Alikiba has become the first East African to sign a deal with Sony Music Entertainment. He is apparently the international recording label’s second major signing in Africa; last year, Sony signed Nigerian superstar Davido to much excitement, as well. Alikiba is the stage name of Ali Saleh Kiba, the 29-year-old Tanzanian singer, songwriter, and artist who consistently tops music charts in the region. His genre is bongo flava, a Tanzanian merging of Western styles such as hip-hop and R&B with traditional Tanzanian styles like taarab and dansi.

 

From his breakthrough in 2009, Alikiba is now among the highest ranking entertainers in East Africa. Known as the King of Bongo Flava, the #KingKiba hashtag has been trending weekly on and off in African countries for a while now. Alikiba was the most popular artist in East Africa in 2011. Last year, he bagged six awards at the Tanzania Music Awards, including Best Male Entertainer of the Year.

 

Alikiba signed the deal at Sony’s office in Johannesburg before Pan-African media outlets, such as MTV, Channel O and Trace TV. A film crew documenting his life and successes as an artists was also there for the moment. Alikiba said he’s excited about the future of music coming from the African continent and that it is time for African music to take over the world. On the part of Sony who have been making strategic moves in African music, this is their start into East Africa.

 

Alikiba’s single “Aje” will be released through Sony Music Entertainment Africa, as well as his much anticipated EP. We can expect to see his music pushed out across Africa and the world. In the meantime, here are some top tracks for those unfamiliar with bongo flava or King Kiba,

 

“Aje” features Nigerian rapper M.I. and is Alikiba’s latest singe.

 

“Mwana” is the first single from Alikiba’s third Album and the reason he won all those awards at the Tanzanian Music Awards

 

This song, “Unconditionally Bae” is a collaboration with Sauti Sol, one of Kenya’s hottest acts.

 

Alikiba’s “Lupela” hit 1.6 million views in four months, a feat for any African artist.

 

Is African artists signing with international record labels the next step towards African music growing internationally? Let us know what you think, you can leave a comment below or reach me on Twitter @rafeeeeta