|Full Name||Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun|
|Birthday||July 16, 1990|
|Birthplace||Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria|
|Relationship Status||In a relationship|
|Net Worth||$4 million|
|Social Media||Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube|
Wizkid is a Nigerian singer and top African artist who has become a global music sensation. With his unique sound blending Afrobeats, R&B, and dancehall, he has catapulted African music onto the world stage like no other.
Early Life and Background
Born as Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun on July 16, 1990 in Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria, Wizkid grew up surrounded by music. His mother was a Pentecostal Christian and he regularly sang at the local church during his childhood. Outside of his devotion to church, young Wizkid listened avidly to King Sunny Ade, Fela Kuti and Bob Marley.
Wizkid formed a singing group with his friends at age 11, where he got the nickname ‘Lil Prinz‘. As a teen, he diligently honed his musical talents under the mentorship of famed Nigerian producer OJB Jezreel. He dropped out of Lagos State University to pursue music full-time and adopted the stage name Wizkid in 2006, breaking onto the music scene at age 19.
Wizkid cites King Sunny Ade and Fela Kuti as his biggest early inspirations, introducing him to the rich world of Nigerian music. From Bob Marley, he learned to connect with people through his lyrics. And American stars like 2Pac and Jay-Z influenced his smooth R&B style. This mixture of influences shaped Wizkid‘s versatile musical talents from a young age.
At age 19, Wizkid released his debut album ‘Superstar‘ in 2011. It swiftly became a commercial success, with hits like "Holla at Your Boy", "Tease Me/Bad Guys", and "Don‘t Dull" dominating Nigerian radio. With his soulful voice and afrobeats style, a new Nigerian star was born.
He continued to drop more addictive singles and win industry accolades, including the Nigeria Entertainment Award in 2011 for Best Album of the Year. His fame skyrocketed when he was named the ‘Next Rated‘ artist at The Headies in 2011, a coveted honor.
“My first album was a real introduction to me as an artiste and the Nigerian music industry as a whole.” – Wizkid on Superstar album
After signing with Sony Music and E.M.E in 2013, Wizkid released his second studio album ‘Ayo‘. Songs like "Jaiye Jaiye" and "On Top Your Matter" were huge radio hits across Africa and the UK.
But it was his feature on Drake‘s "One Dance" in 2016 that cemented Wizkid as an international superstar. "One Dance" broke records by hitting #1 on charts in 15 countries including the United States. It was a pivotal collaboration that globalized African music.
Since then, Wizkid has worked with the likes of Chris Brown, Skepta, Beyoncé and Tinny Tempah. He made history as the first African artist to sell out London‘s 12,500 seat O2 Arena during his stunning 2017 concert.
Trailblazer and Hitmaker
In his decade long career, Wizkid has dropped several more successful albums like ‘Sounds from the Other Side‘ and ‘Made in Lagos‘. He‘s broken records, bagged Grammy nominations and won soultrain, BET, Billboard and MTV Awards.
Some key highlights include:
- First African artist to walk the runway at a Dolce and Gabbana show
- First African artist to sell out Skyway Theatre in Minneapolis (2018)
- Guinness World Record for his contribution to Drake‘s One Dance (2017)
- Most streamed Nigerian artist of all time with over 3 billion streams worldwide
At just 33, the Afrobeats king continues to shine bright, collaborating with the next generation of artists like Tems, Ella Mai and Ayra Starr to further grow African music worldwide. There‘s no doubt Wizkid has made an indelible mark on the global music landscape.
“Afrobeats is always going to be there. It’s going to be the key because that’s our own sound.” – Wizkid on promoting African music
Wizkid is quite reserved about his personal life. He has three sons – Boluwatife, Ayo and Zion – with three different women.
Early in his career, he faced some controversy over explicit lyrics and sexism accusations. But the young star has matured remarkably over the years, with no scandals since 2013.
Those close to him describe Wizkid as soft spoken and kind with family and friends. He enjoys quality time with his sons and stays out of the spotlight when not performing. A devout Muslim, he gives thanks to God for his many blessings.
“At the end of the day, I give thanks to God for everything. Even the controversies and all that.” – Wizkid on his faith
Rise to Stardom
Many factors paved the way for Wizkid‘s monumental global success:
- Unique musical style blending Afrobeats, R&B, and dancehall sounds.
- Undeniable talent for writing catchy hooks and smooth melodies.
- Charismatic stage presence able to electrify audiences.
- Early adoption of social media to build his fanbase.
- Star collaborations with Drake, Chris Brown and other A-list artists.
- First African artist to crossover and find major success in the US.
- Helping make Afrobeats into a worldwide mainstream phenomenon.
- Strong personal branding with fashionable style and luxury partnerships.
But it took tremendous dedication, business savvy and artistic vision for Wizkid to reach the pinnacle of global music. His rise to stardom was no accident. Wizkid knew exactly how to blend African and Western sounds for a universal appeal.
“Afrobeats is always going to be there. It’s going to be the key because that’s our own sound.” – Wizkid on the global appeal of Afrobeats
Legacy and Influence
Still in his early 30s, Wizkid has already made an indelible impact:
- Introduced Afrobeats to a mainstream global audience for the first time.
- Inspired new generations of African artists to dream bigger.
- Paved the way for cross-genre collaborations between African and Western artists.
- Shown that contemporary African music can achieve worldwide fame.
- Motivated Nigerian youth to pursue their passions despite obstacles.
Perhaps Wizkid‘s greatest contribution is proving that artists of African descent can achieve global success without conforming to Western standards. He never abandoned his roots. Wizkid stays true to his heritage while appealing to audiences everywhere.
The Afrobeats movement he helped spark continues to thrive and inspire artists across Africa. Wizkid has opened the floodgates for African music to reach its full potential on the global stage.
“I represent a new generation of African artists that are ready to spread our culture and music to the rest of the world” – Wizkid
Fun Facts About Wizkid
After a decade in the limelight, here are some entertaining facts about Africa‘s superstar:
- Wizkid‘s stage name was coined by beloved underground DJ, Master P.
- He‘s written over 200 songs and is credited as co-writer on Drake‘s "One Dance".
- Wizkid is ambidextrous and can write with both hands!
- His first manager was his mother. She still reminds him to stay humble.
- Wizkid loves football and is a loyal fan of Manchester United.
- He once performed on the same stage as Jay Z at age 19.
- Wizkid has his own line of luxury vodka called Ciroc Starboy.
- He became the first Nigerian artist to reach 1 million followers on Twitter in 2013.
- His idol Fela Kuti‘s son Seun has praised Wizkid for promoting Afrobeat.
Behind the stardom and hit songs is a regular guy who‘s living his dream. Wizkid continues to fly Africa‘s flag high for the world to see.
In just a decade, Wizkid has attained legendary status in African music. His mesmerizing voice, songwriting brilliance, and star collaborations have made him a cultural force. By staying true to his roots while appealing to global audiences, Wizkid proved that African talent can shine bright on the world stage.
As an avid longtime fan, I‘ve loved watching Wizkid‘s rise from a promising young artist to an international icon. His future looks brighter than ever as he continues to inspire pride in Africa‘s vibrant culture worldwide. No doubt Wizkid‘s best days and biggest accomplishments lie ahead. He has only just begun his reign as Africa‘s undisputed king of Afrobeats.