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Nigerian singer and songwriter (born 1990)
For other uses, see Whiz Kids

Wizkid

Wizkid performing at the Desire album launch concert in 2013
Background information
Birth name Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun
Also known as
  • Lil Prinz
  • Wizzy
  • Starboy
  • Machala
  • Daddy Yo
  • Baba Nla
  • Big Wiz
  • Eleniyan
Born (1990-07-16) 16 July 1990 (age 32)
Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria
Genres
  • Afrobeats
  • Afrobeat
  • reggae
  • dancehall
  • R&B
  • hip hop
  • pop
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active 2001–present
Labels
  • Starboy Entertainment
  • RCA (current)
  • Empire Mates Entertainment (former)
Musical artist

Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (born 16 July 1990), known professionally as Wizkid, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter A prominent figure in the modern day Afrobeats music scene, Wizkid is regarded as one of the biggest and most influential African artists of all time He began recording music at the age of 11 and released a collaborative album with the Glorious Five (5), a group he and a couple of his church friends formed In 2009, Wizkid signed a record deal with Banky W’s Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) He later rose to the limelight after releasing “Holla at Your Boy”, the lead single from his debut studio album, Superstar (2011), which also spawned the singles “Tease Me/Bad Guys” and “Don’t Dull”

In September 2014, he released the self-titled second studio album, Ayo The album was supported by six singles, including the song “Jaiye Jaiye” Wizkid left EME after his contract expired In 2016, Wizkid achieved international recognition following his collaboration with Drake on the hit single “One Dance”, which reached number-one on the US Billboard Hot 100, and topped the charts in 14 additional countries The song broke multiple records, making Wizkid the first Afrobeats artist to appear in the Guinness World Records In March 2017, he signed a multi-album deal with RCA Records; and released his third studio album Sounds from the Other Side, later that year The album was supported by five singles, including “Come Closer” featuring Drake

In 2018, he was featured on the song “Checklist” by Normani and Calvin Harris, which reached number-one on the Billboard World Digital Song Sales chart The following year, he was featured on Beyoncé’s project The Lion King: The Gift on the single “Brown Skin Girl”, which also reached number-one on the World Digital Song Sales chart, and won him a Grammy Award for Best Music Video In October 2020, he released his fourth album, Made in Lagos, which received commercial success and acclaim, reaching number-one on the Billboard World Album Chart The album includes the single “Essence” featuring Tems, which became the first Nigerian song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, and reached the top ten following a remix released by Justin Bieber Wizkid’s fifth album More Love, Less Ego was released on 11 November 2022

By February 2021, Wizkid was the most-streamed Nigerian artist of all time on Spotify, with over 34 billion streams across all credits

Life and music career

1990–2010: Early life and career beginnings

Wizkid was born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun on 16 July 1990, in Surulere, Lagos He grew up in an interfaith household with twelve female siblings His mother is a Pentecostal Christian and his father practices Islam Wizkid attended Ijebu Ode Grammar School He grew up listening to King Sunny Ade, Fela Kuti and Bob Marley In a radio interview with Tim Westwood in 2012, he said “his father has three wives” In another interview with Adesope of Factory 78 TV, Wizkid said he formed a group called the Glorious Five with a couple of his church friends They managed to release an album prior to disbanding Wizkid went by the stage name Lil Prinz until 2006 He later met OJB Jezreel, a record producer who prevented him from recording for a year While visiting OJB’s Point Beat Studios frequently, he watched 2 Face Idibia record songs for his Grass 2 Grace album He was also present during the recording sessions for Sound Sultan’s debut album Jagbajantis He cited Naeto C as one of the people who mentored and coached him when he was 15 years old Wizkid inked a record deal with Empire Mates Entertainment in 2009 He co-wrote “Omoge You Too Much”, a song from Banky W’s The W Experience album He also worked with Naeto C, Ikechukwu and MI while developing his craft In mid-2009, he dropped out of Lagos State University (LASU) He later attended Lead City University, but dropped out after completing two sessions

2010–2011: Superstar

Wizkid began recording his debut studio album Superstar in 2009 He released “Holla at Your Boy” as the album’s lead single on 2 January 2010 The song was nominated for Best Pop Single, and earned him the Next Rated award at The Headies 2011 In addition to winning the award, he was awarded a 2012 Hyundai Sonata courtesy of the organizers Its music video was nominated for Most Gifted Newcomer Video at the 2011 Channel O Music Video Awards

