Mr. Eazi, a much buzzed-about Nigerian afrobeat artist who has worked with WizKid and has ties to Drake’s OVO crew, is Apple Music’s latest ‘Up Next’ Artist, the music streaming platform’s emerging artist franchise. The announcement coincides with a new Mr. Eazi documentary (clip below), a live performance and a Beats 1 interview with Julie Adenuga, all to be featured exclusively on Apple Music.
As with Apple Music’s previous “Up Next” artists, Mr. Eazi will also appear live on Late Late Show with James Corden scheduled for this evening (July 26). The streaming service will promote Mr. Eazi’s songs on its playlists and on the iTunes store.
Apple launched its monthly Up Next series in April 2017 with 6lack (aka Ricardo Valdez), a 24-year-old rapper and singer from Atlanta. He was followed by Norwegian singer-songwriter Sigrid in May and rising R&B star Khalid in June.
In keeping with Up Next’s penchant for artists who are not totally unknown but have something of a track record and social media traction, several of Mr. Eazi’s YouTube tracks have already received multi-million views, including “Leg Over” with 15.6 million streams and “Hollup (Fun Video)” with nearly 10 million. Additionally, Mr. Eazi’s had shout-outs by prominent artists, including Rita Ora and Travis Scott, had writing sessions with Rudimental and Ellie Goulding and worked with several Toronto-based artists and/or producers including Nineteen85, Big Lean, Di Genius and Dre Skull.
Mr Eazi (née Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade) was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria before moving to the outskirts of Lagos when he was four years old. He attended university in Kumasi, Ghana, which had a major influence on the evolution of his Banku sound, which fuses elements of music from both Nigeria and Ghana.
He released the mixtape About to Blow in 2013 which contained songs like “Pipi Dance” and “Bankulize,” and in February 2017 dropped Life Is Eazi, Vol. 1 – Accra to Lagos.
The recent rise of other African artists including Wizkid, Davido, and Tekno, who have all signed global deals with Sony, has had the music business looking to Africa for the next breakout artists, which Mr. Eazi would seem primed for.