Gabzy: Blending R&B, Soul, and Afrobeats to Define His Special Music Landscape

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Since its inception, Afrobeats has continued to evolve at a rapid rate. The genre started off with catchy lyrics and fast-paced beats and has evolved into several sub-genres such as AfroPop, AfroRock, AfroRnB, and other variations of afrobeats. The evolution of afrobeats is so impressive in its entirety that even the OG Afrobeats crooners have had a shift in their style of music.

A brief comparison between Plantashun Boiz 2face and solo 2face shows a distinct improvement; by the time 2face released his first album, ‘Face 2 Face, in the year 2004, it was claimed to be the best debut album released by a Nigerian in the 21st century. Since the release of ‘Face 2 Face’, 2face has only gotten better, and he has proven that with timeless releases such as ‘Ihe Neme’, ‘Opo, and others. Not only that, but his revolutionary hits with Afrobeats paved the way for some of the current superstars we have, like Patoranking and Dbanj, who have taken Afrobeats beyond the borders of West Africa.

It can be argued that the evolution of Afrobeats has developed rapidly in the last ten years due to its exportation into the international music scene. Currently, Afrobeats stands as one of the top music genres in Africa, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to state that it’s also fast rising as one of the most listened-to music genres in the world.

With artistes like Burna Boy, Tems, and Wizkid getting nominated for acclaimed music awards like Grammys on the one hand and new-age artistes like Rema, Ckay, and Amarae trending on international music charts on the other, it is clear that Afrobeats is entering a golden age.

Due to the success of most Afrobeats superstars, we now have a whole space for upcoming artists to grow and thrive. Some of these new artists, like Asake, are conquering the music stage with hits after hits. Some are focused on experimenting with Afrobeats and other genres to see what magic they can produce.

Some of these newer artists might not exactly be famous yet, but they are making waves in their own way, with numbers to speak for them. A great example of this is Gabzy.

Gabriel Akinyemi, known by his fans as “Gabzy,”  discovered his musical talents like many other musicians. He did so at a really young age when he began singing in his school choir. However, Gabzy had a different dream. He didn’t start off wanting to become a superstar. He actually wanted to become a professional footballer or a successful businessman.

It was clear to the people around him that he had the gift of music, so they encouraged him to strengthen his talents. Gabzys spent most of his formative years writing his own music and just teaching himself the ins and outs of music.

His music then was him trying to understand feelings, but it was clear that he had learned something tangible since his debut EP with music producer Melvitto actually did numbers in 2016. The EP, ‘Summers’, was a mix of RnB and Afrobeats and ensured that even though Gabzy didn’t go viral, he was a known name.

With songs like ‘Trouble’ charting at No. 17 on the Official Afrobeats Charts and ‘As Friends’ debuting at No. 12 on the same chart, it is clear that Gabzy isn’t unknown in the industry. In fact, he has managed to amass his own loyal listeners who are fans of his style of music. ‘As Friends’ spent 13 weeks on the Afrobeats Chart, and the music video has garnered over 1 million views on YouTube.

According to Spotify data, Gabzy has almost 2 million monthly listeners, and his play time numbers are nothing to sneeze at either, with them ranging from 10 million streams for his song ‘Close to Me, featuring Krisirie, to 40 million streams for the song ‘Stay’, featuring yet again Melvitto.

His Global streaming numbers are also pretty solid, with them ranging from 255 thousand streams on his not-so-known releases to as high as 44 million streams on his popular songs like ‘Summers’. 

Since his debut EP, Gabzy has collaborated with notable artists like BOJ, Gyptian, and Ayo Jay. He released two other EPs, ‘Malone’ and ‘At The End of the Night’, in 2020 and 2022, respectively.

Following the considerable success of ‘At the End of the Night’, Gabzy went on a European tour, which was a success considering the fact that he sold out his first Headline show just mere seconds after the tickets went live. He recently returned to the music scene when he released ‘Jambazz’. It’s been just ten days since he released the song, and even though it looks like the song might not chart yet, it is a catchy song with a fusion of RnB, soul, and Afrobeats, and it has potential.

Despite being known more as an Afro-RnB artist, the artist himself has claimed that his music doesn’t exactly fit into a box.

It’s a wonder how Gabzy has not gained superstar status until now. With his lyrics, beats, and strong numbers, it’s clear that he’s very good at what he does and that it’s only a matter of time before he has the international fame and fan base he deserves.

Written by Ayomide Oriowo



Written By

Curious for Culture

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