Most Afrobeat lovers have heard of him. Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, famously known as Wizkid, is a singer and songwriter from Nigeria who was born on the 16th of July, 1990 in Surulere Lagos. His musical journey started at the age of 11 when he started recording music. He dropped a collaborative album with the Glorious Five which was a group that consisted of him and a couple of his church friends after which they disbanded. Wizkid recorded a seven-track album under the name Lil Prinz and dropped the name in 2006. He attended Lead City University and dropped out after completing two sessions, this happened after previously dropping out from Lagos State University. His father was never acceptant of the fact that he wanted to venture into the music world so he had to work really hard to earn his approval.
Wizkid signed a record deal with the Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) in 2009 and later on established his own record label, the Starboy Entertainment. He rose to fame in 2010 after the release of his song “Holla at Your Boy” from his debut album Superstar (2011). The album contains other singles such as “Tease me/Bad Guys”, “Don’t Dull”, “Love My Baby”, “Pakurumo” and “Oluwa Lo Ni”. His hit single “Caro” also increased his audience across Africa. In February 2014, Wizkid became the first ever Nigerian musician to hit a million followers on Twitter. He released his second studio album called Ayo in September 2014 which featured special appearances from Femi Kuti, Seyi Shay, Phyno, Banky W, Tyga, Akon, and Wale.
Wizkid has also worked with several other artists across Africa including Bracket, Iyanya, R2Bees, Tiwa Savage, Malik Berry, KCee and Patoranking to produce various hits. Wizkid has also worked with other international acts such as Chris Brown, Dua Lipa, Major Lazer, Justine Skye, and Drake. Wizkid released two global hits; “One Dance” and Come closer with Drake. The former helped him achieve international recognition since it became number one in several countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada (Gary,2016). He also became the first Afrobeat artist to appear in the Guinness World Records for featuring on the same hit song (Damola,2017). Wizkid signed a multi-album deal with RCA Records (Platon,2017). He was ranked fifth in Forbes and Channel O’S 2013 list of the top 10 richest African artists.
Tours and Notable Performances
Wizkid toured alongside other Empire Mate Entertainment acts to the United States in 2012. He also toured London and performed at the HMV Apollo. He has performed at the following concert; the BBC Radio 1Xtra Live, Felabration, Guinness Colorful World of More Concert and the Guinness Big Eruption Concert (Joey,2015).
Awards and Nominations
Wizkid has won a number of awards including; African Music Awards, African Pride Awards, MOBO Awards, Ghana Music Awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards, Nigeria Entertainment Awards, The Headies, Channel O Music Video Awards, 4Syte TV Music Video Awards, City People Entertainment Awards, The Future Awards, BET Awards and Dynamix All Youth Awards. He was also nominated for the all Africa Music Awards, MTV Africa Music Awards, World Music Awards, Nigeria Music Video Awards and MTV Europe Music Video Awards.
Wizkid has signed endorsement deals with various companies including; Pepsi, Guinness, MTN and GLO .