THE ICON OF THE NEW AFRO BEAT
Nigerian singer/songwriter Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (aka Wizkid) began his career in music when he was just 11 years old. His first record, Lil Prinz, was recorded in 2001 in collaboration with a Glorious Five, a group consisting of Balogun and his friends from church. In 2006, he started pursuing music full-time, at first collaborating with various Nigerian pop acts including OJB Jezreel, Naeto C and Banky W. By 2011, he was ready to record his debut studio album as a solo artist: Superstar was released via Empire Mates Entertainment to great critical and public acclaim across Africa, propelling him to stardom in his home country. After multiple delays and label disagreements, Balogun released his sophomore album, Ayo, in 2014. His second studio album featured a multitude of guest appearances, including Femi Kuti. It also featured Balogun’s global breakthrough track “Ojuelegba.” Not only did the single cement his status as one of Nigeria’s biggest pop acts, it was also picked up and remixed by Drake and Skepta, thrusting Wizkid into the international spotlight. In return, Wizkid appeared on Drake’s 2016 smash single “One Dance.” In March 2017, it was announced that Wizkid had signed a major deal with RCA and Sony International, which released his third LP, Sounds From the Other Side, later that year. Pushing collaborations such as “Manya” and “Soco”, Wizkid continues to dominate the Nigerian and African air waves in 2018. The 27-year old became the first Afrobeats artist to sell out London’s Royal Albert Hall and o2 Arena, proving his movement to be one of lasting global impact.