Humans have always been in search of light. This is especially clear when thick darkness pervades our society. We saw this darkness within the periods of 2020 and 2021. A modern dark age, fraught with wave after wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, recessions, political instability and a general, hopeless premonition that nothing will ever be the same as it was.
But we found our way out of the darkness to embrace the warm rays of light. In 2022, we experienced a modern-day renaissance. And as it was in times past, the forerunners of this re-enlightenment are the purveyors of the traditional arts — music, literature, and fashion.
While there are well-known industry icons who did the heavy lifting, our interest is in the lesser-known creative minds. Those who are still making their bones. Those whose rays were not as far-reaching but were invigorating for the fortunate few they fell on.
Our focus is on the underrated artistic gems of 2022.
- Kammal Zulu-Okafor (Solis)
Solis means the sun in Latin. It’s only fitting that this 20-year-old soul-singer illuminated the hearts of many with her special brand of music, which I can only describe as dulcet storytelling.
Kammal had already begun putting herself out there by posting freestyles and covers on her YouTube and social media channels, but our first glimpse of Solis came in 2019, with her tear-jerking single “Watch Me”.
Her shot into the limelight came with her breakout appearance on Odunsi’s rare project. Her rawness and vulnerability shone through as she featured on ‘hectic’ with Amaarae, 234jaydaa and Odunsi.
Since then, she has pushed out singles such as ‘Angel’ and ‘Body Signal’, and bodies of entrancing work such as ‘Ruled by Venus’, ‘Unfortunately’, and her 2022 EP, ‘Stairway To Heaven’ as well as featured in the Ejoya Class of 2022.
- Edwin Madu (Dwin, The Stoic)
A stoic mind with a bleeding heart and a rich baritone that fills even the driest emotional wells. That is Dwin, The Stoic.
2022 was the year of the ballad master as he released a three-track project ‘Gkw/Winning Bread‘, and iconic singles, ‘Rise‘, ‘Streets‘ and recently, ‘Without Your Love‘.
Writing songs for other artistes is another facet of Dwin’s career. He has garnered the acclaim of illustrious songwriters and is credited with co-writing a memorable track on Adekunle Gold’s ‘Afro Pop Vol. 1’ album titled ‘Exclusive.’
He is also a part of the band The Ignis Brothers, which also includes the multi-instrumentalist Lamide Aranmolate and the vocalist Ruth Zakari. It was in the year 2020 that the indie-folk band released their debut album, titled ‘The Cost of Our Lives.’
We can expect much more from the multifaceted artiste in the coming year with his forthcoming projects — a collaborative EP with Rhaffy, the talented artiste, titled ‘Love Lane’, and his sophomore album.
- Seyi Vibez
If you were a regular TikTok user in 2022, you’ve undoubtedly heard these infectious lyrics:
“Animashaun l’omo yen
Puff-puff, pass, I say, “Comot there”
E p’atewo at’ariwo fun omo yen”
The trending sound was a remix of Seyi Vibez’ hit song, ‘Chance (Na Ham)‘.
But the ‘Vibez Master’ is not a one-hit wonder. He has consistently released a stream of bangers in the past year from ‘Wallet‘, featuring Rexxie and DJ 4kerty, to ‘Bullion Van‘, all culminating in his albums, ‘Billion Dollar Baby‘ and ‘Billion Dollar Baby 2.0′.
If you listen closely, you will hear the not-so-distant sound of a fuji-tinged thunder. That brewing storm is Seyi Vibez.
- Omenyi Unoma
Omenyi Unoma is a name to watch out for in the world of Nigerian fashion.
She aims to inspire confidence in other women, one outfit at a time, through the clothing that they wear.
Unoma began her excursion into the world of fashion as a teen. The church was the only social activity she ever took part in as a child, and she would use it as an opportunity to try on a new wardrobe. In college, she began recording videos of her ‘Sunday Best’. And thus, a star was born.
Though she began as a youngster with little to no foundation, she soon grew into her own and carved a nice niche by putting a Gen-Z twist on timeless fashion.
According to the fashion influencer, her philosophy can be summed up in three phrases: “Look broque not broke”, “It’s best dressed or nothing”, and “Leave them staring and their mouths hanging”.
- Nikki May
In January 2022, Nikki May made her grand entrance into the literary scene with her aptly named debut novel, ‘Wahala’.
The Anglo-Nigerian ran a successful ad agency, Frog Communications Ltd, for 22 years before deciding that her words should serve her, not others. And after a long and loud lunch with friends, ‘Wahala’ was conceived. With a light touch and a lot of humour, this novel delves into the all-too-familiar themes of privilege, identity, and belonging.
What more can we expect from Nikki May? The BBC has recently ordered a 6-episode adaptation of ‘Wahala’ for prime time, and the show will be broadcast around the world.
“I have already sent my next book to my UK and US publishers,” she said in an interview. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, this new literary masterpiece goes by the title ‘Brown Girl in the Ring’.
According to her, “it tells the story of a young girl who, after a tragic accident, is sent from Lagos to live with her white grandparents in England and then returns to Lagos as an eighteen-year-old. Brown Girl in The Ring delves into the thorny territories of race, class, greed, and prejudice. But at its heart is a story of love and finding your place.”
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