Wizkid is one of the most successful and influential African artists of all time. He has won numerous awards, collaborated with international stars, and sold out arenas across the world. But how did he achieve such fame and fortune? What are the secrets behind his meteoric rise to stardom? In this article, we will reveal the untold journey of Wizkid’s musical career, from his humble beginnings to his global domination. We will also share some of the lessons and tips that aspiring artists can learn from his story. Let’s get started!
The Early Years: From Church Choir to Studio Rat
Wizkid was born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun on July 16, 1990, in Surulere, Lagos. He grew up in an interfaith household with twelve female siblings. His mother was a Pentecostal Christian, while his father was a Muslim. Wizkid was exposed to different genres of music from an early age, including gospel, fuji, afrobeat, reggae, and hip-hop. He developed a passion for singing and performing and joined his church choir at the age of 11. He also formed a group with his church friends called the Glorious Five and released a collaborative album with them.
Wizkid’s talent did not go unnoticed by his family and friends, who encouraged him to pursue his musical dreams. However, he faced some challenges and opposition from his father, who wanted him to focus on his education. Wizkid had to sneak out of his home to attend studio sessions and shows, sometimes lying to his parents about his whereabouts. He also had to deal with the harsh realities of the Nigerian music industry, such as lack of funding, promotion, and recognition. He recorded several songs and demos, but none of them made it to the mainstream.
Wizkid did not give up on his aspirations and continued to hone his skills and network with other artists and producers. He changed his stage name from Lil Prinz to Wizkid and adopted a more versatile and contemporary style of music. He also dropped out of Lagos State University, where he was studying sociology, to focus on his career. He later enrolled in Lead City University, but also dropped out after two sessions.
The Breakthrough: From E.M.E to Starboy
Wizkid’s big break came in 2009, when he met Banky W, a popular Nigerian singer and the CEO of Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E). Banky W was impressed by Wizkid’s talent and charisma, and signed him to his record label. Wizkid became the youngest artist on the E.M.E roster, and joined other acts like Skales, Niyola, and Shaydee. Under the guidance and mentorship of Banky W, Wizkid began to work on his debut studio album, Superstar.
The album was released in 2011, and was a huge success. It featured hit singles like “Holla at Your Boy”, “Tease Me/Bad Guys”, “Don’t Dull”, and “Love My Baby”. The album earned Wizkid several awards and nominations, including the Next Rated award at The Headies, and the Best International Act: Africa award at the BET Awards. Wizkid also performed at sold-out concerts and events, both locally and internationally. He became one of the most sought-after and influential artists in Nigeria and Africa.
Wizkid did not rest on his laurels, and followed up his debut album with another masterpiece, Ayo, in 2014. The album was a fusion of afrobeat, reggae, dancehall, R&B, and pop, and showcased Wizkid’s growth and versatility as an artist. The album featured collaborations with legendary artists like Femi Kuti, Wale, Tyga, and Akon. It also spawned the viral hit “Ojuelegba”, which caught the attention of global stars like Drake and Skepta, who remixed the song and introduced Wizkid to a wider audience.
Wizkid’s fame and fortune continued to soar, but so did his controversies and conflicts. He had a series of disputes and misunderstandings with his label boss, Banky W, and his fellow label mates, Skales and Shaydee. He also had beefs and rivalries with other artists, such as Davido, Olamide, and Samklef. He also faced legal issues and lawsuits from his former producers and managers, who accused him of breach of contract and unpaid royalties. Wizkid decided to part ways with E.M.E in 2013, and announced the launch of his own record label, Starboy Entertainment. He signed artists like L.A.X, Maleek Berry, R2Bees, and Mr Eazi to his label, and began to work on his third studio album, Sounds from the Other Side.
The Global Domination: From Drake to Beyoncé
Wizkid’s third studio album, Sounds from the Other Side, was released in 2017, and was his first major international project. The album was a blend of afrobeat, dancehall, R&B, and pop, and featured collaborations with global icons like Drake, Major Lazer, Chris Brown, Ty Dolla Sign, and Trey Songz. The album was distributed by RCA Records, and was well-received by critics and fans alike. It debuted at number 107 on the US Billboard 200, and number 58 on the UK Albums Chart. It also won the Best Album of the Year award at the African Muzik Magazine Awards.