On 2 April 2010, Wizkid released “Tease Me/Bad Guys” as the album’s second single It was initially released as a freestyle rap “Don’t Dull”, the album’s third single, was released on 6 December 2010 Superstar was recorded in English and Yoruba It was released on 12 June 2011 by Empire Mates Entertainment The album incorporates elements of Afrobeats, R&B, dancehall and reggae While working on Superstar, Wizkid collaborated with record producers such as E-Kelly, Jay Sleek, Shizzi, DJ Klem, Masterkraft, Q-Beats and Samklef The album features guest appearances from Banky W, Skales, D’Prince and Wande Coal It was initially scheduled for release on 14 February 2011, but was later pushed back On 12 June 2011, Wizkid hosted a launch party for the album at the Expo Hall of the Eko Hotel and Suites The launch party featured performances from Banky W, Skales, 2face Idibia, Samklef, Wande Coal, D’Prince, Olamide, eLDee, Jesse Jagz, Ice Prince, Lynxxx and Seyi Shay Superstar garnered Best Album of the Year at the 2012 Nigeria Entertainment Awards, and was nominated for Album of the Year at The Headies 2012

2012–2014: EME tour, Ayo and other recordings

“Jaiye Jaiye” (2013)
A 15-second sample of “Jaiye Jaiye” The song is a fusion of Afrobeat and Afrobeats

Problems playing this file See media help

Wizkid toured London in 2012 and performed at the HMV Apollo on 4 June 2012 He worked with Banky W, Skales, Shaydee and Niyola to record EME’s compilation album Empire Mates State of Mind (2012) Following the album’s release, EME acts toured the United States The tour kicked off in July and ended in September 2012 EME acts performed in several cities, including Houston, Dallas, Toronto, Vancouver, New York City, Providence, Calgary, Atlanta, Washington, DC and Chicago On 12 November 2012, Wizkid performed at the BBC Radio 1Xtra Live 02 Academy in Brixton alongside Trey Songz, Tulisa, Kendrick Lamar and Angel

Between 2012 and 2014, Wizkid recorded his second studio album Ayo It features guest appearances from Femi Kuti, Banky W, Seyi Shay, Phyno, Tyga, Akon and Wale The album’s production was handled by Sarz, Shizzi, Uhuru, Del B, Dokta Frabz, Maleek Berry, Legendury Beatz and Spellz It was initially titled Chosen According to MTV Base, the album suffered from a pushed back release date It was reported earlier that the album would feature Don Jazzy, Efya and Olamide On 6 September 2014, Wizkid revealed the album’s cover art and track listing Prior to announcing plans for a second studio album, Wizkid had plans to release a mixtape in April 2013 In an interview with Ok!Nigeria TV at Disturbing Headquarters in London, he said the mixtape would be released in April He also said it would feature Wale and Tinie Tempah Wizkid later announced that he would be releasing his second studio album on 12 June 2013 In an interview with HipTV, Banky W revealed the album’s title and commented on the albums delay He also gave an estimated time-frame for the album’s release

On 2 May 2013, Wizkid released the album’s lead single “Jaiye Jaiye” It features Grammy-nominated Nigerian musician Femi Kuti Wizkid told Showtime Celebrity he collaborated with Femi Kuti to prevent people from depicting him as an artist whose lyrics revolve around girls, cars and materialistic things On 17 October 2013, he performed at the 2013 edition of Felabration, a yearly concert dedicated to Fela Kuti The Del B-produced “On Top Your Matter” was released as the album’s second single on 26 October 2013 The song’s music video directed and shot in South Africa by Sesan On 2 November 2013, Wizkid performed at the Guinness Colorful World of More concert alongside D’banj, Tiwa Savage, P-Square, Davido, Ice Prince, Burna Boy, Olamide and Phyno The concert took place at the Eko Convention Centre in the Eko Hotels and Suites On 23 November 2013, he performed at the Guinness Big Eruption Concert in Accra, Ghana

In February 2014, Wizkid became the first Nigerian musician to have over one million followers on Twitter In July 2014, Wizkid visited The Beat 999 FM studio in Lagos and told Toolz he had collaborated with Barbadian singer Rihanna Wizkid was invited as a special guest for some shows on Tinie Tempah’s tour of the UK in 2014

2015–2018: Sounds from the Other Side and the international success with “One Dance”

Wizkid was involved in the writing and production of Drake’s “One Dance”

On 5 January 2015, Wizkid released the music video for “Ojuelegba”, a song that highlights the struggles he endured in the early years of his recording career The song’s official remix features vocals from Drake and Skepta; it premiered on OVO Sound Radio in July 2015 Wizkid first announced that he was working on a new album during a visit to London in October 2014 He revealed “African Bad Gyal” as his collaborative single with Chris Brown and said it would be the lead single from his third studio album In April 2015, both Wizkid and Chris Brown performed “African Bad Gyal” at Brown’s concert in Durban, South Africa Wizkid released “Expensive Shit”, an Afrobeats song built on light guitars, saxophone lines and acoustic percussion in May 2015; the song was reported as being a likely inclusion on the album In July 2015, Wizkid announced on Twitter that Angélique Kidjo would be featured on the album In September 2015, he said he was dropping his EP and postponing the release of his third studio album He made this announcement on Instagram shortly after the conclusion of 2Face Idibia’s Fortified tribute concert

