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Wizkid biography: music, relationship, collaborations, controversies

Wizkid music: Singer playing on stage

Wizkid, whose real name is Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. He also goes by the nickname Star Boy.

Wizkid started recording music at an early age of 11 as Lil Prinz and was a member of the Glorious Five, a group he formed with his friends from church. He came into limelight in the Nigerian music scene with his song debut song,  Holla At Your Boy, released in January 2010. He has since kept raising the bar to become one of the greatest artists from Africa, representing the Green White Green (Nigerian) flag in remarkable spots across the world.

Wizkid’s background/early life

Born on 16 July 1990 to a Muslim father, Alhaji Muniru Olatunji Balogun, and a Christian mother, Dolapo Jane Balogun, in Lagos, Nigeria, Wizkid grew up in Surulere with 12 female siblings, listening to King Sunny Ade, Fela Kuti, and Bob Marley. In addition to his mother, his father also has two other wives.

Wizkid’s educational background is quite interesting. He is said to have attended Ijebu Ode Grammar School and was also an undergraduate of Sociology at Lagos State University (LASU) before dropping out in 2009 to focus on his music ambition. He was later admitted into Lead City University in Ibadan to study International Relations but he again dropped out after two academic sessions at the school.

Wizkid singing joro
Wizkid during one of his popular events. The Starboy shared this photo on Twitter

Some quick facts worthy of note about Wizkid:

  1. He is the youngest African artiste to get a Grammy nomination.
  2. Wizkid is the first African pop star to perform/sell-out Royal Albert Hall in London.
  3. He is the Nigerian artiste with the most award nominations in Nigeria.
  4. He is the first African to bag seven Billboard nominations.
  5. He is the first Nigerian artiste to win three Billboard awards.
  6. Wizkid is the first afro-pop artiste to appear in the Guinness Book of World Records.
  7. He is the first Nigerian artiste to win an award from the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
  8. Thanks to his collaboration on One Dance a track he was featured on by Canadian rapper, Drake, Wizkid is the only Nigerian artiste to maintain the number one spot on iTunes World Chart for more than one week.
  9. 24 hours after its release, Wizkid’s Come Closer on which he featured Drake got up to a million views on YouTube. This makes Wizkid the first African artiste whose video hit the million mark within the first 24 hours of its release.
  10. The governor of Minnesota, Mark Brandt Dayton honoured the singer, by naming a day after him in the US.

Wizkid’s career

Wizkid’s love for music has always been there from the beginning; he formed the group Glorious Five with his friends at age 11 and the group recorded and released an album before splitting up. During those years he was known as Lil Prinz; his stage name until 2006.

He used to frequent the late OJB Jezreel’s Point Studio where he had the opportunity to watch TuBaba (2face Idibia) record the songs for his Grass 2 Grace album. He was also present while Sound Sultan’s Jagbanjantis album was being recorded.

He mentioned Naeto C as one of the people that mentored and coached him when he was 15 before he met Banky W, who later signed him to his Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) in 2009.

On 2 January 2010, Wizkid’s debut single under EME, Holla At Your Boy (along with Gidi Girl and Ori Mi) was released and the song gradually kept spreading like a virus until it became an anthem across Nigerian streets. The fire from Holla At Your Boy was still burning strongly when Tease Me, another hit single from Wizkid (which was actually a studio freestyle that leaked) surfaced three months later. Tease Me was an instant success as it enjoyed massive radio airplay and club spins across the country. By the time he dropped Don’t Dull later in the year, Wizkid had already become a notable figure in the Nigerian music scene. The song was another massive hit. Therefore when his debut album, Superstar, was eventually released in June 2011, it was welcomed to massive critical acclaim. Since the release of that album, Wizkid has never ceased to release hit songs from time to time. So far, he has released more than 35 smash hit singles, 3 studio albums and has been featured on almost 100 albums by both African and international artists. Read to the end to see the full list of his hit singles, albums and the tracklist on each album.

In 2013, Wizkid had a clash with EME, his record then label. He moved out of the label’s mansion into a rented apartment in Lekki and started his own record label that he called Starboy entertainment to which he signed Maleek Berry, Legendury Beats, and L.A.X. However, he didn’t exit EME completely until after the release of his second album, Ayo (Joy) and the completion of his 5-year contract with the label in 2014.

