January 27, 2019
#Opinion | Is Daphne the Cameroonian Tiwa Savage?

It feels as though this decade really belongs to Cameroonian singer Daphne, whose multiple releases have been certified hits. Although it feels like the market has been ruled by Nigerian pop music for quite a while, there is a new breed of Cameroonian acts, like Daphne, who are starting to dominate the international music scene.

In fact, Daphne’s star has taken off by leaps and bounds, making her the queen of Cameroonian urban music. You cannot miss any of her tracks at the club, at parties, and on TV. Just some 200 miles away, many would argue that Tiwa Savage still holds the throne as the Afropop Queen.
Tiwa and Daphne are both Dark beauties with amazing voices and a sexy frame. That’s most of what you need for a successful career but in addition to that, the public has just fallen in love with their sincerity and their music intuitiveness.

When Tiwa’s breakthrough record “Kele Kele Love” dropped in November 2010, Daphne had just turned 21 and was more influenced by reggae and dancehall than Afropop. Daphne would later learn that Afrocentric music is what will really put her on the map. Tiwa Savage had to find out the hard way. From being heavily influenced by RnB music, people did not believe she could succeed when she decided to target the Nigerian audience. But she proved everybody wrong on her very first album. Her debut studio album, entitled "Once Upon a Time," was released on 3 July 2013 and featured songs like "Love Me (3x)", "Without My Heart", "Ife Wa Gbona", "Folarin", "Olorun Mi" and "Eminado". Savage’s freshman delivery was more than enough to not only conquer Nigerian fans but an African audience.

A year later in 2014, Daphne dropped her first EP “Reflection” including Reggae Song “Rastafari” and “Ndolo” which has more of a Cameroonian feel. The response on her EP was big, Daphne was definitely on her way for an even bigger response. In 2016, Daphne released her first album “Here to Stay” and the remix of “Ndolo” featuring the Cameroonian legend of Makossa music Ben Decca. That same year, Daphne got nominated at the third edition of the Afrikan Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) as Best Female Central Africa. As for Tiwa Savage, she was also nominated in the West Africa category. It wasn’t her first AFRIMMA nomination, but she eventually lost the award to Efya from Nigeria that year, while Daphne won the award in her category. As Daphne was rising, Tiwa faced serious personal drama. The Nigerian songstress revealed that she was going through marital problems and was ready to call it quits with her husband and father of her son, that she had less than a year prior.

But when the dust settled on the drama, Tiwa had never stopped grinding and in 2017 she released her EP “Sugarcane” which included hit tracks as “Ma Lo” feat Wizkid and “All Over”. Daphne went on to dominate the year 2017 as well, with the track “Calée”, an enticing beat hovered by Cameroonian hood poetry. On it, Daphne seems sensitive, joyful and ready. It seemed to have been building up a majestic repertoire to qualify for a love story soundtrack. After “Calée”, it was “Promet-moi” and then “Jusqu’à la gare”, Daphne could do no wrong. Her songs led the best wedding playlists, she was officially a star and started receiving recognition out of her home country.

As for Tiwa Savage, her new management and publishing deal with the house Jay Z built, Roc Nation, leveraged her reach to the world. She became the first Nigerian female artist to win an MTV Europe Music Award in 2018. That same year, Daphne won another AFRIMMA, and she managed to keep reports on her love life under wraps except being linked to Artist Numerica, who she did a featuring with and let play her love interest in her video for the song “Jusqu’à la gare”. But some people attested that Daphne and Salatiel, her producer, had been together for a long time and he was the one who helped her with her music. Tiwa Savage is no stranger to this kind of story since her husband was her manager as well. And Tiwa has been recently linked to Artist Wizkid, whom she played the love interest in his video “Fever”.

Cameroon may not have the same international appeal as Nigeria when it comes to music. However, it looks like Daphne is following on Tiwa’s footsteps as the leader of Afropop in her country, and as the right candidate for exposing Cameroonian music to the international scene.

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