The Nigerian celebrity Wizkid has attained such unprecedented worldwide fame, that the history of 21st Century Nigeria is incomplete without him. In his roughly 2 decades of musical journey, Wizkid has proven that indeed the imagination knows no bounds. He survived a plethora of controversies, and lack of parental support for his career. W broke the supposition that higher education in the modern world is a necessity for financial success, into pieces. He became a global wonder; albeit, with a somewhat laid-back personality.
Wizkid – His Current Status
It might interest you to know that Ayo Balogun, whose stage name is Wizkid, is also a model, songwriter, and music executive. Besides his stage performances and record deals elsewhere, he now owns his own record label, Starboy Entertainment (2013). Wizkid has succeeded in singing on notable upcoming music artists. They include the likes of Mr. Eazi, Maleek Berry, L.A.X., DJ Tunez, Terri, Legendury Beatz, Efya, and R2Bees.
This did not stop him from landing juicy endorsements both within and outside the music sphere. Nigerian celebrity Wizkid is a record breaker in signing the following endorsement deals (perhaps second so far only to Davido):
- A 6-year endorsement deal with global soft drink brand, Pepsi to the tune of 1.8 million US Dollars, in 2012.
- A 3-year endorsement deal with multinational telecoms company, MTN Nigeria to the tune of 345,000 US Dollars, in May 2013.
- A multi-million Naira endorsement deal with global beverages conglomerate, Guinness Nigeria in October 2013 (details undisclosed).
- A multi-album worldwide music deal with RCA Records (subsidiary of Sony Music) the same 2013.
- An endorsement deal with Nigerian telecom giant, Globacom Nigeria to the tune of 328,000 US Dollars in 2015.
- An endorsement deal with Nigerian bank, UBA to the tune of 3 million US Dollars in 2019.
- A 2-year endorsement deal with global sportswear maker, Nike to the tune of 40,000 US Dollars in 2018.
- An endorsement deal with mobile phone brand, Tecno to the tune of 150,000 US Dollars in 2020.
- A modeling endorsement deal with global fashion icon, Dolce & Gabbana worth 10,000 US Dollars in 2015. He modeled all the way into the Spring/Summer 2019 Men’s Fashion show in Milan, Italy.
- A juicy endorsement deal with global beverage brand Ciroc in 2018 (details undisclosed).
- Another endorsement with sportswear company Puma to the tune of 1 million US Dollars, also in 2020.
Wizkid is reported to be the fourth richest Nigerian musician as at 2023 – worth at least 26 million US Dollars. He is also one of the most streamed Nigerian music artists, as attested to by Apple music. Not only that, Nigerian celebrity Wizkid is also the second most influential Nigerian music artist of the 21st century – after Davido. He owns two tasteful mansions: one in Surulere Lagos, and another in Los Angeles, California. He is also a proud owner of an expensive fleet of cars. They include a BMW X6 crossover, a Porsche Panamera, a Lamborghini Urus, and a Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG to mention a few.
To further bewilder the casual observer – Wizkid refuses to grow old! His unbelievable youthfulness combined with his creativity and laid-back attitude, could very well have been a favourable factor in his career. This enigmatic character has managed to warm the hearts of millions of music fans across the world. Thus, so many notable music artists became magnetized to him, and they produced phenomenal results working with him. One might be tempted to ask, could he be superhuman or something? Join us as we take a look into the life of the Afropop legend and Nigerian celebrity Wizkid.
The Rise of Wizkid and the Afropop Rave
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun was born on the 16th of July 1990 in Surulere, Lagos into a Yoruba family. His father, a Muslim, had three wives; while his mother was a Pentecostal christian. Oddly enough, Ayodeji’s father had 13 children – all females, save and except for Ayodeji, the last born and only son. For a child born the only male in a patriarchal society, he naturally received special attention. Both his parents longed for him to have a brilliant educational upbringing, and were ready to sponsor it all the way. Money was not a problem – they were a reasonably rich household.
However, young Ayodeji caught the music fever as early as at 11 years old – a passion that would change his life forever. Of course his parents did not support his radical pursuit of music. In fact, Ayodeji would end up dropping out of higher institution twice. First, he attended and dropped out of Lagos State University. Then his parents enrolled him in a private university, Lead City University – Ayodeji also dropped out after two sessions.
