Johannesburg, South Africa – Global music powerhouse and Afro-music tastemaker Trace has revealed the nominees for the first ever Trace Awards in Africa, a live event & global TV spectacular that celebrates the creativity, talent and influence of African and Afro-inspired music and artists Taking place live on 21 October 2023 at the BK Arena, Kigali, Rwanda, the Trace Awards & Festival is presented by Visit Rwanda and Martell. Comments Olivier Laouchez, Chairman & Co-Founder, Trace, “African and African diaspora artists are extraordinarily creative and dynamic. They represent a massive cultural force and deserve more global recognition and celebration. The Trace Awards’ nominations salute achievement and excellence from more than 150 performers, producers, DJs, writers, composers, directors, established artists and rising stars, and their management and labels. We congratulate all the nominees, most of whom will attend and perform in Kigali on 21 October. It will be an unmissable experience for lovers of African and Afro-inspired music.” From North to South, from East to West, the entire African continent will be represented by its best artists at the Trace Awards, showcasing the excellence and diversity of Afro-centric music in genres such Afrobeat, Dancehall, Hip Hop, Afro-pop, Mbalax, Amapiano, Zouk, Kizomba, Genge, Coupé Décalé, Bongo Flava, Soukous, Gospel, Rap, Rai, Kompa, R&B, and Rumba. Competing in 22 award categories are platinum-selling artists from more than thirty countries in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and Europe including Algeria, Angola, Brazil, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Comoros, DRC, France, French Guiana, Gabon, Ghana, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Martinique, Mayotte, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Reunion, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, the UK and Uganda. The winners will take home one or more Trace Awards Trophies – unique pieces of art designed by acclaimed Congolese sculptor and designer, Dora Prevost. Leading the nominations are West African artists, particularly Nigerian artists, who underscore the global popularity of Nigerian Afrobeat with over 40 nominations in total, including multiple nominations for Burna Boy, Ayra Starr, Davido, WizKid, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Fireboy DML and Rema. South African artists make their mark in the nominations, with Hip Hop artist K.O scoring an impressive three nominations including Best Male, Song of the Year and Best Collaboration. Also honoured are Musa Keys (Best Live, Best Collaboration), and Blxckie (Best Music Video), while Pabi Cooper squares up against a strong field in the Best Newcomer award category. Just over the border in Swaziland, Uncle Waffles scores a well-deserved nomination in the Best DJ category.

The contribution of female artists is recognised in multiple categories including Best Female Artist, where Cape Verde’s Soraia Ramos is competing against Josey from the Ivory Coast, Senegal’s Viviane Chidid, Kenya’s Nadia Mukami and the double threat of Tiwa Savage and Arya Starr (Nigeria). The diverse music of the African diasporas is represented by nominations for some of the most acclaimed artists in France, Brazil, UK, The Caribbean and the Indian Ocean including Stormzy (UK), Booba and Aya Nakamura (France), Leo Santana (Brazil), Shenseea (Jamaica), Donovan BTS (Mauritius), Princess Lover and Kalash (Martinique), Bamby (Guyane) and Admiral T (Guadeloupe). Africa’s enduring love of the uplifting Gospel genre is reflected in the Best Gospel Singer category, which sees South Africa’s Benjamin Dube going head-to-head with Kenya’s Janet Otienao, Uganda’s Levixone, KS Bloom from the Ivory Coast and Moses Bliss from Nigeria. In a fitting tribute to the host country for the inaugural Trace Awards, Rwandan artists come to the fore in Best Rwandan Artist, highlighting the talent of Rwandan musicians Bruce Melodie, Kenny Sol, Ariel Wayz, Bwiza and Chriss Eazy. Also representing the east of the continent, Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz notches up several nominations, including Best Male and Best Music Video, while Azawi, Lexivone and the Uganda Ghetto Kids carry the torch for Uganda. Further north, Algeria’s Raja Meziane and Kader Japonais are competing against Tunisia’s Artmasta and Morocco’s Amira Zouhair, Dystinct and El Grande Toto in Best Artist – North Africa. Francophone music and artists take their fair share of the accolades with 10 nominations including two nods for Didi B from Ivory Coast as Best Male and Best Artist – Francophone while Libianca from Cameroon earned two nominations, for Best Newcomer and Song of the Year, respectively. DRC’s Fally Ipupa also scored two nominations: one for the Best Live (Global) and one for the Best Artist Africa – Francophone categories. Portuguese-speaking artists from Lusophone Africa are highlighted with nominations in Best Artist Africa – Lusophone for Gerilson Insrael and Perola from Angola, who are both pitted against Cape Verde’s Lisandro Cuxi and Soraia Ramos, as well as Plutonio (Mozambique).