Global recognition

Though Wizkid’s success had spread beyond Nigeria since the release of his Superstar album that led to Akon jumping on the remix for one of the tracks (Don’t Dull), what really catapulted Wizkid into worldwide fame is his collaborative effort with Drake on One Dance in 2016. A smash international hit that did not just top the charts in about 15 countries but also got nominated for almost all the top international music awards including Grammy, Soul Train and American Music Awards. The massive exposure from One Dance got the Starboy discovered by umpteen potential fans from different parts of the world.

View this post on Instagram

#StarboyFest London ! Thank you ????

A post shared by Wizkid (@wizkidayo) on

It all started in 2015 when Drake and Skepta jumped on one of Wizkid’s songs Ojuelegba and did a remix. It was rumoured that Skepta played the song for Drake during the latter’s visit to the UK for the Wireless Festival and he decided to lay a verse on it. That remix ushered in the Wizkid/Drake relationship that gave birth to their collaborative efforts on One Dance and Come Closer.

Also, just last week, Wizkid was among the top 10 African’s biggest musician, according to a list released by CNN. Also on the list are the likes of Burna Boy, Angelique Kidjo, Diamond Platumz among others. Click on the play button of the video to find out the rest of the artists who made the cut.

Wizkid collaborations

In terms of collaboration, Wizkid has collaborated with numerous artists both on the international level and local level  He has been featured on almost 100 albums both by international artistes including famous African music stars. Some of the artists he has collaborated with include Drake, Beyonce, Chris Brown, Akon, Wale, Major Lazer, Zara Larsson, Krept and Johan, and many others. One of his biggest collaborative efforts in 2019 is Brown Skin Girl with Beyonce on her Lion King album. Read to the end to see the list of Wizkid’s collaborations.

Style/music genres

Although Wizkid has always been reluctant to define his music, he admits that he works with rhythms from Afrobeat, reggae, hip-hop, dancehall, and others and that what is important for him is for music to be real, authentic, raw and timeless so that he won’t have to be boxed into any particular genre.

Here is a quote that was attributed to him on a press release that was sent out to the media after signing his worldwide deal with Sony: “Since I work with rhythms from Afro-Beat, reggae, hip-hop, dance hall and others. What’s important to me is for music to be real, authentic, raw and timeless. I don’t wanna be boxed into any one genre.”

That explains how he never ceases to cough out unique, sweet-sounding brand new music that stays evergreen from time to time. Apart from the unique instrumentations, what really makes his sound distinct from other Afrobeat artists are his unique voice texture and his style of delivery.

So many hits, yet every single song sounds completely different from one another and you will always need no introduction to know who the artist is; Joro, Ghetto Love, Come Closer, Daddy Yo, Fever, Ojuelegba, Sisi Nene, Azonto, Juru, Back to the matter, Sweet Potato, Dance for me, On top your matter, Pakurumo, Love my baby, Tease Me, Caro, Jaiye Jaiye etc

Wizkid’s endorsements

In 2012, Wizkid became a Pepsi ambassador after signing a one-year endorsement deal that earned him $350,000. A deal that was later extended for 2 more years.

In 2013, he signed an endorsement deal with Guinness and also became an MTN ambassador.

He ditched MTN for Globacom’s N128Million to become a Glo Ambassador, a deal that took him across different parts of the world.

In 2018, the Starboy signed some deals with two fashion industry heavyweights; Nike and Dolce & Gabbana as a celebrity model. Also in that same year, he signed a major deal with the American vodka brand, Ciroc.

In July 2019, Wizkid signed a deal with UBA that he described on his Instagram page as The biggest deal for Africa.

Is Wizkid married?

The Starboy is not married, though he has three children with three different women, namely: Oluwanisola Ogudu, Binta Diallo and Jada Pollock.

In 2011, when she was 19, Oluwanisola gave birth to Wizkid’s first child, a baby boy named Boluwatife. Initially, Wizkid did not accept that he was the father of the child, which led to a family conflict. It was only after a paternity test proved he was the father that he accepted the child as his, gave him his last name and began to participate in his life.

Binta Diamond Diallo, Wizkid’s second baby mama birthed Wizkid’s second son in 2016. Again, Wizkid denied fathering the baby boy, whose mother is a Guinean-American woman. As with the case of his child, it was only after tests proved it that the singer eventually recognized the boy, Ayodeji, as his son and took responsibility.

Finally, Wizkid’s third baby mama, British-American Jada Pollock, who is also Wizkid’s international manager gave birth to his youngest son, Zion, in 2017.

Over the years, Wizkid has been pinned to different women including Sophie Rammal, Tonto Dikeh, Chidinma Ekile, Victoria Kimani, Hudda Monreo, Tania Omotayo, Seyi Shay, Justine Skye and most recently, Tiwa Savage.

