Nick Chong · 5 hours ago · 3 min read
As soon as you hear Akon’s voice, you know it’s him!
His shimmering, soulful voice has propelled countless hits across genres—from pop and R&B to hip hop and dance. In addition to his own chart-‐dominating singles “Smack That” and “I Wanna Love You”, he’s made a staggering 300 guest appearances for icons including Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, Lil Wayne, R. Kelly, and Eminem. With over 35 million albums sold worldwide, five Grammy Award nominations, and 45 Billboard Hot 100 songs under his belt, he’s simply unstoppable.
“Locked Up” from the singer and producer’s 2004 debut album, Trouble, made him a household name, and then Konvicted led to global superstardom. In the aftermath of the latter’s 2007 release, Akon garnered the American Music Award for Favorite R&B Male Artist, Teen Choice Award for Breakout Male Artist, three World Music Awards in the categories of Best Selling R&B Male Artist, Best Selling African Artist and Best Selling Internet Artist, and the Billboard Music Award for Artist of the Year. He was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the #1 selling artists for master ringtones in the world and became the first solo artist in history to lock down both the number one and number two spots on the Billboard Hot 100.
Never content to rest on his laurels, he was the visionary behind not one but two thriving record labels KonLive and Konvict. The imprints jump-‐started the careers of both Lady Gaga and T-‐Pain, with Akon recognizing their talent early on, producing, and collaborating with them.
Expanding further into other realms, Akon was recognized on Forbes Magazine’s Celebrity 100 list in 2010, and Pepsi chose him to produce and record “Oh Africa” for the 2010 World Cup. For the first time in history, the event took place in Africa, the continent on which the artist was born. With a heart even bigger than his resume, Akon also created The Konfidence Foundation, a youth-‐centric charity that benefits underserved children in Africa and the U.S. Everything he does remains emblematic of his passion.
Musically, Akon has continued to push the envelope. His duet with Michael Jackson, “Hold My Hand” was released as the first single on the Michael album, debuting internationally at #1. Plus, his hilarious collaboration with Saturday Night Live stalwarts The Lonely Island, “I Just Had Sex”, set the internet ablaze, racking up over 210 million YouTube/VEVO views and being performed at the 2011 Comedy Awards and Primetime EMMY Awards.
Akon still isn’t showing signs of slowing down. With a new album on deck for 2015, he has set his sights on breaking into Hollywood and is already well on his way to making his mark. In 2012, Akon made his acting debut in Jeta Amata’s stirring motion picture “Black November” alongside a stellar cast including Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, Anne Heche, and Vivica A. Fox. Most recently, he landed his first major movie role and will appear with costars Adrien Brody, Hayden Christensen and Jordana Brewster in the upcoming indie action thriller “American Heist”, a remake of the 1959 Steve McQueen movie “The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery.”
In February 2014, Akon launched a partnership to bring electricity to one million households in Africa by the end of 2014. Akon has chosen to address the immediate needs of Africans through an effort known as “Akon Lighting Africa.” This initiative will address the concern that more than two-thirds of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is without electricity, and that more than 85 percent of those living in rural areas lack access. Akon Corp., in conjunction with GIVE1 PROJECT and Solektra International, member of ADS Group (Africa Development Solutions Group), has assembled a dynamic group of strategic partners in order to create replicable, scalable and cost-effective energy solutions.