaving music, he turned his attention to managing the four-star hotel that he owned, the Sweet Mother Hotel, located in the town of Ikom in Cross River State Nigeria, just minutes away from the Cameroon-Nigeria border.

Prince Nico Mbarga was killed in a motorcycle accident on 23rd June 1997, leaving behind "Sweet Mother" as the most popular song among Nigerians. "Sweet Mother" is sometimes called "Africa's anthem" and has been voted Africa's favourite song by BBC readers and listeners.

3. Di’ja (Sierra Leone)

Hadiza Blell popularly known by her stage name as Di’ja is a fast rising Nigerian singer, songwriter, recording artiste, stage performer, model, visual artist, painter, graphic designer and a philanthropist. She was born on 14th August 1989 in Kaduna State in the northern part of Nigeria.

She is very beautiful, creative and talented. Her mother is from Kaduna State in the northern part of Nigeria while her father is from Sierra Leone in West Africa. She is a Muslim by religion.

Di’ja grew up both in the United States of America, Canada, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. She is currently based in Nigeria where she is fully involved in her musical career. She is currently signed to Mavin Records by Don Jazzy.

After completing her primary and secondary school education, Di’ja went further and earned two degrees from different universities in the United States of America and Canada. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.

After earning the aforementioned degrees, Di’ja found passion in music, art and philosophy. In 2008, she started her musical career. In 2009, she released her first single “Rock Steady” which was nominated for Best Urban/R&B Single of the Year at the 2009 Canadian Radio Music Awards.

On 14th February 2014, Di’ja was signed to Mavin Records by Don Jazzy along with Korede Bello and Reekado Banks. In May 2014, Di’Ja became a public figure after featuring in the hit single ‘Durobucci’ alongside with Korede Bello, Reekado Banks, Tiwa Savage, Don Jazzy, D’Prince and Dr. Sid.

In 2008, Di’ja won the Best New Artiste award at the Beat Music Awards held in Canada. In 2009, she was nominated for Best Urban/R&B Single of the Year at the 2009 Canadian Radio Music Awards.

Di’ja has released many hit singles which include Hold On, How Can We Be Friends, Rock Steady, Rudeboy, Yaro, Awww, Looku Looku, Take Kiss, Air, Adaobi and Dorobucci alongside with the Mavin Crew.

In 2014, Di’ja was nominated for Most Promising Act to Watch at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards. In September 2014, Di’ja was featured in a Nigerian social activist song “Arise” alongside with Don Jazzy, Reekado Banks and Korede Bello.

Di’ja in the cause of her music career has won several awards which include Most Promising Act to Watch at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards, Best Urban/R&B Single at the Canadian Radio Music Awards and Best New Artist at the Beat Music Awards.

4. Eddy Wata (Jamaica)

Eddy Wata, born 3 March 1976, is a Nigerian Eurodance artist. He is most popular with his dance tunes "I Love My People", "My Dream" and "Jam".

Eddy Wata was born to a Nigerian mother and Jamaican father and began to play with a battery-operated keyboard at a very young age. At the age of 18, he lived in Jamaica for four years, where he met artists that contributed to his love of reggae.

Upon returning to Nigeria, he formed a band, and following many television appearances, he toured Europe in 2001. In the Netherlands, he was acquainted with the manager Lino Longoni and in 2003, after being placed under contract by the Italian producer Diego Milesi became popular star in European dance scene.

His singles included the 2003 hit "Jam", followed by "In Your Mind" and "The Bomb". But it was with his 2008 international hit "I Love My People" that he reached the top of dance charts in many countries. He followed it up with "The Light" and in 2009 "My Dream" and "I Like the Way" in 2010 and "Senorita" in 2011.

He remains greatly popular in Nigeria and many African countries, in Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, in Scandinavian and Eastern European countries, in Brazil, the Middle East up to the Far East.

5. Tems (England)

Temilade Openiyi, born 11 June 1995)known as Tems,is a Nigerian alt-R&B singer, songwriter and record producer. She is part of the new music genre in Nigeria "alte" with the likes of Odunsi the engine ,Lady Donli and etc.

Temilade Openiyi was born on June 11, 1995 in Lagos, Nigeria. Born to a Nigerian mother and British father, Tems family moved to the United Kingdom shortly after birth. Her parents separated when she was five, and relocated to Ilupeju, before moving to Lekki, then Ajah. At school she was noticed by her music teacher and she learnt the piano. She would practice singing with her brother's guitar accompaniment. She attended Dowen College in Lekki and studied and graduated in economics in Johannesburg.

In 2018 she recorded Mr Rebel a song of her own composition. In August 2019, Tems released the single Try Me". It became a major hit and currently has over 4 million views on YouTube. In 2020, DJ Edu chose her as one of "ten artists to watch" that year. She was recruited that year by American singer Khalid to join him and fellow Nigerian Davido on an Afrobeats remix of Know Your Worth. Her single Damages from her For Broken Ears EP became another follow up hit to Try Me peaking at number 6 on the newly launched "TurnTable Top 50" (a Nigerian chart) and garnering 2.7 million views on YouTube .

In December 2020, Tems and fellow Nigerian artist Omah Lay were arrested in Uganda while there for a live performance for violated COVID-19 safety laws. They were later released and the charges were dropped with Tems blaming their arrest on Ugandian artist Bebe Cool.

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