The Nigerian born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, Wizkid as you know him, born July 16,1990 is a recording artist, songwriter and performing musician.
His musical career started at age 11, in a collaborative album entitled Lil Prinz (2001) with Glorious Five (a group he initiated). He signed a record deal with Empire Mates Entertainment in 2009 and rose to prominence in 2010 with the release of the song “Holla at Your Boy” from his debut studio album, Superstar (2011).
The same album recorded hit singles in “Teaser Me/Bad Guys”, “Don’t Dull”, Gidi Girl, “Love My Baby”, “Pakurumo” and “Oluwa Lo Ni”. Wizkid’s second studio album, Ayo (2014), was preceded by the singles “Jaiye Jaiye”, “On Top Your Matter”, “One Question”, “Joy”, “Bombay” and “Show You the Money”.
Wizkid has collaborated with several artist both home and abroad, proving his worth in all of the collaboration. He featured on the hits “Girl” (with Bracket), “Fine Lady” (with Lynxxx), “Sexy Mama” (with Iyanya), “Slow Down” (with R2Bees), “The Matter” (with Maleek Berry), “Pull Over” (with KCee) and “Bad Girl” (with Jesse Jagz).
His continued effort and pursue for success saw him ranked 5th on Forbes and Channel O’s 2013 list of the Top 10 Richest/Bankable African Artists, and he became the first ever Nigerian musician to have over 1 million followers on Twitter in February 2014.
EARLY LIFE OF WIZKID (1990-2010)
Wizkid in Surulere, a residential and commercial area of Lagos, to a polygamous family of three wives. At age 11, the 7 track album entitled Lil Prinz (2001) he released with his group, the Glorious Five (a couple of his church friends), marked the start of his beautiful career.
The group dropped the album prior to dismembering. Wizkid then met OJB Jezreel, a record producer and was prevented from recording for a year, watching 2 Face Idibia record Grass 2 Grace and Sound Sultan record Jagbajantis from the bench. A year later, Wizkid started recording.
His first song was met with great reception throughout Surulere and featured OJB Jezreel. Though his parents were not welcoming his career in music from the beginning, hard work and lots of time in the studio saw him gain his father’s trust, Wizkid said Naeto C is one of the people who mentored and coached him while he was 15 years and upcoming.
At this time, Wizkid has a great relationship with Banky W because they were first friends, before a professional relationship. He co-wrote Banky W’s “Omoge You Too Much”, a song off the The W Experience album. 2006 saw him collaborating with Naeto C and Ikechukwu before becoming a household name within Nigeria’s musical industry in 2009; same year he featured on M.I’s “Fast Money, Fast Cars” and Kel’s “Turn by Turn”.
FIRST STUDIO ALBUM: SUPERSTAR (2010-2011)
Wizkid began the recording for his debut studio album Superstar (2011) in 2010, realeasing “Holla at Your Boy” as the album’s lead single on the 2 January 2010, a song that earned him a Next Rated award at The Headies 2011, and was nominated for Best Pop Single at The Headies 2011.
The music video for “Holla at Your Boy” was nominated for Most Gifted Newcomer Video at the 2011 Channel O Music Video Awards. Same video was also nominated for Best Afro Pop Video at the 2011 Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA).
Still working on the album, a second single “Tease Me/Bad Guys” was released on 2 April 2010; which was initially as a freestyle, then followed “Don’t Dull”, the album’s third single, on 6 December 2010.
Finally, the album was released on 12 June 2011 by Empire Mates Entertainment; the album was recorded in Yoruba and English. It incorporates elements of R&B, dancehall, and reggae.
The album saw Wizkid collaborating with a wide range of music producers, including E-Kelly, Jay Sleek, Shizzi, DJ Klem, Sunny Nweke, Q-Beats and Samklef, featuring guest appearances from Banky W, Skales, D’Prince and Wande Coal. It was initially scheduled for release on 14 February 2011, but was later pushed back.
Wizkid hosted an album launch party at the Expo Hall of the Eko Hotel and Suites same day of realease. It featured performances from Banky W, Skales, 2face Idibia, Samklef, Wande Coal, D’Prince, Olamide, eLDee, Jesse Jagz, Ice Prince, Lynxxx and Seyi Shay.
The Superstar album won the Best Album of the Year at the 2012 Nigeria Entertainment Awards, and was nominated for Album of the Year at The Headies 2012.
SECOND STUDIO ALBUM: AYO (2012-2014) AND OTHER WORKS
Wizkid’s second studio album, Ayo, was set on motion in 2012 and continued through 2014. It featured guest appearances from Femi Kuti, Banky W, Seyi Shay, Phyno, Tyga, Akon and Wale. With productions handled by Sarz, Shizzi, Uhuru, Del B, Dr Frabz, Maleek Berry, Legendury Beatz and Spellz.
The album was initially titled Chosen but it suffered from a pushed back release date according to MTV Base. It was earlier reported that the album would feature Don Jazzy, Efya and Olamide. On 6 September 2014, Wizkid revealed the album’s cover art and track listing.
Before the plans for a second studio album, Wizkid had plans for a mixtape in April 2013 according to an interview with Ok!Nigeria TV at Disturbing Headquarters in London, saying it would feature Wale and Tinie Tempah. Before he later announced, he would be releasing his second studio album on 12 June 2013.
Wizkid and Starboy Entertainment, on 2May 2013 released the album’s lead single “Jaiye Jaiye” featuring Femi Kuti. He told Showtime Celebrity that he collaborated with Femi Kuti in order to prevent people from depicting him as an artist whose lyrics revolve around girls, cars and materialistic things.
