Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, popularly known by his stage name, Wizkid is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. Wizkid started recording songs when he was just eleven years old in 2001 and also released a collaborative album with a group called the Glorious Five, a group he formed with his church friends.
The Nigerian born music star’s sensitivity to diverse traditions began with his upbringing in Lagos, where he was raised by a Pentecostal mother while his father practiced Islam. According to Wizkid, love is the only thing that kept them together which is actually a powerful example of the deep emotion that flows through his music.
As a growing child, Wizkid listened to the music of Nigerian Afro-Beat masters, King Sunday Adeniyi popularly known as King Sunny Ade (KSA) and Fela, the latter remaining a key musical influence on him. The talented artist listens to Bob Marley’s songs whenever he needs to relax.
Wizkid Early Life and Career Beginnings
Ayodeji Balogun aka Wizkid was born on the 16th of July 1990 in Surulere, a residential and commercial area of Lagos. He grew up in an interfaith household with twelve female siblings. His mum is a practicing Christian while his father practices Islam.
The Nigerian singer and songwriter attended Ijebo Ode Grammar School. In mid-2009, he dropped out of the Lagos State University (LASU) to focus on his musical career. He later attended Lead City University in Ibadan but dropped out as well after completing just two sessions.
During a radio interview with Tim Westwood in 2012, Wizkid stated that his dad has three wives. While growing up, the songwriter listens to songs from King Sunny Ade (KSA), Fela Kuti and Bob Marley. He went by the stage name ‘Lil Prinz’ until 2006.
During an interview with 78 TV, the music act said he formed a group called the ‘Glorious Five’ with few of his church friends. The group managed to release an album prior to disbanding. He later met OJB Jezreel, a record producer who prevented him from recording for a full year. While visiting OJB’s studio studios frequently, he watched and listened to 2 Face Idibia record songs for his ‘Grass to Grace’ album.
According to Ayodeji, his parents were initially not in support of his musical ambition right from the onset. In order to gain his father’s trust, he hard to work very hard and also spent lots of time in the studio.
Wizkid sees Naeto C, a Nigerian artist as one of the people who mentored and coached him when he clocked fifteen years old. He worked seriously with OJB Jezreel, Naeto C, Ikechukwu and M.I while developing his musical career. In 2009, he linked a record deal with Banky W’s Empire Mates Entertainment (EME).
Wizkid’s Debut Album (Superstar)
Wizkid began recording his debut album, ‘Superstar’, in 2019. On the 2nd of January 2010, he released ‘Holla at your boy’ as the album’s lead single which later earned him the ‘Next Rated’ award at ‘The Headies 2011’, and was nominated for best pop single at the aforementioned award event.
The musical video for ‘Holla at your boy’ was nominated for ‘Most Gifted Newcomer Video at the 2011 ‘Channel O Music Videos Award’. The same video was also nominated for Best Afro Pop Video at the 2011 Nigerian Music Video Awards (NMVA).
On the 2nd of April, 2010, he released ‘Tease Me/Bad Guys’ as the album’s second single. It was initially released as a freestyle song. The third single of the album was ‘Don’t Dull’ which was released on the 6th of December, 2010. The album was released in both English and Yoruba languages and was fully released on the 12th of June, 2011 by EME which featured guest appearances from Banky W, Skales, D’Prince and Wande Coal. On the released date, wixkid hosted an album launch party at the Expo Hall of the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. The album garnered ‘Best Album of the Year’ at the 2012 Nigeria Entertainment Awards, and was nominated for ‘Album of the Year at ‘The Headies 2012’.
Tours and Notable Performances
After releasing their compilation album, Empire Mates State of Mind, EME signed artists toured the United States. The tour which kicked off on the 4th of July 2012, ended on the 2nd of September 2012. They performed in several cities which include; Houston, Dallas, Toronto, Vancouver, New York City, Providence, Calgary, Atlanta, Washington DC, and Chicago.