On 5 April 2016, Wizkid 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 On 12 May 2016, the song 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 countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France and Germany The single became Wizkid’s first number-one single as a featured artist in these territories

Wizkid released the promotional single “Like This” on 5 June The song premiered on Drake’s OVO Sound Radio the same month It was produced by Amsterdam-based Ghanaian producer DJ Henry X Pitchfork writer Sheldon Pearce said the song is a “frolicking, summery jam that revels in all the work he ‘s put in” In May 2015, Wizkid joined Chris Brown on his “One Hell of a Nite” world tour

In March 2017, he signed a record deal with RCA Records Wizkid released his third studio album Sounds from the Other Side on 14 July 2017 Primarily a Caribbean-influenced record, SFTOS encompasses several other genres, including Afrobeats, EDM, R&B, and house The album features guest appearances from Drake, Major Lazer, Chris Brown, Ty Dolla Sign, Efya, Bucie and Trey Songz Its production was handled by Sarz, Del B, Spellz, Dre Skull, DJ Mustard, Major Lazer, and the Picard Brothers The album was made available for purchase and online streaming on several music platforms, including Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, Deezer and Google Play SFTOS debuted at number 107 on the US Billboard 200 It also debuted at number 58 on the Canadian Albums Chart The album’s release was preceded by three singles: “Daddy Yo” featuring Efya, “Sweet Love”, and “Come Closer” featuring Drake “African Bad Gyal” was released alongside the pre-order for the album on 9 June 2017, and “Naughty Ride” was released as a promotional track on 23 June 2017

Wizkid became the first Afrobeats artist to appear in the 2018 Guinness World Records for his contribution to “One Dance” His song “Soco” became his first Afrobeats single to be certified Gold in Canada Later that year, 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

2019–present: “Brown Skin Girl”, Soundman Vol 1 and Made in Lagos

Wizkid won his first Grammy Award with his collaboration on Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack

In mid-2019, Wizkid was featured on Beyoncé’s “Brown Skin Girl”, taken from the critically acclaimed The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack It was described as one of his “shining” moments of 2019, thanks to numerous nominations at major international awards, earning him two Soul Train Music Awards, a NAACP Image Award, a BET Awards, and his first Grammy Award, for Best Music Video Later that year, he also released the singles “Joro” and “Ghetto Love”

On 6 December 2019, Wizkid’s label Starboy Entertainment released the EP Soundman Vol 1, centering mainly on Wizkid, and containing features from Chronixx, and a variety of other artists

During 2020, Wizkid featured on various singles, including “Escape” by Akon, “Gbese 20” with DJ Tunes and Spax, “Eve Bounce” by Yung L, and “Consider II” with Walshy Fire He also released a collaboration with American singer, HER, titled “Smile” On 17 September, Wizkid released the single “No Stress”, and announced that he would be releasing his fourth album, Made in Lagos, on 15 October 2020 The album launch was later postponed due to the Nigerian End SARS protests nationwide, until 30 October 2020 Essence”, a single from the album, became the first Nigerian song to chart on the US Billboard Hot 100

At the 27th annual South African Music Awards, Made in Lagos received a nomination for the Rest of Africa Award

On 13 August 2021, he released a remix of “Essence”, featuring Canadian singer Justin Bieber The song became the highest-charting song on the Billboard Hot 100 by an African act, peaking at No 11 on October 4, 2021

In November 2021, at the 64th Annual Grammy Award, his album, Made in Lagos and his song “Essence” earned him two Grammy nominations In the same month, he also received four Soul Train Awards nominations, winning one for “Essence” for Best collaboration

On the first anniversary of Made in Lagos, Wizkid announced his fifth album More Love, Less Ego, originally set for release on the last day of the Made in Lagos tour, January 22, 2022

In September 2022, Wizkid headlined the Rolling Loud Toronto hip hop festival, becoming the first African artist in history to achieve this feat

More Love, Less Ego was released on 11 November 2022

Endorsements

In 2012, Wizkid signed a one-year endorsement deal with Pepsi reportedly worth US$350,000 He travelled to Beirut, Lebanon, with Tiwa Savage for a Pepsi commercial shoot On 28 May 2013, Premium Times reported that Wizkid had signed a one-year deal with MTN Nigeria The newspaper also reported that Wizkid’s Pepsi contract was renewed for two more years In November 2013, Wizkid signed an endorsement deal with Guinness for the Guinness World of More concert, held at the Eko Convention Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites on Victoria Island, Lagos In June 2015, Pulse Nigeria reported that Wizkid had left MTN and signed a ₦128 million deal with GLO

