Celebrity Entertainment

Rema: Nigerian Afrobeats Superstar Breaking International Barriers

Rema Divine Ikubor
Written by Robin Okwanma

A calm, cherubic face. A chart topper in world music as well. Behind that face is a young and creative visionary. Born in May 2000, Divine Ikubor, whose stage name is Rema, quickly became a global icon of contemporary Nigerian Afrobeats music at a young age.


Rema developed his own style of Afrobeats which he named ‘Afrorave’. It is a fusion of Afrobeats, Indian and Arabian music and rhythms. This fact alone has drawn a lot of interest and liking to his music from across Africa, Asia, and the rest of the world. 

Rema Debuts as First-Ever African Musician at Ballon d’Or Ceremony

The gifted singer, rapper and songwriter recently showcased African music on one of the  prestigious stages of football excellence. Rema was invited to perform at the 2023 Ballon d’Or award ceremony held in France. It was a gathering of the football greats, music lovers, and sports fans. And Rema delivered an appealing performance of his hit song ‘Calm Down’, to the thrill of both the sports world and the global music community. And interestingly, Rema became the first-ever African artiste to perform at any Ballon d’Or award ceremony. 

The 2023 Ballon d’Or was won by Ace footballer, Lionel Messi for the eight time – an unprecedented feat in football history (though not surprising). While Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe were the first and second runners-up respectively. Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) is hosted annually by the France Football Federation to honor the world’s best football players. 

Rema is no stranger to world-class performances any more. However, he officially joined the likes of A-list Nigerian musicians, Davido and Burna Boy, as a performer at top football events across the globe. It is on record that Burna Boy is the first African artist to perform at the 2023 Champions League finals held in Instanbul, Turkey. Similarly, Davido is the first African musician to perform at the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals held in Quatar. 

Rema the Afrobeat Star – How It All Started

Divine Ikubor (aka Rema) is a son of Justice Ikubor, a former chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He was born in Benin City, Edo state of Nigeria in the year 2000. Both his father and only brother are now late, but his mother is still alive. 

Rema attended both his primary and secondary schools at Ighile Group of Schools, Edo State. In 2022, he gained admission into the University of Lagos, but left in 2023 due to industrial strike by the ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities).  

But while in secondary school, Rema began singing and rapping. He eventually started his music career as a singer in churches in 2018, as a team with Alpha P. 

The Rise of Rema on The Global Music Stage

Rema proceeded to do a freestye performance of musician D’Prince’s track ‘Gucci Gang’, which he posted on Instagram. The performance caught the attention of D’Prince. The musician promptly brought Rema to Lagos, in order to sign a record deal with Jonzing World record label in 2019.  Jonzing World is a subsidiary of the renowned Mavin Records, owned by top Nigerian frecord producer Don Jazzy

While working with D’Prince, Rema released his debut EP titled ‘Rema’ after his stage name in 2019. The EP reached number 1 spot on Apple Music Nigeria’s music charts in a short period. In the same year, Mavin Records teamed with Jonzing World to release Rema’s music video for his hit song ‘Dumebi’ from the same EPBoth ‘Dumebi’ and ‘Iron Man’, another song from the said EP, became so popular in 2019. ‘Dumebi’ alone has exceeded 70 million views on YouTube as we speak. While ‘Iron Man’ was included in US ex-president Barack Obama’s summer playlist, thus spiraling his debut EP to fame.  Following this, he released two other EPs, namely ‘Freestyle‘ and ‘Bad Commando’

By September 2020, Rema’s songs were included as part of the FIFA 21 soundtracks. In September 2021, Rema and Ayra Starr, his mate at his record label, were appointed as brand ambassadors of global soft drink brand Pepsi. Rema dropped his debut album titled ‘Raves and Roses’ in March 2022. The album had 10 songs listed on the US Billboard Afrobeats Chart in its debut week. His songs also achieved a record 1 billion streams worldwide in November 2002. For that, he got an award on stage during his London concert that year. 

Rema’s song ‘Calm Down’ also broke records in 2023 as one of the most popular songs on the world’s top music charts. The song quickly went viral when he did a remix with international songstress Selena Gomez. The song hit number 3 spot on the international Billboard Hot 100. It also stood at number 1 spot on the US Afrobeats Songs chart for a record-breaking 58 weeks.

Not stopping there, he released another EP in October 2023 titled ‘RAVAGE’. ‘RAVAGE’ has already broken a first-day streaming record of 957,378 streams on Spotify Nigeria, according to reports. 

Rema’s Net Worth

At such a young age, Rema is already in the class of the richest and most influential Nigerian music superstars. An online source   estimates all of Rema’s assets to be about 5 Million US Dollars in net worth as of December 2023.

Rema: Awards and Achievements 

Rema is a recipient of several Nigerian and international music awards. Between 2019 and 2023, he received at least 12 music awards. They include:

  • The Headies: Next Rated Award (2019)
  • City People Music Awards: Revelation of the Year (2019)
  • The Future Music Awards (2020)
  • Two (2) Sound City MVP Awards (2023)
  • Two (2) The Headies Awards (2023)
  • MTV Video Music Award for Best Afrobeats (2023)
  • Two (2) AFRIMMA Awards (2023)
  • Two (2) Trace Awards (2023)



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About the author

Robin Okwanma

Hi, I'm Robin Okwanma. Software Engineer || Django, Python || React, React Native || Blogger. Technical Writer.

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