Wizkid’s international recognition and reputation continued to grow, as he worked with more and more artists from different parts of the world. He featured on Drake’s smash hit “One Dance”, which topped the charts in 15 countries, and became the most streamed song on Spotify. He also featured on Beyoncé’s album The Lion King: The Gift, on the track “Brown Skin Girl”, which won him a Grammy Award for Best Music Video. He also collaborated with artists like Future, Wale, Tinie Tempah, Zara Larsson, and Normani.
Wizkid did not forget his roots, and also released songs that catered to his African fan base. He released his fourth studio album, Made in Lagos, in 2020, which was a tribute to his hometown and his culture. The album featured artists like Burna Boy, Tems, Damian Marley, and H.E.R. The album was a commercial and critical success, and reached number one on the Billboard World Albums Chart. The album also spawned the hit 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 by Justin Bieber.
Wizkid’s fifth album, More Love, Less Ego, was released on November 11, 2022, and was another masterpiece. The album was a reflection of Wizkid’s maturity and wisdom, and featured themes of love, peace, and unity. The album featured artists like Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Adele. The album was praised by critics and fans, and broke several records, such as the most streamed album on Spotify in a day, and the most pre-ordered album on Apple Music.
The Lessons and Tips: From Wizkid to You
Wizkid’s journey from a church choir boy to a global superstar is an inspiring and motivational one. He has overcome many challenges and obstacles, and has achieved many feats and milestones. He has also influenced and inspired many other artists and fans, both in Nigeria and abroad. He is a living legend and a role model for many aspiring artists. Here are some of the lessons and tips that you can learn from his story:
- Follow your passion and pursue your dreams, no matter what. Wizkid had a passion for music from an early age, and he did not let anything stop him from following his dreams. He faced opposition from his family, rejection from the industry, and criticism from the public, but he did not give up. He kept working hard and improving his craft, and eventually achieved his goals.
- Be versatile and adaptable, and embrace different styles and genres of music. Wizkid is known for his versatility and adaptability, and his ability to fuse different styles and genres of music. He has experimented with gospel, fuji, afrobeat, reggae, dancehall, R&B, pop, and more. He has also collaborated with artists from different backgrounds and cultures and has created a unique and diverse sound. He has also evolved and grown as an artist and has not been afraid to try new things and challenge himself.
- Be humble and grateful, and appreciate your fans and supporters. Wizkid is known for his humility and gratitude, and his appreciation for his fans and supporters. He has always acknowledged and thanked his fans for their love and loyalty, and has often interacted with them on social media and at shows. He has also given back to his community and society, and has supported various causes and charities. He has also shown respect and admiration for his fellow artists and mentors, and has credited them for their influence and inspiration.
- Be original and authentic, and create your own brand and identity. Wizkid is known for his originality and authenticity, and his creation of his own brand and identity. He has always stayed true to himself and his vision and has not copied or imitated anyone else. He has also created his own record label, Starboy Entertainment, and has signed and nurtured other talented artists. He has also developed his own style and fashion and has endorsed and launched various products and brands.
Conclusion: From Starboy to Legend
Wizkid is one of the most successful and influential African artists of all time. He has risen from a church choir boy to a global superstar and has made his mark on the world stage. He has also inspired and motivated millions of people with his music and his story. He is a starboy and a legend in the making.
We hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new and valuable from Wizkid’s journey. If you are an aspiring artist or a fan of Wizkid, we hope you found some tips and lessons that you can apply to your own life and career. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. We would love to hear from you!
- Q: When did Wizkid start his musical career?
- A: Wizkid started his musical career at the age of 11, when he joined his church choir and formed a group with his friends called the Glorious Five.
- Q: What is Wizkid’s real name?
- A: Wizkid’s real name is Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun.
- Q: What are some of Wizkid’s most popular songs?
- A: Some of Wizkid’s most popular songs are “Ojuelegba”, “One Dance”, “Brown Skin Girl”, “Essence”, and “Smile”.
- Q: What are some of the awards that Wizkid has won?
- A: Wizkid has won several awards, including the BET Awards, the MTV Europe Music Awards, the MOBO Awards, the Headies, the African Muzik Magazine Awards, and the Grammy Awards.
- Q: What is the name of Wizkid’s record label?
- A: Wizkid’s record label is Starboy Entertainment, which he founded in 2013.