Wizkid's biography, musical career and top hit songs

Top Nigerian Singer and Song Writer Wizkid (Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun)
EJ
By Emeh Joy

Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (born 16 July 1990), professionally known as Wizkid is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. Here, we take a look at Wizkid's rise in the music industry.

Wizkid's early life

Wizkid was born 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 and 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. The group managed to release an album before 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 Jagba Jantis.

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 M.I 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.

Throwback picture of Wizkid with his then-boss, Banky W.

Wizkid: The walk to grace

Wizkid signed a record deal with Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) in 2009. He rose to prominence after releasing "Holla at Your Boy", the lead single from his debut studio album Superstar (2011).

"Tease Me/Bad Guys", "Don't Dull", "Love My Baby", "Pakurumo" and "Oluwa Lo Ni" were also released as singles from the Superstar album.

In February 2014, Wizkid became the first-ever Nigerian musician to have over 1 million followers on Twitter. Ayo, his self-titled second studio album, was released in September 2014.

Six singles supported it: "Jaiye Jaiye", "On Top Your Matter", "One Question", "Joy", "Bombay" and "Show You the Money". Wizkid left E.M.E after his contract expired.

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 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.

"Holla at Your Boy" was nominated for Best Pop Single at the prizes mentioned above show. Its music video was nominated for Most Gifted Newcomer Video at the 2011 Channel O Music Video Awards.

Wizkid started with signing a record deal with Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) in 2009. His song, "Holla At Your Boy" (2011) first brought him to limelight.

Wizkid's songs and albums

Below are some of Wizkid's most famous songs:

Superstar

In 2009, Wizkid began his debut studio album, ‘Super Star’. Superstar was released on June 12, 2011, by Empire Mates Entertainment under Banky W and Tunde Demuren.

It was supported by six singles Holla at your boy (2010), Tease Me/Bad Guys (2010), Don’t Dull (2010), Love My Baby (2011), Pakurumo (2011), and Oluwa Lo Ni (2012).

The album earned him the Next Rated award at The Headies 2011, and a 2012 Hyundai Sonata Car. It became the second best-selling album on Not Just OK, a music download, and it won the Nigerian Album of 2011.

The album has an element of R&B, dance hall and reggae composed with English and Yoruba Language. It won the Best Album of the Year in the Nigeria Entertainment Awards in 2012.

Ayo

Ayo (in Yoruba, Joy) is an eponymously titled album from his name, Ayodeji. It was released on September 17, 2014, by Starboy Entertainment and Empire Mates Entertainment.

He collaborated with some record producers like Maleek Berry, Spellz, Sarz and many more. He also featured some singer-songwriters like Femi Kuti, Akon, Tyga, Phyno, Banky W. e.t.c.

The album six singles are Jaiye jaiye (2013), On Top, Your Matter (2013), One Question (2014), Joy (2014), Bomboy (2014), Show You the Money (2014). It won the Best R&B/Pop Album under Headies in 2015.

Sounds From the Other Side

Wizkid released his third studio album, Sounds from the other side (STFOS) on July 14, 2017. It was released by the Starboy Entertainment, RCA Records and Sony Music International.

The music genres involve Afrobeat, EDM, R&B, House and Dance Hall. The producers are the Picard Brothers, Sarz, Del B, DJ Mustard and many more with guest appearances from Chris Brown, Bucie, Drake, Ty Dolla Sign. e.t.c

The album was ranked 107 on the US Billboard 200 and 58 on Canadian Albums Charts. It has 5 singles and they are Daddy Yo (2016), Sweet Love (2017), Come Closer (2017), African Bad Gyal (2017), Naughty Ride (2017). It won the Best R&B/Pop Album under the Headies in 2018.

Wizkid released his third album, Sounds from the other side which ranked 107 on US Billboard and 58 on Canadian Album Charts

Wizkid's rise

Here is an additional story of Wizkid's rise in the music industry, record labels he has signed with and artists he has worked under.

Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E)

Wizkid signed up with E.M.E, in 2009 under Banky Wellington and Tunde Demuren. On June 18, 2012, the record label released a compilation album called the Empire Mates States of Mind through a digital media company, Spinlet.

This compilation album features the label acts and guest appearances and skit from BasketMouth, Rotimi and X. O Senavoe.

The Star Boy Entertainment

On March 5, 2013, Wizkid established the Star Boy entertainment record label. After it was established, he left the Empire Mates Entertainment.

In May 2016, it expanded into a Star Boy Worldwide after signing some international Sing-Song writers like Efya, Eazi and R2Bees. This was after his performance at the 17th edition of the Ghana Musician Awards.

The record label was created to give an up-coming artist a platform to showcase their talents. He went on to sign Maleek Berry, a British Nigerian record Producer and the Onikos- Legendury Beatz. He also signed a recording artist L.A.X to his imprint.

Wizkid business deals

Wizkid is not just an Afro-beat pop singer, he also reaps the benefits of being a celebrity. He has signed mouth-watery deals with top-notch companies. For example, he signed a one-year endorsement deal with Pepsi for about $350,000 and travelled with Tiwa Savage for a commercial shoot for the brand in 2012. The contract was reportedly renewed for another two years.

On May 28, 2013, Wizkid signed a one-year deal with MTN Nigeria.

On October 3, 2013, he signed an endorsement deal with Guinness for the Guinness World Of More concert in Victoria Island, Lagos. The event held on November 3, the same year.

In 2015, he went on to sign a deal with Glo for N128 million.

Wizkid collaborated with Nike to produce the Starboy Jersey Collection.

The Afrobeat star is said to own a mansion in Lekki, another in Los Angeles, California, US, and a house in Surulere.

Wizkid's Personal Awards

S/N

Award

Company

Year

1

Promising artist of the year

Dynamix All Youths Award

2010

2

Best new male artist

City People Entertainments Award

2011

3

Best new artist of the year

Nigeria Entertainment Awards

2011

4

Artist of the year

Dynamix All Youth Awards

2011

5

Best African Act

Music of black origin

2011

6

Best Pop/R$B Artist of the Year

Nigeria Entertainment Awards

2012

7

Hip Hop World Revelation of the Year

The Headies

2012

8

Artist of the Year

The Headies

2012

9

Best International Act Africa

BET Awards

2012

10

Hottest Single of the Year

Ojuelegba

Nigeria Entertainment Award

11

Video of the Year

Ojuelegba

African Muzik Magazine Awards

12

Song of the Year

Ojuelegba

African Muzik Magazine Awards

wizkid throwback with olamide

Quotes by Wizkid

  1. We still have a lot of work to do as African artists to get more recognition in the U.K. and the U.S., but right now, definitely, we’re getting the recognition. The thing is, we have to earn it. Keep working. Stay working.
  2. I always dreamed of making it big.
  3. You don't have to wait until you are much older to be the best at something or achieve your dreams.
  4. These are dark days: these are great days - the greatest days of our country has ever lived.
  5. Great and good are seldom the same man.
  6. All you need is God, never forget.
  7. Gratitude is a must.

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