Wizkid, Nigeria’s biggest Afro-pop star, with real name Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, turns 30 today, July 16, 2020 and it’s such a time to celebrate him as he has grown to become one of the biggest artistes in the music industry – and by extension its pop culture – in the last decade. His fans have launched a Hashtag: #WizkidAt30 to celebrate the singer.
Interestingly, Wizkid has continued to influence, define and change the Afro pop genre with power moves that have seen a seeming paradigm shift in the focus of international record labels and management towards Africa.
Here are Ten things to know about the pop star who clocks 30 today:
1. Wizkid was born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun on July 16, 1990, in Surulere, Lagos. He grew up living with 12 sisters; his father, Alhaji M.O Balogun, who is Muslim and a Christian mum, Mrs. Balogun.
2. Wizkid wasn’t always known as Wizkid as he used to be called ‘Lil Prinz’ when he just started singing but changed the name in 2006. He went to Ijebu Ode Grammar School and then Lagos State University where he later dropped out.
3. His sojourn in the music industry started at 11 when he was part of a group, ‘Glorious Five’. By the time he was 15, Wizkid had already met OJB Jezreel who he followed closely and watched other big stars like 2Face, Sound Sultan and Neato C.
4. Wizkid’s very first single is titled ‘Mami water’. He later signed to Banky W’s EME record label in 2009 which was the beginning his rise, he dropped his first studio album ‘Superstar’ in 2009 and released the hit song ‘Holla at your Boy’ in 2010
5. The album ‘Superstar,’ which was released in 2011 under Empire Mates Entertainment, took Wizkid to the length and breadth of the world. In 2014, he dropped the second album ‘Ayo,’ which had a host of music stars on its feature list. One song that stood out was ‘Jaiye Jaiye’ featuring the music icon, Femi Kuti.
6. Wizkid has worked with not just big music stars in the country but outside the shores of Nigeria including Drake and Chris Brown.
7. In 2016, Wizkid became the first Nigerian singer to make it to Billboard’s Twitter Last 24 hours chart following his guest feature with Drake on the hit single ‘One Dance’.
8. When it comes to endorsement deals, Wizkid is the cynosure of all eyes especially for notable brands. From Pepsi to MTN and even Glo. In 2019, Wizkid was announced as the headliner for UBA’s strategic corporate market event.
9. Wizkid has three albums to his credit; Superstar (2011), Ayo (2014) and Sounds from the Other Side (2017).
10. Wizkid is a father to three sons. He welcomed his first son, Boluwatife in 2011 at the age of 21 with his then-girlfriend turned baby mama, Shola Ogudugu. In 2016, Wizkid welcomed his second son, Ayodeji with his second baby mama, Binta Diallo.
It is true that ‘Ojuelegba’ is the song that drew the attention of the international scene but for the die-hard fans, who were teenagers and young adults in 2010, ‘Holla at your Boy’ remains the song of the decade.
What are your wishes for Wizkid as he turns 30 today?