Nigeria has the largest number of leading musicians in the Afrobeat music scene. Among several talents, Wizkid happens to set an outstanding record. He is a living legend who is vast in diverse genres, including hip-hop, reggae, pop, and Afrobeat. Currently, he is recognized as one of the highest-paid Afrobeat artists in the world, considering several deals he got within and outside the music industry. Having set an active career path from 2010 till date, Wizkid is an interesting talent worthy of note. It is no doubt that record labels would have contributed to the success of this great artist alongside managers and collaborators. So, this piece contains detailed information about Wizkid’s career life and achievements so far. Grab something to munch on for you are about to take a dive into the 33-year-old sensational artist’s career to find out how he became one of the highest-paid Afrobeat artists in the world.

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Who is Wizkid?

Wizkid is the stage name of a talented Nigerian musician named Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun who was born on the 16th of July, 1989. The singer discovered his talent as early as age eleven when he belonged to his church choir in Lagos. In his early life, he performed under the name “Lil’ Prinz”. Big Wiz, as he is fondly called by his fan base known as Wizkid FC grew up in a polygamous family of three wives, one husband, and twelve nucleated sisters.

He was raised by his parents, Alhaji Muniru Olatunji Balogun, and Jane Dolapo Balogun. In 2011, Wizkid started his fatherhood journey at the age of 21. Although he initially denied his relationship with the child’s mother, Shola Ogudu due to a delayed paternity test result, he publicly admitted to it after posting a picture of himself and the child, Boluwatife Balogun who is now 11 years old in October 2013. His second son, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun Jr. was born in January 2016 by Binta Diallo, an American-based Guinean model. He had his third and youngest son, Zion Balogun in October 2017 with Jada Pollock, a notable brand consultant who he worked with and subsequently had an affair with. Zion’s birth is the only one that didn’t have a paternity controversy.

Wizkid’s Early Musical Career

Wizkid began his journey to popularity after Banky W, a veteran Nigerian artist and label boss signed him to the record label, Empire Mates Entertainment (EME). EME is the first record label owned by Banky W. In 2011, Wizkid broke into stardom after releasing his debut album, “Superstar”. Some singles that became global off the album include “Tease Me/Bad Guys”, “Holla at Your Boy”, and “Don’t Dull”. In 2014, Wizkid’s contract with EME expired and he went ahead to collaborate with international artists including Drake.

He was recognized in the Guinness World Records as the first Afrobeat artist to hit the US Billboard Hot 100. However, his Twitter battle with his former boss, Banky W, and label mate, Skales left fans in doubt as to whether or not he left EME on a good note. Nevertheless, the star singer succeeded in creating his record label, Star Boy Entertainment.

Settling In: Road To Global Recognition

Since Wizkid started Star Boy Entertainment in 2013, his career peaked. He didn’t achieve that success alone though as he signed talented acts like Maleek Berry as an in-house producer and Legendary Beatz. The record has also signed several talented artists and DJs including L.A.X, DJ Tunez, and Terri. The momentum he gained has seen him collaborate with prominent figures in the Nigerian music industry and Africa including Seyi Shay, Femi Kuti, Olamide, Phyno, and Akon. Wizkid clarified his objective for singing the 2013 single, “Jaiye Jaiye” as rumors circulated that his music only targeted sex and materialism. By collaborating with the iconic singer, Femi Kuti, he hoped to change the narrative. Wizkid got quite a large number of followers on social media and is the first Nigerian musician to attract over one million followers on Twitter. He has also gathered a large fan base outside social media platforms. Now, how did Wizkid become one of the highest-paid Afrobeat artists in the world? Stay with us! You’re about to find out!

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Endorsement Deals And Commercials

Wizkid has had several endorsement deals which have made him enough wealth to last him for years. In 2012, he got an endorsement deal with Pepsi worth about $350,000.  Fortunately for him, the deal, which was supposed to be for one year was extended to five years. Wizkid has made other deals with top brands apart from Pepsi. These brands include MTN, GLO, Cîroc, Puma, UBA, Tecno Mobile, and many others. Although Wizkid got his deal with the billion-dollar sportswear brand, Puma in October 2020, he hesitated from posting it on social media. This was done out of respect for the victims who lost their lives at the End SARS protest, a protest staged by youths to decry police brutality on the 20th of October, 2020. When he announced the deal after the protest subsided, he won the heart of more fans. Amidst the many endorsement deals, Wizkid earned international awards such as NAACP Image Award and the Soul Train Music Award. This was after he featured on Beyonce’s “Brown Skin Girl” and released the album “Made in Lagos.”

Concerts And World Tours

Wizkid’s “Made in Lagos” album went viral, got international recognition, and topped the charts for months in many countries. According to the artist, he was focused on bringing Lagos to the United States and the world at large. He toured North America while closing the tour in Montreal. The artist sold more than 120,214 tickets all over the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, selling out in massive venues such as the O2 arena. He made gross earnings of $11.9 million throughout the tour. Tickets were sold per category ranging from $108 to $270. Interestingly, Wizkid is having another concert at Madison Square Garden, New York City, on the 16th of November, 2022, and has already sold out the venue for all the dates listed. Thus, fans can look forward to meeting their favorite artist at this venue while taking in the good feeling of Afrobeat.

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Sources: Bscholarly, Clacified

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