Friday, 29 June 2012

Akon

Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam (born April 16, 1973), better known as simply Akon, is a Senegalese American R&B and hip hop recording artist, songwriter, record producer and businessman
He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of "Locked Up", the first single from his debut album Trouble.
 
He has since founded two successful record labels, Konvict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution. His second album, "Konvicted" received three nominations for the Grammy Awards in two categories, Best Contemporary R&B Album for "Konvicted" album and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Smack That" and "I Wanna Love You". He is the first solo artist to hold both the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts 'twice'

Akon often sings hooks for other artists and is currently credited with over 300 guest appearances and more than 35 Billboard Hot 100 songs. He has worked with numerous performers such as Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Eminem, Whitney Houston, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg and many more artists. He has had five Grammy Awards nominations and has produced many hits for artists such as Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis, Kardinal Offishall and Leona Lewis. Lady Gaga and T-Pain are two artists who were given their chance at fame by Akon.

According to Forbes, Akon grossed $13 million in 2011, $21 million in 2010, $20 million in 2009 and $12 million in 2008. 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.

Akon was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and spent much of his childhood in the West African country Senegal, which he describes as his "hometown." The child of a dancer mother and a renowned percussionist father, Mor Thiam, Akon learned to play five instruments, including drums and guitar and djembe.At age 7, he moved with his family to Union City, New Jersey, splitting his time between the United States and Senegal until settling in Newark, New Jersey Growing up in New Jersey, Akon had difficulties getting along with other children. When he and his older brother reached high school, his parents left them on their own in Jersey City and moved the rest of the family to Atlanta, Georgia.

Akon's alleged three years in jail saw him begin to recognize his music abilities and develop an appreciation for his musical background. Music mogul Devyne Stephens, president of Upfront Megatainment first heard about Akon when the rapper Lil' Zane brought him along to Stephens' rehearsal hall, a place that at the time saw talents such as Usher and TLC being developed.The relationship between Stephens and Akon began as a friendship and mentorship, with the young artist regularly stopping by to ask for advice, but when Akon lost
his deal with Elektra Stephens signed him to his production company and began grooming him professionally The songs Akon recorded with Stephens were brought to the attention of Universal's imprint SRC Records In an interview with HitQuarters SRC A&R Jerome Foster said, "What caught my attention right away was "Lonely", and I said, 'this kid is official – this is a huge record." Foster and SRC CEO Steve Rifkind immediately boarded a private plane to Atlanta to meet the young artist.Akon knew of Foster's work as producer Knobody and so there was a mutual respect for one another and the pair hit it off.

Akon's solo debut album, Trouble was released on June 29, 2004. It spawned the singles "Locked Up" and "Lonely", "Belly Dancer (Bananza)", "Pot Of Gold", and "Ghetto." "Locked Up" reached 8th position in the U.S. and 5th in the UK. "Ghetto" became a radio hit when it was remixed by DJ Green Lantern to include verses from rappers 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. The album is a hybrid of Akon's silky, West African-styled vocals mixed with East Coast and Southern beats. Most of Akon's songs begin with the sound of the clank of a jail cell's door with him uttering the word "Konvict"



In 2005, he released the single "Lonely" (which samples Bobby Vinton's "Mr. Lonely"). The song reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100, and topped the charts in Australia, the UK and Germany. His album also climbed to number one in the UK in April 2005. When music channel The Box had a top ten weekly chart, which was calculated by the amount of video requests, Akon's "Lonely" became the longest running single on the top of the chart, spanning over fifteen weeks. Akon then released another single featuring with a New Zealand rapper, Savage with the single Moonshine, which had become a success in both New Zealand and Australia, becoming number one in the New Zealand charts. In 2005, He made his first critically acclaimed guest appearance on Young Jeezy's debut album, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, with the song "Soul Survivor." In December the same year his manager, Robert Montanez was killed in a shooting after a dispute in New Jersey.





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