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Candy Bleakz is Apple Music’s Africa Rising Star

Candy Bleakz Africa Rising
Candy Bleakz Africa Rising

Apple Music today announced the latest featured artist in its Africa Rising artist development program is Nigerian street-hop singer-songwriter and rapper, Candy Bleakz (real name Akiode Blessing Mariam).

“I want to express my gratitude to the Apple Music family for choosing me as the African Rising Artist for the month of March. This recognition is a celebration of the hustle and work that has been put in for decades. It is a testament that, regardless of your background, that with God, diligence, hard work and the right team you can achieve anything. Coincidentally, 2024 is the year of the dragon according to the Chinese horoscope. This is just the beginning! Thank you for giving a street girl like me an opportunity to represent the streets from our perspective! Cheers to better days ahead! Maaaaafee!”

Candy’s love for music blossomed from the age of eight singing in the church choir, however it was not until she won a school competition, while filling in for an absent performer, that she began to write her own lyrics and pursue other talent show opportunities.

But it was during her Medical studies at Onabisi Onabanjo University in Nigeria’s Ogun State that she took the leap of faith to pursue music full-time, winning the Lagos Got Talent show in 2016 and being introduced to Chocolate City’s then-CEO and super producer, Mi Abaga, shortly after.

Candy Bleakz African Rising
Candy bleakz african rising

After inevitably singing to Chocolate City under the Street Billionaires imprint, Candy went on to become a part of the Yoruba Hip Hop group of the same name. A merger with Warner Music however saw Chocolate City work alongside Candy to reinvent her as a solo artist releasing her first two singles “Kelegbe” and “Won La”, the latter of which earning her a nomination for Best Female rapper at the Africa Music Magazine Awards.

But it was her versatile debut EP Fire (2022) and the project’s first single “Tikuku”, produced by two-time Grammy-winning producer, Rexxie, that announced her as a street hop force to be reckoned with on a global scale. Candy followed this with “Wale” (2023), an autobiographical release that details her hustle and grind, and became a huge hit for the rapper. In 2024 she released “Wale” (Remix) featuring Simi whose R&B timbre lends a totally different dynamic to the track, and has her poised for a huge year ahead.

The latest music from Candy Bleakz along with that of Africa’s hottest new artists, is available now on the Apple Music Africa Rising Playlist.

Discover Africa Rising here: applemusic.com/africarising

Apple Music’s Africa Rising, is an exclusive artist development programme and companion playlist geared towards introducing the next generation of African superstars. Africa Rising alumni to date include: Omah Lay, Manu Worldstar, Tems, Amaarae, Ayra Starr, Yaw Tog, Blxckie and Nikita Kering. Africa Rising sees Apple Music select six artists every year and promote them across the Apple Music platform. This includes a launch interview on Apple Music 1 with Nadeska, who has also launched a new weekly Africa Rising feature on her show highlighting the hottest new artists on the continent.

Africa Rising is the latest of many Apple Music initiatives aimed at taking African talent to the world. Available in over 165 countries, Apple Music 1 is home to Africa Now Radio which has featured interviews with some of the continent’s hottest artists such as Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Cassper Nyovest, Mr Eazi, Patoranking, Rayvanny, Kiddominant, Mayorkun, Fireboy DML, Adekunle Gold, Master KG, Yaw Tog, Blxckie, Nikita Kering, Buju, FAVE, Nomfundo Moh and Moliy.

Apple Music also selected Nigerian Afrobeats singer-songwriter Tems as its Up Next artist in 2021, Nigerian Afropop star Rema in 2020, Grammy Award-winning Afrofusion superstar Burna Boy in 2019, and Nigerian singer and entrepreneur Mr Eazi as the first recipient in 2017. Up Next is Apple Music’s global emerging artist program.