Ayodeji had grown up listening to quintessential songs from A-list music artists. The likes of King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and Bob Marley inspired him early enough. He was also inspired by the songs of Sound Sultan and 2Face Idibia – contemporary new-world artists of that time.
Along with his church friends at the time, Ayodeji formed a music group called ’The Glorious Five’. He went by the stage name ‘Lil Prinz’ until 2006. And together with his friends, they released a 7-track music album. However, the group disbanded not long after. From then onwards, Ayodeji’s journey as a solo artist began to unfold.
Wizkid: His Musical Career
Wizkid has been a prolific singer and songwriter. His songs have spanned genres such as Afrobeat, Reggae, Afrobeats, R&B, Hip Hop, Dancehall and Pop.
But prior to his subsequent breakthroughs, he began his music career as a backup singer. He sang for artists which included Naeto C, M.I., Ikechukwu, and OJB Jezreel. Wizkid had first met with OJB Jezreel as a teenager, but could not do much under his watch. But soon enough, Naeto C took the ‘Lil Prinz’ of that time under his wings to mentor and tutor him, when he was about 15 years old.
And in 2009, Ayodeji met with Banky W., the chairman of Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) Records and signed a music endorsement deal. That same year, he started to record his debut album ‘Superstar’. Wizkid’s hit single ‘Holla at Your Boy’ from the same record became hugely popular in 2010. The song went on to win the Next Rated Award at the Headies Awards in 2011. Along with this, the song got two nominations from the Nigerian Music Awards, and Channel O Music Awards of 2011. He finally released his debut album in February 2011. Wizkid’s song ‘Superstar’ won Best Album of the Year at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards, and a nomination at the Headies Awards in 2012.
Subsequently, Wizkid went on tours to London and across the USA in 2012; and even booked the renowned 02 Academy in Brixton. Since then, he has booked and sold out the 20,000-seat capacity 02 Academy three times in his musical history.
By March 2013, Wizkid was capable enough to leave the EME Records label behind. He proceeded to set up his own record label, Starboy Entertainment that year.
Wizkid has released 5 successful music albums so far. They include Superstar (2011), Ayo (2014), Sounds from the Other Side (2017), Made in Lagos (2020), and More Love, Less Ego (2022). He has gone on a number of major music tours around the world, and topped the Billboard Charts in Europe and the USA in recent times. Wizkid has performed in several music shows home and abroad. He has also worked with many international music artists. Namely Drake, Beyonce, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Akon, Jay Z, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Yung L, H.E.R., and Walshy Fire amongst others. Back in Nigeria, Wizkid also collaborated on songs with famous Nigerian and African singers. The likes of Temi, Femi Kuti, Iyanya, Angel, Bracket, Wande Coal, Ice Prince, are just a few of them.
Wizkid: Awards and Nominations
Wizkid has earned so many national and international awards and nominations for himself within just about two decades. They are so numerous, they cannot all be listed out here. Amongst them are the following:
- Grammy Awards: 1 win (Best Music Video as lead Artist in Beyonce’s ‘Brown Skin Girl’, 2021) and 3 nominations
- 2 Guinness World Records. The Most Streamed Song on Spotify; and the First Song to Reach one Billion Streams on Spotify for his collaboration with Drake in the song ‘One Dance’.
- 3 BET Music Awards
- iHeartRadio Music Awards 2017: 2 wins, and one nomination
- 3 Soul Train Awards
- 3 Billboards Awards
- 6 Headies Awards.
- MOBO Awards: 3 wins, and 3 nominations
- Apple Music Awards. Winner, Artist of the Year (Africa) 2021
- MTV Europe Music Awards: 2 wins, and 4 nominations
- MTV Africa Music Awards:
Wizkid: Personal Life
As of now, Wizkid is not married. However, he has fathered four children from three separate women.
Wizkid was also embroiled in controversies with other celebrities here and there over the years. It includes the likes of famous blogger Linda Ikeji, and comedian Mr. Jollof. Also the likes of ex-boss Banky W, Davido, Dammy Krane, Skales, Reekado Banks and Samklef have had clashes with him. His attitude towards rivalry and disagreements has usually been to withdraw from unnecessarily prolonged confrontation or loudness. Nevertheless, an occasional burst of angst is not altogether missing in the behaviour of Nigerian celebrity, Wizkid.
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