The 26-year-old Nigerian songwriter and hip-hop/R&B artist, WizKid, is rising to prominence in America after emerging from a lengthy and successful career in Africa. Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun began his career at 11 years old, performing and recording with the group, Glorious Five, but found prominence in Nigeria after releasing the song “Holla At Ya Boy” from his debut album, “Superstar,” in 2011.
With his authentic brand of African pop, dance music combined with his significant songwriting talent, and dropping songs featuring Femi Kuti, Akon and Wale for his sophomore album, “Ayo,” the young artist was named one of 2013’s Top 10 Richest/Bankable African Artists.
WizKid was able become a crossover success by releasing a collaboration with American hip-hop star, Drake. 2016’s “One Dance” took 15 countries by storm and 2017 has brought WizKid further International success, handing him a record deal with RCA Records in March.
His upcoming album, “Sounds from the Other Side” is due out July 14 and has already earned him accolades for the singles “Come Closer,” featuring Drake, and “Naughty Ride.” featuring Major Lazer. The BET Awards 2017 honored WizKid with “Best International Act: Africa” earlier this week.
It is never easy to obtain crossover success in the United States, let alone attract major American and international collaborators, as the margins for success in pop music becomes thinner and thinner because of internet accessibility, streaming and affordable production costs for independent artists. WizKid’s dynamic talent and ambition has allowed him to rise very quickly across the board in international Black and pop music.
His third upcoming full-length album, “Sounds from the Other Side,” will be available wherever music is sold July 14.