11 February 2019

Nigeria: Wizkid - the Natural Hitmaker

Photo: The Guardian
Wizkid

Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun was born on the 16 July 1990 in a polygamous home. Having been exposed to music from church, King Sunny Ade, Fela Kuti and Bob Manuel, Balogun who was known by the name Lil Prinz released a church album with his church friends, Glorious Five at the age of 11.

In 2009, he landed and signed a deal with a fast-rising record label, Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E), owned by Banky W.

A year later, Wizkid became a national favourite for his song, "Holla At Your Boy." In 2011, his album Superstar became the biggest album in the industry with hit songs such as "Tease Me/Bad Guys", "Don't Dull", "Love My Baby" and "Pakurumo." That same year, he won the award for "Next Rated" at The Headies 2011.

In 2014, he released an eponymous album Ayo. With releases such as "Jaiye Jaiye", "On Top Your Matter", "One Question", "Joy", "Bombay" and "Show You the Money," it was clear that Wizkid had come to upset the music industry. Other musicians recognised this and every song he featured in became an instant hit.

In 2016, Wizkid received worldwide attention after his song with Drake, "One Dance" achieved quadruple platinum certified status in the US alone and was added to the 2018 Guinness Book Of World Records as the most played song on Spotify with over one billion streams.

In 2017, he left EME and signed a record deal with RCA Records. He has been listed in Forbes as one of the 10 Richest/Bankable African Artists.

In 2018, Wizkid's NIKE merchandise sold out in 10 minutes. Also, October 6 was declared Wizkid Day by Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton after he became the first Nigerian artist to sell out The O2 London.

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