Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun known professionally as Wizkid is a Nigerian afrobeat singer and songwriter. He has received several international and local music nominations and awards. He began music at the age of 11 and released a collaborative album with the Glorious Five, a group formed by him and his church friends. Wizkid was signed onto the Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) in 2009. He rose to fame after he released “Hola at Your Boy” a single from his debut studio album, Superstar. He continued with releasing hit songs of which some were “Jaiye Jaiye”, “On Top Your Matter”, “One Question” and “Show You the Money”. Wizkid left the E.M.E after his contract expired. He first won a Grammy Award for the Best Music Video after he was featured Beyonce’s single “Brown Skin Girl” of the The Lion King: The Gift project. He is currently part of the most streamed african artist on Spotify.
Wizkid was in Surulere in Lagos and he grew up with twelve female siblings in an interfaith household. His father practices Islam whereas his mother is a christian. Wizkid had his high education at the Ijebu Ode Grammar School. He dropped out of Lagos State University (LASU) in mid-2009 and later attended Lead City University, but dropped out after completing two sessions. He was influenced by Kings Sunny Ade, Fela Kuti and Bob Marley. In a 2012 radio interview with Tim Westwood, he said that “his father has married three wives”. In another interview with Adesope of 78 Factory TV, Wizkid said that he and some of his church friends formed a group called “The Glorious Five”. They managed to release an album before going their separate ways.
Wizkid’s stage name was Lil Prinz until 2006. He then met OJB Jezreel, a record producer, who banned him from recording for a year. While he visted OJB’s Point Beat studios frequently, he saw 2 Face Idibia’s recorded songs for the album Grass 2 Grace. He also attended the recording session for Sound Sultan’s debut album Jagbajantis. He cited Naeto C as one of the people who mentored guided him when he was 15. Wizkid signed a recording contract with Empire Mates Entertainment in 2009. He co-wrote the song “Omoge You Too Much” from Banky W’s album The W Experience.
In 2012, Wizkid signed a one-year endorsement contract with Pepsi, which was reportedly worth $350,000. Together with Tiwa Savage, he traveled to Beirut, Lebanon to shoot Pepsi commercials. On May 28, 2013, Premium Times reported that Wizkid and MTN Nigeria had signed a one-year agreement. The newspaper also reported that Wizkid’s contract with PepsiCo was renewed for another two years. In November 2013, Wizkid and Guinness signed an endorsement agreement for the Guinness World of More concert held at the Eko Convention Center of the Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos. In June 2015, Pulse Nigeria reported that Wizkid had abandoned MTN and signed a deal of 128 million pesos with GLO.
Awards and Nominations
Wizkid’s contribution to the Nigerian music industry has won him many achievements, including being the lead artist of Beyoncé’s “Brown Skin Girl” and winning the Grammy Award for Best Music Video; his first Grammy Award. He is the most awarded African artist in the BET Award (3), Soul Train Award (2), Bulletin Board Award (3), iHeartRadio Music Award (2) and MOBO Award (4). He also received an ASCAP plaque for his contribution to the songwriting of Drake‘s “One Dance”. Wizkid was named one of the 100 most influential Africans in 2019 by New Africa Magazine.
Wizkid has given birth to three sons with their mothers different. The first, second and third were born in 2011, 2016, and 2017 respectively. In August 2011, “Nigeria Today Entertainment” reported that Wizkid gave birth to his first child at the age of 21. After a thorough investigation, the newspaper concluded that Wizkid was pregnant with Sola Ogudugu, an undergraduate at the time. When this story broke out, Wizkid’s close friends and colleagues did not confirm it because the DNA results were waiting. Wizkid broke his silence on this story in several interviews. During an interview with the editor of “Nigeria Today Entertainment”, he denied having children.
In another interview conducted by Ogudu-GRA in Lagos, he said that he really didn’t want to put himself in that special situation. December 2012, Wizkid denied the baby scandal in an interview with The Punch’s Nonye Ben-Nwankwo. He uploaded photos of himself and his 2-year-old son Boluwatife Balogun in October, 2003 to his Instagram account. This photo confirms the 2011 report released by Nigeria Today Entertainment.