By Eric Elezuo
The young, as the saying goes, shall surely grow, and so has one of Nigeria’s hottest musicians Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, better known as Wizkid or recently, Starboy.
Born on July 16, 1990, the wave making youngster, who broke the internet recently with his highly romantic Fever song with Mavin First Lady, Tiwa Savage, has come of age since his debut in 2011 with the album ‘Superstar’ which featured the hit song, Holla at Your Boy’. This was the same he won the Next Rated award at the Headies.
A singer and songwriter, Wizkid reportedly started recording music at age 11 and managed to release a collaborative album with the Glorious Five, a group he and a couple of his church friends formed.
In 2009, he upped his game when he signed a record deal with Banky W.’s record label Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E). 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, was released in September 2014 and was preceded by six singles: “Jaiye Jaiye”, “On Top Your Matter”, “One Question”, “Joy”, “Bombay” and “Show You the Money”.
In 2016, Wizkid achieved international recognition following his collaboration with Drake on the global hit, “One Dance”, which reached number one in 15 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. In addition to his solo work, Wizkid has collaborated with several other 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).
Following the release of his second studio album and expiration of his 5-year recording contract, Wizkid left E.M.E. On 1 March 2017, Billboard magazine reported that Wizkid signed a multi-album deal with RCA Records. The deal was first reported by several media outlets in September 2016. The chairman and CEO of RCA Records, Peter Edge, confirmed the signing while speaking to Music Business Worldwide in January 2017.
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. Moreover, he became the first Afrobeats artist to appear in the 2018 Guinness World Records for his contribution to Drake’s hit song “One Dance”
Wizkid has released hit song after hit song back to back, keeping him relevant in the highly competitive Nigeria music industry. On 5 January 2015, he released the music video for “Ojuelegba”, a song that highlights the struggles he endured in the early years of his recording career. The official remix to the song features vocals from Drake and Skepta; it premiered on OVO Sound Radio in July 2015.
In April 2015, both Wizkid and Chris Brown performed the “African Bad Gyal”, together at the latter’s concert in Durban, South Africa. In May 2015, Wizkid released “Expensive Shit”, an Afrobeat song built on light guitars, saxophone lines and acoustic percussion; the song was reported as being a likely inclusion on the album.
In July 2015, Wizkid announced via Twitter that Angélique Kidjo will be featured on the album. On 14 July 2017, Sounds from the Other Side was released on all digital platforms.
Wizkid is considered rich and famous, and justifiably so. He was received endorsements by various blue chip companies, home and abroad including MTN, GLO, Pepsi, Guinness and many more.
In the not too distant past, he walked the aile with world’s renowned model, Naomi Campbell when both medeled outfits.
Since 2010/2011 when the starboy hit the airwaves with ‘Holla at Your Boy’, a lot has changed for the better for him. He is quietly riding the waves, and rocking a hot romance with Nigeria’s hottest female artist, Tiwa Savage, who is married to Tee Bliss, and blessed with a son, Jamil.