Nigeria’s Afrobeat sensation, Wizkid, turned 28 on Monday 16 July; here is what you need to know about the artiste.
Wizkid was born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun on the 16th of July 1990 to Yoruba parents in Western Nigeria. His romance with music started at age 11 with the music group, Glorious Five. The group comprised himself and four of his church friends and they recorded their first collaborative album in 2001, although it did not turn out a commercial success.
In 2009, he signed a recording contract with Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) owned by Banky W and shot to fame the next year with the release of “Holla at Your Boy”. The song was later compiled into his debut album along with other hit singles like “Don’t Dull”, “Tease Me/Bad Guys”, “Love My Baby”, “Pakurumo” and “Oluwa Lo Ni”. Since then, every album and single has been a hit. 2014 album Ayo was his second, while Sounds from the Other Side (2017) is his most recent.
Wizkid’s collaboration with American rapper Drake on the 2016 global hit song “One Dance” made him the toast of music fans all over the world. The song became the number one spot in several countries including United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. It reached number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This earned him a place as the first Afrobeat artiste in the 2018 Guinness Book of World Records.
At the expiration of his contract on the first of March 2017, the singer left E.M.E and signed to RCA Records. He still runs his music label, Starboy Entertainment, which he had set up earlier in March 2013. Starboy Entertainment signed up Maleek Berry, L.A.X Efya, R2Bees, Mr Eazi and Terri. The music label’s producers are Oniko and Okiemute Oniko, popularly known as Legendary Beatz.
Currently ranked as one of Africa’s richest artists, Wizkid has a long list of awards and recognition. The most recent include the 2017 MOBO Awards Best International Act and Artiste of the Year; AFRIMA Best West African Artiste; and Song of the Year for “Come Closer”. He also has lavish endorsement deals with international soft drink brand Pepsi; telecom giants MTN and Glo and Guinness. In June 2018 he modelled for mega fashion house Gucci and Gabanna in which his runway photos sold for as much as $499.
All this and more make Wizkid worth celebrating. Happy birthday to Africa’s Starboy. We wish him the very best life has to offer.
Feature image: nairaland.com