Up-and-coming artists make their mark in the nominations, too, in the hotly contested Best Newcomer Award, sponsored by Belaire, which sees popular Cameroonian artists – Libianca and Krys M – squaring up against Cote d’Ivoire’s Roselyne Layo, Azawi from Uganda, Pabi Cooper from South Africa and Nigeria’s Nissi and Odumodublvck. Targeted at lovers of African and Afro-inspired music and culture, the Trace Awards will broadcast live on 21 October 2023 on Trace TV, radio and digital channels and on global streaming platforms, national terrestrial TV and satellite channels. The viewership and social interaction is expected to exceed 500 million fans in 190 countries.

Rwandan creativity and excellence are represented by the involvement of BK Arena, RwandAir and RBA as partners to the Trace Awards & Festival. For a full list of nominations, please click here or see below: BEST MALE Asake (Nigeria)  Burna Boy (Nigeria) Davido (Nigeria) Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania) Didi B (Ivory Coast) K.O (South Africa) Rema (Nigeria) BEST FEMALE Ayra Starr (Nigeria) Josey (Ivory Coast) Nadia Mukami (Kenya) Soraia Ramos (Cape Verde) Tiwa Savage (Nigeria) Viviane Chidid (Senegal) SONG OF THE YEAR “BKBN” – Soraia Ramos (Cape Verde) “People” – Libianca (Cameroon) “Suavemente” – Soolking (France) “Encre” – Emma’a (Gabon) “Sugarcane” – Camidoh (Ghana) “Last Last” – Burna Boy (Nigeria) “Rush” – Ayra Starr (Nigeria) “Calm Down” – Rema (Nigeria) “Peru” – Fireboy DML (Nigeria) with Ed Sheeran (UK) “Sete” – K.O (South Africa) “Cough” – Kizz Daniel (Nigeria) “MORTEL 06” – Innoss’B (Ivory Coast) BEST MUSIC VIDEO “2 Sugar” – Wizkid (Nigeria) feat. Ayra Starr (Nigeria) “Baddie” – Yemi Alade (Nigeria) “Kpaflotage” – Suspect 95 (Ivory Coast) “Loaded” – Tiwa Savage(Nigeria) & Asake (Nigeria) “Ronda” – Blxckie (South Africa) “Tombolo” – Kalash (Martinique)  Yatapita” – Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania)

BEST NEWCOMER (SPONSORED BY MAISON MARTELL) Azawi (Uganda) Krys M (Cameroon) Libianca (Cameroon) Nissi (Nigeria) Odumodublvck (Nigeria) Pabi Cooper (South Africa) Roselyne Layo (Ivory Coast)

