At the occasion of South Africa’s Youth Month and in commemoration of the USA marking the emancipation of enslaved people on 19th June (Juneteenth), Spotify featured Kabza De Small on a billboard in Times Square in New York alongside the release of the Amapiano producer’s latest album: KOA II Part 1.
Known as one of the key innovators in the genre, Kabza De Small is also one of the faces of South Africa’s youth culture right now, having contributed bodies of work like his 2020 album I Am the King of Amapiano: Sweet and Dust as well as the definitive Scorpion Kings album with long-time collaborator, DJ Maphorisa.
The Amapiano genre has seen growing worldwide popularity, with an international listenership steadily on the rise since South Africa saw the genre’s emergence in the early 2010s. A musical movement entrenched in the experiences and culture of the South African youth, Amapiano serves not only as the evolution of South African sound and culture, but also as one of the hottest dance genres that listeners around the world are streaming right now.
“Amapiano is for the youth,” said Kabza De Small in an interview with Spotify. “Amapiano is not something that was involved with a lot of things. Like now, this is when they are starting to brand Amapiano. Amapiano developed on its own, do you understand? You must know, like labels and stuff… We started this thing from scratch. There wasn’t too much sampling and stuff; those things are only starting now. It’s something that was innovated.”
With dedicated playlists, like Amapiano Grooves, Spotify celebrates the genre alongside other African cultural movements making a mark internationally as a way to ensure that international listeners are exposed to culturally-significant music that they may otherwise not have known about.
In addition, Kabza De Small will be the cover artist for Spotify’s global mint playlist. This editorially curated playlist features some of the biggest global dance hits and enjoys a close to six million user following. This will not only be a boon for Kabza De Small’s career but also help to shift perception worldwide about where dance and electronic music thrives and is most creative.
“We’re so honoured to platform Kabza and his work in this way,” says Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s Head of Music for Sub-Saharan Africa. “And as part of commemorating such a deeply significant day for the African diaspora as Juneteenth, we’re celebrating not only Kabza’s musical innovation, but the ingenuity and global influence of Black cultural creation across the globe.”
Exposure to a worldwide audience is central to Spotify’s mission for African artists on the platform. Spotify’s commitment to broadcasting African artists who are setting trends on the global music scene is tangible. Data shows that in the top markets outside of South Africa for Amapiano, listeners in countries like the UK, USA, Canada, the Netherlands, and France produce millions of streams.
Kabza De Small’s highly anticipated album KOA II Part 1 is set to take listeners on a musical journey, with each song on the album creating an emotive and captivating mood. And, as part of his global takeover, Kabza has also made the exciting announcement of his upcoming European tour, including stops in Barcelona (Spain) for a six-hour set at Sónar festival, in London (England) at the legendary Ministry of Sound as well as in Portimao (Portugal) at the Afronation festival.
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Source: Irvine Partners