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Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun aka Wizkid

By: Alex Umoru

Selling out the 02 Arena in the UK at a twice appearance in 2019 and 2017 has made him the only African artist to have achieve the feat in the tale of Nigeria and Africa’s music scene. Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun popularly known as Wizkid is truly an exceptional Nigerian that is widely celebrated round the world.

Wizkid was born on 16 July 1990, in Surulere, Lagos South West Nigeria and he had twelve female siblings in inter religious home. His mother is a Pentecostal Christian and his father practices Islam who had three wives. He attended Ijebu Ode Grammar School and grew up listening to King Sunny Ade, Fela Kuti and Bob Marley.

Like every other musician, he started his phenomenal career from the church when his was 11 years old and managed to release a collaborative album with his group named the Glorious Five under the stage name Lil Prinz.

In his beat to perfect his acts, he worked with the late OJB Jezreal for one year in his Point Beat Studio and witness the like of 2 Face Idibia while recording his Grass to Grace album. Wizkid was also present during the recording sessions for Sound Sultan’s debut album Jagbajantis.

Artist like Naeto C were one of the people who he mentored when he was 15 years old. He dropped out of Lagos State University (LASU) 2009 and Lead City University respectively. Wizkid signed on to the Empire Mates Entertainment in 2009 led by Banky W were he rose prominence when he recorded his heat single “Holla at Your Boy” from his debut studio album Superstar (2011). While recording his debut studio album Superstar in 2009, he won the Next Rated award at the 2011 Headies with his heat single and was also awarded a 2012 Hyundai Sonata by the the organizers. “Holla at Your Boy” was nominated for Best Pop Single at the aforementioned awards show.

Following his release of his second album in September 2014, Wizkid became the first ever Nigerian musician to have over 1 million followers on Twitter. In 2014 his self- acclaimed album titled Ayo, supported by six singles were the last release under the E.M.E label. In 2016, Wizkid achieved international recognition following his collaboration with Drake on the global hit, “One Dance”, which reached number one in 15 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. He signed a multi-album deal with RCA Records in March 2017. His third studio album Sounds from the Other Side was released by RCA Records. It serves as his major label debut and was primarily a Caribbean-influenced record. SFTOS was supported by five singles: “Daddy Yo”, “Sweet Love”, “Come Closer”, “African Bad Gyal” and “Naughty Ride”.

In addition to his solo work, Wizkid has collaborated with several other artists and was featured on the hits “Brown Skin Girl” (with Beyonce), “Energy (Stay Far Away)” (with Skepta), “Sexy Mama” (with lyanya), “Slow Down” (with R2Bees), “The Matter” (with Maleek Berry), “Pull Over” (with KCee) and “Bad Girl” (with Jesse Jagz). Moreover, he became the first Afrobeats artist to appear in the 2018 Guinness World Records for his contribution to “One Dance”.

In the course of his rising career, he has a lot of endorsement like in 2012, he signed a one-year endorsement deal with Pepsi reportedly worth 350,000 U.S dollars. Also in 2013, he signed a one-year deal with MTN Nigeria and in the same years, he had an endorsement deal with Guinness for the Guinness World of More concert, held at the Eko Convention Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos. He currently has endorsement with Globacom network providers.

Wizkid performing at 02 Arena in the UK recently

He left Empire Mates Entertainment in 2013 to establish he own record 2012, he signed a one-year endorsement deal with Pepsi reportedly worth 350,000 U.S dollars. Also in 2013, he signed a one-year deal with MTN Nigeria and in the same years, he had an endorsement deal with Guinness for the Guinness World of More concert, held at the Eko Convention Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos. He currently has endorsement with Globacom network providers.

He left Empire Mates Entertainment in 2013 to establish he own record label, Starboy Entertainment following the expiration of his 5-year contract. It was revealed in a recent interview that he left E.M.E without any money. After establishing his own record label in April 2013, he signed Maleek Berry and Legendury Beatz and also signed L.A.X, Efya, R2Bees, and Mr Eazi. Wizkid’s contribution to the Nigerian Music Industry has earned him several achievements.

He received an ASCAP plaque for his songwriting contributions to Drake’s “One Dance”. He has three children from different women and his net worth in $12 Million Dollars according forbes magazine.

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