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Akon, From Prison to Superstardom

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

True talent won't be exposed to the world until it has experienced lots of struggles. Most Black Americans who are at the peak of their music career today are mostly inspired during their term in the prison, after being fired up, they become a great voice to reckon with.

Bringing to the spotlight AKON the Senegalese-American RnB singer who has made a remarkable impact in the world today.



MUSIC CAREER

The smooth RnB vocalist spiced up with a little hip-hop vibe, Akon the Senegalese -American songwriter, producer, singer, and entrepreneur got his first hit single locked up in his debut album Trapped in 2004. The album paired Akon's melodic, R&B-style with hip-hop beats, has produced several hit singles, including "Lonely." His second album, 2006's Konvicted, was an even bigger success. Several singles from the album became hits that topped the Billboard charts. Two of the singles featured guest appearances by famous hip-hop artists; Eminem was featured on the single "Smack That" and Snoop Dogg was featured on the single "I Wanna Love You." His third album, Freedom (2008), was somewhat less of a sensation.


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 death. He co-wrote Lady Gaga's hit song "Just Dance," in addition to producing records for several artists.

Beyond his work in music, Akon is the owner of two clothing lines—Konvict and Aliaune—and various real estate investments. He also founded the Konfidence Foundation with the mission of empowering disadvantaged youth in Africa and the United States.



Image from GettyImage



AWARDS RECEIVED

In 2007, Akon won the 'Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist award at the ‘American Music Awards.’ He also won the 'Artist of the Year' award at ‘Billboard Music Awards.’ In the same year, he won the ‘Teen Choice Award’ under the 'Breakout Artist - Male' category.


In 2008, he won the ‘BET Hip Hop Award’ under the ‘Producer of the Year’ category.


In 2009, he won ‘Ozone’ for ‘Artist of the Year (USA & UK).’


He has won ‘ASCAP Awards’ under different categories in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.


EARLY LIFE

Aliaune Damala Dakha Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam, often going by the shorter Aliaune Thiam, is best known by his fans simply as Akon. Born on April 30, 1973, to legendary percussionist and jazz musician Mor Thiam whose expertise for playing the Djembe, a traditional African drum, has been touted as "unrivaled," he was grateful for his family musical background that later on did helpful in paving the way for him to embark on a musical career and gain success in the industry, making him one of the icons in the 21st century. Born in St. Louis, Akon grew up in Senegal before he and his family returned to the United States and settled in New Jersey when he was seven. While in Jersey City, he discovered hip-hop for the first time by the time he started hanging around with the local thug's crowd. Initially attending Snyder High School, the boy did everything against the school regulation and was kicked out after being busted for selling guns, bullets, and test questions for every test. He, later on, attended the Bayonne High School though. Hanging with the group, Akon also became popular for his bravery in fighting and was jailed for armed robbery and drug distribution charges. In between times, he used his time to begin writing his songs.









PERSONAL LIFE

It is alleged that Akon has three wives. He is a Muslim, and polygamy is legal under Islamic law.

In 2007, Akon's criminal past scuppered his plans to tour in Australia, as he was refused a visa.

Akon's manager, Robert Montanez was shot to death in December 2005. The drive-by shooting happened in New Jersey. Akon was in the car and was shot in the shoulder but made a full recovery.

In 2006, Akon launched his own label, Kon Distribution, which is a part of Interscope Records.

Akon has launched his own Konvict Clothing line, featuring street wear such as jeans, hoodies and t-shirts. An upmarket version named Aliaune features blazers and smarter wear.

Akon courted controversy in 2007 when he was filmed in a Trinidad & Tob

Image from Billboard

ago club, simulating sex with the 15-year old daughter of a local preacher. Later that year, at a concert in New York, he threw an audience member back offstage and into the crowd, after the young man had been identified as the person that had thrown an object onstage at him. Following a police enquiry, Akon claimed that the event had been staged.



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