Record label and contract

Empire Mates Entertainment

In February 2013, Wizkid tweeted a subliminal message and tweaked his Twitter account He also moved out of the EME mansion in Lagos and acquired his own home in the Lekki Phase 1 area Prior to Wizkid’s subliminal tweets, Banky W pacified fans by assuring them that nothing was amiss Furthermore, it was reported that troubles within EME began as early as the EME All Stars concert in 2012 It was also reported that money was at the centre of the controversy On 30 April 2013, Nigerian Entertainment Today reported that Wizkid and EME had reunited after contract negotiations Wizkid departed EME following the release of his second studio album and the expiration of his five-year contract In a video interview with Capital Xtra in October 2019, Wizkid said he left EME without any money

Starboy Entertainment

The logo of Wizkid’s Starboy Entertainment imprint

Wizkid established Starboy Entertainment in March 2013 He revealed to Yvonne Ekwere of Silverbird Television that he planned on signing new acts to the label Wizkid first signed Maleek Berry and Legendury Beatz to the label, while Berry became an in-house producer In August 2013, Wizkid signed LAX to Starboy, as its first recording act In February 2016, DJ Tunez became the in-house disc jockey, and in May 2016, Efya, R2Bees, and Mr Eazi were signed to the label Other artists signed to the label include Legendury Beatz, R2Bees, Terri, and Efya The label is currently managed by Jada P Starboy Entertainment has been nominated for a best record label award one by the City People Entertainment Awards and four times by The Beatz Awards

Sony Music/RCA

In 2017, Billboard reported that Wizkid signed a multi-album worldwide record deal with RCA Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music

Personal life

Wizkid has four children with three different women The children were born in 2011, 2016, 2017, and 2022

Fatherhood controversy

In August 2011, Nigerian Entertainment Today reported that the singer fathered his first child at the age of 21 After a thorough investigation, the newspaper concluded Wizkid impregnated then-undergraduate student Sola Ogudugu When the story broke, close friends and associates of Wizkid did not confirm it because DNA results were pending at the time Wizkid broke his silence on the story during several interviews In an interview with a Nigerian Entertainment Today editor, he denied having a child In another interview conducted in Ogudu-GRA, Lagos, he said he really did not want to find himself in that peculiar situation In December 2012, Wizkid denied the baby scandal during an interview with Nonye Ben-Nwankwo of The Punch In October 2013, he uploaded a picture of himself and his 2-year-old son, Boluwatife Balogun, to his Instagram account The photo confirmed the 2011 report published by Nigerian Entertainment Today

Feuds

Wizkid became engulfed in battles on Twitter with several artists, including his erstwhile boss Banky W and former label mate Skales Other artists include Davido, Dammy Krane, Saeon, Samklef, Reekado Banks and blogger Linda Ikeji

Fashion style

In an interview with Alex Frank of Vogue magazine in February 2015, Wizkid said he wears a mixture of street wear and traditional Nigerian clothes He cited Pharrell Williams as one of his fashion style icons Moreover, he revealed plans to establish a clothing line following the release of Sounds from the Other Side

Awards and nominations

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Wizkid

Wizkid’s contributions to the Nigerian music industry have earned him several achievements, including the Grammy Award for Best Music Video as a lead artist on Beyoncé’s “Brown Skin Girl”; his first ever Grammy Award He is the most awarded African artist at the BET Awards (3), Soul Train Awards (3), Billboard Awards (3), iHeartRadio Music Awards (2) and MOBO Awards (6) He is also a recipient of an ASCAP plaque for his songwriting contributions to Drake’s “One Dance”, which also earned two Guinness World Records, for being the first song to reach a billion streams on Spotify, and at the time being the most streamed song on Spotify Wizkid was cited as one of the Top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2019 He is also the most awarded artiste in The Headies award history He was nominated in the Best Global Music Album and the Best Global Music Performance categories in the 64th Annual Grammy Awards for Made in Lagos Deluxe Edition and “Essence” respectively In November 2021, Apple Music Awards announced him as the winner of Artist of the Year (Africa)

Discography

Main article: Wizkid discography

Studio albums

  • Superstar (2011)
  • Ayo (2014)
  • Sounds from the Other Side (2017)
  • Made in Lagos (2020)
  • More Love, Less Ego (2022)

Tours

  • Made in Lagos Tour (2021)

Notes

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