Uganda’s favourite son has had an incredible year. Now the 22 year old singer/ songwriter / multi-instrumentalist / producer Joshua Baraka celebrates his unveiling as one of Spotify’s 10 RADAR Africa picks for 2024 by releasing a deluxe version of his chart topping Growing Pains EP.

The new extended EP will feature his current viral Dalilah II (featuring Qing Madi and Simi) alongside two further new tracks, Jolene and Alone,  with the three tracks expanding on Growing Pains themes of love, yearning, dreams and loss. 

Jolene is a classic ‘Raka ballad, driven by emotive piano, swelling Gospel strings and his ethereal vocal tone, delivering a soaring performance ready to tear off the roof. Alone is a new direction for ‘Raka, and points to an artist unafraid to spread his wings. Produced in collaboration with AXON, the track sees Joshua mourning lost love over a heavyweight amapiano groove. He then adds further studio innovation by building his vocals into a choir of yearning on the hook, before bringing in SA star Nkosazana Daughter to contribute a peerless bridge.

This is amapiano as high art – and proof that there’s not a genre made Joshua Baraka can’t turn his hand to. Finally, Joshua fans need little introduction to Dalilah IIWith the original and remix sitting in positions #1 and #2 in Uganda’s Apple Music chart, the track has been one of the stand out East African records of the year. Based on Joshua’s addictive “falling in love is easy, staying in love is the tricky part” hook, the track has birthed hundreds of thousands of tiktok creations, streamed over 5m across DSPs since release, and even had its own UK drill flip in the form of LeoStayTrill’s Falling In Love.

The release of Growing Pains Deluxe is just another high point in an incredible run for Joshua Baraka. Breaking out of his native Uganda in Feb 2023 with the viral Afrobeats / bashment fusion Nana, from there the 22 year old singer/songwriter/producer has embarked on the journey of a lifetime. He followed Nana with an all-star remix that took him to Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya to work with Joeboy, King Promise and Bien respectively, then he went over to the UK for a rammed debut headline show in London’s Village Underground, before hitting the studio to cook up his EP Growing Pains, dropped in December of 2023. Never one to rest on his laurels, he kicked off 2024 with a sold out European tour alongside Kenyan star Bien, wowing audiences everywhere from Paris to Koln. With his live performance seeing Joshua play piano and guitar, and banter with his audience with an ease belying his youth, it’s little surprise that his start is rising – in the space of 12 months this remarkable talent has claimed over 25 million streams across DSPs – not bad for the first person in his family to have flown on a plane.

This success has been recognised by Spotify who have picked Joshua to be part of their RADAR Africa program for 2024, an initiative that shines a light on the hottest new talents to emerge from the continent. He joins the likes of Shallipopi alongside alumni such as Ayra Starr, Tyla, Victony and BNXN in enjoying a full spectrum of support from the DSP throughout the rest of the year, kicking off with a billboard in Times Square NYC


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