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Rising Women in West Africa

Rising Women in West Africa

In celebration of Rising Women around the world and Women’s History Month, we’re shining a spotlight on Rising Women in West Africa!


Winifred Ohili Adanu (Winny) is a Nigerian musician who blends Reggae, R&B, and Afro music. Born in Benue State in a family of 12, Winny grew up with contentment, love and faith as key values within her identity and music. Her sound is both unique and emotive, and communicates her feelings and values. 

Last April, Winny released her 7-track self-titled EP. It hit No.1 on the Apple Music R&B/Soul Chart in Nigeria and was included on multiple charts within Africa, North America and the United Kingdom. Her debut included two successful singles, “Pretty” and “Don’t Leave.” Winny also has a new single that is set to release later this year.


Based in Atlanta, GA, Chrystel is a singer-songwriter who blends afro-fusion with electronic rhythm. With two parents from the Ivory Coast, Chrystel was exposed to a wide range of music, including West African Pop, Congolese Rumba and Contemporary R&B. The influence of this blend is illustrated in her music which weaves together Contemporary Pop with Afrobeats and Coupé-décalé ― the dance music that originated from her homeland.

Chrystel’s debut EP, titled Prey, was released in May 2021 and gained over 1 million streams. Following with two more tracks, “Test Me” and “A Night In Cocody,” Chrystel was added to Apple Music’s Africa Rising Next Generation of Superstars. Chryslel’s new single “SNAPCHAT” of Pan-African and Pop sounds, recorded largely in West Africa, was recently released in December 2023.


Mellissa, a Ghanaian artist, describes her music as ‘Afro Sexy,’ pulling the sounds of Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America through Afrobeats, Reggae and Soul. She grew up with music all around her, including at her mother’s restaurant next to their family home where her mother would drum and sing. This influence was a huge inspiration for Mellissa, and she joined her school’s choir in high school where she discovered her vocal range, made friends and conquered stage fright.

It was not until after she completed a film degree, and was working on a second, that she decided to pursue music full time. As the oldest of three siblings, she had prioritized her education while helping her mother to take care of their family instead of making music. During her second degree, she realized there was never a ‘right time’ to become an artist. Once she dropped out, she began working with producer MikeMillz.

Mellissa was able to combine Ghanaian music with a range of different areas and sounds. Her 2021 debut “Limelight,” is a smooth Afro-beat sound with bold and emotional lyricism where she confronts a half-hearted partner. The duality between her warm beats and expressive and vulnerable lyrics allows a wide range of audiences to relate to and appreciate Mellissa’s work.

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