Another song “On Top Your Matter” followed as the album’s second single on 26 October 2013; produced by Del B. It’s music video, released on 13 February 2014, shot and directed in South Africa by Sesan. In July 2014, at The Beat 99.9 FM studio in Lagos, Wizkid told Toolz that he collaborated with Barbadian singer Rihanna.
2015 – PRESENT
Wizkid thrilled his fans on 5 January 2015, with the release of the music video for “Ojuelegba”, a song that highlights the struggles he endured in the early years of his recording career. The song’s official remix features vocals from Drake and Skepta; it premiered on OVO Sound Radio in July 2015.
Wizkid first announced that he was working on a new album during his visit to London in October 2014. He revealed his collaborative single with Chris Brown titled “African Bad Girl”, and said that it would be the lead single off the upcoming album. In April 2015, both Wizkid and Chris Brown performed the song together at the latter’s concert in Durban, South Africa.
In May 2015, Wizkid released “Expensive Shit”, an Afrobeat song built on light guitars, saxophone lines and acoustic percussion; a likely inclusion on the album. In July 2015, he also said via Twitter that Angélique Kidjo will be featured on the album.
In September 2015, via Instagram, Wizkid revealed that he was dropping his EP and postponing the release of his third studio album, he made the announcement shortly after the conclusion of 2Face Idibia’s “Fortified” tribute concert. He was quoted as saying, “I celebrated the legend 2face Idibia last night! Epic! It made me realize how much work I need to do.”
According to an interview published by The Fader magazine, Wizkid’s upcoming EP would be titled Sounds From the Other Side and he is already squeezing in edits to the EP.
On April 5, 2016, Wizkid became Nigeria’s first artist to emerge on Billboard’s Twitter Last 24 hours chart following his guest feature on Drake’s “One Dance” single, though it charted at number 21 at first but on May 12, 2016, the song reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Wizkid released the promotional single “Like This” on 5 June 2016 and it made its premiere on Drake’s OVO Sound Radio in June 2016. It was produced by Amsterdam-based Ghanaian producer DJ Henry X. A song Sheldon Pearce of Pitchfork Media described as a “frolicking, summery jam that revels in all the work he [Wizkid]’s put in.”
TOURS AND PERFORMANCES
The release of their compilation album saw the Empire Mates State of Mind acts touring the United States, from on 4 July 2012 to on 2 September 2012. The acts performed in Houston, Dallas, Toronto, Vancouver, New York City, Providence, Calgary, Atlanta, Washington DC, and Chicago.
In 2012, Wizkid performed at the HMV Apollo on 4 June 2012 during his London tour and also on 12 November 2012, at the BBC Radio 1Xtra Live 02 Academy in Brixton with Angel, Kendrick Lamar, Trey Songz, and Tulisa.
At the 2013 edition of Felabration, a yearly concert dedicated to the late Fela Kuti, Wizkid wowed the expectant fans with his performance on 17 October. Then later that year, On 2 November 2013, he performed at the Guinness Colorful World of More concert which took place at the Eko Convention Center of the Eko Hotels and Suites, on same stage with Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, D’banj, P-Square, Phyno, Ice Prince, Davido and Olamide among others. And also at the Guinness Big Eruption Concert, on 23 November 2013.
Wizkid was a special guest for some shows in Tinie Tempah’s 2014 UK tour. And in may 2016, he joined Chris Brown on his “One Hell of a Nite” world tour.
The effort an artist put in to developing himself, tells how much endorsement they attracts in and Wizkid isn’t short of that.
Wizkid in 2012, signed a one-year endorsement deal with Pepsi for $350,000 and then travelled to Beirut, Lebanon for a commercial shoot with Tiwa Savage. A deal he later renewed for another two years. On 28 May 2013, Wizkid signed a one-year deal with MTN Nigeria, which he later ditched for a 128 million naira GLO deal he signed on 18 June 2015, as reported by Plus.
On 23 October 2013, Wizkid signed a deal with Guinness for the “Guinness World of More” concert. The concert was held on 3 November 2013, at the Eko Convention Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos.
NEXT RATED, AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS
Wizkid won the Next Rated award at The Headies 2011, joining the list of past winners, including Aṣa, Overdose, Omawumi, Wande Coal and Skuki.
Wizkid has grately contributed to the Nigerian Music Industry, and still putting more effort in bringing the best out of him.
This effort has earned him several achievements, including six Nigeria Entertainment Awards, five The Headies Awards, two Channel O music Video Awards, two City People Entertainment Awards, two Dynamic All Youth Awards, two Ghana Music Awards, a BET Award, a Future Award and a MOBO Award.
Wizkid has received three nominations at the MTV Europe Music Awards. And has also been nominated four times at the World Music Awards.
The fallout between Banky W the E.M.E. Boss let to the birth a label imprint, now known as STARBOY ENTERTAINMENT.
It was reported on 5 March 2013, that Wizkid established his label imprint Starboy Entertainment. He then went ahead and told Yvonne Vixen Ekwere his plan of signing new acts to the label. Same label he said was established to give up-and-coming artists a platform to prove their talent.
On 17 April 2013, Wizkid signed Maleek Berry to Starboy Entertainment. Their work credits include “Lagos to Soweto” and “The Matter”, among others. Two brothers and producers, Uzezi Oniko and Okiemute Oniko, the Legendary Beats you know, we’re signed on 29 April 2013. He announcement via Twitter, and unveiled the photos on 9 May 2013.
Wizkid also signed L.A.X to the label on 20 August 2013, making the announcement moments after debuting the music video for “Caro”, label’s first official single.
On May 7, 2016, the signings of Efya, R2Bees, and Mr Eazi to Starboy Entertainment became a sealed deal, He announcemed the news after his performance at the 17th edition of the Ghana Music Awards.