Wizkid toured London in 2012 and performed at the HMV Apolla on the 4th of June 2012. On the 12th of November 2012, he performed at the BBC Radio 1Xtra Live 02 Academy in Brixton alongside Trey Songz, Tulisa, Kendrick Lamar and Angel. On the 17th of October 2013, Wizkid performed at the 2013 edition of Felabration, a yearly concert dedicated to the late Fela Kuti.
On the 2nd of November 2013, he performed at the Guinness Colorful World of More concert alongside D’banj, Tiwa Savage, P-Square, Davido, Ice Prince, Burna Boy, Olamide, Phyno, among other talented acts. The concert was held at the Eko Convention Center of the Eko Hotels and Suites.
On the 23rd of November 2013, he performed at the Guinness Big Eruption concert. He was also invited as special guest for some shows in Tinie Tempah’s tour of the United Kingdom in 2014. Wizkid joined Chris Brown on his ‘One Hell of a Nite’ world tour in May 2016.
In 2012, Wizkid signed a one year endorsement deal with Pepsi which reportedly worth 350,000 USD. He travelled to Beirut, Lebanon with Tiwa Savage for a Pepsi commercial shoot. On the 28 of May 2013, report revealed that he signed a one-year endorsement deal with MTN Nigeria worth millions of naira.
Wizkid’s Pepsi contract deal was renewed for another two years. On the 23rd of October 2013, Wizkid signed another endorsement deal with Guinness for the ‘Guinness World of More’ concert which was held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
It was later reported that the talented musical artist ditched MTN Nigeria’s endorsement deal to sign a whooping N128 million deal with GLOBACOM. His latest endorsement deal is with CIROC which he signed in 2018.
According to reports, Wizkid had just made some outstanding moves that would give him global recognition. He signed a deal with an international modelling agency which will obviously open lots of doors for him.
Wizkid Fashion Style
According to the ‘Vogue Magazine’, Wizkid wears a mixture of street-wear and traditional Nigerian clothes. He cited Pharrell Williams as one of his fashion style icons. The singer has revealed plans to establish a clothing line in the nearest future.
On the 22nd of August 2011, NET reported that Wizkid fathered his first child at the tender age of 21 with an undergraduate student, Sola Odugudu which he denied. In October 2013, he uploaded a picture of his son, Boluwatife Balogun via his Instagram page. The picture confirmed the rumours and allegations.
Reports also revealed that Wizkid also has two other boys from two different women, making him a father of three boys.
Wizkid Awards and Nominations
Wizkid’s contribution to the Nigerian Music Industry has earned him several recognition, achievements and awards. He is a recipient of two BET Awards, three Billboard Music Awards, two iHeartRadio Music Awards, one MTV Europe Music Awards, four MTV Africa Music Awards, two SoundCity MVP Awards, three MOBO Awards, six The Headies Awards.
Others are; two Channel O Music Awards, six Nigerian Entertainment Awards, two Ghana Music Award, two Dynamix All Youth Awards, two City People Entertainment Awards, and a Future Award. He got nominated six categories of the 2017 Sound City Award and won the ‘Digital Artiste of the Year’.
He has been nominated five times at the MTV Europe Music Awards, three times at the American Music Awards, four times at the World Music Awards, and once at the Grammy Awards. He received an ASCAP plaque for his songwriting contributions to Drake’s ‘One Dance’.
Wizkid Net Worth
It would shock you to know that Wizkid is worth about USD 12 million according to Forbes. He is the third richest musician in Africa. He owns various mansions and cars and one of such houses is said to be valued at N130 million, located in Lekki, Lagos. He has other landed properties including the much rumoured US mansion in Los Angeles.
The talented artiste can boast of expensive cars worth millions of naira. Some of his car brands include Bentley, Mercedes, BMW and the latest Hyundai Sonata. His wealth have distinguished him from his peers.
Wizkid’s wealth comes mostly from endorsement deals aside record sales, domestic shows and international shows.
Source(s): Wikipedia, MTV Base