The vibrant and diverse UK music scene has seen the rise of numerous superstars, and interestingly, many of these talented individuals have roots extending beyond the British borders. The multicultural hub of London, a city boasting over 300 languages and 270 nationalities among its 8.9 million inhabitants, naturally fosters a rich tapestry of musical talent. It’s no surprise that, out of every 10 musicians in the UK, 2 trace their origins back to foreign lands.
In today’s spotlight, we celebrate 11 UK musicians of Ghanaian descent who have made indelible marks on the music industry:
- Stormzy: Born on 26th July 1993 to Ghanaian parents, Stormzy, whose real name is Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr., has emerged as a multiple award-winning rapper. His journey began in South Norwood, London, where he started rapping at the age of 11. His meteoric rise was marked by notable releases and collaborations with Ghanaian artists like Yaw Tog, Amaarae, and Black Sherif.
- Sway DaSafo: A talented British rapper and producer of Ghanaian heritage, Sway DaSafo, whose real name is Derek Andrew Safo, is celebrated for his groundbreaking work. His music is filled with cultural and international influences, and he has worked with prominent Ghanaian rappers such as Sarkodie and Edem.
- Donae’o: Ian Greenidge, known worldwide as Donae’o, hails from a mixed Ghanaian and Guyanese background. He left a mark on the music world with his hit “Party Hard,” a global sensation celebrating Ghanaian footballer Thomas Partey’s transfer to Arsenal. His collaboration with Sarkodie further highlights his strong Ghanaian connection.
- Fuse ODG: Nana Richard Abiona, known as Fuse ODG, is an artist renowned for his distinctive style, which combines various musical genres to create a unique sound. His “Azonto” track ignited a global dance craze, playing a significant role in promoting the Azonto movement in the UK and beyond. Fuse ODG has collaborated with artists like Sarkodie and Major Lazer.
- Kojo Funds: Errol Kojo Bellot, professionally known as Kojo Funds, is a British artist of Ghanaian and Dominican heritage. He’s considered the pioneer of the Afroswing genre, fusing dancehall, Afrobeats, Grime, Hip-hop, trap, and R&B. His performances at prominent festivals like Wireless Festival attest to his influence, and he has collaborated with artists like DJ Spinall and WizKid.
- Headie One: Irving Ampofo Adjei, professionally known as Headie One, is credited as a pioneering innovator of the UK drill scene. His journey from football to music led to collaborations with the likes of Stormzy, Drake, and Ghanaian artists such as Smallgod, O’Kenneth, and Kwaku DMC.
- Dizzee Rascal: Dylan Kwabena Mills, better known as Dizzee Rascal, blends Nigerian and Ghanaian heritage. He’s recognized as a pioneer of grime music, with a career marked by notable achievements, including collaborations with Shakira and Skepta.
- Tinchy Stryder: Born in Ghana on 14th September 1986, Kwasi Esono Danquah III, also known as Tinchy Stryder, has left a significant impact on the grime scene. Collaborations with artists like Fuse ODG and Taio Cruz have expanded his influence.
- Guvna B: Isaac Borquaye, known as Guvna B, was born to Ghanaian parents in London. This rapper, author, and broadcaster has amassed numerous accolades in his career, with collaborations featuring Wretch 32, Andy Mineo, and Michelle Williams.
- Lethal Bizzle: Lethal Bizzle, originally named Maxwell Owusu Ansah, is of Ghanaian descent. His hit single “Pow (Forward)” earned him a MOBO award for “Best Single” and several other nominations. He has worked with prominent artists like Stormzy, Twista, and Fuse ODG.
- JBee: is a Ghanaian-UK-based rapper who is known for his unique blend of lo-fi drill and trap music. He rose to prominence in 2021 with his viral single “4AM,” which has amassed over 80 million plays on Spotify. JBee is also known for his charismatic personality and his ability to connect with his fans. He has been praised for his raw and honest lyrics, which often touch on themes of love, loss, and struggle.
These talented artists are shining examples of the vibrant and multicultural music scene in the UK, and their contributions have been celebrated globally, reinforcing the power of music to unite cultures and transcend borders.