FULL NAME: AYODEJI IBRAHIM BALOGUN
D.O.B: JULY 16TH 1990
Ayodeji Balogun a.k.a Wizkid kicked off his singing career as early as 11 when he recorded his first song with one of Nigeria’s celebrated music icons, OJB Jezreel. He went on to record a 7-track album, which he released in his church in Lagos, under the name of Lil’ Prinz; this was just a stint that earned him a remarkable deal of encouragement and recognition from family, his church, and other artists.
Years later in 2006, with a new name, which he picked up from a very funny incident, Wizkid got into the studio to record again; this time with HMan (OJB’s younger brother) and Ugly on a song titled ‘Naija Boy’, produced by OJB Jezreel. From that time, he continued to hone his singing skills with influences from OJB Jezreel, Ruffman, Naeto C, Ikechukwu, and many others. By 2008, he had developed a unique reggae style and had worked with some of the finest artists in Nigeria such as Sound Sultan, Ruffman, Nyore, Durella, Kel, TBase, etc.
The 19-year-old’s collaboration with M.I on “Fast Money, Fast Cars” on the Talk About It album, drew a lot of attention to his distinct voice and singing style. He also voiced the seasonal Barcelos radio jingle which was released in December 2008.
In 2009, Wizkid got signed to Banky W’s label, Empire Mates Entertainment, and has since then gone on to perform and record with Banky W, who is one of Nigeria’s most sought artists. Wizkid has collaborated with other artists such as Kel, Dipp, Eva, and Teeto, to name a few.
In 2010, Wizkid fully broke into the music industry with the release of his smash hit singles; “Don’t dull”, “Holla at your boy”, and “Tease me”. Ayo Balogun’s debut album- “Superstar” was released in 2011 and in June 2011, he performed several sold-out concerts in Nigeria, UK, and the United States.
Work on Wizkid’s second studio album, Ayo, began in 2012 and continued through 2014. It features guest appearances from Femi Kuti, Banky W., Seyi Shay, Phyno, Tyga, Akon, and Wale. The album’s production was handled by Sarz, Shizzi, Uhuru, Del B, Dokta Frabz, Maleek Berry, Legendury Beatz, and Spellz. It was initially titled Chosen. According to MTV Base, the album suffered from pushed-back release date. It was earlier reported that the album would feature Don Jazzy, Efya, and Olamide. On 6 September 2014, Wizkid revealed the album’s cover art and tracklisting.
Prior to announcing plans for a second studio album, Wizkid had plans of releasing a mixtape in April 2013. In an interview with Ok! Nigeria TV at Disturbing Headquarters in London, he said that the mixtape would be released in April. He also said that the mixtape would feature Wale and Tinie Tempah. Wizkid later announced that he would be releasing his second studio album on 12 June 2013. In an interview with HipTV, Banky W revealed the album’s initial title and commented on the delayed album. In addition, he gave an estimated time-frame for the album’s release.
On 2 May 2013, Wizkid released the album’s lead single, “Jaiye Jaiye”, featuring Femi Kuti. Wizkid told Showtime Celebrity that he collaborated with Femi Kuti in order to prevent people from depicting him as an artist whose lyrics revolve around girls, cars, and materialistic things. “On Top, Your Matter” was released as the album’s second single on 26 October 2013; it was produced by Del’B. The music video for the single, released on 13 February 2014, was shot and directed in South Africa by Sesan. In July 2014, Wizkid visited The Beat 99.9 FM studio in Lagos and told Toolz that he collaborated with Barbadian singer Rihanna.
On 5 January 2015, Wizkid released the music video for “Ojuelegba”, a song that highlights the struggles he endured in the early years of his recording career. The official remix to the song features vocals from Drake and Skepta; it premiered on OVO Sound Radio in July 2015. Wizkid first announced that he was working on a new album during his visit to London in October 2014. He revealed his collaborative single with Chris Brown titled “African Bad Girl”, and said that it would be the lead single off the upcoming album. In April 2015, both Wizkid and Chris Brown performed the song together at the latter’s concert in Durban, South Africa. In May 2015, Wizkid released “Expensive Shit”, an Afrobeat song built on light guitars, saxophone lines, and acoustic percussion; the song was reported as being a likely inclusion on the album. In July 2015, Wizkid announced via Twitter that Angélique Kidjo will be featured on the album. In September 2015, Wizkid revealed that he was dropping his EP and postponing the release of his third studio album. He made the announcement via Instagram shortly after the conclusion of 2Face Idibia’s “Fortified” tribute concert. Wizkid was quoted as saying, “I celebrated the legend 2face Idibia last night! Epic! It made me realize how much work I need to do.”
According to an interview published by The Fader magazine, Wizkid’s upcoming EP would be titled Sounds from the Other Side. Although much information was not revealed, The Fader did report that Wizkid is squeezing in edits to the EP.