Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun better known by his stage name Wizkid is a Nigerian recording artist, songwriter and performer. The singer who started his musical career at age 11 signed a record deal with Bank W’s Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) in 2009 and then later released “Holla at your Boy”, a song that marked his rise to fame. The singer has since then revolutionized Africa’s Music Industry, arguably establishing himself as the most influential African Artist of his generation.
Here are some of the major strides made during Wizkid’s music career that are molding him into legend;
The Nigerian singer prides himself in numerous awards to his name including the most notable 2012 BET Best International Act Africa Award. In addition to this, Wizkid has been nominated for two Channel O Music Video Awards, three MTV Europe Music Awards and four World Music Awards for the highly contested World’s Best Live Act and World’s Best Male Artist titles.
As if that was not enough, Wizkid has been ranked 5th on Forbes and Channel O’s 2013 list of the Top 10 Richest/ Bankable African Artists. It is however important to note that his is not just riches in terms of money, but also an amazing distinct voice with equally rich content in his music, which explains his being profiled as one of the 12 most innovative singers in the world with the coolest sounds.
In 2014, the Ojuelegba singer became the first ever Nigerian musician to have over 1 million followers on Twitter. Wizkid also had his influence earning him a one- year endorsement deal with Pepsi, alleged to have been worth 350, 000 U.S dollars with the contract later renewed for another two years. He then signed another endorsement deal with Guinness for the “Guinness World of More” concert, before landing an alleged 128 million naira deal with multinational Telecommunications Company GLO.
Wizkid has performed at the BBC Radio 1Xtra Live alongside big names Trey Songz, Kendrick Lamar, Tulisa and Angel. The Nigerian star recently became the first Nigerian artist to debut in Billboard Top 100 charts, for the song One Dance, in which Drake featured him alongside Kyle and have managed to stay on the charts for one consecutive week. With this, he also made it to Twitter’s Trending 140 charts worldwide.
Wizkid was listed as the 11th most downloaded artists worldwide on iTunes along 200 other artists from around the world, again being the only Nigerian artist on the list. He was among world top artists among them Beyonce, Jay Z, Whitney Houston, Justin Beiber, Prince and Iggy Azalea. And if you thought that the huge Nigerian population made up his fans, think again because Wizkid’s songs were said to be downloaded most in Denmark.
In matters fashion, he was named as the best dressed pop star in Nigeria in 2016’s February edition of Vogue, with his sense of style being described as a “trendsetting style just as his sound, with a thoughtful and fun approach to his wardrobe; clean lines and minimalism; a mix of fresh street wear with traditional Nigerian clothes; and bold, bright accessories.”
Wizkid is indeed making a name for himself not just in Africa but the world across, flying the continent’s flag high and having the world look at us and see the great potential in us. His music career can be best summed up as one that involves being bold enough to take risks and standing out by creating your own niche rather than following a crowd.