Apple announced the winners of the 2021 Apple Music Awards on its official website on Tuesday 30th November 2021 with Nigeria’s WizKid as Artist of the year (Africa).
The Apple Music Awards is an annual award that selects the best artists who have excelled with their songs during the year. The third Apple Music Award names The Weeknd as the Global Artist of the Year, with WizKid, Olivia Rodrigo and H.E.R. also being on the list.
The Apple Music Awards honor achievements in music across five distinct categories — Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Top Song of the Year, and Top Album of the Year — and winners are chosen through a process that reflects both Apple Music’s editorial perspective and what customers around the world are listening to the most.
Singer-songwriter WizKid is one of Africa’s biggest crossover acts, having worked with Drake, Skepta, and Chris Brown, among others. The Nigerian musician first found regional success in 2011 with the massively popular single “Holla at Your Boy,” which appeared on his debut album, “Superstar.” WizKid went global in 2016 after his collaboration with Drake on “One Dance,” which soared to the top of the charts in 15 countries. Between 2019 and 2020, WizKid was featured in Beyoncé’s projects “The Lion King: The Gift” and its companion piece, “Black Is King.”
In October 2020, he released “Made in Lagos,” his critically acclaimed and most commercially successful album, which included his hit song “Essence,” a track that gained 125 million plays on Apple Music and over 2.8 million Shazams. This past year, he’s been the most streamed African artist on the continent on Apple Music and ranked on the Daily Top 100 charts in 60 countries, in addition to his monthly plays on Apple Music growing by more than 250 percent outside of Africa. He’s also been featured on Apple Music’s Today’s Hits and R&B Now playlists, and he’s a frequent guest on Apple Music Radio shows, including “Africa Now Radio,” “The Ebro Show,” “New Music Daily with Zane Lowe,” and “OVO SOUND RADIO.”
“Thank you to Apple Music for this award,” WizKid said. “It’s a blessing to get to do what I do, and I’m proud to be representing for Africa.”
The Canadian R&B and pop singer The Weeknd has been chosen Artist of the Year as Apple says he “took over popular music and culture on his own terms.”
The global superstar’s 2020 album “After Hours” quickly surpassed one million pre-adds on Apple Music, and is the most pre-added album of all time by a male artist on the platform. “After Hours” also holds the record for the most streamed R&B/Soul album in its first week in 73 countries.
Pop singer Olivia Rodrigo also got her place in the third Apple Music Award with three different nominations: Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year. At just 18 years old, Olivia Rodrigo’s song “drivers license” has quickly become one of the most streamed singles of the year.
“SOUR” carries the highest first-week streams for a debut album on Apple Music globally, with all 11 songs on the album ranked on the Daily Top 100: Global chart, as well as the Daily Top 100 chart in 66 additional countries. Rodrigo has been on the cover of Apple Music playlists Today’s Hits, A-List Pop, and New Music Daily, and closes her life-changing year as the deserving recipient of her first three Apple Music Awards.
Singer and instrumentalist H.E.R. has been named Songwriter of the Year thanks to her acclaimed album “Back of My Mind,” which was one of the most streamed R&B/soul albums on Apple Music in its release week.
Award-winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist H.E.R.’s work within the R&B genre grew even more expansive in 2021 with the release of her acclaimed 21-track album “Back of My Mind,” which captures the artist at her most brilliant, confident, and freewheeling.
This year, Apple Music Award also introduces a new category that recognizes local artists from five different countries: Africa, France, Germany, Japan, and Russia. The company says that this award “recognizes artists who made the greatest impact culturally and on the charts in their respective countries and regions.”
These are the local winners from each participating country:
- Africa: WizKid
- France: Aya Nakamura
- Germany: RIN
- Japan: OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM
- Russia: Scriptonite
Starting December 7, 2021, Apple will hold an Apple Music Award celebration with interviews and more original content streaming on Apple Music and the Apple TV app. More details can be found on Apple’s website.
Currently, WizKid is in the process of breaking more records with his “Made In Lagos” Tour which kicked off on the 28th of November at the O2 Arena, London. The sold-out concert already made history as the first concert at the O2 Arena to break the record for fastest-selling Afrobeats gig after tickets sold out in under 12 minutes.