Wizkid is, without doubt, one of Africa’s biggest artists, the most decorated Nigerian artist ever, and the most decorated African artist internationally.
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun known professionally as Wizkid a.k.a Starboy, Daddy Yo, Machala, et al is a Nigerian Singer and Songwriter. He was born in Surulere, Lagos State to Dolapo Jane Balogun and Alhaji Muniru Olatunji Balogun on the 16th of July, 1990.
He began recording music at the tender age of 11 and managed to release a collaborative album with the Glorious Five, a group he and a couple of his church friends formed. Eight years later, Wizkid signed a record deal with Banky W’s Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E.) and under the awesome stewardship of Mr. Capable (Banky W), He quickly rose to prominence following the release of His debut single “Holla at your boy” in January 2nd, 2010 which was also the lead single to His first Studio Album; Superstar(2011)
Wizkid finally released His much-anticipated debut studio album – “Superstar” on the 12th of June, 2011 with it boasting other hit singles such as “Tease Me/Bad Guys”, “Don’t Dull”, “Love My Baby”, “Pakurumo” and “Oluwa Lo Ni” in the 17 track Album. This propelled the name Wizkid to the very top of the Nigerian music industry with the launch party featuring performances from big-wigs including Banky W, 2face Idibia, Wande Coal, D’Prince, eLDee, Jesse Jagz, Ice Prince, Lynxxx, and other promising young bloods such as Skales, Olamide, and Seyi Shay.
As an already established Act in the Industry with several Awards to His name, Wizkid parted ways with the E.M.E. and Banky W and founded His record label “Starboy Entertainment” in 2013 signing upcoming act L.A.X. in the Process and installing Maleek Berry as the label Producer.
He soon started recording his second studio album “Ayo” which featured guest appearances from Femi Kuti, Banky W., Seyi Shay, Phyno, Tyga, Akon, and Wale. The 19 track album was eventually released on the 17th of September, 2014 following numerous delays and postponements with His Management team citing difficulty in Track selection amongst other Technical glitches as the reasons.
In 2016, with the signing of Ghana’s Efya, Mr. Eazi, and R2Bees, the label turned”Starboy Worldwide” Wizkid announced at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards. He also named Paedae of R2Bees as president of the new, expanded label.
In March 2017, he signed a record deal with RCA Records. Wizkid finally released his long-awaited third studio album “Sounds from the Other Side” on 14th July 2017. Primarily a Caribbean-influenced record, SFTOS encompassed several other genres, including Afrobeats, EDM, R&B, and house. The album featured guest appearances from Drake, Major Lazer, Chris Brown, Ty Dolla Sign, Efya, Bucie, and Trey Songz.
Wizkid featured on various singles in 2020 including “Escape” by Akon and “Consider II” with Walshy Fire. He also released a collaboration with American singer, H.E.R., titled “Smile”. On 17th September, He released the slow-tempo single “No Stress”, and announced that he would be releasing his fourth album, Made in Lagos, on 15th October 2020. The album launch was later postponed due to the Nigerian End SARS protests nationwide, until 30th October 2020. The album featured Nigerian own self-styled African Giant “Burna Boy” and beautiful songstress “Tems” as well as internationally acclaimed Stars like Damian Marley, H.E.R., and Skepta.
Success came in the morning for Wizzy as His Debut Single “Holla at your Boy” earned Him nominations for Best Pop Single and Next Rated award at The Headies 2011 with Him going on to win the latter. Its music video was also nominated for Most Gifted Newcomer Video at the 2011 Channel O Music Video Awards. With the release of His first Album “Superstar”, He clinched the Best Album of the Year at the 2012 Nigeria Entertainment Awards, and it was also nominated for Album of the Year at The Headies 2012.
On January 28, 2012, Wizkid released a hit single titled “Azonto” which was produced by the record producing and songwriting duo Legendury Beatz. The song which helped popularize Azonto, a Ghanaian music genre and dance peaked at number 19 on the Afribiz Top 100 chart. Wizkid performed the song at Chris Brown’s concert, which occurred at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos. Chris Brown also talked about the dance on 106 & Park and credited Wizkid for teaching him.
Later in 2012, Wizkid toured London and performed at the HMV Apollo on 4th June 2012. He then worked with Banky W., Skales, Shaydee, and Niyola to record E.M.E’s compilation album Empire Mates State of Mind (2012) and following the release of this project, He alongside the other E.M.E acts toured the United States between July and September that Year after He had gone on to win the Best International Act Africa at the BET Awards.
On 12th November 2012, He performed at the BBC Radio 1Xtra Live 02 Academy in Brixton alongside Trey Songz, Tulisa, Kendrick Lamar, and Angel.
In February 2014, Wizkid became the first Nigerian musician to have over one million followers on Twitter.
On 5th April 2016, Starboy became Nigeria’s first artist to be listed on Billboards Twitter Last 24 hours chart, following his guest feature on Drake’s Afrobeats-infused “One Dance” single, which charted at number 21. The song soon reached number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a position it kept for 10 non-consecutive weeks.” One Dance” went on to become an international smash hit, topping the charts in 15 different countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, and Germany. He subsequently received His first Grammy nomination as Drake’s Album “Views” was nominated for Album of the Year.
Later that year in November, He won Best Worldwide Act in The MTV Europe Music Awards after previously missing out on the African Act category on 3 previous occasions(2011-2013)
Wizkid became the first Afrobeats artist to appear in the 2018 Guinness World Records for his contribution to “One Dance” as the song emerged as the Most streamed song on Spotify.
His song “Soco” released on February 20th that Year became his first Afrobeats single to be certified Gold in Canada and later in 2018, he appeared on Normani and Calvin Harris’ EP Normani x Calvin Harris, on the song “Checklist”, which peaked at number one on Billboard World Digital Song Sales chart.
He was featured on Beyoncé’s “Brown Skin Girl”, taken from the critically acclaimed The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack which was released in July 2019. It was described as one of his “shining” moments of 2019, thanks to numerous nominations at major international awards, earning two Soul Train Music Awards, an NAACP Image Awards, a BET Awards, and his second Grammy Nomination. In the latter part of 2019, He also released the singles “Joro” and “Ghetto Love” with the former earning nominations for The Headies Award for Best Pop Single and Song of the Year 2020.
In December 2020 He won Best African Act at the MOBO Awards, having last won that Category in 2011 and the MOBO’s International Act category in 2017
Wizkid released the music video for His hit jam off the M.I.L. Album – “Ginger” featuring Burna Boy and the video has since accrued more than 12 million views on YouTube in the space of 3 months.
On the 21st of February, Wizkid became the most decorated artist in The Headies as he emerged winner of the Viewer’s Choice Award and Artiste of the Year to win His 7th and 8th Headies Award respectively.
Wizkid’s good run continued as He won His very first Grammy Award, earning the award alongside Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN as well as the video’s director Jenn Nkiru on the 14th of March, 2021.
The M.I.L. crooner followed up this stream of success with the release of the music video for Essence ft. Tems which was shot in Ghana by Director K (DK) and over the space of 2weeks the video has amassed more than 3million views on YouTube.
Wizkid’s M.I.L. project highlights his versatility and tenacity as an artist, easily walking away from the stereotype of producing Club and Party bangers on the regular to a vastly appreciated sound both Home and Abroad. Surely, the best is yet to come from Starboy in this newfound voyage.
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