BEST COLLABORATION (SPONSORED BY MAISON MARTELL) “Many Ways” – BNXN (Nigeria) with Wizkid (Nigeria) “Mine” – Show Dem Camp (Nigeria) with Oxlade (Nigeria) “Peru” – Fireboy DML (Nigeria) with Ed Sheeran (UK) “Second Sermon” – Black Sherif (Ghana) with Burna Boy (Nigeria) “Sete” – K.O (South Africa) with Young Stunna (South Africa), Blxckie (South Africa) “Stamina” – Tiwa Savage with Ayra Starr (Nigeria) & Young Jonn (Nigeria) “Trumpet” – Olamide (Nigeria) with Ckay (Nigeria) “Unavailable” – Davido (Nigeria) with Musa Keys (South Africa) BEST DJ Danni Gato (Cape Verde) DJ BDK (Ivory Coast) DJ Illans (France) DJ Spinall (Nigeria) Michael Brun (Haiti) Uncle Waffles (Swaziland) BEST PRODUCER DJ Maphorisa (South Africa) Juls (Ghana) Kabza de Small (South Africa) Kel-P (Nigeria) Tamsir (Ivory Coast) BEST GOSPEL ARTISTS Benjamin Dube (South Africa) Janet Otieno (Kenya)  KS Bloom (Ivory Coast) Levixone (Uganda) Moses Bliss (Nigeria) BEST LIVE Burna Boy (Nigeria) Fally Ipupa (DRC) Musa Keys (South Africa) The Compozers (Nigeria) Wizkid (Nigeria) Yemi Alade (Nigeria)

BEST DANCER Robot Boii (South Africa) Tayc (France) Uganda Ghetto Kids (Uganda) Yemi Alade (Nigeria) Zuchu (Tanzania) BEST ARTIST AFRICA – ANGOLPHONE Asake (Nigeria) Ayra Starr (Nigeria) Black Sherif (Ghana) Davido (Nigeria) Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania) Fireboy DML (Nigeria) BEST ARTIST AFRICA – FRANCOPHONE Didi B (Ivory Coast) Emma’a (Gabon) Fally Ipupa (DRC) KO-C (Cameroon) Locko (Cameroon) Serge Beynaud (Ivory Coast) Viviane Chidid (Senegal) BEST ARTIST AFRICA – LUSOPHONE Gerilson Insrael (Angola) Lisandro Cuxi (Cape Verde) Perola (Angola) Plutonio (Mozambique) Soraia Ramos (Cape Verde) BEST ARTIST – RUWANDA Ariel Wayz (Rwanda) Bruce Melodie (Rwanda) Bwiza (Rwanda) Chriss Eazy (Rwanda)  Kenny Sol (Rwanda) BEST ARTIST  – FRANCE & BELGIUM Aya Nakamura (France) Booba (France) Nihno (France) Ronisia (France) Soolking (France) Tayc (France) BEST ARTIST – UK Central Cee (UK) Headie One (UK) Ms Banks (UK) Raye (UK) Stormzy (UK) BEST ARTIST – THE CARIBBEAN Admiral T (Guadeloupe)  Bamby (French Guiana) Kalash (Martinique)  Maureen (Martinique) Popcaan (Jamaica) Princess Lover (Martinique) Rutshelle Guillaume (Haiti) Shenseea (Jamaica) BEST ARTIST – INDIAN OCEAN Donovan BTS (Mauritius)  GaEi (Madagascar) Goulam (Comoros) Mikl (Reunion) Sega el (Reunion) Terell Elymoor (Mayotte) BEST ARTIST – NORTH AFRICA Amira Zouhair (Morocco) Artmasta (Tunisia Dystinct (Morocco El Grande Toto (Morocco) Kader Japonais (Algeria) Raja Meziane (Algeria) ALBUM OF THE YEAR “DNK”- Aya Nakamura (France) “Love Damini” – Burna Boy (Nigeria) “Maverick” – Kizz Daniel (Nigeria) “More Love, Less Ego” – Wizkid (Nigeria) “Timeless” – Davido (Nigeria) “Work of Art” – Asake (Nigeria)

Voting goes live Monday 21 August 2023 at 18H00 CEST at

For more information about the Awards, follow Trace on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter YouTube or TikTok To join the conversation about the awards please use the hashtags #TraceAwardsRwanda2023, #TraceAwardsandFestival and #TraceAwardsTour.

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