Although, both Wizkid and Tiwa say they are just friends, many of their public actions seem to suggest otherwise. For instance, they get romantic with each other in music videos and they also get romantic during live performances; they even share kisses on stage as can be seen from the video below. The relationship has always been at the center of public scrutiny, especially owing to the fact that Tiwa Savage is about 10 years older than the Starboy.

Wizkid net worth

According to Forbes rating, Wizkid is the 4th richest musician in Africa with a net worth of $20M. The richest musician is Akon ($80Million), followed by Black Coffee ($60Million), then Don Jazzy ($30Million), followed by Wizkid.

Apart from the revenue from his songs and albums, Wizkid rakes in a lot of money from his live performances; especially from his headline shows. For 2 consecutive years, he has sold out the 20,000 capacity O2 Arena in London, and that’s just one of the multiple sold-out concerts to his credit.

Through the years, he has enjoyed major mouth-watering endorsement deals from big brands like MTN, Glo, Guinness, Pepsi, Ciroc and, most recently, UBA. Also, the Starboy has benefited from partnerships arrangements with Nike; releasing several special collections.

He is also the CEO of a record label, Starboy Entertainment; the home of artists like Maleek Berry, Legendury Beatz, LAX and others.

The Starboy was recently reported to have bought a Richard Mille wristwatch for his manager, Sunday Are, as a gift. The most expensive authentic Richard Mille watch (RM 56-02 Sapphire) is sold for $2 million while the less expensive ones are in the 6 figures $ range.

Controversies

Wizkid has had a lot of controversies with different people over one thing or the other. He had had beef with the likes of Samklef, Skales, Saeon, J Martins, Tonto Dikeh, Cyrus Da Virus, and many others but the most significant ones are his beef with Davido and Linda Ikeji.

Until 2017, there was a long beef between Wizkid and Davido. The genesis of the beef is not really clear but some people believe it started when Davido and his crew allegedly walked out of the 2012 NEA Awards during Wizkid’s performance on stage. However, the beef wasn’t really official until 2014 when, having arrived in New York for a concert, Wizkid wrote social media: “Just landed in NYC! Let’s turn up! We do proper shows and proper venues.”

Davido responded to the post with: “Fake as* ni**a! That’s y he got none of his Day 1 ni**as around him! Pu**y!

Ever since those posts, it has always been a case of rivalry between the two. Whenever either Davido or Wizkid scored a major achievement, the social media rarely rests as fans of both artists wrangle about who between Davido and Wzkid is better. The beef officially ended in 2017 when Davido introduced Wizkid as his new Best Friend on stage during his 30BG concert in Lagos and they performed together.

In 2016, there was a hot controversy between Wizkid and Linda Ikeji. The Starboy took to his Instagram page to rain insults on the popular blogger over her exclusive coverage of his being served a quit notice by his landlord.

He wrote:

All those shoes and bags won’t help you keep a good man!
“U and ur laptop will stay married for life!
“That’s why my director fucked u and left your ass in the hotel Cos ur pussy stinks!

“I goggled Linda at 25 and found nothing. U wish u have all I have at 25!

“Ur mom and the entire family are still losers! U nothing but a blogger!

“All that money won’t change that. If I have ever seen u, I’ll get my 16-year-old cousin to beat the shit out of you. Ugly old bitch!

“Just stay indoors and behind your laptop! #UglyBitchLinda!

Linda later reported that Wizkid had tendered an apology to her. She wrote: “I spoke with Wizkid through his lawyer on Friday, April 15th where he tendered an apology to me and said he wasn’t a violent person, that he didn’t mean what he said, that it was just an emotional outburst. And then he asked for forgiveness.

The beef was settled at the office of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police.

Awards and recognitions Wizkid won

Wizkid has been nominated for over 177 awards, 55 out of which he won. Some of his notable wins include one Soul Train Award, two BET Awards, three MOBO Awards, eight Headies, three Billboard Music Awards, two MTV Europe Music Awards and four MTV Africa Music Awards.

The Soul Train Award is the most recent to his collection. His collaboration with Beyonce, Blue Ivy Carter and SaiNt John won the Ashford and Simpson Songwriter’s Award at the 2019 Soul Train Music Awards.

Final thoughts…

With the level of success Wizkid has accumulated on his journey so far and the fact that the Starboy doesn’t seem to have any plan of slowing down on his agenda, the whole world has got to be prepared for a very long ride with this African legend. He has been in the picture since a decade-plus, yet he has never for once stepped away from the spotlight; not even for a month. Many have come and gone, but instead of dimming out, the Starboy’s sunshine only keeps shining brighter and stronger. Wizkid is surely more than a star, he is a super legend.

