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.
Life and music career
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 of 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 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".
Main article: Superstar (Wizkid album)
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.
In 2012, Wizkid signed a one year endorsement deal with Pepsi allegedly worth 350,000 U.S dollars. He travelled to Beirut, Lebanon with Tiwa Savage for a Pepsi commercial shoot. On 28 May 2013, Premium Times reported that Wizkid signed a one year deal with MTN Nigeria. Moreover, the news source reported that Wizzy's Pepsi contract was renewed for another two years. On 23 October 2013, Bellanaija reported that Wizkid signed an endorsement deal with Guinness for the "Guinness World of More" concert. The concert was held at the Eko Convention Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos on 3 November 2013. On 18 June 2015, Pulse reported that Wizkid ditched MTN and signed a ₦128 million naira deal with GLO.
The Next Rated prize
Wizkid won the award for Next Rated at The Headies 2011. In addition to winning the award, he was awarded a 2012 Hyundai Sonata courtesy of The Headies and its affiliates. The car presentation ceremony took place at the Silverbird Galleria in Victoria Island, Lagos. Guy Murray Bruce, Bola Salako and Ayo Animashaun were present during the ceremony. Wizkid joined the list of past winners, including Aṣa, Overdose, Omawumi, Wande Coal and Skuki.
On 5 March 2013, Charles Mgbolu (a writer for Vanguard) reported that Wizkid established his label imprint Starboy Entertainment. During an interview with Silverbird Television, Wizkid told Yvonne Vixen Ekwere that he planned on signing new acts to the label. Wizkid told Showtime Celebrity that he established his own record label to give up-and-coming artists a platform to showcase their talent. On 17 April 2013, Wizkid signed Maleek Berry to Starboy Entertainment. Wizkid and Maleek Berry's work credits include "Lagos to Soweto" and "The Matter", among others. On 29 April 2013, Premium Times reported that Wizkid signed producers Uzezi Oniko and Okiemute Oniko, popularly known as Legendury Beatz, to his imprint. He made the announcement via Twitter. On 9 May 2013, he unveiled photos of himself with the aforementioned acts signed. On 20 August 2013, Wizkid signed recording artist L.A.X to the label. He made the announcement moments after debuting the music video for "Caro", the label's first official single. In an interview with iCR8Media, Wizkid said that Starboy's first compilation album will drop in 2014. He also said that Maleek Berry will drop an album in 2014.
Car accident and Porsche acquisition
On 15 June 2013, Wizkid was involved in a non-life-threatening car accident along the Lekki-Epe Expressway in Lekki, Lagos. According to an article posted on Silverbird Television, Wizkid was hospitalised for a minor concussion resulting from the wreck. According to eyewitness reports compiled by MTV Base, Wizkid's Porsche Panamera was spotted speeding down the road; the car's front tires blew out and resulted in the driver of the vehicle losing control and crashing into a road barrier. Eyewitness reports also added that the car's airbag suspension system deployed on impact, shielding Wizkid and the driver instantaneously. At the time of the incident, Wizkid and other passengers in the car were returning from the Soundcity Nokia LumiaBeat Party. The accident allegedly occurred around 3:30am in front of the GET Arena. As a result of the wreck, the car was badly damaged. Pictures of the damaged vehicle surfaced on Instagram and Facebook. Vanguard reported that Wizkid acquired a Porsche Cayenne two weeks after the accident. He posted pictures of his new acquisition onto his Instagram page and tagged the pictures with the caption "#Blessed".
On 22 August 2011, Nigerian Entertainment Today reported that Wizkid fathered his first child at age 21. After a thorough investigation, the news source concluded that Wizkid impregnated an undergraduate student named Oluwanishola Ogudugu. Moreover, the news source added that multiple sources familiar with the "baby mama" and her family told them that they knew about the relationship between both parties. When the story broke out, close friends and associates of Wizkid didn't confirm the story due to DNA results that were pending at the time. Wizkid broke his silence on the story in several interviews. In an interview with a Nigerian Entertainment Today editor, Wizkid denied having a child. In another interview held at Ogudu-GRA in Lagos, Wizkid said he really doesn't want to find himself in that peculiar situation. A week before denying the aforementioned allegations, Wizkid tweeted from his official Twitter handle.
In December 2012, he denied the baby scandal during an interview with Nonye Ben-Nwankwo of The Punch. In October 2013, Wizkid uploaded a picture of he and his 2-year-old son, Boluwatife Balogun, onto his Instagram account. The photo confirmed the alleged rumours and allegations that were harboured for 2 years. The photo also vindicated Nigerian Entertainment Today, the news source that first covered the story.
Wizkid is currently dating Tania Omotayo. On 15 February 2013, the two attended Banky W's "The Grand Love Project" concert held at the Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos. The two also made a public appearance at the 2013 edition of Felabration. In July 2013, Omotayo opened up a luxury boutique in Lekki, Lagos. According to Nigerian Entertainment Today, she revealed on Twitter that she knew Wizkid before he fathered his first child.
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