Written by mikeonas on May 17, 2018
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (born 16 July 1990), better known by his stage name Wizkid (sometimes stylised as WizKid), is a Nigerian recording artist, songwriter, and performer. He started his musical career at age 11, releasing a collaborative album with Glorious Five entitled Lil Prinz (2001). In 2009, he signed a record deal with Banky W.’s imprint Empire Mates Entertainment. He rose to prominence in 2010 with the release of the song “Holla at Your Boy” 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. Wizkid’s self-titled 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”. In addition to his solo work, Wizkid has collaborated with several artists and was 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 work and contribution to the Nigerian Music Industry has earned him several achievements, including a BET Award, a MOBO Award, three The Headies Awards, two Channel O Music Video Awards, four Nigeria Entertainment Awards, a Ghana Music Award, two Dynamix All Youth Awards, two City People Entertainment Awards, and a Future Award. In addition, he has been nominated three times at the MTV Europe Music Awards as well as four times at the World Music Awards. He was ranked 5th on Forbes and Channel O’s 2013 list of the Top 10 Richest/Bankable African Artists. In February 2014, Wizkid became the first ever Nigerian musician to have over 1 million followers on Twitter.
1990–2010: Early life/Lil Prinz
Wizkid was born on 16 July 1990 in Surulere, a residential and commercial area of Lagos. He comes from a large family and is the youngest of six children. In a 2012 interview with Tim Westwood, he said that his father has three wives. Wizkid started singing at age 11, releasing a 7 track album entitled Lil Prinz (2001). During an interview with Adesope of Factory 78 TV, Wizkid described his life in a nutshell. He said he formed a group called the Glorious Five with a couple of his church friends. The group dropped an album prior to dismembering. Wizkid later met OJB Jezreel, a record producer who prevented him from recording for a year. While visiting Jezreel’s studio frequently, he watched 2 Face Idibia record Grass 2 Grace and watched Sound Sultan record Jagbajantis.
A year later, Wizkid started recording. His first song featured OJB Jezreel. The song was met with great reception throughout Surulere. Wizkid cited Naeto C as one of the people who mentored and coached him while he was 15 years old. Wizkid also told Factory 78 TV that his parents weren’t receptive to his music from the onset. In order to gain his father’s trust, he had to work hard and spent lots of time in the studio. Wizkid has a great relationship with Banky W. He told Factory 78 TV that he and Banky became friends prior to starting a professional relationship. He co-wrote Banky W’s “Omoge You Too Much”, a song off The W Experience album. In 2006, he collaborated with Naeto C and Ikechukwu. In 2009, Wizkid became a household name within Nigeria’s musical landscape; he was featured on M.I’s “Fast Money, Fast Cars” and Kel’s “Turn by Turn”.
In 2010, Wizkid began recording his debut studio album Superstar (2011). On 2 January 2010, he released “Holla at Your Boy” as the album’s lead single. The song won the Next Rated category 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. The music video was also nominated for Best Afro Pop Video at the 2011 Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA). On 2 April 2010, Wizkid released “Tease Me/Bad Guys” as the album’s second single; it was initially released as a freestyle. “Don’t Dull”, the album’s third single, was released on 6 December 2010.
The album, recorded in English and Yoruba, was released on 12 June 2011 by Empire Mates Entertainment. It incorporates elements of R&B, dancehall, and reggae. Wizkid collaborated with a wide range of music producers, including E-Kelly, Jay Sleek, Shizzi, DJ Klem, Sunny Nweke, Q-Beats, and Samklef. The album features 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. On 12 June 2011, Wizkid hosted an album launch party at the Expo Hall of the Eko Hotel and Suites. The album launch party featured performances from Banky W, Skales, 2face Idibia, Samklef, Wande Coal, D’Prince, Olamide, eLDee, Jesse Jagz, Ice Prince, Lynxxx, and Seyi Shay. Superstar garnered Best Album of the Year at the 2012 Nigeria Entertainment Awards and was nominated for Album of the Year at The Headies 2012.