Being a vocalist known for his R&B-style vocals with hip-hop beats, Akon grew up to become a sensation who featured in his own hit songs as well as collaborations with other musicians, including Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson. The star celebrates his 43rd birthday this month and here is a quick rehash on his journey so far.
Akon was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 16, 1973, to African parents. His family moved to Dakar, Senegal, in West Africa, where Akon lived until the age of 7, before they relocated back to the United States of America. Akon’s mother, Kine Thiam, is a dance professional. His father, Mor Thiam, is a well-known jazz percussionist and is also an exponent in the same. Thanks to their influence, Akon heard and loved music from an early age.
After growing up in Jersey City, New Jersey, Akon began singing and performing as a teenager in pursuit of a strong passion. He dropped out of Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, after completing a semester. Instead, he turned his attention to the music business, making home recordings and becoming friends with Wyclef Jean of the Fugees. In 2003, he bestowed with an opportunity to record independently, before Akon grew up to become an ace singer, songwriter and producer.
Akon’s debut album Trouble, was released in 2004, brought together Akon’s melodic R&B-style vocals with hip-hop beats and produced several hit singles, including “Locked Up” and “Lonely.” His second album Konvicted released in 2006 and turned out to be a bigger success. Several singles from the album became hits that topped the Billboard charts, for many consecutive weeks. Two of the singles featured guest appearances by famous hip-hop artists. With Eminem being featured on the single “Smack That” and Snoop Dogg being featured on the single “I Wanna Love You”, the album set the cash registered ringing. His third album, Freedom (2008), received a lukewarm reception and failed to re-create the magic of the earlier albums.
Akon has also lent his vocals to records by musicians in a wide range of genres, including Whitney Houston, Gwen Stefani and Lionel Richie. He also sang with Michael Jackson on the duet “Hold My Hand,” which was released in 2009 after Jackson’s demise. He co-wrote Lady Gaga’s hit song “Just Dance,” in addition to producing records for a number of artists.
Beyond his work in music, Akon is the owner of two clothing lines – Konvict & Aliaun. The artist is also known to make various real estate investments. Akon founded the Konfidence Foundation with the mission of empowering disadvantaged youth in Africa and the United States of America.
Tryst with Controversies
Akon has also faced numerous controversies and legal charges. In 2008, it was revealed that he had exaggerated his criminal background, as he often claimed in interviews, run a car-theft ring or written his first album during a three-year prison sentence. He had, in fact, only served a few months in jail for the possession of a stolen car in 1998, and he was released when the charges were dropped.
In 2007, Akon faced criminal charges after he threw a fan off the stage during a concert in Poughkeepsie, New York. The same year, he was widely criticized for inappropriate sexual behavior onstage with an underage girl in Trinidad and Tobago. He has also drawn fire for his decision to invest in an African diamond mine, which was then suppressed by press meets other media-addressed programs.
Sterling Music wishes Akon for a powerful comeback, triggering tracks to rule the charts yet again.