Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (born 16 July 1990), better known by his stage name 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).
However, it was not until 2009 that he got a breakthrough in the music industry when his collaboration with one of Nigeria’s best rappers and MCs – MI Abaga, on “fast money fast cars’ track drew people’s attention to Wizkid’s unique and exceptional voice and style. Wizkid has been featured by many established artistes and several T.V Commercials.
Wizkid’s Rise To Fame
In 2009, Wizkid signed a Multi-Million Naira deal with the Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) – a recording label owned by versatile performer and one of the best R & B artiste cum producer and manager – Bank W.
Wizkid has had numerous international stage performances and collaborations with famous artistes like Akon, Kardinal Official, Young Jeezy etc.
In 2010, Wizkid carved a niche for himself in the music industry with the release of his hit singles Don’t Dull, Holla At Your Boy and Tease Me. His debut album “Superstar” was released in 2011 and in June 2011, he performed several sold out concerts in Nigeria, the UK and the United States.
Wizkid has released other hit songs till date that has won him several awards. Wizkid won the 2012 BET award for the best African act and between then and now, he has pulled in several awards both in Nigeria and internationally.
His work and contribution to the Nigerian Music Industry has earned him several achievements, including a BET Award, a MOBO Award, five The Headies Awards, two Channel O Music Video Awards, four Nigeria Entertainment Awards, two Ghana Music Awards, 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.
World Tours and Performances
After releasing their compilation album Empire Mates State of Mind, EME acts toured the United States. The tour kicked off on 4 July 2012 and ended on 2 September 2012. EME acts performed in several different cities, including Houston, Dallas, Toronto, Vancouver, New York City, Providence, Calgary, Atlanta, Washington DC, and Chicago.
Wizkid toured London in 2012 and performed at the HMV Apollo on 4 June 2012. On 12 November 2012, he performed at the BBC Radio 1Xtra Live 02 Academy in Brixton alongside Trey Songz, Tulisa, Kendrick Lamar and Angel. On 17 October 2013, Wizkid performed at the 2013 edition of Felabration, a yearly concert dedicated to the late Fela Kuti.
On 2 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 and Phyno, among others. The concert took place at the Eko Convention Centre of the Eko Hotels and Suites.
On 23 November 2013, Wizkid performed at the Guinness Big Eruption Concert. Wizkid was invited as a special guest for some shows in Tinie Tempah’s tour of the UK in 2014. Wizkid joined Chris Brown on his “One Hell of a Nite” world tour in May 2016.
On 5 March 2013, 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 talents.
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.
Wizkid became engulfed in rifts with several artists including his erstwhile boss Banky W and former label mate Skales. Other artists include Davido, Dammy Krane, Saeon, Tonto Dikeh, Samklef and blogger Linda Ikeji.
Signings on Starboy Entertainment
Wizkid signed producers Uzezi Oniko and Okiemute Oniko, popularly known as Legendary 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.
On May 7, 2016, Wizkid announced the signings of Efya, R2Bees, and Mr. Eazi to Starboy Entertainment. He made the announcement shortly after his performance at the 17th edition of the Ghana Music Awards.