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Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Badara Akon Thiam
April 16, 1973 (1973-04-16) (age 37)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
R&B, hip hop, pop
Singer-songwriter, record producer
Universal, SRC, Konvict, UpFront, Kon Live
T-Pain, Kardinal Offishall, Colby O'Donis, Lil Wayne,
Snoop Dogg, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Sway DaSafo,
Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie
Born Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Badara Akon Thiam
(pronounced /'e?k?n/), (born April 16, 1973) is a
Senegalese-American R&B singer-songwriter, rapper, record
producer, and businessman.
He grosses over 30 million dollars a year according to
Forbes. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release
of "Locked Up", the first single from his debut album
Trouble. His second album, Konvicted, earned him a Grammy
Award nomination of the single "Smack That". He has since
His 2 record labels, Konvict Muzik, Kon Live Distribution.
Akon often sings hooks for other artists and is currently
credited with over 300 guest appearances and 45 Billboard
Hot 100 songs. He has worked with numerous performers such
as Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, Quincy Jones, Eminem and
Whitney Houston. He is the first solo artist to hold both
the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard
Hot 100 charts twice. He has had 6 Grammy Awards
nominations and has produced many hits for artists such as
Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis and Leona Lewis. Lady Gaga and
T-Pain are two artists who were given their chance at fame
by Akon. He has also released a song called "Beautiful"
featuring Colby O'Donis and Kardinal Offishall which is in
his hit album named Freedom which he released in 2008 and
Right Now (Na Na Na)" in the same album.
The mere act of surviving on a day to day basis is the foundation
from which a true artist builds his craft. Multi-talented newcomer
AKON is no exception to this rule. His dynamic debut album,
TROUBLE, a collection of stirring songs, creatively reflects the
ups and downs of the singer/songwriter/producer's life experiences.
A crafty blend of soulful hip-hop, TROUBLE is AKON's vibrant first
"TROUBLE evolved from the struggles I went through and what I did
and am still doing to correct those things," offers AKON, who has
had his fair share of adolescent problems with both the legal and
school system, as is reflected in his redemption song "Trouble
Nobody." "I've got a habit of writing about everything I go
through," he explains, "and this album gives a glimpse of where I
To understand where AKON is right now is just half the equation.
The other half lies in where he came from: this young artist
possesses a unique history. A Senegalese African, AKON moved to
the United States when he was seven. His family is headed by
legendary percussionist and jazz musician Mor Thiam, whose
expertise for playing the Djembe, a traditional African drum, has
been touted as "unrivaled." Being brought up in an environment that
treasures the true artistic value of musicianship and revels in the
mastering of instrumental skill has had a momentous affect on AKON.
It was AKON's deep rooted love and passion for music, evolving
from filial admiration, which allowed him to turn his life around,
despite his trouble as a youth residing in New Jersey. AKON began
playing several different percussion instruments and eventually
embraced hip-hop music and culture, despite his initial disdain for
the genre. "When I first heard hip-hop I thought it was rubbish
because I didn't understand the concept of people talking over
music," AKON recalls, "But as I started growing up, living a little
and listening to the lyrics, I realized that I was going through a
lot of stuff these rappers were talking about and I could relate."
Once hip-hop took over his life, AKON's musical development
exploded and he began channeling his energy into writing and
own music. Songs such as "Show Out" display how much hip-hop has
influenced him. Over the sparsely yet hard hitting groove, "Don't
tempt me/'Cuz I'm close to the edge/I'm trying not to lose my head
," ring the lyrics that cleverly integrates original school lyrics.
At the same time, the song pays homage to hip-hop pioneers all
while maintaining its own identity.
Meanwhile, his first single "Bananza (Belly Dance)" exhibits
another side of the artist. On this song AKON puts forth a feel-good
vibe. Singing over a seductive and sensual beat, "Bananza
(Belly Dance)," is one of AKON's most irresistible tracks. The
song integrates a unique up tempo dance beat with a distinct wind
instrumentation floating in the background guaranteed to improve
every listener's mood. The reason for this, AKON says, "There are
a lot of negative things going on today." "We need to party and just
have fun," he continues, "'Bananza…' is a party record. You just go
in the club, party and enjoy those beautiful women."
However, life does not solely revolve around beautiful women and
leisure time and AKON is well aware of this. On the somber, soulful
"Ghetto" and the meditative, impressive "Journey," AKON gives
listeners an in-depth look into a harsher world, one that is just
as gripping as it is chilling. But rather than sensationalize his
own drama, AKON transmits, to his audience, the feeling of being
a part of his inner circle.
AKON's personal appeal and ability to reach a listener is a part
of his whole package: a package that includes, most importantly,
his distinctive vocals and a relaxed singing style. It is as though
he is speaking to you as he sings in a very intimate manner. "When
I sing the sound comes from the mood that I am in. These records
are coming straight from the heart," AKON divulges.
Genuine and honest, AKON's music is a step in a new direction:
a trajectory that will lead us on a delightfully fulfilling path.
Says AKON, "When I'm on the mic, I'm just giving the listener
a part of me." Be prepared to receive it.