Bonus Wizkid’s information 

Wizkid’s hit singles (2012 to 2019)

Wizkid’s 2012

  1. Azonto
  2. Thank You

Wizkid’s 2013 singles

    1. Drop
    2. Eledumare
    3. Juru
    4. Nobody but You
    5. Sweet Potato
    6. Caro
    7. Jaiye Jaiye
    8. Won Gbo Mi

Wizkid 2014 singles

  1. On Top Your Matter
  2. Roll It
  3. Number One Lover
  4. One Question

Wizkid’s 2015 singles

  1. Ojuelegba
  2. Final (Baba nla)

Wizkid’s 2016 singles

  1. Wonder
  2. Shabba
  3. Daddy Yo

Wizkid’s 2017 singles

  1. Wine to the Top
  2. Sweet Love
  3. Come Closer
  4. African Bad Gyal
  5. Naughty Ride
  6. Everytime

Wizkid’s 2018 singles

  1. Kana
  2. Soco
  3. Nowo
  4. Fake Love
  5. Energy (Stay far away)
  6. Fever
  7. Master groove

Wizkid’s 2019 singles

  1. Ghetto Love
  2. Joro

Wizkid’s albums

1. Superstar was Wizkid’s debut album, which was released under EME in June 2011

Wizkid’s Superstar track lists

1 Say My Name
2 No Lele
3 Scatter the Floor
4 Pakuromo
5 Slow Whine feat. Banky W
6 Love My Baby
7 Gidi Girl
8 Oluwa Lo Ni
9 Don’t Dull
10 Tease Me / Bad Guyz
11 EME Boyz feat. Banky W & Skales
12 What You Wanna Do
13 For Me feat. Wande Coal
14 Holla at Your Boy
15 Wad Up
16 Shout Out
17 Wiz Party (Bonus Freestyle Leak)

2. Ayo (Joy): Wizkid’s second album was released under EME in September, 2014

Wizkid’s Ayo tracklist

1 Jaiye Jaiye feat. Femi Kuti
2 Show You the Money
3 In My Bed
4 Mummy Mi
5 Ojuelegba
6 Kind Love
7 On Top Your Matter
8 In Love feat. Seyi Shay
9 For You feat. Akon
10 Dutty Whyne feat. Banky W
11 Ki Lo Fe
12 Omalicha
13 Bombay feat. Phyno
14 One Question feat. Yemi Sax
15 Celebrate
16 Show You the Money (Remix) feat. Tyga
17 Murder feat. Wale
18 Joy
19 Caro feat. L.A.X

3. Sounds from the other side:  Wizkid’s third album was released under RCA Records in July 2017

Wizkid’s Sounds from the other side tracklist:

1 Sweet Love
2 Come Closer feat. Drake
3 Naughty Ride feat. Major Lazer
4 African Bad Gyal feat. Chris Brown
5 Daddy Yo
6 One for Me feat. Ty Dolla $ign
7 Picture Perfect
8 Nobody
9 Sexy
10 All for Love feat. Bucie
11 Dirty Wine feat. Ty Dolla $ign
12 Gbese feat. Trey Songz

List of artists Wizkid has collaborated with

  1. Drake
  2. Beyonce
  3. Chris Brown
  4. Akon
  5. Wale
  6. Major Lazer
  7. Tinie Tempah
  8. Zara Larsson
  9. Normani
  10. Calvin Harris
  11. Justin Skye
  12. Skepta
  13. Tyga
  14. Future
  15. Ceeza Milli
  16. Trey Songz
  17. French Montana
  18. Vybz Kartel
  19. Kranium
  20. Ty Dolla Sign
  21. M.I
  22. Ice Prince
  23. R2Bees
  24. Sara
  25. Iyanya
  26. Maleek Berry
  27. Burna Boy
  28. Kcee
  29. Dr Sid
  30. Saeon
  31. Orezi
  32. L.A.X
  33. DJ Xclusive
  34. Phyno
  35. Legendury Beatz
  36. Seyi Shay
  37. Uhuru
  38. Olamide
  39. Runtown
  40. DJ Jimmy Jatt
  41. Wande Coal
  42. DJ Maphorisa
  43. May D
  44. Pato Ranking
  45. Tiwa Savage
  46. Sound Sultan
  47. Tekno
  48. Kizz Daniel
  49. Larry Gaga
  50. Yung6ix
  51. Banky W
  52. Shaydee
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