Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam was born April 16, 1973 and is known popularly and professionally as Akon, is a Senegalese-American singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and actor from New Jersey. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of “Locked Up”, the first single from his debut album Trouble (2004), followed by the second single “Lonely.”
He later founded two successful record labels, Konvict Muzik and KonLive Distribution. The labels served as vital for many soon-to-be successful acts, such as Lady Gaga, T-Pain, R. City, Kardinal Offishall, Jeffree Star, and Red Café, among others. His second album, Konvicted (2006) received three nominations for the Grammy Awards, Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Smack That” and “I Wanna Love You”. The album spawned four top-ten hits in the US, “Smack That,” “I Wanna Love You,” “Don’t Matter,” and “Sorry, Blame It on Me.” His third studio album Freedom (2008) was lead by the single “Right Now (Na Na Na).”
He is the first solo artist to hold both the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts twice. Akon has had four songs certified as 3× platinum, three songs certified as 2× platinum, more than ten songs certified as 1× platinum and more than ten songs certified as gold in digital sales. Akon has sung songs in other languages including Hindi and Spanish. He was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the number-one selling artist for master ringtones in the world.
Akon often provides vocals as a featured artist and is currently credited with over 300 guest appearances and more than 35 Billboard Hot 100 songs, resulting in five Grammy Awards nominations. He has released six solo albums and has handled the majority of production on his solo work and guest features. Alongside this, he also produced records mainly for artists on his respective labels, as well as for other artists such as Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Lionel Richie, Leona Lewis, Sean Paul and Whitney Houston.
Forbes ranked Akon 80th (Power Rank) in Forbes Celebrity 100 in 2010 and 5th in 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa list, in 2011. Billboard ranked Akon No. 6 on the list of Top Digital Songs Artists of the decade.
In February 2007, Akon launched his clothing line, Konvict Clothing. It features urban streetwear including denim jeans, hoodies, T-shirts and hats. Aliaune is the upscale version, or high-end line, for males and females, which includes blazers, denim jeans and other items.
He later worked with Whitney Houston for her 2009 comeback album I Look to You, appearing on the track “Like I Never Left”. Akon collaborated with Pitbull on the single “Shut It Down” from the album “Rebelution” and worked with Matisyahu to remix his single “One Day” on his album Light.
Akonda was released on October 25, 2019, serving as his fifth album and contain Afrobeats music. The album’s singles are “Low Key” and “Wakonda”. Furthermore, Konnect will be released sometime in 2020, which will serve as his sixth album and will contain Hip hop and R&B music like his previous albums. The album’s singles are “Benjamin” and “Can’t Say No”. On March 22, 2020, Akon released a song called “Girls Like U (The Akon Self-Isolation Remix)”, which is a remix version of the Maroon 5 song “Girls Like You”, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Akin despite his wide spread success through many songs. He became popular for his hit single “Lonely”.
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